The Benefits of Reusable Period Products For Endometriosis
This is our second article in a series about reusable period products and very heavy periods / endometriosis.
Our lovely customers have contributed to this series by completing our questionnaire about their heavy periods. These answers are now forming the basis of our articles.
The first article looked at how long it has taken them to receive an endometriosis diagnosis and at what point they realised that not everyone had periods like theirs.
In this post, our customers answer:
- Why they decided to try reusable period protection?
- How switching to reusable period protection has helped their heavy periods
- What would you say to anyone else with endometriosis or very heavy periods who might be put off reusables?
Why did they decide to try reusable period protection for their endometriosis symptoms?
For many of our customers, the increased absorbency of reusable menstrual products was their impetus to switch. However many also were concerned about the cost of disposables and the environmental impact of pads and tampons too. Lastly, some people found that disposable products irritated their delicate skin.
Switching to period panties and reusable sanitary pads lessens the risk of toxic shock syndrome and makes you feel comfortable, no matter how heavy your flow.
"I remember seeing an advertisement for Cheeky Wipes reusable sanitary towels online. It was like a lightbulb when on! I just immediately thought, ‘Yes!! That will feel so much better!’. The second I tried one I knew it was for me, it was just so much more comfortable, absorbent and I felt safe. "
"I decided to try reusables as I had friends who started using them and I'd heard good things. I was also conscious of how many chemicals are in disposable products and I was learning how disruptive those can be on my hormone balance, so naturally didn't want to be making my hormonal issues any worse.
I started by just buying one pair of pants and a couple of pads as I was sceptical they would cope with my heavy days when I did get flooding. But as I would flood anyway with disposables, and was finding that even with regular flow the disposables were moving about in my knickers so I'd often get some spots in them that I had to wash out anyway, I thought I may as well try reusables and see how they went.
Also, I have 2 daughters, the eldest was approaching the age when I had started my periods and I was conscious that I wanted to have to best knowledge of the options available to be able to make her journey into adulthood and periods the best it could possibly be. "
"I started using the reusable pads years ago, due to repeated thrush at the time of my period which got worse after the brand I used started adding perfume to them. The disposables also rubbed against my inner thigh.
I couldn’t believe how comfortable reusable pads were, and I’ve never had thrush since making the change. Once I tried your bamboo pads I’ve never gone back to disposables, even when going out, I bring a wet bag with me instead. I love the way you can fold them up using the poppers to take out and bring them home.
After my last child I started to have extremely heavy periods due to a large fibroid and endometriosis. I swapped my day pads to the heavy flow long night and maternity pads, soon these weren’t enough to keep my flow contained, especially at night, I started wearing two pads together and a toddler waterproof mat on my bed, I started leaking again, I then bought your heavy flow hip pants which were a life saver, definitely a clothes and mattress saver!
I have to say the leaking was not due to the reusable pads but down to how extremely heavy my periods were, during this time I needed four iron transfusions I was loosing so much blood."
"My friend bought me a pair of Team Cheeky heavy flow period pants for christmas in 2021 and also a heavy pad and bag to try as I had been complaining to her about how I could not plan my life because of this heavy flow coming when it liked.
In August 2022 I bought lots more different pads from Team Cheeky and another bag. These pads are great for the 'I feel like it might come today' days where it starts lighter, saves messing up my knickers and also saves waste and money by not using and discarding a disposable pad unneccessarily."
"I was bleeding everyday for 2 years and after 6 months of bleeding I became very sore and my skin was being ripped because of using a regular pads. I was also having to spend a lot of money on getting a pack of pads every couple of week.
Tried the reusable for heavy periods (underwear and pads) to see if my skin could improve and also less money to spend."
"I was spending so much money on pads that I would bleed through in a short amount of time. I also found plastic pads would make me so itchy and uncomfortable, and I wanted to do my part to reduce waste for the environment, too."
"I wanted something that would be environmentally friendly but I also heard that they were good for flooding and heavy periods. I tried the service on cheekywipes where you get advice on what products to use."
"I wanted to do my bit for the environment and planet. Given how heavy my periods were becoming, I was using so many disposable pads and I felt conscious of the impact it would have on the landfill."
"I went through so many disposables, easily 6-10 super heavy pads every day, for a full 7-10 days. So I wanted a more eco friendly option."
"After a lifetime of pads, I was really worry about the environment impact, I was changing in the night & worried over flooding at work."
"Fed up with pads making me sore, then being uncomfortable. Tampons could cause my cramps to be even worse some months"
How switching to reusable period protection has helped heavy periods & endometriosis symptoms
So many shared their love for period pants here and absolute joy at not waking up in a pool of period blood! Many said that they found that tampons and pads just wouldn't cope sufficiently to let them have a good nights sleep.
Some even reported being able to get 12 hours out of a pair of period pants which is amazing.
In addition, some commented that switching to reusable period protection has made their periods less painful or shorter too.
"It has literally changed my life! I find that the reusables are so much more comfortable and breathable. I finally feel comfortable during my period, they are soft and fresh feeling on my skin.
Plastic pads used to leave me so sore that I would be crying with the pain and chaffing, but there is no more ‘nappy rash’! I find that they can hold a lot more, which is great because of my heavy flow, and they cope with the flooding that the disposable ones can’t. A big thing for me is that they don’t smell bad. Especially when I was younger, I was so self-conscious that my period would smell, in the summer or during sport, but that is never a problem with the reusables.
I can finally do sport without worrying that I am going to leak everywhere. If I pair the pads with a menstrual cup too, then I can go swimming and back home again without having to worry at all. I wish teenage me had known this was possible!
Cheeky wipes are so green! We use the toilet paper alternatives too and I just love the fact that over the last 10 years using cloth pads has stopped me putting hundreds of pieces of plastic sanitary protection into landfill. They pay for themselves really quickly too.
The biggest difference I have found is that my periods actually hurt less and I get less clotting when I use cloth pads. I read that this is because the plastic in the disposables is unnatural and sets off your clotting reaction. I would recommend trying Cheeky wipes to anyone with endometriosis (actually, anyone with periods!), as they have really helped me to manage my symptoms. "
"Switching to reusables has taken so much stress out of my periods, I really wish I had tried them sooner.
I mainly use period pants and I no longer have to worry that I'm going to leak in the day, or going to get up in the morning to find my sheets stained due to nighttime leaks and flooding.
I don't have the stress of sitting down and having to check the chair when I get up in case my disposable pad had moved and leaked, because the pants just stay in place and the coverage is so great I've never had any problems.
After making the switch I noticed quickly that my periods were less painful and actually a bit lighter and sometimes shorter, which I'm sure is down to not putting plastic and chemicals next to my most sensitive skin for prolonged periods like with the disposable pads. I'd never have thought that would make such a significant difference but it really has.
When I do have heavy days, which can be unpredictable now that I'm in perimenopause, it's so comforting to be able to pull on a pair of period pants and just let my body get on with it.
Dealing with washing is super easy and quick to sort out, so when I do have heavy days or flooding and I need to change pairs it makes me feel so much more in control as there's not a ton of extra washing to do. It's just take off one pair, give them a rinse and stick them in the laundry bucket we have in the bathroom, then put on a new pair and done.
Before I would be dealing with disposable pads, washing knickers, rinsing clothes to make sure they don't stain, getting changed into a new outfit, and the whole while feeling a sense of despair that this was such a crap way to have to do things and my body was rubbish.
I don't feel that my body is rubbish anymore, I have more respect for it and how wonderful it is because I'm not stuck in this monthly cycle of negativity from feeling so out of control.
Reusables make me feel in control and confident because with the unpredictable nature of my cycles due to my endometriosis (and now adding in perimenopause) I now never have to worry that I don't have the right sanitary protection to hand."
"I've used a combination of reusable pads, pants and a cup for the past 5 years and it's been amazing! For one thing, I always have a pad or pants on hand when I need them - I'm rather forgetful, especially when busy, and with disposables I was constantly fretting I was going to run out when I needed it most.
Another enormous benefit is that it just simply feels right and more natural! Yes, reusable require a bit more work with washing/soaking in cold water, rinsing and drying, but they are 100% more comfortable and reliable than disposable pads or tampons."
"I used to have to have dark period jeans because I'd always be worried about bleeding through. I still don't have anything tight around my stomach, but I can choose what I want and feel more like me. And I had period PJ's and period bedding also, as well as extra towels for nights.
Now I don't spill at all at night. I can't stress that enough! And swimwear! I've never been able to get on with tampons, and this year for the first time I could swim on the family holiday. And not attempt to arrange a holiday around my TOTM."
"I’ve noticed that with period pants my period ends quicker and can be less heavy as the blood is freely flowing and the period pants hold a lot more than just a pad. I was getting bad chemical burns from pads which was just a disaster whilst on my period but that issue is resolved with period pants. I feel secure and I’ve stopped worried about leaks and ‘pad lines’ in my trousers."
"It’s amazing! Not only am I keeping those disposables out of landfill, (and being kinder to my skin!), my periods are nowhere near as heavy as they used to be; only 1-2 changes needed on heavier days, none on lighter days.
The pain I used to be in every month, is now almost non existent!
The result: I am so much happier, more confident to go about my normal life, and no longer have to plan my life around needing to be close to a toilet / do emergency changes in a flood situation."
"Reusable pads are a game changer! While I still have heavy periods, the amount the reusablea absorb is mind blowing! I very rarely leak anymore or need to change my underwear/trousers. The cotton feels so soft against my skin and feels much more comfortable than disposable towels. To begin with, I was wary about washing them but actually it’s so easy and not as complicated as I thought it would be. I love putting them out on the washing line, leaving them so fresh and clean!"
"I can wear the pants as my normal underwear when I think my period is about to start. No more messy beds or the need to wear black and no more feeling itchy or scraped raw. I still need to change hourly at times but have never gone through. I have also saved so much money despite having a rather huge stash of both pads and pants."
"On my heaviest days, when I experience flooding, using the Mooncup, a bamboo pad, and period pants mean I am able to sit through meetings that I would otherwise need to leave! Being able to use different combinations for different stages of flow (e.g., cotton pads, higher absorbency pants) means I can be flexible."
"I no longer wake up with the dread that the bed sheets and my pyjamas might be covered in blood, I can also wear clothes and go out and about without having to constantly worry about checking I have not leaked through my clothes."
Did any of this resonate with you?
Our next post covers any advice for anyone who is unsure of making the switch. Plus which Cheeky products they recommend for managing heavy periods and endometriosis symptoms.
If you have any questions about this article, please do contact us. The team are only too happy to help. Or complete our reusable period protection questionnaire, where you'll get personal tailored advice.
And if you found this article useful, you may also enjoy these:
About the Author: Helen Rankin founded Cheeky Wipes, the original reusable wipes kit back in 2008 after disposable wipes caused her eczema to flare up. 4 kids later, internal period protection such as tampons or menstrual cups were no longer an option for her and she went on to develop their range of 'Simple Reusables' to include period pants, reusable panty liners and reusable sanitary pads.
The Cheeky customer services team pride themselves on providing honest, friendly advice and just LOVE to chat pee, poo and periods all day long, helping people make the switch to reusables! The Company was recognised for their hard work in developing environmentally friendly products with the Queens Award in Enterprise for Sustainable Development in 2021.