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Reusable cotton pads: My first experience

I had been trying to bring changes for a sustainable living for a while now and using reusable cotton pads for Aunt Flo's monthly visits was an idea that appealed massively to my senses. After searching here and there I found a Kolkata based manufacturer- Shomota- who were also involving women from underprivileged background in manufacturing these pads as well as sharing the profit from sales to make these pads available to girls and women in interiors of West Bengal. BONUS point- I have also come to realise that sustainability is more efficient and worthwhile if you choose local. Also the fact that we are dumping non biodegradable waste on the planet and that is equal to some sort of violence in my head and I have been brought up on the beliefs laid by the Arya Samaj movement, I needed a better option than the mass marketed sanitary pads. I looked and examined a few option that I realised were available to me before making up my mind on the reusable cloth pad.

Why I chose cloth pads? 

Here are again, in brief, my reasons for choosing cloth pads over all other options. As you read this know that I am a 37 year old, my flow lasts between 3-5 days and my first two days are heavy. By the end of third day spotting starts and there is minimal flow.

I chose the cloth pads because they seemed like the middle path for me to take. Besides the go green agenda, I was sick of chaffing of the nether regions and thighs because of the plastic lining in the regular pads. I chose cloth pads because Hello! COTTON.

Reusable  pads had been in use when our mums were growing up so really this is not a foreign concept. The added appeal is cute colours and patterns, great absorbency, modern features like wings and leakproof layers plus easy to wash and store. Cost-effective, of course, a Shomota kit containing 4 pads with varying protection cost me about Rs 820 and I have been told that I can expect them to last me for 3-5 years.

My experience with the cotton reusable pads

The faint smell of blood was the first thing that I noticed.  It was not such that I would have wanted to throw up or anything but I can not deny its presence either. 

The sight of blood depends totally on when you actually take off the pad. You might see it glistening if it has not yet been absorbed but then these pads are generally good at thejob they do.

The cotton pad felt very good against my skin all through the days when I used it. I changed at an interval of roughly 8-10 hours. Initially there was leakage and staining and I would have written off the product that is marketed for heavy flow but I realised that I was also beginning to get the hang of placing it. So I am going to give it yet another fair chance.  

They are easy to wash and do not stain. I wrung and twisted mine to dry them and they resumed their shape. It takes time to dry them up though so I think I might have to supplement my collection.

Here is some information that you might find handy about the options available in the market if you are considering a switch:

a. The Menstrual Cup: Now menstrual cup as far as I understand is the best replacement to the pads. It is hygenic and cost effective ( price range between Rs 250- Rs 1000, depending on size and other factors), a cup lasting you a good 7-10 years but the idea of inserting a foreign object did not appeal to me. Had I been looking for an option during my prime years I would have certainly used it rather than made up my mind on it after reading stuff on the internet.

b. The Biodegradable Pads: They are the best option for (squeamish) people who (think?) they can not stand the sight or smell of blood. Made out of banana fiber among other materials they are compostable. I did not opt for it because I haven't got a clue about what happens to our waste here. Yes you might throw the fact that they are biodegradable at my face. I have somehow  got reservations about dumping those pads as well. They, of course, are also not among the most pocket- friendly options.

c. Others: Besides these 3 options I came across a range of products like the period panty (very absorbent I hear), inter-labia cloth pads, sea sponges (nature's answer to tampons *Source- Internet) as well. So if you are reading this article you know you have plenty to choose from.

Last thoughts

I think I would need to supplement my cloth pads with either more pads


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