I bleed each month to help make humankind a possibility. my womb is home to the divine. a source for our life species.

Rupi Kaur

Following a recent poll over on Instagram it became clear many of you wanted to know more about free bleeding. I know what some of you may be thinking… free bleeding? Why?! Why would anyone want to free bleed when there is an array of products on offer to catch our flow? In an earlier blog post I explored the menstrual cup and how beneficial it is for many reasons (if you haven’t checked it out yet you can do so here), but now I want to talk about free bleeding. 

Free bleeding is becoming increasingly popular for many different reasons, and there are many brands that are making it easier for us to choose that as an option by creating wonderful, comfortable and amazingly discreet period pants

I am going to discuss the benefits of switching it up and allowing your flow to, well… flow freely! 


There might be some of you that are still unsure as to what free bleeding actually is, or what it entails. Well, it is exactly as it sounds.. removing menstrual products during your period. Now, some choose to wear their normal underwear and be open about their time of the month, but for others the pace of life, societal pressures and/or comfort means they opt for period pants. This keeps things dry and comfortable. Either way, no menstrual products are obstructing the flow of blood from the vagina during menstruation.


It may be hard for some to understand why. There is such a taboo around periods; often seen as dirty and unclean. The truth is, period blood is no dirtier than any other blood that leaves our bodies and in fact, it is full of stem cells and antibacterial hemoglobin peptides; which support the balance of the natural bacteria in the vagina. This is disrupted when we insert anything into our vagina, especially bleached products that absorb all the moisture in there, putting us at risk of infections or vaginal dryness.

In many cultures, the period is seen as sacred and rituals are held to celebrate this wonderful sign of fertility; a time where we regenerate, renew and release. For some, free bleeding is a way to tune into their body, to be intuitive and connect on another level. For others it is the best way to avoid any harmful chemicals coming into contact with the vagina and for a growing number of people, they don’t have a choice. One in ten cannot afford to buy sanitary products and during the pandemic, period poverty has surged in the UK with charities supplying six times the usual amount to people without access to period products. Some choose to free bleed to raise awareness of this. 

“It would have been way too uncomfortable to worry about a tampon for 26.2 miles… I ran with blood dripping down my legs for sisters who don’t have access to tampons and sisters who, despite cramping and pain, hide it away and pretend like it doesn’t exist.”

Kiran Gandhi, Musician


Well, if you opt for the au naturel approach its completely free (minus the cost of washing soiled underwear/clothing/bedding) but even if you invest in a pair of period pants, you are saving so much money in the long run. In your lifetime you spend just shy of £5k on sanitary products but you can pick up a pair of period pants for an average of £15-£25 (granted, you’ll probably have to purchase a few pairs to rotate, but regardless you’ll still be saving money over time) and they can be washed and reused again and again. 

Which leads me onto the next benefit, free bleeding reduces your environmental impact. Disposable products have horrific effects on the planet, as you can probably imagine, by switching to reusable pants or ditching period products all together, you are doing your bit to alleviate that pressure on the earth. 

Period pants are also super comfortable. They are slim-fitting, designed using textile technologies that wick away moisture, trap smells, absorb the flow & create a leak-resistant barrier. Unlike pads (that literally feel like a nappy; thick, uncomfortable and full of toxic materials and chemicals) you do not feel like you are wearing anything other than ordinary underwear. By free bleeding straight into perfectly designed pants, you feel clean and dry for the duration of your period whilst avoiding chemicals like rayon (a highly absorbent synthetic material used in tampons), which not only stops your flow and interferes with the natural journey of those wonderful antibacterial hemoglobin peptides I mentioned earlier, but also soaks up everything, including cervical fluids, altering the amount of fluid your vagina produces during the rest of your cycle. Free bleeding keeps usual secretions in place. You can wear period pants for up to 24 hours, depending on your flow and most pants hold an average fo 2-3 tampons worth of blood, which is just so convenient!

Finally, period underwear takes away any anxiety around leaking, forgetting to change or running out of sanitary products. As you are able to wear them for so long, it is easy to fit your period into your plans without the added worry. By allowing your period to flow you also eliminate the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), which is another anxiety we can all do without. 

we menstruate and they see it as dirty. attention seeking. sick. a burden. as if this process is less normal than breathing. as if it is not a bridge between this universe and the last. as if this process is not love. labour. life. selfless and strikingly beautiful.

Rupi Kaur

Hopefully that answers all your musings around free bleeding. If there is anything else you’d like to know, please leave a comment…



For those that have been following me on Instagram for a while, you may have seen the discussion I led on menstrual cups back in June. I had an influx of messages from women who had been really keen to switch to a menstrual cup but hadn’t felt brave enough to try it. When you have been used to using other sanitary products for so long, it can seem a bit daunting to switch to something new, but with the pressures of the climate crisis and the growing understanding about the lack of regulation for sanitary products, more women are coming around to the idea of switching to a healthier and greener option!

I first made the switch to the Organicup last year and have never looked back. Below you will find a Q&A which will hopefully answer any questions that you may have, but firstly I want to discuss the benefits of making the change.


The cup is made from medical-grade silicone and unlike tampons isn’t made with ingredients such as aluminium, alcohols, fragrances, additives and hydrocarbons. Tampons are also put through a bleaching process which leaves behind dioxin, a group of chemical compounds that can disrupt hormones and have been linked to endometriosis and cancer. Pads also contain harmful chemicals which can be absorbed with continued, long-term use.


Unlike disposable period products, a menstrual cup is reusable for years! Sanitary waste (packaging included) generates more the 200,000 tonnes of waste per year – they all contain plastic but according to Friends of the Earth sanitary pads are 90% plastic! They then go on to end up in landfill or the ocean. I am always looking for new ways to reduce mine and my families carbon footprint, so this was a huge selling point for me.


On average a cup is £15-20 but lasts for approx 10 years! That’s approximately 15p per month! Wayyy cheaper than your average box of tampons.


When you have got the hang of how to insert it, it is a much easier option. You can wear it for up to 12 hours, it doesn’t leak and you can’t feel it – making it the comfiest option! The only negative to switching to a menstrual cup is that it can be a trial and error process with what brand you use and when learning to insert it may take a couple of days/periods to learn how to get it right, but once you do I guarantee you won’t look back!


There are a few different ways to fold the cup. I find the ‘C’ fold the easiest. Use your index finger to push one side in and fold the cup in half until it looks like the letter C. Insert and let it pop open. Be sure to check there’s no dents once the cup is inserted as this means it’s not opened completely and it will leak. You can check this by simply running your finger around the base of the cup to ensure the surface of the cup is smooth.

To remove, simply pull the stem and when you can reach the bottom of the cup, pinch to release suction and it slides out.


Is it uncomfortable?
No, not at all. I can honestly say it is the most comfortable sanitary product I have ever used. It may take a bit of practice when you first start using it, but once you get used to it you don’t even know it’s in there.

Can you feel it?
If it has been inserted correctly then no you cannot feel it at all. It is made from soft silicone and the shape of it means it sits perfectly inside your vagina, just below your cervix.

How often do you have to empty it?
It can be worn for up to 12 hours, but depending on your flow it may need emptying more often. You’ll get used to your own flow and when/how often it needs emptying. Maybe whilst getting used to it, it’s a good idea to empty every couple of hours to get to know the cup and your flow.

Is it easy to use?
It is easy when you get used to it. Little tip – before inserting mine for the first time I watched tutorials on youtube/on period cup websites which help explain the different methods for inserting/removing.

Is it messy?
When emptying the cup it is super easy to pour it straight down the toilet. If the sink is within reaching distance simply rinse and re-insert. If you find yourself having to empty the cup when out and about, it is less likely there will be a sink within the toilet cubical. For these occasions, you can either use toilet roll to wrap the cup up and head to the sink, alternatively you can purchase wipes for cleaning the cup on-the-go.

Why are there different sizes?
You will need a bigger size if you have given birth vaginally. I use Organicup who offer three sizes:

Mini (17ml capacity) – for teens
Size A (25ml capacity) – for those that haven’t given birth vaginally
Size B (30 ml capacity) – for those that have

What is it made from? Is it safe?
Yes totally safe (FDA approved)! No allergens and made from medical-grade silicone, which means it does not absorb the moisture in your vagina, reducing dryness and infections.


If you’re looking to buy a menstrual cup it is worth noting the ones that are helping in the fight against period poverty.

BETTER CUP – For every cup purchased, one cup is donated to a teenage girl at Hope School in Zimbabwe. They survive on an average family income of $1 per day and keeping girls in school is increasingly difficult and many of the girls will be absent during her monthly period as she’ll have no access to sanitary products.

RUBY CUP donated cups to ‘Ditch the Rag’, a UK fundraising initiative with the vision of ending period poverty with plastic-free, eco-friendly products.

THE CUP EFFECT – For each cup purchased through The Cup Effect, two are donated to women and girls facing period poverty either in East Africa or the UK.

ORGANICUP donated 660 cups to City to Sea’s ‘Rethink Periods’. The project involves 600 schools in England and provides teacher training and product demo boxes for schools.