Last night was a beautiful night for a game of ultimate. Sun was shining, bit of a breeze, perfect. Couldn’t have asked for better. I got my sprints in while having fun with my friends. Ideal.
But, I’d like to switch tracks for a moment and talk about something specifically for the ladies: Periods.
Ugh, we all know that feeling – the bloat, the lethargy, the cramps, often the last thing you feel like doing is working out. How do you ladies deal with ‘that time of the month’? Personally, I have never been someone who revelled in their period. I don’t think it’s ‘beautiful and wondrous’. To me? It is a nuisance at best. I HATE getting my period and would rather pretend that it doesn’t exist and isn’t happening (I fully understand the it is natural and healthy, I just find it annoying). Agreed, that this isn’t always the easiest thing to do when your uterus feels like it is trying to claw its way out of your body. For the most part, unless I am feeling very low, I push myself to workout through the discomfort. 9 times out of 10, the activity makes me feel better than if I had just sat at home. I use my energy level to determine if that means a run, a walk, or a gym session. By the time I am finished, my cramps have lessened and I feel less like a bloated whale haha.
There are many products available today to allow you to get active while on your period. Personally, I am not a big fan of pads as they feel hot and, well, diapery, to me (just personal preference). If pads are more your jam, I highly recommend that you give cotton reusable pads a try. They are SUPER absorbent, they are WAY more breathable than disposable pads, they don’t take years to degrade in land fill, they are a one time money outlay as opposed to monthly expenditures, and oh ya, no bleach or other chemicals sitting right next to your vagina all day! I have personally tried and love Lunapads, a Canadian company based in Vancouver. What I love about this brand in particular, is that their pads have a removable liner, which is all you need to carry, not a whole separate pad. Which saves space in your purse, as well as your laundry! Lunapads also make Lunapanties, which is again, a non diaper feeling panty option if you like to wear pads. These come in different styles to fit your personal taste, while also leaving you confident and and your vagina breathable. Hannahpads is another Canadian based company for cloth reusable pads, but I have not tried them personally.
As I mentioned, pads are not my preferred way to go. So, in a pinch, I will wear a tampon. Quick, easy, gym tights compatible. Trying to do my small part for the planet, I don’t like the idea of generating so much waste. Also, tampons work by absorbing your flow, which can leave your vagina dryer, and can also work towards changing the natural pH. A great alternative to tampons is a menstrual cup. Now, unlike tampons, menstrual cups take a bit of determination if you are anything like me. I LOVE the idea of a menstrual cup. Reusable, medical grade silicon, insert once a day, collecting not absorbing so pH is untouched, one cup works for most flows (one cup can work for super light and super heavy, you just may have to change it more often on super heavy days. For me? One cup, once a day, for my full period is perfect), total win, right? Weeeeeellllllllll, finding the RIGHT menstrual cup is the tricky part. Personally, I had to try 3.
I started out with the Diva cup (sold in most drugstores). It was….. just ok. I didn’t feel a thing, and with no string dangling between your legs things like mud races and swimming became much more enjoyable! But I could never get it in and leakproof, reliably. Sometimes I would insert it and forget I had a period for 24 hours! Other times, it would leak no matter what I did and I still had to wear a mini pad anyway. At first, that was ok. But as time went on, and I did more and more research ‘leak free’ was what I wanted. It had to be out there!
The second menstrual cup I tried was the Lily cup by Intimina. This cup is a little longer, shaped totally differently, and made out of a softer silicone. I had high hopes! But alas, leaks was still an issue with this cup. At this point, I returned to tampons for a while, until Captain Planet started weighing on me again…
The third cup I tried was a newly released cup made by Tampax. Omg, ladies, for me? This was the holy grail of menstrual cups!!!!!!!!!! The design is similar to, but very distinct from that of the Diva Cup. And? I HAVE NOT HAD A SINGLE LEAK. EVER. Insert, and forget I have a period for 24 hours. It. Is. Glorious. It has changed my life! Want to swim? Sure! Want to Gym? Sure! Want to do a mud hero ultra race or a Natural Obstacle Off Trail Race? Sure! Complete confidence! Complete DENIAL of menstruation! I can not recommend this product strongly enough! However! Just because the Tampax brand cup was ideal for me, does not mean it will be idea for you. Unfortunately, as I found out, there is some trial and error involved in finding your right cup. But ladies, once you do? Game changer!
Seriously, ladies, this is an entire WORLD of woes that male athletes just simply do NOT have to deal with! We get bonus points for leaving the house on our periods at all! I want to hear how you handle the extra challenges of being a woman who trains!
*** All opinions are my own and I am in no way affiliated with any of these companies. All bodies are different, and this is just what has worked for me. I know many woman who use Diva and Lily cups regularly with zero leaks, my body just preferred the Tampax brand. Also, all images came from the company websites as I wanted to show how the cups look slightly different. The links to all of the websites where I obtained the images are in the text.***