Due to the lack of information, availability, or simply the prejudice of it being nasty while washing, some women have refrained from using them.

Reusable menstrual pads are cloth pads that can be used several times. They absorb the menstrual blood and the pad should stay for about 4-5 hours depending on your menstrual flow.

These cloth pads are usually made in several layers that have cotton or hemp, but not plastic. In the first few tries, it may seem daunting, however, once you get used to it, it feels more comfortable.

Reusable pads come with a lining that will prevent your clothing from staining. Also, it has a holder that will help you place your pad comfortably on your underwear. There is also an adjustable band that you need to wrap around your waist so that the pad stays in place for longer hours.

Banana stem sanitary pad
Banana stem sanitary pad

Cleaning for reuse

Cleaning sanitary pads for reuse is no different from the usual medical or hygiene standpoint. Health professionals suggest adequately washing it with water and soap with attention to detail for a thorough wash.

To avoid stains, it is recommended to soak pads in cold water before washing.

READ ALSO: Plan Ghana introduces washable, reusable sanitary pads

Whether you are looking for a better and healthier alternative, or you are engaging in a bit of menstrual activism, here are some compelling reasons why you should switch to a reusable choice for your period.

  • Reduce your menstrual cramps, infections and skin rashes

Disposable pads use plastics, which block airflow to your vagina, and not surprisingly, can encourage a painful rash.

It also uses synthetic fibres like rayon, which are super-absorbent, but will also absorb all the moisture in your vagina, increasing your chances of severe pain and infections -- especially if you are wearing one for hours. A reusable cotton pad reduces all these problems and makes you feel better.

  • Less likely to cause toxic shock syndrome

Reusable pads are likely to cause toxic shock syndrome (TSS), a condition usually caused by wearing tampons and keeping them in for too long, as result of which bacteria enter the bloodstream and can lead to death.

  • Health reactions

These napkins are reusable cloth pads usually made of natural fibres such as cotton, hemp, bamboo, etc. along with an outer layer of waterproof material. They can absorb and prevent leakage of blood flow during any type of vaginal bleeding.

  • Easier to clean than you think

Many cloth pads use a removable liner for extra absorption, and many have a waterproof lining sewn inside. It may be a tad bulkier, but occasional bulk is infinitely better than a lifetime of health problems. With the right maintenance, reusable products are just as sanitary. For cloth pads, most recommend soaking them overnight in water (you can add hydrogen peroxide or tea tree oil to sanitize further). Washing can be easily done with water and soap or toss them in the wash for a hot water cycle.

Washable, reusable sanitary pads for adolescent girls
Washable, reusable sanitary pads for adolescent girls
  • Save money

Reusable pads have a larger initial cost, but they last longer. With proper care, cloth pads can last for years. Compare this to the disposable that has a lifespan of a few hours before it's thrown away, forcing you to buy more and more, all of them ending up in a landfill.

Let's do the calculation: assuming a woman menstruates for 40 years, buys a GH¢5 pack of disposables every month, it eventually adds up to GH¢2,400 over her lifetime.

Now let's assume that the estimated cost of a dozen set of the reusable pad is GH¢50 and replace every 5years. This will total GH¢400 for the whole 40 years which is more cost effective especially for deprived individuals and communities.

Reusable sanitary pads are not just in Ghana. A host of producers sell these products across the globe with many of them on Amazon.