Period protection: which one to choose for your period?

There are many types of sanitary protection on the market. Which one should you choose?

What is sanitary protection?

In the minds of women, they are the friends and foes of daily life, intimately linked to the menstrual cycle, periods, white discharge, pregnancy and gynecological diseases such as endometriosis.
On average, a woman will menstruate almost 400 times in her life, i.e. nearly 2,400 days. On average, around 1,500 disposable sanitary pads are used every second worldwide, representing almost 45 billion a year.
Brands and manufacturers offer sustainable, disposable alternatives with a variety of compositions. Protecting oneself during one's menstrual flow is a societal challenge that guarantees well-being and confidence for menstruating women. They have not been a matter of course throughout history, and still aren't today!

The history of sanitary protection: from the Middle Ages to the present day

Here's a timeline of thehistory of sanitary protection, to help you assess the evolution of our choices. Before theindustrialization of sanitary protection, women always found "home-made" solutions to protect themselves from menstruation. Generally speaking, women in precarious menstrual situations would make their own, using cloth, wood or other more or less hygienic materials.

The first traces of sanitary protection date back to Antiquity:

  • The beginnings of the tampon were found in 1950 B.C.
  • Egyptian women used rolled-up wadded strips to be inserted into the vaginal canal.
  • The Romans used compresses of papyrus, grass or wool wrapped around pieces of wood.

Finally, it wasn't until the early 19th century that Pasteur's work demonstrated the importance ofintimate hygiene. From then on, the use of suitable undergarments and hygienic devices was recommended, and the first menstrual panties appeared! Modern tampons didn't appear until 1929.

What are the different types of menstrual protection?

There are many different types on the market: here's a brief overview of the most common.

Menstrual panties

The menstrual panties are our favorite choice at Elia! In recent years, they've revolutionized the feminine hygiene sector. They're easy-to-use sanitary underwear that can replace or complement a conventional sanitary device. Menstrual panties can be slipped on just like conventional underwear, absorbing and drying menstrual blood for up to 12 hours. Thanks to aningenious fabric assembly that's only a few millimeters thick! It's soft, healthy, non-intrusive protection that's very economical for women, since menstrual panties can be kept for up to 7 years. Menstrual panties are the ideal night-time hygiene system, especially for women with heavy bleeding. Unrivalled in comfort, it's common for users to almost forget their period!


The tampon is the absorbent protection that has created a real revolution in the lives of women and menstruating women. It's an intra-vaginal system that slipsinside the vagina to absorb menstrual flow. Menstrual blood is absorbed and retained inside for a few hours. Very practical, tampons can be used at any time during the period. They're a good intimate solution for sports, especially swimming, but much less easy to use for first periods. There are, however, a few recommendations to be taken into account at all costs to avoid infections and TSS ( Toxic Shock Syndrome), such as how long to wear them and washing your hands before and afterwards.

Sanitary towels and panty liners (washable or disposable)

Sanitary towels are solutions that absorb menstrual blood. As with tampons, there are different levels of absorption: pads for medium to heavy bleeding, panty liners for lighter bleeding or spotting. Very practical, pads are placed at the bottom of the panties and ensure absorption for a few hours. Pads are a good solution for all those who wish to avoid internal sanitary protection. They are the most widely used option in the world today. They can be washable or disposable, and in any case should be made from the most natural, untreated materials possible.

Menstrual cups

The menstrual cup is anintravaginal protection similar to a tampon, but with different properties. It's a biomedical silicone cup that collects rather than absorbs menstrual blood. Once the cup is full, you remove it from your vagina, empty the blood, clean it and replace it. It's a low-cost, long-lasting solution that's proved very popular, especially with students in precarious situations. Putting on and taking off the cup takes some getting used to. There are different cup sizes to suit different menstrual flows. However, there are a few rules to follow: don't wear your cup for more than 4 hours, wash your hands and, above all, sterilize it every day!

Menstrual sponge

Themenstrual sponge is a form of sanitary protection that is rarely used in France. It's a sea sponge that, like a tampon or cup, is placedinside the vagina. It absorbs and holds menstruation for a few hours. It's a durable solution, both in terms of manufacture and longevity. This little sponge can be changed every 3 to 5 months. Be careful not to keep it in for more than 4 hours, and wash it thoroughly after each use. This absorbent protection could be the source of infection and irritation.

Instinctive flow

Free instinctive flow is not protection in the strict sense of the term. It's a technique for holding menstruation in the vagina until it's time to flush it downthe toilet. Instinctive flow consists in controlling the flow of menstruation, in particular by using the muscles of the perineum. Few women use this method: in fact, it's easier to apply the instinctive flow method if your perineum is muscular and if you have light losses than if it's not. For those who haven't yet mastered the technique, beware of running to the toilet or getting a stain on your pants! Free instinctive flow takes several cycles tolearn. Don't hesitate to use sanitary protection such as menstrual panties to prevent minor inconveniences.

How do I choose my sanitary protection?

There are many different types of menstrual protection available today, and every menstruating person can choose easily. However, not all intimate solutions are equal in terms ofabsorption, durability and resistance over time. It's important to be aware of the differences and their composition, so as not to be put off during use and potentially endanger your health.

To avoid: polluting sanitary products

Today, we all have a responsibility towards theenvironment andecology. Whatever your choice, we recommend that you avoid using polluting sanitary protection. Not only for your body, but also for our planet! A source of enormous waste, they take between 500 and 800 years to decompose in nature.
Here are just a few examples of toxic substances to avoid in view of the health risks involved:

  • Pesticides, dioxins, phthalates, halogen derivatives
  • Non-OEKO-TEX dyes and colorants
  • Perfumes and other additives
  • Silver or copper nanoparticles
  • Non-breathable synthetic materials

All these pollutants contain endocrine disruptors that can be carcinogenic to the body. Some intravaginal solutions, such as tampons, can also shed fibers during use, and particularly on removal. This can lead toirritation, repeated infections and even mycosis!

Healthy, natural protection is the best choice

Choose healthy, natural options for your underwear and sanitary protection! Here are a few criteria to keep in mind when making your choice:

  • Natural materials such as cotton (organic if possible)
  • External rather than internal devices whenever possible
  • Products with clear labels and composition
  • Products with external certifications
  • Brand transparency towards consumers
  • Price and long-term savings, especially if you're a student on a tight budget

FAQs on sanitary protection for menstruation

How to choose your sanitary protection?

Choosing the right sanitary protection has never been easier. Consumers can choose from a range of solutions to protect themselves during menstruation. Choose what suits you best, depending on your budget, your sensitivity, your comfort or thefrequency of your periods. You'll also be able to choose a sustainable solution to make a significant impact on your budget, the environment and move towards the healthiest possible organic cotton periodical option.

Which periodical protection is best?

The best option is the one you feel most comfortable in, and with which you're most in tune in terms of budget, composition and manufacture! Depending on your needs (night, sport, pool, active day...) and your flow, the most suitable protection won't be the same!

Why choose Elia Lingerie menstrual panties as period protection?

Elia menstrual pants are a real revolution, ticking all the economic, ethical, environmental and health boxes!

What are chemical-free sanitary products?

Chemical-free menstrual protection contains no endocrine disruptors, pesticides, glysophates, chemical dyes or chlorine. Choose products with organic certifications, such as OEKOTEX, which guarantee traceability and product safety for the body and the environment.

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