but let's talk about them! Please stop reading now if this topic makes you sqeamish.
Disposable products can obviously generate a large amount of waste and can also be quite expensive.
Around the time that I started to use cloth diapers for my older son, I decided to invest in cloth menstrual pads. I bought a set of Glad Rags from an Oregon-based, small female-owned company. They are very soft and comfortable, and still (we're talking 15 years later) in good shape after many washings. Much like cloth diapers, I used these most of the time, always when I was at home, and supplemented with disposables when I was out and about or working.
However, for a long-distance runner, there can be a little issue with chafing. So I tried The Keeper, a menstrual cup:
I have heard great things about this ecological and inexpensive option from friends, so I was disappointed that I didn't love it--but I didn't. I had trouble with leaking, and it can be awkward to empty and rinse if you are out and about, to say the least, unless you find a private restroom. Also, the stem was uncomfortable, though it can be trimmed.
I am happy to report that I now have the best solution I have found, for a woman not planning on more children for a while (or at all):
This is an intrauterine contraceptive (IUC) with just a bit of progestin, which causes the lining of the lining of the uterus to atrophy while it is in place. So after a few months of spotting...no more bleeding to cope with. I love it. I can't even tell you how much I love it (I will spare you the humourous/distressing tales of my years of menorrhagia). Let me just say that I am not planning to have a menstrual period ever again, if I can help it. I'm going to use this puppy (I'll have to change it out once) right through menopause.
And since the Mirena is effective for at least 7 years (though only FDA approved for 5), it is a very economical, simple, and space-saving solution. I was recently doing some tidying/decluttering in the upstairs bathroom and realized that I hadn't used the bag of menstrual supplies in at least a year--out it goes!