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Author Topic: FTM-friendly menstrual devices

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I'm FTM but not on testosterone yet, so I still get periods. Unfortunately I'm extremely uncomfortable with the insertion of anything into my front hole. It feels like a wound, I've been slashed open and can't heal, poking things in it seems very counter-intuitive! Is there any menstrual device other than pads that does not have to be inserted? I know of cups, sponges, and of course tampons and can't bring myself to use any of these. I have been using pads exclusively but they lack in flexibility (can't swim, etc.). Are there other options (besides hormonal treatment - birth control or testosterone - preventing periods entirely)?
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Claire P.
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Hi MycroftRH, and welcome to Scarleteen!

I'm sorry to hear about your struggles dealing with menstruation. It's totally understandable that you don't want to use insertion methods!

I hear you saying you have been using pads exclusively, but I was wondering if you mean the regular disposable pads? Or, are you familiar with reusable cloth pads? Since I don't think swimming necessarily needs to be avoided during menstruation (I'll explain below), I am not sure what exactly you mean by pads' lack of flexibility. Could you talk a little more about your use of pads, so as to clarify the source of your frustration there a bit more?

I might be missing some other obvious reason as to why you can’t go swimming, but the issues I’ve heard women voice about swimming during menstruation generally have to do with a fear of the pad slipping and/or dissolving, and resulting leakage... but honestly, the fear in their case(s) often seems to be a direct result of anxiety re upholding swimsuit norms (eg wings would be very visible on a wearer of the ‘typical’ female bathing suit, so rather than change bathing suits, more often that not, it seems people just opt for panty-liners- and anxiety.) I may be understanding the issue on too shallow a level, but without taking other potential factors into account, I’d say you can definitely go swimming while wearing a cloth pad- and, without the worry of it falling apart from exposure to the water like regular disposable pads can do. Just got to wear tighter underwear like boxer briefs underneath your suit, so you can use one of those thicker pads made for overnight coverage that comes with wings. If the wings are firmly secured, and you’ve made sure the front of the pad is pulled up to cover your entire crotch area, I think that would ensure a certain level of security.

The only potential issue is having to change pads throughout the swimming, if its more than an hour or two. But that’s no different than it’d be if you weren’t swimming, and/or if you were using a different method, except for needing to plan a little ahead to know the whereabouts of bathrooms, changing areas, etc.

Here's the run-down on all the differences between methods like DivaCup, tampons, and regular pads/other disposable options- as compared to reusable pads, and the Lunapad in particular:

The difference that means the most to the bunch of my friends who use Lunapads is that since reusable pads are made of soft and familiar materials like cotton and flannel, they are a whole lot comfier. There is a slightly higher level of effort insofar as maintenance goes, but it's easy to factor in more short and slightly inconvenient interruptions to change pads, wash the used ones, etc. when in exchange, you're no longer so constantly aware of the bleeding, since there's no more irritation/chafing from plastic siding, PLUS that general helpless/cooped-up feeling that can come from rubbing against that odd, synthetic material all day is ALSO gone.

[ 11-04-2012, 01:07 AM: Message edited by: Claire P. ]

Posts: 170 | From: Northeast USA | Registered: Aug 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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Disposable only. I haven't really been exposed to cloth ones. That does sound like it would help! My issues are basically with the dissolving-when-swimming, itching/irritation, and needing to carry a big bag of the things around all the time (when you have difficulty passing already, carrying a purse or even a murse does not help) and changing them constantly. (I bleed pretty heavily.) I also ride frequently, which can make pads get kind of rumply and not work well... It sounds like cloth pads would help with swimming and irritation, but be more problematic with the frequent switching and transportation? I suppose I can use one or the other depending on the situation...
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Claire P.
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Yeah, maybe feel out what works for each situation as you're adjusting to using the cloth pads?

& as far as problems with purses go- what about a backpack?

Posts: 170 | From: Northeast USA | Registered: Aug 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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I'd also add that cloth mesntrual pads are WAY more absorbent than the disposable kind, so one doesn't have to change them as often.

As well, there are styles -- and Lunapads makes these, but so do others -- which have a way to keep on pad on, but switch out liners that attach to the pad for heavy flow. And those liners can be rolled up and put wherever -- a pocket, a backpack, etc. -- pretty easily, as they take up very little space.

Since we're talking Lunapads, my personal very fave thing they make are the Lunapanties: a brief that has a pad and means to add a liner sewn right in. They don't get all bunchy, at all (I'm a biker, and have never had an ish with that with them). They can also work very nicely when it comes to swimming, especially if you wear a trunk or board short.

Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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