Gen Z Women Are Ditching Pads, Tampons And Embracing ‘Free Bleeding’

By Zainab Pervez in Life Style On 9th September 2023

In a world where menstrual hygiene products have been a staple for people who menstruate, a new trend is emerging among Gen Z individuals that challenges the status quo. 

This trend, known as "free bleeding," entails forgoing the use of traditional sanitary products like tampons and pads during menstruation. 

Credit: Pexels

Although it may seem unconventional, the practice of free bleeding has garnered attention, especially on social media platforms like TikTok, where young women are openly discussing their experiences and viewpoints. 

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To clarify, free bleeding involves not using any absorbent materials to block or manage menstrual flow. Instead, individuals who practice free bleeding allow their menstrual blood to flow naturally. 

While this concept may raise eyebrows, it has resonated with individuals who see it as a source of empowerment, even though they acknowledge it can be a messy practice.

Creators on TikTok have openly discussed their experiences with free bleeding.

One user named Annette, shared her personal process of free bleeding. She said that when she is on her period, she doesn’t leave the house because she wants to honor her body.

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@sacralsecret Reply to @champsplease ♬ original sound - Annette

“I stay home when I’m on my period. I stay home and I bleed,” she said on TikTok.

She added that if she did have to go out, she’d use period underwear but when she stays at home she wanders around the house using a towel.

She said that free bleeding just “hits different” and claimed the experience made periods “orgasmic.”

Even popular creator Nayda Okamoto joined in on the discussion, cheekily mentioning that she was "low-key" free bleeding while dancing in a bikini. 

“Thank goodness it’s a dark color,” she added.

This lighthearted take underscores that free bleeding is a real trend, gaining recognition and sparking conversations on social media.

@nadyaokamoto Pls help this find the #period ♬ original sound - Coach

There are a bunch of comments on one of Nadya Okamoto's videos from women who are happy that free bleeding is being talked about.

"How many girlies been doing this, but just didn’t announce it because you thought you’d be judged 🙋🏻‍♀️😂," one person commented.

"Aweee my people!! I try to tell people about free bleeding and they just think it’s the craziest thing," someone else added.

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Interestingly, some women have reported that embracing free bleeding has led to changes in their menstrual cycles.

TikTok creator Hannah went viral when she claimed that after she “transitioned” to free-bleeding her period was “lighter than ever.”

This revelation prompted a wave of responses from women who shared similar experiences of lighter periods after adopting the free bleeding method.

The post started a lengthy conversation where women shared that they’d found their cycles had lightened once they embraced the free bleeding method.

“Same,” someone commented.

Another shared that she went from having a heavy period across five days to only bleeding for “two days” now that she wasn’t using tampons.

Credit: iStockphoto

Another free bleeder described the experience as "life-changing," with their period lasting only one day, followed by light spotting during their cycle.

However, it's essential to approach these claims with a degree of skepticism.  She emphasized that individual experiences can vary widely.

Dr. Amy Carmichael, while finding these anecdotes intriguing, pointed out that there isn't enough scientific evidence to support the idea that free bleeding leads to lighter periods. 

“Currently, there is no scientific research available to substantiate the claim that free bleeding leads to lighter periods,” she said.

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However, she adds that tampons are sometimes known to cause extra pain when you are on your period.

“It is essential to acknowledge that using internal menstrual products like tampons can potentially contribute to menstrual cramps, as they are foreign objects within the body,” she advised.

While there’s no research to confirm there’s any extra benefit in free bleeding, that doesn’t mean it is a bad idea.

Dr. Carmichael stressed that free bleeding is not “unhealthy” and that it simply depends on people’s “personal preference,”

“It’s essential to respect individual choices regarding menstrual hygiene practices,” she said.

Dr. Carmichael also said that the free bleeding trend was a positive thing because it was helping “destigmatize periods.”

“This perspective is underpinned by scientific evidence showing that hormonal changes during menstruation can heighten certain sensitivities, and by fostering an environment that respects and supports women during this time, we contribute to reducing the stigma surrounding periods.”

Some people, including prominent TikTokers, are taking part in a movement to remove the stigma and normalise free bleeding. Others are doing it for environmental factors as most products are single-use and disposable.

In one viral clip, Brittany (@odbrittany) tells viewers she is free bleeding and "it is not bad at all."

@odbrittany I also havent had a headache yet 🙌🏾#freebleeder #freebleeding #freedbleed #menstrual #fyp ♬ original sound - Brittany

She explains how she purchased three pairs of reusable period pants from the brand Thinx and claims since using them indoors her "cramps are not bad compared to how they are when I'm wearing a tampon."

Brittany adds that she has tried other methods such as menstrual cups, but is pleasantly surprised that she likes the period pants.

"For some reason, while I'm wearing these underwear, my bleeding isn't as heavy and my cramps are nowhere near as bad," she continues.

The TikToker's clip was soon inundated with comments from fellow free bleeders, with one writing: "Started free bleeding & my period is extra short & light!"

"I noticed wen i free bleed my period is shorter," another said, while a third added: "Thinx are the best. Changes my LIFE!"

"Free bleeding is the best. Your videos helped me become more confident and not ashamed to show when I’m on my period. Thank you 💜," another person shared.