11 Ways Women Handled Menstruation Before Sanitary Napkins And Tampons

Have you ever imagined what women used for menstruation before sanitary pads and tampons were invented? Well, it was difficult back then, when women had no option but to use unbelievable things like wood, moss to combat their Aunt Flo!

Here are eleven unbelievable things (ten actually) when women used some really unsafe sanitation methods for menstruation. 

1. Papyrus

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The ancient Egyptians are said to use papyrus to combat the monthly flow. Papyrus is the thick paper which was used as a paper for writing during those times. Women would soak the papyrus, soften it, and then use it as a sanitary pad. How well did the papyrus hold the flow is still questionable?

2. Moss

creations of god

Back then moss was used as a menstrual product! Ladies used to get moss and fold them into a cloth and then place the cloth inside their underwear. Though it was a clever idea, but what about other organisms that are stuck in the moss? Wouldn’t that be a problem, we wonder!

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  • 3. Sand

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    The Chinese used to make period pads by putting sand in a cloth and wrapping it tightly. Once the pad got wet, they used to throw away the sand, wash the cloth and reuse it in the next month. 

    4. Grass

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    In Africa and Australia, women used grass as a pad to absorb the flow. Using grass for preventing bloating wasn’t a safe method as grass in arid regions are pointy and rough and could easily cause harm to the skin.

    5. Sanitary belts

    museum of menstruation

    Sanitary belts were the pre-version of sanitary pads. The belts were basically diapers with elastic belts on which cotton pads were to be clipped and then used. The belts were invented in the 1800s and they stayed popular till 1970s, after which someone figured out a way for detaching the straps and then use it.

    6. Bandages

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    Bandages were the WWI nurses invention. In France, the nurses used the bandages to treat the wounded soldiers. Since it absorbed the blood, the nurses thought why not use it to absorb their natural flow. 

    7. Old rags

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    It’s sad but true that most of our grandmothers and probably even mothers used old cloth rags during their periods. Old clothes, especially made of cotton would be torn to be used as menstrual clothes. Once they became wet, they were washed and used the next time. Though they caused discomfort, but they were still better option than grass or sand for sure!

    8. Wool

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    Roman women used to roll up sheep’s wool and use it down there. The wool being tad heavy was quite a pain for sure, not to forget it must have smelled bad too!

    9. Wood

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    How?! Well, the Greeks used it and we have to say they are one strong nationality to survive it. The Greeks used to tie small pieces of wood with lint and then insert it into their bodies. It didn’t really absorb the blood, but lint did. Imagine what would’ve happened if the wood got loose! We feel sorry for our Greek sisters for sure!

    10. Animal furs

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    Women who lived in colder climates depended on animal fur during those days. Since colder regions are cursed with ice, there are limited commodities available for survival. Thus, women used fur of the animals which they killed for preventing their natural fluids stain their clothes.

    11. Nothing

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    Poor women used to use nothing during their menses. They used to bleed wherever they were and did not bother to cover it up. That’s because nothing was invented that time and they were poor. 

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