Updated: Mar 30
I have to admit, vaginas are like snowflakes, each one is unique. There's no right or wrong style or shape vagina, but since we're all different, we won't all love the same menstrual products. It's also important to note here that your postpartum vagina most likely feels and looks different that it did prior to birthing. With that said, postpartum periods can present with a dilemma...what the heck do I use to catch the flow?
Here's my two cents about postpartum flow catchers. Doesn't that sound nice? Like a dream catcher, right. Ok, maybe my mind is just a little out there. Moving on...
The most simple solution when you're having difficulty with fit is to use somthing that doesn't insert in your vagina.
That means pads (throw away or reusable, take your pick) or period underwear like Thinx, Knix and Ruby Love. I prefer the washable to period underwear on the light flow days or when I just want to give my insides a break. The reason I love the underwear is they tend to have less bulk. However, they are more pricey than the washable pads, so if finances are an issue, you might want to grab the pads. I'm not dissing the one time use pads or liners, because when access to washing ain't easy such as camping or traveling, I definitely grab the ones that I can use and toss.
Then there's tampons.
And oh mama does the selection run long here. When opting for tampons, I choose organic because I decided my vagina is special and since I try to avoid eating chemicals and processed foods, I should treat my vagina similarly. I'm not pushing organic on you, but I'm letting you know my preference in case you're on the fence and want to give it a try. My current favorite organic brands are Cora, available at Target, and Lola (available online as a subscription). I love these because they're shorter in length and postpartum with a little prolapse, it feels better for me to have a shorter tampon. It takes trial and error here because some run long and some shorter. For example, I tried the Rael, but they were a little lengthier which didn't play well with my vagina (but may be perfect for you). Play around and see what feels right for your anatomy.
Next there's reusable cups and discs.
Menstrual cups are getting more and more popular around town. I do love cups, but with my prolapse, the suction upon removal didn't agree with me and sometimes pooping was a challenge with it in. Yea, yea, I know you're supposed to "break the suction" first, but with the extra tissue hugging closely, it was still tricky. However, I have to admit I only tried the Scoon cup on myself, so I'm not fully convinced I should give up on the cups quite yet. I'm going to do an experiement and grab a few more to give them a chance. The diva cup is more narrow than the Scoon, Luna and Saalt cups and has less rigid walls, so removal should be easier. I'll update after my trial next month. I may also try the Lily cup as it's super soft and more flexible (so I'm assuming more comfortable). Only problem I see with Lily when I try with patients is that the walls are so flexible, it's hard to insert and open up. But as I said before, each vagina is different, so I can't discount it for mine until I try it.
As for the discs, there are reusable and one time use options. I find these work great for women that have prolapse and have trouble keeping a menstrual cup or tampon in place. The rigid ring stays put behind the pubic bone and as a bonus it tends to help you run or execise leakfree during your cycle. The firm ring acts as a support to the urethra and catches your flow at the same time. I must admit, my vagina doesn't love the rings because the rigidity and larger size of the ring is uncomfortable for me. But I have many patients that absolutely love using them. One person's trash is another person's treasure.
There you have it, my two cent (more like 25 cents) about period products for postpartum moms. I'd love to hear what you use, or any struggles you have with period products. Follow me on the 'gram and shoot me a DM. Go here so we can connect.