flat lay of menstrual pad and tampon

Alternatives to Pads and Tampons

Though the internet may have begun in the last decade of the 20th century, the real information revolution began in the 2000s, leading to more openness in discussing previously taboo topics like menstruation. People who menstruate were suddenly able to talk to others all around the world with shared experiences, and with this open flow of communication came innovation. In fact, a recent market study points to the feminine hygiene industry growing from 5.2 billion in 2023 to 32.2 billion in 2028, thanks in part to the growth in the urban female population seeking more convenient and ecofriendly alternatives to pads and tampons.

With that in mind, let’s explore how menstrual products have changed through the years, the challenges associated with traditional options, and how incontinence products from Nexwear provide alternatives to tampons and pads.

The Evolution of Menstrual Hygiene Products

Almost everything old is new again when it comes to menstrual products, with consumers reverting to reusable pads made from flannel and fabric, such as those made in the 18th century, and period panties that first gained popularity in the early 1970s. A far cry from ancient menstrual solutions such as Greek tampons crafted from lint-wrapped wood and Native American buffalo skin pads, the 21st century has given rise to such innovations as “moon cups'' that capture fluid right as it exits the cervix and disposable Nexwear incontinence products that let those who menstruate go through their days with confidence and in comfort.

The Challenges of Traditional Tampons and Pads

Though traditional menstrual products may have been the only solutions known to your mother and grandmother, innovative alternatives to pads and tampons solve many of the problems those options presented. For instance, single-use menstrual products contain lots of plastic that ends up in landfills, and even though most tampons advise users not to flush them, many of these products end up polluting water supplies.

Comfort is also an issue with traditional pads and tampons — and even when they’re comfortable, they aren’t always reliable. Plus, when they fail to deliver, it isn’t always convenient to change them out or find replacements if you don’t already have them with you. Even worse, tampons have the potential to cause toxic shock syndrome when used incorrectly.

Fortunately, modern solutions to all the problems caused by traditional menstrual products exist, promising options that tick off the boxes when it comes to environmental friendliness, comfortable wear, dependability, easy access, and safety.

Incontinence Products as Alternatives to Tampons and Pads

Incontinence products like those from Nexwear make great alternatives to pads and tampons, especially for those with a light, thin flow. Similar in appearance to maxi pads and period panties, our incontinence pads and protective underwear generally hold more fluid than either, thanks to a unique design that draws fluid toward the core quickly while promoting dryness at the top layer. This helps boost the absorption capacity of our products while keeping your skin dry for reduced irritation.

Likewise, incontinence pads with leg guards act similarly to wings-style menstrual pads, except they fit closer to your body to better prevent leakage. If you’re concerned about comfort and coverage, our protective underwear double as period panties for those with a lighter flow, enabling longer, more comfortable wear between changes and easy disposability.

Types of Incontinence Products

Incontinence products come in several forms, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. All in all, though, they fall into distinct categories — disposable and reusable pads, liners, and briefs. Let’s take a look at each one.

Disposable vs. Reusable Incontinence Products

When deciding between disposable vs. reusable incontinence products as alternatives to tampons and pads, each has their benefits. For instance, disposable incontinence products enable those with light flows to go longer between changes than traditional menstrual products without sacrificing comfort. These options are also very convenient as you simply use them once and throw them away, eliminating the special care necessary when washing reusable products that capture bodily fluids.

On the flip side, disposable incontinence products aren’t as ecofriendly as reusable options. And while washing reusable incontinence products requires special care during handling, these options tend to be more budget-friendly alternatives to pads and tampons when you want more affordable menstrual solutions. Where reusable incontinence products really shine, however, is in addition to their disposable counterparts. Reusable underpads for beds and chairs can supplement the use of disposable incontinence products to better protect your mattress and furniture.

Pads, Liners, and Briefs

When you’re looking for alternatives to tampons and pads, incontinence products such as pads, liners, and briefs pull double-duty when you experience bladder leaks. While pads and panty liners may be a fine solution for light flow days, they do little to capture urine released suddenly, such as when you cough or sneeze. By contrast, incontinence products draw in both light menstrual flow and urine to keep you well protected throughout the day. Likewise, incontinence briefs let you travel, socialize, and work worry-free by ensuring neither your period nor bladder leaks interrupt your busy day.

Key Features and Design

Incontinence products have specific features and designs that make them well-suited to days when you need some added protection against both bladder and menstrual leakage. For instance, these products tend to capture quick releases of fluid, then draw them down into the core. This keeps liquid away from delicate pelvic skin so you’re more comfortable and less prone to irritation. Because the fluid is trapped in the core of the incontinence product, it has the added benefit of odor control so personal hygiene is of less concern when you’re on the go.

Absorption Capacity

While it may seem like incontinence and menstrual products are interchangeable, that’s not always the case. Incontinence products typically capture urine, which is much thinner than blood, so while they can hold more fluid, they can’t quickly absorb a thick, heavy flow. Likewise, clots can’t pass through the tighter weave, so they may sit on top of the incontinence pad or underwear and cause issues. When you’re worried about dribbles and leaks on lighter days, however, incontinence products can make all the difference by preventing constant trips to the bathroom to make busy days more productive.

Advantages of Using Incontinence Products

Incontinence products confer many advantages when you menstruate, including enhanced protection against leakage. Whether you prefer protection via a pad or brief, these odor-control options are comfortable to wear for longer periods during your period. Since they have a similar fit to normal panties, these protective underwear boast a discreet profile so no one ever knows you’re wearing them but you. A wide variety of styles and protection levels plus easy availability online from brands like Nexwear make it simple to find the right alternatives to tampons and pads to suit your personal needs.

How to Choose the Right Incontinence Product

The first step in picking out the right incontinence product to use during your period is assessing your menstrual flow, since these solutions work best on lighter flow days. Next, take a look at how active you are and your lifestyle, including how often you typically need to change out your pad or period panties and how likely you are to have time and a private spot to do so. Your personal preferences and comfort levels also play into your choices, as does cost. Fortunately, Nexwear helps make your decision more affordable with our cost-effective subscription service that discreetly delivers our incontinence products to your door on a regular schedule.

The Bottom Line

Personal hygiene is important, especially when you’re on your period while experiencing bladder control issues. Improved confidence is just one of the many benefits offered by incontinence products, with others include odor control, discreet designs, and easy disposability without the need for special cleaning. Incontinence pads and protective underwear from Nexwear give you added assurances that you can stay clean and dry whether you’re running to make your gate at the airport, making the rounds at your next party, or working long shifts with little time for bathroom breaks. Explore how our incontinence products can make your life more comfortable and convenient when you want to better balance menstrual hygiene with personal comfort.