When I first heard of Reusable Menstrual Products, commonly known as RUMPs, one of the first things that sprung to mind was stories of women from older generations using pieces of cloth for their periods during their monthly menstrual cycle.
And so I thought, why in the world of disposable convenience would anyone choose anything that they would have to wash and use again? Surely that was going backwards? However, the thrifty, wannabe environmentally conscious, minimalist in me took over and I quickly concluded that it might not be such a bad idea after all.
So why choose RUMPs?
Although the upfront cost of some RUMPs is more than grabbing packs of disposables off the shelves, the length of time they can be reused makes it very much worth it. Which means more money in your pocket in the long run – and less being paid as tampon tax! (In the UK and EU VAT is paid on tampons and other sanitary products, as these are classed as luxury and non -essential products opposed to other ‘necessities’ which are exempt – and there’s been a huge call for this to be abolished, because really what’s more necessary than menstrual products for women?)
No harmful chemicals, dyes, and fragrances that can be absorbed into your body through your vagina. Some RUMPs even have little to no risks of getting Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).
Switching over to reusable products means fewer tampons and pads being disposed of by millions of women daily. Less waste going to landfills and since most RUMPs are biodegradable, that’s even better for the planet.
Sounds awesome right? It did to me too and so I fell down the rabbit hole of researching these supposedly amazing alternative menstrual products. I was pleasantly surprised to find quite a variety of RUMPs. Here are some I discovered:
This is probably one of the most popular reusable menstrual products and my personal favourite so far. It is a small, flexible cup usually made of medical-grade silicon. Similar to a tampon, it is inserted into the vagina where it collects menstrual fluids. Once full it is removed, washed and reinserted. They come in so many shapes, sizes and capacities so there is one for everyone.
If you’re more of a pad wearer, you’re sorted too. These are just like mainstream pads and liners but made from a variety of materials like cotton or organic bamboo on the top and lined with highly absorbent material. They are usually secured to the underwear by snaps (poppers). If you’re good at DIY, you can save yourself even more money by making your own pads and liners.
These are panties that are lined with absorbent materials and can soak up varying amounts of blood. Depending on your flow, they can even be worn without needing a panty liner or pad.
These are similar to menstrual cups in that they are inserted into the vagina to collect menstrual fluids. However, they are a different shape and sit in the vagina differently. As they don’t block the vaginal canal, their biggest selling point is the possibility of wearing them during sex and thus have a mess-free one.
As the name suggests, these are pieces of sea sponge that can be inserted into the vagina like tampons. They come in different sizes that allow varying levels of absorbency. Here’s a fun fact: way before all the birth control that we have today, they were also used as a form of contraceptive.
These are just like the tampons you find on the shelves, but made from organic cotton or bamboo, which are sewn, crocheted or folded into the shape of a tampon and can be washed and reused.
I recently discovered these and my first thought was “wow who thought of these!” Basically, they are tampon or petal shaped mini pads held in the place by the labia that can absorb or at least channel the flow of menstrual fluid. This is particularly useful for those who tend to gush, which causes an uncomfortable feeling. It can also be useful for light incontinence.
You must be curious enough by now! I really encourage everyone to give at least one of these a try. Even if we won’t try it for our bodies or our pockets, let’s do it for our planet. I have tried some of these myself and will review a couple so you know how I got on!
Tell me what you think – do you use RUMPs, have you tried in the past, are you willing to consider now or are you still unconvinced?