I am pleased to announce Red.Lined's newest program:
Trial-Period is an educational, exploratory, opportunity for people of any gender who menstruate and/or identify as women, in Rhode Island. We've received a sponsorship from our local Tri-Town Community Action Program, Heath Equity Zone, allowing a greater impact. free of charge to the community. Adults (18+) or children with parent or guardian, in the Providence County area are welcome to sign up using the link here:
The goal is to familiarize participants with a variety of lesser-known period products. I want to create a safe and supportive space to ask questions and help you learn more about Red.Lined’s mission. We have brand name, store brands, varying sizes, and supporting information so that participants can take home period products, trying them with their upcoming cycles. The intention of the program is to provide options without directing participants towards one product or the other.
Before I begin, please know, you can support our mission by making a donation here:
Period products are not one size fits all. "While tampons as we know them today were invented in 1929, it wasn’t until 1934 when (Tampax) founder bought the patent..." and industrialized the tampons we know today.
Maxi pads have been present for thousands of years, and even menstrual cups have been know to have been worn by early Egyptian women. "Between 1854 and 1915, twenty patents were filed for menstrual hygiene products. Some of these patents included the first menstrual cup, rubber underwear, and Lister’s towels. The first menstrual cups were often made of aluminum or hard rubber. Those sound delightful...
Innovations have been made, especially in the last 50 years. These advancements have had great influence on our wellness. "Throughout history, menstrual inventions have paved the way for women and people with cycles, from patents to pilots." says TheGIRLco . The problem I have found, is that a few companies have a massive hold over these supplies, particularly the tampon and maxi pad industry. The benefit to the mass production of these items are that they are seemingly less expensive, easily accessible, and abundant. More often heard, they're less messy and once used and removed, trashed, forgotten about and moved on from.
Environmentally these products are devastating. Regardless of organic cotton origins, the improper disposal of such items as plastic based applicators and mistakenly
flushed maxi pads has terrible effect on the earth as a whole, let alone our failing sewage systems. One company that I love is fighting the war on proper disposal : Scensibles. They offer a "more hygienic alternative than wrapping products in wads of toilet paper... Totally conceal all feminine care products including personal care wipes! ... Trouble free alternative to flushing. insert product, tie and toss into waste bin. Avoid costly clogs." In a 2019 blog from National Geographic they talk about "how tampons and pads became so unsustainable." It gives a great perspective on how 5 period days a month, quickly become 40 years of disposable menstrual waste with an alarming 10k pads and tampons in a lifetime - each of those plastic applicators lasting 500 years in our ecosystem. In one study some stunning data details that for every kilometer of beach combed in UK, nine plastic applicators were found. There's 19,717 km of beaches in the UK. Let that settle.
As a different perspective, menstruation does not differ greatly between one continent and the next. Where most all of America has running clean water not all areas of the world does. In some areas it may not be a viable options to introduce reusable cloth supplies such as reusable pads and menstrual underwear as this would require washing items thoroughly. Sadly, even in America, this is a true statement, both in areas that experience poor water quality and many with housing insecurity. Likewise, disposable items are not financially feasible unless they are found in free-pantries. For these folx there are other options. My favorite being the menstrual cup which can be dumped and reinserted immediately. Where the user will need to wash or sanitize their hands, the cup can be washed once a day.
These are also great options for individuals that chose to non-disclose their gender or maybe are transgendered and having to chose which logo on a bathroom door, best suits their need for a white porcelain bowl. Can you hear my sarcasm?? Menstrual cups could go one of a few ways with this conversation. My go to is, in general ( and biologically) our bodies require more restroom breaks during a menstrual cycle. This has to do with the uterus being inflamed and pressing on the bladder. So, in general we require more stops to the tile floored oasis. However, for those who can hold their pee, the menstrual cup offers the opportunity to not have to change a pad, tampon or even their menstrual cup for up to 8 hours. For a transitioning male, this could mean saving an "out".
The menstrual disc does something similar. I wish I could tell you my horror story with the menstrual disc, but lets leave it at this: After 6 hours, maybe some adrenaline, googling and humility... for us ladies with a high cervix and small hands, we must consider the possibility of physically not being able to reach the damn thing. I do not discount them though, and really I encourage reusable and sustainable supplies where possible. The disc sits far up in the vaginal canal, leaving little room for movement. It creates a seal that can be used during intercourse for a mess free party hour. It also has a self dumping feature, helpful for keeping your hands clean, and depending on the brand and type a full day wear.
Choosing alternative menstrual products is a great way to live a more sustainable life, get more comfortable in your own body, explore options that suit you and your lifestyle, and open up hella-good conversation for those of us willing to share.
Below are the starter items that Red.Lined has provided for our newest program and may vary based on availability and program size
Standard Maxi Pads - Brand: Always - Find Your Fit Quiz
"If you think all pads are exactly the same — think again. Discover the completely reinvented* Always Ultra pads with 3X Protection System for up to 100% leak-free comfort. Thanks to RapidDRY, the pads absorb two times faster than the leading store brand to wick away gushes in seconds. Plus, the LeakGUARD core locks in leaks for long-lasting protection, while OdorLOCK neutralizes odors to help you feel fresh and clean all day long. "
"Yes, it may be surprising: 60% of women wear the wrong size pad. The good news is 100% of women can change that. With Always My Fit™, you can find your best pad protection based on your unique size and unique menstrual flow."
"Tampax tampons have an important job: to absorb and lock-in your period flow to help avoid leaks and ensure you have one less thing to worry about - because you got things to do! So, they are primarily made from absorbent ingredients like purified cotton, rayon fibers, or a blend of both. Since a tampon is considered a medical device, our products are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). "
Organic Pads & Tampons - Brand: TOP the organic project
"From plant based wrappers and tampon applicators, aka planticators – to 100% certified organic cotton with zero synthetics, toxins, pesticides, dyes, and fragrances, our products are healthy for girls – and the moms who insist on nothing less."
"A comfortable, reusable alternative to pads and tampons, the June menstrual cup can be safely worn for up to 12 hours.."
"Flex Disc is a disposable menstrual product designed to give you the most liberating period of your life. It sits high in the vaginal fornix—where comfort is prioritized and sex is never off limits."
"Thinx are washable, reusable period underwear. They look and feel just like normal underwear
but better ... Thinx period products are made with our signature, innovative technology for the ultimate period protection. Our breathable products are safely made with cotton, nylon, and elastane (for a little stretch!)"
Reusable Menstrual Underwear - Program Brand: Nalwort
To best supply our program participants, we have chosen the Nalwort brand, available online on Amazon, imported to the USA.
"The girls’ period panties will provide extra protection, so using them with a pad/tampon will be perfect to avoid such embarrassing things! The panties will also make girls feel peaceful during their heavy days. Must Use Together with Pads/Cups/Tampons. The main function of the period panty is to prevent leakage, but the pad/tampon is to absorb liquid. The panty used together with pads/cups/tampons can achieve the perfect protection."
Personal Disposal Bags - Brand: Scensibles
Scensibles are "clean, easy, discreet disposal of tampons, pads, pantyliners, wipes, feminine hygiene products, disposable menstrual cups or discs... bags offer a more hygienic alternative than wrapping products in wads of toilet paper... Stop unnecessary flushing of tampons, sanitary pads, wipes and other feminine hygiene products! Effective way to protect toilets, plumbing, sewer lines and septic systems from expensive clogs. Perfect for home as well as RVs and boats."
https://thegirlsco.com/blogs/news/the-evolution-of-menstrual-products-from-the-1800s-to-present - *Sources include Clue, Wikipedia, GlobalNewsWire