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What do you keep in your BOB for menstruation?

This came up in a different thread about prepping resources for single women, https://theprepared.com/forum/thread/single-female-prepper-resources/

Wanted to start a separate thread to dig deeper into period prepping! 🙂 Everyone was so generous with suggestions on the other thread, thought we could continue and consolidate here.

These were the main ideas that came up so far

  • Menstrual cups are a good idea because they’re washable and reusable, though the learning curve can be steep and there might be hygiene issues
  • Diva Cup seems popular but not all brands work for all people https://divacup.com/
  • Period underwear such as Thinx may be better for bags since they can be worn regularly and won’t add more weight https://www.shethinx.com/
  • Disposable paper products are cheap and can be used as a fire starter too, but you are limited to what you already carry

One person mentioned getting a UTI from her cup, so obviously everyone’s experience will be different. Whatever you choose, you should be sure to practice with it in real life. Don’t switch to a new method the same time you’re dealing with an emergency.

So… what do you keep in your bag? How do you think about prepping for periods when you’re not at home in an emergency? Has anyone gone through this, like at a shelter?

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  • Comments (14)

    • 6

      Besides period control stuff, I also made sure to include some of the medications that can help with cramps and other issues listed here

      https://theprepared.com/bug-out-bags/guides/first-aid-kit-list/

    • 5

      I regularly use the Diva Cup since the pandemic to save having to purchase pads as much (I don’t use tampons) and have had no issues wearing it. However no matter how much I clean it, it’s becoming discolored which makes me wonder just how long a life it has. Btw there is a strange tmi learning curve, it must be either inserted further, or you must use fingers to push down so your pee flow isn’t restricted. If you are peeing too slow and you force it, then it can cause problems. Yes this means you need clean hands and for this reason I’m not thinking it’s the best option for a BOB.

      I’ve never tried using period panties but have been curious. My hesitation is getting the right fit since I’m shapped different than many.

      • 4

        Curious about the discoloring… is it like a standard aesthetic “the plastic is getting old so it’s turning cloudy and yellow but is likely still fine” kind of discoloring?

      • 5

        I’ve used a Diva Cup since 2014, and that’s exactly what tends to happen with mine! They always get a little discolored at the start (yellowed). I think this is normal, and I also replace mine once a year. Boil between periods, etc.

    • 4

      Thank you for posting and sharing ideas! I have little children, so in my BOB I have incontinence underpads that I plan to use as menstruation pads on top of my underwear and as diapers for my children. For the kids, I will put the underpads on top of re-usable diaper shells, dispose of the incontinence underpads when soiled, and continue using the diaper shell. You can normally get good deals for incontinence underpads when purchasing in bulk. The incontinence pads can serve the following purposes:

      1. As a makeshift menstruation pad

      2. As an underpad for potty training

      3. As a makeshift diaper for children

      4. As an underpad after having a child (there’s heavy bleeding for a few weeks postpartum)

      5. As a disposable “mop” to clean messes around the home

      6. As an underpad to keep your car seats dry when training a dog

      Hope this helps!

      • 3

        Wow, I didn’t know they were so versatile! And if you can get a good deal in bulk, it makes a whole lot of sense. Thank you!

    • 3

      A hormonal IUD! No periods, and no pregnancies.

      Previously had good experiences with my Diva Cup.

    • 4

      I have used a menstrual cup for decades. Yes, they change colour, but that doesn’t change their structural integrity. **I have the same cup I bought originally, and it’s still going strong.** The brand I bought had numerous people who had been using their product for a very long time, and were yet to find one that needed to be replaced, from memory. I honestly believe that if you buy one when you are young, you will still only need one for your whole life. But I haven’t tested them in a peer-reviewed scientific study!

      The only thing to really learn is how to insert it properly – it sits in a different place to a tampon, and you need to fold it to get it in, then let it pop open by itself.   (If you don’t insert it correctly, it can fail to work, obviously.) Depending on the brand/design and your own body, you might need to shorten the stem that you use to remove it (i.e. cut off a bit of it so it doesn’t sit outside of your body once it has been inserted properly). The other thing is that sometimes it can feel like it’s leaking when it’s not – it can take some getting used to the sensation and not panicking that it’s not working.

      Call me gross, but I don’t boil it between cycles – I just rinse thoroughly with hot water and leave it to dry.  Yes, I’m only one person, but I have used it continually for decades now and have never had issues.  Just like tampons, if you leave it in for too long, there is a risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome, but given that only the silicon or rubber is in contact with your body (and not the blood collected), I think the risk is much reduced over tampons.  

      I used this extensively whilst living and/or travelling in developing countries, where it was hard to stay sanitary (countries like Tanzania where toilet paper is really hard to come by) and even then, I never had problems with TSS. I just tried to make sure my hands were more-or-less clean (no visible dirt), but I wasn’t hypervigilant about it. In a pinch, I would drain it out and then re-insert it (if I couldn’t clean/wash it at the time). That’s NOT recommended, but I’ve done it a bunch, with no adverse outcomes. It was far superior to disposables, because those countries also don’t have waste management – so I would have been giving them rubbish problems otherwise.

      Before having children, my periods were exceptionally heavy. I found that for the first night, and sometimes the second, it was worthwhile having some form of back up in my underwear, and making sure I went directly to the bathroom as soon as I woke up. But, I was unusual. And the cup can retain far, far more than a tampon ever could!

      Using a menstrual cup is my #1 piece of advice for saving money for women, too. You buy it once (and have one or two reusable menstrual pads as back up if needed) and never have to buy menstrual items again! Brilliant!

    • 4

      I just carry basic OB-style tampons. They can be used as a fire starter or for wound-care they’re very compact, and I don’t personally need too many of them per day, so carrying a period’s-worth isn’t too much trouble. I definitely carry Ibuprofen, though, for cramps. 

    • 4

      i’ve never used menstrual cups myself, but one of the things i’ve been using for the past few months are reusable menstrual pads!

      i wanted an eco-friendly alternative to pads, and i’ve had mixed results with tampons, so i primarily use these reusable pads. the ones i have right now are from a canadian-based company called Aisle (formarly LunaPads) and they ship to the United States (where im from). i carry them with me in my backpack i use for EDC/work, so i have some on me at all times.

      reusable pads might not be the best for bugouts i’ll admit, but maybe it’s something to consider!

      • 2

        Lunapads sound familiar but I didn’t know they had a new name. Will check them out! Thank you

    • 2

      I’ve been thinking about this and only recently settled for keeping enough tampons for one cycle. Tampons with a plastic applicator and individually wrapped, to be precise. Also some individually wrapped intimate wipes, some pantyliners, and a baggie with Naproxen Sodium (I cramp so badly the first day that I almost faint).

    • 2

      I recommend re-usable bamboo pads , took some camping earlier in the summer and was impressed. Super light , fold up compact , easy to wash and dry. They did the job well and were comfortable. Got them off wish actually….

      • 2

        Bamboo pads weren’t even on my radar. I’ll avoid Wish for now because of all that seed stuff going on but I found some on Amazon that look worth a shot. Would you get the same brand again?