Product Review: Ma Petite Chou Cloth Menstrual Pads

Flashback a few months ago to when I first got my contraceptive coil inserted. The experience was less than pleasant (the side effects much more traumatic) but, at the time, a brief unpleasantness seemed like a small trade for the safety it provided.

Then it hit me.

‘Will I be able to use a menstrual cup for my periods?’, I asked my Nurse.

‘Yes, you should be able to. I don’t see why not’.

Skip forward to the first moment of attempted retrieval during my period and the excruciating agony that I was suddenly met with.

What followed was a month or more of pain and an ultrasound to confirm that ‘Owch, yeah, your coil is half out’.

Enter the need for menstrual pads.

The Move Towards Menstrual Pads

Nowadays, I can use a cup again – which is good, because menstrual cups are basically my bae during heavy flows – but the necessary hiatus I took from cups after my painful coil mishap lead to me looking at other sustainable, reuseable menstrual options that wouldn’t damage my body nor leave me grimacing at the moral quandary they produced.

Menstrual sponges were a potential option but, at the time, I just wasn’t sure. I have tried them now but that’s a story for another review. What really matters here is that I eventually bit the bullet and opted for cloth pads, despite my utter loathing of pads in general.

As someone with Vaginismus conventional pads and I go a long way back and let’s just say we’ve never quite got along.

Actually, no, let’s not beat around the bush: I hate conventional pads.

They’re wasteful, they reek after use, they take up bin space in the most unwelcome of ways and, more to the point, they hurt.

For someone who has very sensitive skin, the act of letting my menstrual flow leave my body and simply linger on a ‘cloth’ close to my body always left me with a spiteful stinging sensation, no matter how regularly I was able to slip out and change pads.

Then there’s the material pads are made of too – typically abrasive, typically not kind if sweat is introduced, and typically prone to rubbing. I don’t care what promises the sanitary towel industry makes, their sticky bottoms and wings are liars and will stray and you will be left with an awkward sensation that’s 10 times worse than a wedgie and guaranteed to signal a leak and just, grrrrrr!

All of this meant that I really wasn’t looking forward to returning to the rag. But, circumstances dictated a change, and it was with a tentative sigh that I selected the Ma Petite Chou Cloth Menstrual Pads for use.

The Ma Petite Chou Cloth Menstrual Pads

Okay, at this point you may be wondering (as I’ve led you through my incredibly personal and rather specific need for this product) why anyone else would actually want to use fabric pads rather than bite the bullet and go for disposables. Heck! Why did I opt for cloth as opposed to returning to the store-brought dark side?

The answer is impact.

As it stands the average British women can spend about £18,000 per year on their period. Some estimations of US sanitary disposal have estimated that women throw away about 62k worth of garbage over their menstruating lifetime (0.5 of a landfill space per individual), and many experts believe that conventional sanitary products drastically increase the risk of reproductive tract infections. Not fun.

Heteronormative study samples placed aside for a moment (queers never seem to catch a break), these results are rather damning and really don’t paint the best picture for an item that we trust with our flow monthly.

Ma Petite Chou Cloth Menstrual Pads, on the other hand, cost £15.99 on Amazon (P&P included) for a pack of three, are made from supersoft bamboo and upcycled cloth fabrics to provide an item that’s affordable, comfortable (in theory), and guarantees that you won’t be making a sanitary contribution to a landfill for quite some time.

Did these win me over?

For me there was also the appeal of ‘shopping local’ as it were. Call me a smelly old hippy, but I really love the item of investing my money in small-scale companies and creators who have a specific vision or moral standard and stick to it vehemently in the products that they present.

Ma Petite Chou fall in to this category, making sure that their fabrics are reused from other sources. Granted, this does mean that you never know quite what colour or decorative feature you’ll be greeted with when it comes to your pad, but does it really matter? You’re going to wrap this side of the product around your underwear and forget about it for most of the day.

As long as they don’t have Donal Trump’s face on them I’m not largely concerned with the colour of my pads. Besides, it’s not like we get to choose the colour and floral featuring of conventional pads either.

This is super comfy.

The plain white bamboo section sits against the skin when in use and, let me tell you, compared to the grainy, unpleasant tactile sensation of a normal pad this bamboo is like a trip to your dream holiday destination. Bamboo cloth is amazingly comfortable and my pads almost felt as if they were hugging my vulva in comforting solidarity, reassuring it that everything was going to be alright.

This is probably for the best because, alas, reuseable pads can only do so much to mitigate the unpleasantness of the pad experience, and I still have a few gripes whenever I have to pull these pads out for use.

The first is expected – namely, the stinging sensation I naturally get from letting my flow trickle out rather than sitting in an internal cup and making minimal contact with my vulva. This is to be expected, and is not the fault of the Ma Petite Chou Cloth Menstrual Pads. The irritation of getting these pads to sit in place, on the other hand, is a bit more irksome.

I won’t say that the Ma Petite Chou Cloth Menstrual Pads are massive strayers, they’re not, but they shift and shuffle just enough to be irritating when going to the loo, or when doing anything vigorous. Working out while wearing these pads is not fun. For some it may not even be possible.

This is, in part, because the Ma Petite Chou Cloth Menstrual Pads only offers two pop-buttons to secure their pads in place – their default pads being rather chunky and myself being rather slim. Because of this, I imagine that anyone who isn’t a ‘standard’ body shape may find they struggle with getting the right pad fitting, and this is a bit of a shame.

This won’t do.

I have also found that the Ma Petite Chou Cloth Menstrual Pads retain the menstrual stains that they gather during use. Not totally damning but this may irritate those who feel like if stains are present then something isn’t really ‘clean’.

A wonderful benefit of these pads, on the other hand, is that their design allows you to easily fold and store your used pads wherever you are to be washed at a later point when you get the chance. This is brilliant for anyone who is out at work or school all day but still wants to be a bad-ass eco warrior.

I’ve also found that the Ma Petite Chou Cloth Menstrual Pads actually work damned well. Even when on my heaviest flow they will last me the night without a leak. It’s not a pleasant first trip to the loo in the morning if my period decided to have an elevator-from-The-Shining moment with my flow, but I have never once been let down by these pads.

That is honestly more than I can say about pretty much any other sanitary product, my beloved menstrual cups included.

Well I’ll been damned.

Final Thoughts

With all the benefits of the Ma Petite Chou Cloth Menstrual Pads am I a cloth pad convert?

Partially.

I do not use my Ma Petite Chou Cloth Menstrual Pads day-in, day-out when menstruating, but if I’m heavy, internally sore, or simply not in the mood for my cup then I am perfectly fine with grabbing for my cloth pads.

I regularly recommend the Ma Petite Chou Cloth Menstrual Pads to friends who want a more sustainable method of sanitary protection but cannot (for a variety of reasons) use an internal alternative, and I do feel like it gives people a closer relationship with their body and flow.

I may not have fully chosen to try the Ma Petite Chou Cloth Menstrual Pads, but I’m damned glad that I did, and I have no qualms in saying that these are a great option for many individuals.

Recommend to:

People who prefer sanitary towels.

People who want to be eco-friendly.

People sick of shelling out for disposables.

Do Not Recommend to:

People with divergent body types.

People who just can’t stand pads (variable).

People who dislike feeling their sanitary product.

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