If the use of contemporary menstrual products over the course of a lifetime was considered a suitable PHD topic I would be a doctor of menstruation at least four times over. I have been menstruating – regularly – for more than 4 decades. The previous sentence does not contain a typo.
Nobody in the medical profession has been able to offer much insight. They’ve never met anyone like me. My hormone levels remains stubbornly high. The only time I ever see a hot flash is on the first night of my period. There I am bleeding like a teenager while sweating like a dowager. To try and distract myself from the whole thing, I have developed a weird fascination with the evolution of menstrual management products.
I started off with the pad, or surfboard, as we called them here in Australia. After a single sweltering summer I got rid of them as quickly as I could and moved onto the tampon. It took a couple of months practice and a couple of boxes of tampons, but they helped me to feel as free as anyone who was having a period could.
Over the past few years, I’ve watched in awe as younger women talk about periods, run marathons with their menstrual blood running down their leg to avoid tampon chafing and address the gnarly issue of period poverty. That last one drew my attention to the use of plastic packaging and dyes in the actual tampon and, ultimately to the environmental impact of menstrual management.
I am happy that, on the cusp of ubercronedom, I have come across the menstrual cup and the period undie. Who would have thought that a near perfect level of freedom would come in the form of a silicone cup? Not to mention the period undie. All while making minimal impact on the planet. But Goddess, whoever and wherever you are, I am happy to hand over the mantle of period archaeologist extraordinaire to almost anyone who will take it. Like now!