The history of free bleeding goes back centuries, if not for as long as humankind has existed.
For some women and people who menstruate, free bleeding or choosing not to use period products is a personal choice. It’s a powerful way of protesting against period-shaming and costly menstrual products that millions of people across the world still don’t have access to. For other people, it’s a more environmentally sustainable way to manage their period.
Your experience with your period can be deeply personal. “So many people are ashamed or embarrassed when they stain their clothing during a period — free bleeding is trying to destigmatize this,” explains Dr. Sara Twogood, an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) who sits on Flo’s medical board.
Read on for an expert guide on free bleeding with the help of two OB-GYNs, covering the history of the modern movement as well as whether it’s safe and sanitary.