RUMPS: Reusable Menstrual Products

What are R.U.M.PS?

R.U.M.PS stands for reusable menstrual products: pads, tampons, and menstrual cups.

The Benefits of R.U.M.PS

Few sing the praises of disposable pads for their comfort; however, many who switch to cloth pads speak of the endless possibilities to make the experience pleasant. After all, cloth pads come in a variety of top fabrics: cotton, flannel, minky and velvet to name a few. This means that you can make them yourself.

While disposables do come in different thicknesses, cloth offers alternative shapes to fit your preference. Experimenting with these options allows you to determine which works best. According to a popular R.U.M.PS vlogger Bree a.k.a Precious Stars not everyone will testify that cloth pads are perfect; however, she has yet to find someone who believes disposables are more comfortable:

I have never heard someone say that cloth pads are more uncomfortable than disposables. They might both be uncomfortable for you, but I’ve never heard someone say [disposables] are comfortable.

Fabric for home-made pads. Photo by author.

Cloth pads have the ability to last up to ten years. Disposables cannot be washed and used, again. As a result, between eleven-thousand to fifteen-thousand pads and tampons will be thrown away in each user’s lifetime, finding its forever home in a landfill. When cared for properly, there are hygienic benefits that do not exist with disposables. Knowing that there is another way, why continue with disposables?

First, let’s explore the issues with disposables. The listed ingredients within these pads is incomplete. What does make the list is unhealthy. Don’t be fooled by the clean appearance that the white coloring of the cloth suggests. We associate the white color of disposable pads and tampons with the sterile environment of a hospital; yet, we forget that to achieve this takes toxic chemicals, such as bleach. Some of the chemicals that we do know of should never come into contact with our skin, let alone the most sensitive part of our bodies, where these products will be placed.

Women’s Voices for the Earth is dedicated to many causes. The safety of menstrual products is one of them. On their site, you can find podcasts and articles on their fight for the release of complete lists of ingredients, as well as the fight in favor of safe alternative products. The reality that this has been such a difficult case is enough to cause serious concern. You can find a list of known ingredients here on their site. Those named include Benzocaine, Butylparaben and Diazolidinyl urea to name a few. Some of these may not seem so bad on the surface – pun intended – but when it’s considered where they’re going it makes one wonder if it’s such a good idea and why they would need to involve more products than merely a safe material to catch menstrual blood in the first place.

Awareness of the risk of T.S.S. (toxic shock syndrome) already exists; however, the understanding is usually flawed. Most believe that one is only at risk when a tampon is left in for too long. This would mean that removal should be done in time to stay safe; unfortunately, the scary reality is that this is false. Even after a disposable tampon is removed, fibers are left inside the body. Most disposable tampon users are familiar with the dry sensation of removing a tampon. That dry feeling is actually caused by the fibers being left behind. Bacteria can multiply on these fibers, which causes T.S.S. How does one completely avoid or rid themselves of these fibers while using tampons?

Thankfully, there are alternative options.

Reusable tampons are a bit controversial. They are typically knit, or crochet. While other reusable products are more hygienic than disposables, reusable tampons are still capable of causing T.S.S. Cotton reusable tampons seem to help to prevent this more than rayon; however, it is not a guarantee. As long as bacteria can grow on the fibers, there will always be a risk; therefore, this is left up to the user’s discretion.

Menstrual cups are made with medical grade silicone. There are multiple ways to fold it for insertion. Once inside, the vaginal walls hold it in place, and the menstrual fluids go directly inside. Unlike a disposable tampon, it may be used for up to twelve hours at a time, and it can be easily removed. Some users have experienced the cup flipping upward; however, users are typically able to remove them, easily. This issue is uncommon and should not be seen as proof against trying them.

With proper use, menstrual cups can be removed as often or as infrequently as one likes within the time limit. It only needs to be emptied and rinsed or wiped before being placed back inside. The cleaning process is not time consuming or dependent on special cleaning solutions. Many avid tampon users find this method to be a helpful and soothing alternative.

Furthermore, these cups have greatly improved the lives of girls in Africa who could not attend class during their menstruation, otherwise. Since reusable menstrual products need only be purchased once, it saves money. While most are more expensive per item than disposables, the money isn’t being spent repeatedly to restock; therefore, the consumer is spending less in the long-term. Due to the price for disposable menstrual products compared to wages, reusable menstrual products are helpful for school girls and women in Africa.

How/Where to Get Them

Most RUMPS can be found online. There are premium brands, as well as smaller businesses. Another way to attain cloth pads is to learn how to make them. D.I.Y is the most cost-effective method to grow your collection. Also, it guarantees that it is the size, style and material that you want. As someone who likes to sew, this is my favorite option.

Bree – “Precious Stars Pads”

Bree is in the business of making reusable cloth pads. She is also my favorite YouTuber on the subject. She has made countless videos on reusable menstrual products, answering any and all questions: How to wear them, when to change them, how to clean them, where to buy them, how to make them, how to store them, and so on. She is the founder of the R.U.M.PS company Precious Stars Pads.

Many on YouTube share their experiences and knowledge of reusable menstrual products. Some have been using R.U.M.PS for years. Others are newbies, reviewing a pad or cup to share with others. Their words help those in need of menstrual products to make better choices about their own health.

If you’re interested in learning more from these experienced YouTubers, I suggest searching “R.U.M.PS.”

A Party In My Pants free pantyliner give away. Photo by Author.

Many privately owned companies have pads for less. Customers are able to buy more for the same price as one from a premium company.

Premium Brand Companies

Are you still not convinced?

Some companies offer a free sample. Party In My Pants has a pantyliner give away. This way, the curious are able to try them without buying multiple pads.

A Word from the Author

Personally, I have been using RUMPS since 2015. Since I have basic sewing skills, I have sewn my own pads, using cloth of my choosing. Also, I own a few menstrual cups. I have yet to have an issues with them, and I will never go back to disposables.

Note: This was originally written and published on HubPages in 2015 by the author. This is a revision by the same author.

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