I have multiple disabilities including physical, visual as well as autism. I’ve just finished 2 ½ years of work on the autism friendly guide to periods, but here I would like to talk more globally about periods and accessibility .
Just as with other everyday activities like washing and dressing managing periods can be difficult if you have additional needs.
There is now a lot of choice beyond the traditional tampons and pads
Underwear with added layers in the gusset a wicking fabric pulls the blood into the absorbent core.
- Lots of
styleavailable and lots of sizes ,
- They are washable
- Will last for several years if not longer
- Underwear costs from £25 +
- ainly only
availableonline not in shops.
- Can feel a little wet from time to time as the liquid absorbs.
A flexible small cup that is put inside the vagina to catch blood , it is emptied between2 and 4 times a day ( as per manufacturers instructions), they are mostly made from silicone but some are made from TPE ( the stuff teats on baby bottles are made from) and latex are available.
Cups have different levels of firmness and your vaginal muscle strength and you dexterity may make some cups more suitable then others.
- You can swim while using a menstrual cup,
- Small so you can always carry it with you,
- ast 5-10 years (depending on the material they are made from)
- Lots of styles available , for example the femmycycle, lunette, lilly cup compact are all quite different
- No wet feeling
- They require a lot of manual dexterity
- They take time to learn
- It can take time to get used to them
Initiallycost is £20-35
- No visual reminder to take it out empty it and re insert,
- If you have a
IUSor the coil there is a risk that when you break the suction you will pull it out
- Not widely available in physical shops
These are like sanitary towels however they are made from fabric so washable and therefore reusable, they are mostly sold online by individual makers, although a few larger operations exist, they consist of 3 layers top (closest to your skin) core (the middle) back ( goes on your underwear) they attach using poppers(snaps) to your underwear
- Fully customisable ( if poppers are a problem a maker could add Velcro instead ),
- Washable and therefore reusable
- Easy to use and straightforward
- It’s a pad so can feel a little wet from time to time
- A bit of a outlay required sets start from £30
- You may need to do washing more often if you run out
- You need to be organised to carry a wet bag (waterproof bag to put used pads in
- Can move slightly in your underwear
The other effects of periods
There are many and I can’t list them all here but executive functioning seems an important one since it can impact on your ability to get tasks done.
Executive functioning is the process your brain goes through figuring out what tasks you need to do, when you should start them, how long it will take etc so basically planning and problem-solving, if you have a brain injury and your executive functioning is
There are a few options:
The pill the pill comes in either the combined pill that has oestrogen and progesterone or the progesterone only pill, there are about 20 different types of each, some people report it having a. Negative impact on their mood however this is not everyone and you may find a change of brand does the trick ,
Using apps to help plan your tasks you could use something like
Using services like brain in hand – brain in hand offer an online service which allows you to put your calendar into the app and website and pre-empty problems and provide solutions, but it can also be attached to a mentoring service so if it all gets too much you can talk to someone who can talk you through the problem and see what you’ve tried already.
a note on PMDD
PMD stands for