Periods. A topic that many folks refuse to talk about even in the 21st century.
It’s such a difficult subject for some that feminine hygiene, in general, has been overlooked when it comes to emergency preparedness.
Spoiler alert: women don’t magically stop bleeding when a major disaster hits town.
With that said, feminine hygiene deserves a spot in the prepping world, and everyone should learn about it, not just women.
To start, here are all the feminine hygiene preps you should do before SHTF:
Things to Keep in Mind When Packing Feminine Hygiene Products
Before we list down the feminine hygiene products you should stock up on, let’s discuss some key points to remember when prepping your essentials:
When S hits the fan, garbage collectors will be nowhere in sight, so you must develop a disposal method that effectively and adequately gets rid of the trash—your soiled pads or tampons included.
Burying or burning waste are two options. The latter might not be the best for the environment, but it may be your only choice when things go south.
In a long-term disaster situation, your other choice is to bury all the filth to prevent the spread of diseases and keep rodents and wild animals away from your home or campsite. Having an entrenching tool in your survival cache will be extremely useful here.
Running water likely won’t be available after a major disaster, which is why storing water for sanitary purposes is essential when prepping emergency supplies. Don’t just think about staying hydrated.
Proper handwashing is a common practice of good personal hygiene, and you must observe it even when SHTF.
It’s especially important during a disaster. If you can, wash your hands with soap and water first before handling a tampon or menstrual cup to reduce the risk of introducing germs to your genital area. If these aren’t available, rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer will be fine.
To preserve your feminine hygiene products, you have to store them properly and securely. In an SHTF scenario, water levels could rise and ruin your stockpile, so make sure you store your hygiene products at a safe height and seal them in a waterproof bag.
Feminine Hygiene Options to Include in Your Stockpile
Your checklist of survival supplies might not always have these items, but if you’re a woman or have a wife or daughter, it’s best to include them.
Here are the essential feminine hygiene products to pack when SHTF:
Menstrual Care Products
Before you use your tampon supply to plug up bullet holes or stop a nosebleed, leave some for Aunt Flo. Tampons may have other survival uses, but you should set aside enough for the monthly visitor, too.
This feminine hygiene product is easy to use. It can be inserted into the vaginal canal with just your finger or an applicator. Tampons that come with an applicator make an excellent option for periods if there’s no running water available.
Another thing to note is that tampons are designed for single use only. The FDA recommends changing each tampon every 4 to 8 hours to avoid the risk of toxic shock syndrome or TSS.
TSS is rare and is caused by a toxic substance that’s produced by certain kinds of bacteria. But when someone does get it, it can cause organ failure, shock, or even death. Here’s an article that explains more about tampons.
If you’re not used to wearing tampons, pads are a nice alternative. Unlike tampons, they don’t go inside the vagina. They’re attached to underwear instead. The only main issue with pads is that they may leak if you constantly have to move around in an emergency.
Change your pad every 4 to 8 hours or earlier (depending on your flow) to avoid leaks or discomfort. While you can’t get TSS from wearing pads, it’s still possible to get an infection, including a yeast infection or a pad rash, if you wear one too long.
Don’t forget to keep your pads dry and away from water sources when storing them, too. Make sure you also have enough room in your survival kit for them they’re much bulkier than cylinder-shaped tampons.
One last thing: include a Ziploc or a wet bag in your kit so that you have a place to keep your used pads until you find a proper area to dispose of them.
Want to minimize garbage and save money at the same time? Go for reusable pads. They’re comfortable, convenient, and are as absorbent as tampons since they’re made from cotton, flannel, or bamboo. These feminine hygiene productss also come with wings that you can secure with either Velcro or a snap.
The tricky part is cleaning them. You have to soak the pads in a pail of water with regular detergent, baking soda, or vinegar to avoid stains before tossing them in the washing machine or hand washing them.
But yeah. There’s the small issue of running water and it not being guaranteed in a disaster. If you have a water source nearby or prepared drums beforehand, though, then problem solved.
If all else fails, that’s where a water spigot will come in handy. To use it, find the nearest commercial building or residential area. They should have an external faucet that you can access using your water spigot. This will give you the water supply you need.
Menstrual cups are another
Another option that’s reusable is the menstrual cup. This is more popular than reusable pads because it’s super lightweight and takes up little to no space in the kit or bag. Plus, it’s easier to clean and lasts about 5 years.
Menstrual cups are generally made of silicone and are inserted into the vaginal canal to collect menstrual flow. Using it can take some getting used to, but you won’t ever go back to tampons or pads once you get the hang of it.
It’s simple to use these silicone cups, too. With clean or sanitized hands, you insert the cup, and then after 6 to 12 hours, you remove it, dump the blood, rinse it with filtered water, and reinsert it as needed.
Remember: only insert the menstrual cup if you have clean hands to avoid infection. Don’t forget to stockpile water, soap, and hand sanitizer as well.
What to Do if You Run Out of Feminine Hygiene Products
Sometimes, stockpiling a 2-month supply of these menstrual care products isn’t enough. If you’ve used up all of your period essentials, here are some everyday items you can turn into emergency pads:
- Paper Towels. Thicker and more durable than toilet paper, you can fold several sheets of these to place on your undergarments.
- Toilet Paper. If paper towels aren’t available, you can make do with three to four sheets of toilet paper.
- Socks. Have an extra sock? It’s the best alternative to a pad.
- Washcloth. Made of absorbent material, a washcloth is another decent option.
If you’re in a pinch and can’t find clean water, a bottle of rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer will come in handy. You need to have sterile hands before handling any women hygiene products and delicate areas. The last thing you want is to get an infection on top of the other challenges TEOTWAWKI will bring.
Personal Cleansing Wipes
You already know that soap, water, and a fresh cloth are ideal for keeping your lady parts clean and odor-free, but you won’t always have that luxury when things go south. To keep feeling fresh down there, stock up on cleansing wipes.
You can also use baby wipes or coin tissues as alternatives to feminine wipes.
Bonus: Period Cramp Remedies
What’s more annoying than getting your period is suffering from menstrual cramps.
If you experience mild to severe cramps every cycle, stash some aspirin or other over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium in your first aid kit.
Heat can also help with cramping. A warm bath would be the best relief, but since you have to conserve your water supply, a homemade heating pad is the next best thing. Another option is a hot water bottle on your lower back or tummy to ease the cramps.
Now that we have shed light on the topic of feminine hygiene in disaster preparedness, it’s high time you make the necessary preps for a more extensive and inclusive stockpile.
If you’re done building your cache of survival supplies, simply update it with the feminine hygiene products mentioned above. With these items, seeking comfort during THAT time of the month won’t be so bad during disasters.
Is there anything to add to our female hygiene checklist? Let us know in the comments!