Ten products designed to make periods more manageable
A sex blanket equipped to soak up period blood and a wearable device created to alleviate cramps feature in this roundup of products designed to improve the experience of menstruating.
The projects in this roundup are united in their aim to minimise the stress, shame and financial difficulties that are often associated with having a period.
Some of the designs provide ways of using sanitary items more discreetly, while others intend to tackle this stigma through more visible solutions – such as a striking necklace created to carry tampons or a blanket that allows you to have sex while on your period.
As people are increasingly reevaluating their relationship with single-use products, designers are also creating reusable sanitary items, including a smart menstrual cup that tracks its user's symptoms automatically.
Read on for 10 projects from the Dezeen archive that explore periods:
Tech start-up Emm has designed its eponymous smart menstrual cup, which is a silicone tampon-style device that can track your period.
Thanks to built-in biosensors, Emm connects to an app on its user's phone via Bluetooth and presents the person with their health information – all of which is stored anonymously.
The product also comes with an applicator, as well as a rounded portable wireless charging case and a UV steriliser to clean the menstrual cup between uses.
Myoovi is a discreet wearable device that British doctor Adam Hamdi designed to alleviate period pains on the go.
Attached like a plaster, Myoovi features transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) technology that sends electrical pulses through the skin that intend to block or reduce the pain signals travelling to the spinal cord and brain.
The USB-chargeable device is available in three different skin-tone shades.
While studying, industrial designer Cheuk Laam Wong created a conceptual kit for cleaning reusable sanitary pads called Looop Can.
The portable equipment includes a steel can with a spinning device, a bamboo terry fabric sanitary pad and 70 grams of baking soda that can be mixed with water to clean the pad.
Cheuk designed the project specifically for women living in refugee camps who often struggle to access and afford sanitary products, providing them with a way of washing pads easily and discreetly.
Find out more about Looop Can ›
Absorbent underwear company Thinx transferred its patented technology from period pads to a bedspread designed to soak up blood so that people on their periods can have sex more hygienically.
One side is made from these absorbent layers, while the other features a quilted satin design to resemble a typical blanket. The product can be washed with cold water after sex.
Thinx created Period Sex Blanket as a "taboo-smashing innovation" that aims to tackle the shame often attached to menstruating.
Find out more about Period Sex Blanket ›
Unisex Emergency Tampon necklace by Katarina Hornwall
Designer Katarina Hornwall created a tampon-shaped solid aluminium and brass container that fits a tampon inside it and is worn like a regular necklace.
The product was designed for both women and men – "anyone who potentially could be on a period or knows anyone who could be on a period," the designer said.
Hornwall created the Emergency Tampon necklace after considering how many people feel the need to hide tampons in public. She also wanted to provide a solution for carrying sanitary items without them gathering dirt at the bottom of a bag.
Find out more about Unisex Emergency Tampon necklace ›
Carrie is a wearable spandex pouch specifically designed for soldiers and police officers to store their sanitary products while in the field.
Industrial designer Amelia Kociolkowska created the product to be strapped onto a thigh or clipped onto a belt loop.
She developed the design after conducting interviews with women in the military and police industries, who reported being unable to change their pads or tampons easily and discreetly during work.
Kociolkowksa created Carrie while studying at London college Central Saint Martins.
Another product created while its designer was studying at Central Saint Martins is Kaye Toland's tampon delivery system, where the cardboard box doubles as a waste bin that turns sanitary products into compost.
Called mCycle, Toland described the system as "Deliveroo for tampons" and created the project as her "own personal response to tampon tax".
Emanui is a portable menstrual cup cleaner that uses "at least 2,500 per cent less water" than regular cleaning methods, according to its creators.
Compact and lightweight, the medical silicone product contains an internal brush that is designed to clean a menstrual cup on the go and can also store a cup when it is not in use.
"We designed this solution to hygienically take care of the menstrual cup and empower its user, no matter the context," said Emanui co-founder Paul Lequay.
Startup company Callaly combined a tampon and a panty liner in one product to create the Tampliner, which was designed to overcome "the inadequacy of [existing] period products".
The hybrid sanitary item features two conjoined components made from 100 per cent organic cotton and intends to offer users extra security while improving their menstrual health.
Find out more about Tampliner ›
Flex menstrual disc by The Flex Company
The Flex menstrual disc contours to the shape of a woman's cervix and creates a soft barrier that temporarily blocks menstrual blood.
Held in place by the pubic bone, it was designed to be worn during sex so that couples can be intimate even when a person is on their period, but cannot be felt by either partner.
Curved in shape, Flex works in a similar way to a menstrual cup.