When Mother Nature comes a-knocking, no matter how prepared you are, it still sucks. You’re uncomfortable, bloated and constantly in fear of your leaking nightmares becoming reality. But this isn’t the early ’90s. There are plenty of ways besides pads and tampons to rock your period with confidence and comfort.


1. Thinx Underwear: Whether you wear them as backups or a substitution for your regular period gear, these smart panties are good for so many reasons. They absorb liquid, they’re stain resistant and they’re built to prevent leaks. Also, they’re saving the world. In one woman’s lifetime, she throws away 17K pads and tampons, which end up in landfills. GROSS. These undies spare the landfills and your monthly tampon run. And it gets even better…

With their one-for-one model, every pair of undies you buy from Thinx, they send seven reusable Afripads to a woman in need. Many women start missing school when they get their periods, because they don’t have the proper sanitation needs. This can get young women back in school. You can also try Leak Free panties, which gives one pair to a woman in need for every pair you buy.


2. Dear Kate: For all your yoga clothes and underthings, Dear Kate is THE BOMB. Unlike Thinx, Dear Kate’s panties aren’t meant to replace your period gear. They just give you that extra bit of backup that we all need once a month.

Dear Kate’s panties have two degrees of lining coverage: either just the crotch region or the whole shebang. The lining holds more than a pantyliner so it’s an ideal partner in crime for workouts. They specialize in creating adorable undies for ladies of all sizes that are comfortable, sexy… none of them fall in the “granny” category. We’ll take a million pairs. K? Thanks.


3. Lily Cup: If you’ve been thinking of ditching pads and tampons for a cup but you still have some doubts, let us clear things up for you. Not only do pads and tampons create waste, but they cost you some major bucks over time. And unless you’re buying all-natural tampons, those things can be filled with rayon, bleached cotton and even pesticide residue; all stuff that can mess with your hormones and make your period worse than it has to be.

While normal menstrual cups are awesome because they can stay in for 10 hours without the need for changing, they can be less than discreet to carry around. The collapsable Lily Cup was funded on Kickstarter to the tune of over $300K, so we’re not the only ones who think it’s awesome. It folds down to the size of a compact and is made with thin but durable silicone, making it comfortable and easy to take anywhere.


4. Treat Yo’self: Whether you go for Le Parcel’s monthly box of gear, goodies and gifts or The Period Store’s must-have therapeutic options like soothing candles and oils, getting a monthly surprise you actually want is kind of rad. While the subscription boxes won’t stop bloating, they will distract you from the bloating by giving you everything you need to fight back.

Know of any other modern menstruation must haves? Pad out the options in the comments below.