Ever Wondered How Women Have Lived With Their Periods Since The 1900s?


We’re pretty lucky in this day and age, ladies! We’ve got so many options when it comes to taking care of our monthly business that there’s always something that will work for you. But as you can imagine, things weren’t always so simple! So let’s take a walk down memory lane and find out what it was like to have your period over the past 100 years.

The 1800’s

The first disposable sanitary napkin was developed in 1888, and boy are we glad it was! I don’t think I’d have coped with life without sanitary pads! However, it was still considered improper to talk about periods so the word of this medical wonder didn’t spread and it got taken off the market. I’d say that’s ridiculous but some people still struggle to talk about periods now!

The 1920’s

In the 1920’s we were wearing the sanitary belt and doesn’t that sound as comfortable as it looks? They took linen and attached it to both ends of the belt, which looks more like suspenders than something you’d want to wear when you’ve got PMS.

The 1930’s

The 1930’s arrived with the very first applicator tampon, and women rejoiced! Unfortunately urban myths about women who used tampons losing their virginity were still widely believed, so they were only marketed to married women. I guess you were just supposed to pretend your period didn’t exist if you didn’t have a ring on your finger!

The 1940’s

Not long after the applicator tampons graced our stores, their non-applicator cousins followed. With World War 2 meaning women were put to work, tampons had a surge in popularity due to their convenience.

The 1950’s

In the 1950’s the sanitary belts were back in vogue. Looks like this was also the beginning of those annoying sanitary product ads that have women wearing white and grinning from ear to ear.

The 1960’s

With the dawn of the eco-warrior movement along came the cloth sanitary pad. Although we’d been using reusable cloth products for decades, this was the first time they’d ever been so popular because of their eco-friendly nature.

The 1970’s

The seventies finally brought us the adhesive sanitary pad! Gone were the uncomfortable looking belts, and strangely the US also got rid of the advertising ban that was placed on sanitary products. It’s about time!

The 1980’s

The 80’s was a decade of big hair, blue eyeshadow and the first plastic applicators for tampons. It was also the first time we used the word ‘period’ to describe our menstrual cycle. Does that make this a period period joke?

The 1990’s

We must have been less squeamish in the 90’s than we had been in previous decades because we saw the first advertisements for sanitary products that used blood. I’m guessing it wasn’t anything like this scene from The Shining though!

The 2010’s

Our new favourite sanitary products are menstrual cups. They’ve been around as long as the tampon but they’re really coming into their own in the popularity stakes right now!

Which of these period options are you most grateful we have today? Do you think you could have survived life without proper sanitary options? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to share this article with your friends and family!