Making the Switch to Reusable Menstrual Products

When I first got my period at age 12, all I knew about was the standard disposable pads and tampons, and I experimented with an assortment of them into my adulthood. I was never thrilled with them — the pads were goopy and crinkly and sometimes leaked around the edges; the tampons dried me out and trickled down the string and got painful to pull out toward the end of my cycle — but that was all there was. Right?

The first time I heard about alternative menstrual products that were reusable, I was intrigued but also a little icked out. Wouldn’t it be gross to have to rinse out a cup or launder cloth pads?

Then I gave them a try, and there’s no going back. Not just because reusable menstrual products are more sustainable — but because they’re awesome!

Here’s an overview of why to switch to reusables and what’s available. I encourage you to give one or more a try, choosing the style that’s right for you. Care for them is simpler than you think, and the increase in comfort is unbeatable.

WHY REUSABLES?

You’ll see some of the specific reasons as you delve into the different styles of reusable products below. Most offer increased comfort and safety, some offer less mess, and a lot are far more attractive than what they’re replacing.

Sustainability

However, the environmental reasons to switch from disposables are staggering. Here are some facts and figures:

From use of disposable feminine hygiene, an estimated 12 billion sanitary pads and 7 billion tampons are dumped into the North American environment each year (1998). More than 170,000 tampon applicators were collected along U.S. coastal areas between 1998 and 1999.

[DivaCup]

And how many disposable products are you contributing to that mess? More than you might think!

Women, on average, experience a lifetime menstruation span of 41 years (11-52). … For argument’s sake, let’s pick the figure of 4 tampons/pads per day, for 5 days. That’s 20 disposable products per cycle. Twelve cycles per year equals 240 tampons/pads per year. Okay, now if you menstruate for 41 years…that’s close to 10,000 tampons/pads you’ll use in your lifetime!

[DivaCup]

If you’ve been thinking it’s gross to handle the blood in reusable products, remember that “disposable” products are not disappearing products. That blood from all those users still exists … in our landfills, and going who knows where else from there.

Consider as well the costs in energy and water, and the effects on our air and land, when you take into account the manufacturing, packaging, transport fuel, waste disposal, and other elements of making, using, and throwing away so many items.

Affordability

Think also of a more personal cost: to your pocketbook. There’s an upfront investment to some sustainable menstrual products, but you’ll recoup your investment within as little as a couple cycles or, at most, a few years, and many of the items last for five years or more. You can make the cost almost negligible by making your own creations and reusing scrap material you already have at home.

Assuming you bought disposable products on sale, changed your pad or tampon (but not both) five times a day for five days, you might be able to keep your costs to $4.50 per cycle. (Many consumers would spend more.) Over a year, that would be $54, and in 41 years, over $2,200. A usable set of new, name-brand pads can cost under $100, perhaps up to $300 for a deluxe or heavy-flow set. A menstrual cup plus a few pantiliners will run around $50 or $60. These items can last five years or more. Over time, you will come out ahead, and any money you are spending is probably going to smaller, sustainable businesses, perhaps WAHM-led, rather than the big paper manufacturers.

I’ve also found reusable products to be space saving, not to have bulky boxes of disposables to cram into my bathroom cabinets. Easier on the wallet and a step toward simplifying!

Health

Disposable tampons seem to carry a higher risk of toxic shock syndrome due to their inclusion of bacteria-happy rayon and, not as frequently now, dioxins from chlorine bleaching.

Disposable tampons and pads are not sterile, so there’s no reason in that sense to prefer them over reusable products where you control the washing.

If you’re having any vulvar or vaginal irritation, paper products with their rough surfaces and chemical residues are likely only to make it worse. Think about it: Would you rather wear paper underwear or something soft and smooth like cotton? Why wouldn’t you want the same pressed against or within your most delicate tissues?

Disposable pads and tampons are made from many of the same materials used in making disposable diapers — bleached pulp or viscose rayon from tree cellulose, super-absorbent acrylic polymers and gels, and plastic backings (a petroleum product) — if you’re a cloth diaper devotee and realize the hazards and costs of disposable diapers, switching to cloth for yourself might suddenly seem easier!

Another user-submitted upside to reusable and natural products is that periods can be or at least seem lighter and of less duration, with less cramping as well. Whether that’s your experience or not, it can’t hurt to try!

 
If you’re convinced there’s value in swapping out your disposables for reusables, here’s what’s available to try:

MENSTRUAL CUPS

DivaCup menstrual cup with baglet
Menstrual cups are inserted internally and catch the blood, needing to be emptied regularly. Depending on flow, you can go up to twelve hours before emptying, though some people need to empty them more frequently.

I first started using a disposable menstrual cup (using the same one for my entire cycle) until I realized they made reusable menstrual cups that you could use for many cycles (for years), which was preferable.

Choices

Here are the most popular reusable brands available:

You can purchase any of these cups in Amazon’s personal care section, at the individual sites above, or at women’s or natural stores locally or online. For instance, our natural foods store carries a selection, and our sponsor GladRags does as well.

Menstrual cups come in different sizes, usually one that’s slightly smaller for younger users or those who haven’t gone through childbirth, and one that’s slightly larger. The difference in size isn’t substantial, but it’s best to read the information and reviews thoroughly to make sure you get the one you want.

They also come made of different materials, although many are of healthcare-grade silicone, which is safe for allergy-prone individuals.

Upsides

Cups can take a little bit of fiddling to get comfortable, but by a few cycles in, and perhaps with some judicious web surfing to learn the best techniques, you’ll be a pro. I love the long time I can go between emptying my DivaCup; I just empty it once in the morning and then again at night before bed. If I’m near a handy faucet, I rinse it out with cold water before putting it back in, but if not (such as in a public restroom), it’s OK to put it back in after it’s simply emptied into the toilet. You might be surprised at how much collects during your cycle, but emptying it isn’t unduly disturbing. My four-year-old actually thinks it’s kinda neat, and who could blame him?

The care for your cup between cycles is a gentle wash and (ideally) a short boil on the stove to disinfect it. Many users are known to skip that step, but it’s a particularly good idea if you’re prone to infections.

I also love how the cup doesn’t affect the rest of my internal moisture, keeping me comfortable my whole cycle long. It’s less messy than pads, and the odor is kept to a minimum, since blood smells only when exposed to oxygen. I rarely leak, and usually only a few drops toward the beginning of my cycle from blood that was already below the cup when I inserted it.

‘Becca in the comments mentioned that she likes that the cup doesn’t allow absorption of water during a bath or swimming.

Downsides

You have to be comfortable with sticking fingers inside yourself and just in general becoming intimate with your body — this is not a bad thing, though. Reusable cups are somewhat of an upfront investment, running about $35-$40 full price, though over time the savings is obvious. It’s challenging to impossible to have vaginally penetrating intercourse with most types of menstrual cup inserted, though some have tried.

The biggest complaint about cups, though, is that it takes some time to get used to putting it in and pulling it out, and you might even need to try more than one cup to find the right one for you. Some tips on those fronts:

  • Cut the stem down to a comfortable level so it doesn’t scratch you. I also filed mine smooth. Some people use theirs to help pull it out; I found mine completely useless since I just grasp the sides once I’ve pushed it down within grabbing distance.
  • Fold the cup up tightly before inserting. Here are some very useful pictures of various folds to try. I prefer the first, the “C” fold. Don’t be delicate about squishing it up tight, whichever you choose.
  • As you’re inserting your folded cup, begin to rotate it, letting it unfold inside you. Push it up further if it feels too low.
  • Don’t be afraid to take it back out and try again if it feels uncomfortable.
  • To get it out, bear down like you’re pooping or birthing a baby. Stick a finger up the side to break the seal. You will not lose a cup inside yourself; that’s physically impossible, so don’t worry about it. It shouldn’t hurt to pull it out, so break the suction if it’s painful.
  • Make sure you clean out the side holes (if your cup has one) before reinserting. This will help make sure it seals properly inside you.
  • Sometimes I have an “off” cycle where nothing I do makes it feel right, and then the next cycle everything’s fine again. Don’t fret about that. Just try again the next month! You’ll love it probably 95% of the time.

CLOTH PADS

cloth menstrual pads from GladRags
Once I had a reusable cup, I knew the next step was trying out reusable pads. For some reason, I was more squeamish about this step. I was picturing uncomfortable wads of smelly rag between my thighs. The modern reality is discreet, plush, and — dare I say it? — even chic.

Choices

There are so many options for menstrual pads out there. For one, you could make your own, either going the super easy route of folding up some absorbent material into your underpants (yes, it’s that easy — just don’t drop it in the toilet!1) or constructing bona fide pads with wings and other fine features from patterns available online or in your imagination. Materials for pads include something absorbent (of course), which could be cotton, hemp, wool, bamboo, microfiber, or the like, and, optionally, a water-resistant barrier for the back such as fleece or PUL.

There are also many commercially available pads. A few from well-known but still small and admirable companies are GladRags (an NPN sponsor), Lunapads, Party in My Pants (NPN giveaway here!), New Moon Pads, Willowpads, Mother of Eden, and Mommy’s Touch. Many cloth diaper companies also offer mama cloth, such as Knickernappies, Sckoon, Imse Vimse, and FuzziBunz. You can find a nice selection on Amazon. There are also a ton of fabulous WAHP-run sellers on Etsy, eBay, and HyenaCart.

What style, absorbency level, and materials you like is up to you. Fortunately, it’s easy to mix and match as you build a good set! There are day pads, pads for heavy flow (even ones suited to overnights or postpartum), pads that fit bikinis and thongs, longer-coverage pads and teensy panty liners, pads with and without wings, pads that swap in liners and pads that are simple all-in-ones. You can even buy specially made padded underwear in stain-camouflaging colors.2

Upsides

Cloth pads are comfortable! I can’t emphasize that enough. At first, I thought they felt bulkier than the disposables I was used to, but soon (within minutes) they just felt like underwear. The cloth moves with your body and is silent, unlike the crinkly paper and plastic of disposables. The cloth is also more breathable and less odorous, I find. It won’t tug or pull at tender tissue or stitches (such as postpartum).

Cloth pads are pretty. There are so many fabric colors and patterns to choose from, making you glad you’ll be seeing them every month.

Care for pads is so much easier than I’d feared. I just rinse or soak them in cold water to help with staining (this is optional), then toss them into either a cloth diaper wash or a regular wash, at whatever temperature. (I’ve had no problems either way.) They can usually be either machine or line dried. If stains bug you, a squirt of Bac-Out ahead of time will help, as will choosing busy or dark fabrics.

Downsides

You might find you need to change your cloth pads more frequently than disposables, particularly if you have a heavy flow. Some pads don’t have waterproofing at all, and though I haven’t found this to be a problem, that sort of thing might make you nervous as you first get used to the rhythm of changing cloth pads.

While I stand behind my assertion that regular cloth pads are not more obtrusive than disposables, the heavier flow, overnight, and postpartum varieties can become ludicrously large so are perhaps not the kind you want to sport when you’re trying to set a mood.

Cloth pads can sometimes migrate. Many commercial and other well-made brands have wings with one or more set of snaps to go around the crotch of your undies to help hold them in place, though the required width to be snug can vary depending on underwear choice. A Facebook commenter suggested safety pinning the front of the pad to the underwear if migration is a problem. I also find some fabrics stay more firmly in place than others.

The initial cost of cloth pads can cause sticker shock, but consider that you can use them for years, or make your own to save some dough. Consider also that you’re supporting smaller, sustainable businesses with your purchase.

Changing out cloth pads on the go will require use of some sort of baggie or wet bag system, so you’ll want to plan ahead.

And you do have to wash them, but if you’re doing laundry anyway, it’s no biggie. Plus, you can easily wash them in the sink if you’re sans machine.

SEA SPONGES

Sea Pearls Reusable Sea Sponge Tampons
If you’re a tampon fan, sea sponges are an intriguing substitute. They are actual sea sponges that you insert to absorb the flow, just like a … sponge.

I have never used sea sponges, so I direct you to my favorite review of them at Raising My Boychick, a thorough recounting of her experience therewith, and the article I’m basing most of this section on.

Choices

Your choices are Jade and Pearl Sea Pearls (also available at Amazon, natural stores locally, or places like GladRags), Jam Sponge in the UK, or potentially using a generic (clean!) and appropriately sized sea sponge for the purpose.

You simply pre-moisten the sponge, squeeze it smaller, and push it into place. It expands inside near the cervix to collect the flow until it’s full, at which point you can rinse it out and reinsert it.

Upsides

Sponges are inserted internally, so they are fully discreet as you go about your beeswax. If you’re a tampon user now and don’t relish the thought of a cup, this might be just the right next step for you.

They come in different sizes for various absorbencies. Sea Pearls are sustainably harvested and guaranteed free of toxins. They’re reusable for three to six months or more. They are wetted before use to be nice and soft, and they don’t dry out your normal moisture the way tampons do. This means they also likely don’t leave you at as much risk for toxic shock syndrome as tampons, since the bacteria in TSS need to get into the body through abrasions.

The sea sponge needs to be changed about every 4-6 hours, like other tampons. It reportedly becomes heavier and descends slightly as it fills, which will alert you that it’s time to squeeze it out. Care for them is easy enough: rinsing with water during use, and sanitizing with something like vinegar or hydrogen peroxide in between cycles.

I have been told you can have penetrative sex with these in — score! You can also swim and … well, whatever you want!

Jessica in the comments also mentioned that sea sponges are fully biodegradable and can be thrown into your compost pile when you’re done using them.

Downsides

Sea sponges aren’t reusable as long as cloth pads or most menstrual cups, but they do last for several cycles, and the cost of around $13-$15 for two makes them comparable to or cheaper than disposable tampons for the same three- to six-month duration. As with cups, you need to be willing to navigate your own vagina and not squeamish about rinsing out blood.

Emptying one in a public restroom could be tricky, which means you might need to have a wetbag or baggie on hand, plus extra clean ones to insert.

Sea sponges are technically animal skeletons, so you might consider the ethics of using them if that affects your value system.

REUSABLE TAMPONS

Washable Cloth Tampon instructions download
Another option I discovered on the site EcoMenses (which is a fabulous source of information on all reusable menstrual products) is washable tampons. They can be made out of absorbent fabric (such as cotton, bamboo, wool, or hemp), or knitted or crocheted out of absorbent yarn (cotton, bamboo, or wool). They are inserted vaginally, like disposable tampons, or worn interlabially, as a sort of hybrid between a tampon and pad.

Choices

There aren’t many reusable tampons on the market that I could find. There are a few on Etsy and Honour Your Flow in the UK.

It’s easy to make your own, though. You basically need rolled-up absorbent material, with or without a retrieval string attached. Born to Love suggests using baby socks. With a Tangled Skein offers three options: rolled fabric with ribbon, a knitted drawstring with inner batting, and a knitted roll. Fern & Faerie sells a 50-cent pattern of a “stuffable” design for knitting, crocheting, and no-sew methods (seen in the picture).

Upsides

As with cloth pads, cloth tampons must last quite a long time before needing to be retired. They also are quite cheap, considering you’re likely going to have to make them yourself.

Advocates report similar absorbency to disposable tampons once you’ve determined how much material you need.

EcoMenses suggests that cotton tampons would have a lower risk of TSS than commercial disposable tampons, which are made with bacteria-friendly rayon threads.

Interlabial pads can be useful for overnight when otherwise blood sometimes “channels” up the buttocks and causes leaks, as EcoMenses points out.

Downsides

It’s hard to find commercially available reusable tampons; however, making them yourself (particularly if you go for less fancy designs) should be fairly simple and inexpensive. You can even use scraps of fabric.

You’ll have to be comfortable inserting the tampons with your fingers, or you’ll need to rig some sort of applicator device, and you’ll need to be comfortable removing them manually if you don’t attach a retrieval string.

As with all tampons, the material will absorb all secretions, which might make you chafe toward the end of your cycle.

FREE BLEEDING

Butterflies menstrual blood
If you’re just considering more eco-friendly menstrual options, this final possibility might be too far out there even to consider, but I present it in the interests of thoroughness and also because it’s kind of cool. Some people prefer not to catch or absorb their blood at all and just allow it to flow.

I found interesting links on the subject at EcoMenses and especially appreciated the information on All About My Vagina: “Free Bleeding” and The Museum of Menstruation and Women’s Health: “What did women use for menstruation in Europe and America from 1700 – 1900, and probably earlier?” and “What did European and American women use for menstruation in the 19th century and before?”

Choices

Free bleeding has quite a range. If you live in a naturist commune or a home with dirt or straw floors, you might get away with wearing nothing at all. However, there are options even if you wear Western clothing and have upholstered furniture that you wish to sit on at some point during the day.

If your bleeding is light enough, you can make frequent trips to the toilet to expel and wipe. (I do find that bearing down helps “empty” things out temporarily, though I’m not otherwise a free bleeder … yet.) You can wear thicker or appropriately colored underwear (such as Lunapanties, which would be easy enough to engineer from a pair of your own red or black underwear by reinforcing the gusset), or no undies but a voluminous skirt or underskirt.

You might sit on a towel, puddle pad, or something like a Lunablanket (presumably many elimination communication families have something appropriate), or even outside, if you’re at home, then wear other protection when out or around other people. You might choose to bleed freely only at night or in the shower, when you can wear no clothing and have a towel handy.

Upsides

The benefits to free bleeding is feeling very, I suppose, free. You’re not tied to having a product around, and you can get to know your flow intimately.

You are not introducing any potentially hazardous and, at any rate, foreign entities into your vulvar or vaginal areas.

You might have nothing to wash except for the clothing you were going to wash anyway.

You might discover a new trust in your body.

Downsides

You might make a huge mess, particularly if you’re a heavy bleeder. I could see this being especially challenging to pull off if you’re not in a red tent for the week but are instead running errands, nursing a little one on the couch, sitting cross-legged on the floor to play blocks with your preschooler, going to work in nice clothes, etc. However, I could totally get on board with a little free bleeding at more relaxed times, such as at night and toward the end of a cycle.

I didn’t realize it, but I apparently already free bleed at the end of my cycles, when I pull out my DivaCup for the last time, put on some hot pink undies, and let things manage themselves. I haven’t yet made a bad decision about when to switch over to this method, and I’ve been pleased at how much of the final bleeding stays tucked within until I wipe.

 
When you switch to reusable menstrual options, it’s easier on the environment, yes — but it’s also easier on you. You’ll soon realize how deceptive the advertising is for the disposable products. If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel more comfortable, assured, frugal, grounded, and eco-minded if you only give one or more of the above options a try.

Have you tried any reusable menstrual options? How do you like them? Did I leave any out? Feel free to make a case for your favorite options or brands!

 

Disclosure: GladRags is an advertising sponsor,
and we have hosted giveaways for
some of the various products mentioned,
but we are posting on this topic independently.
You can see some of our menstrual product reviews here.
Amazon, GladRags, and eBay links are affiliate links.
We try to seek out only products we think you would find
relevant and useful to your life as a natural parent.
See our full disclosure policy here.
  1. I’m speaking from experience here in an ill-fated experiment with a washcloth.
  2. I’m wearing some right now. TMI?

About The Author: Lauren Wayne

Hobo Mama Hobo_Mama My NPN Posts

Lauren Wayne is a co-founder of Natural Parents Network. She works and writes at home with her husband, Crackerdog Sam, and their sons, Mikko and Alrik. Lauren blogs about natural and attachment parenting at Hobo Mama, offers reviews and giveaways of natural parenting products at Hobo Mama Reviews, and gives a behind-the scenes look at blogging and writing at LaurenWayne.com. Lauren co-hosts the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting and is the author of Poetry of a Hobo Mama: The First Three Years, The Natural Parent's Guide to Babywearing, and What Will We Learn Today? You can find Lauren on Twitter, Facebook, her , her Google+ page, and Pinterest.

78 Responses to Making the Switch to Reusable Menstrual Products

  1. Momma Jorje

    I had never heard of free bleeding beyond women historically living in a tent while menstruating! I love that you *speculate* on the Up/Down sides.

    I guess I *have* done this one, btw. Disposable pads give me diaper rash. And we all know the best thing for diaper rash is air! So I’ve been known to sit on a big towel or even sleep with a cloth diaper tucked between my legs.

    I wonder how weird it would be to free bleed as a nudist…

  2. Jessica

    Another upside to sea sponge tampons is they are 100% biodegradable. You can toss ’em in your compost pile or even just outside (preferably somewhere discrete!) when done. Zero waste!

  3. Momma Jorje

    Oh! I also meant to say… I found the cost of the menstrual cups a bit intimidating. However, if you follow Diva Cup on Facebook, you can watch for half off sales and giveaways! I got one for free and one for half price. (I got one for my teenage daughter, but she hasn’t wanted to try it yet.)

  4. Lisatlantic

    Great article, however I don’t think it’s true that a Diva cup will last 5 years or more. I believe they are supposed to be replaced once a year.

    • Lauren  

      Here’s what the DivaCup FAQ says:
      “Depending on the factors unique to each woman (like vaginal pH, how well and often the cup is cleaned, what cleansing agents are used, etc.), the lifespan varies. Since it is a personal hygienic product, a general guideline is to replace it once a year.
      Silicone is very durable, but we recommend that you inspect your cup regularly for signs or deterioration (such as a sticky or powdery film, severe discoloration or odor, etc.) or if you experience irritation. Ultimately, it is up to the consumer to decide when she feels it is necessary to replace the cup.”

      To me, and this is based on reading other users’ experiences and thoughts, it seems like DivaCup is covering their bases by recommending a yearly replacement but suggesting that the cup might in fact last quite a bit longer if someone is not too fastidious about following a replacement schedule. As they say, ultimately it’s up to the user.

  5. Daisy

    One other upside to using the Instead SoftCup (which you don’t get with the other cups) is that you can have sex!

    • Lauren  

      That was one of my favorite features when I used the Instead! I do miss that.

      Someone told me she could have intercourse with The DivaCup in, so I tried, but it didn’t work for us. Maybe it depends on particular anatomy.

  6. Noel

    I like reusable pads and the Diva Cup. I just got my first sewing machine and I’ve made my own reusable cloth pads: cheap, eco-friendly, and adorable!

  7. Many Moons Alternatives  

    Great article outlining the pros and cons of some common green menstrual products!

  8. Stephanie

    Does anyone have experience using either the cloth pads or cup with exercising (running, weight lifting, cross fit)? Also, while I have an ear or two, I have allergic reactions to tampons. Haven’t worn one in over ten years. Has anyone else had this problem? I’m just wondering if I will be able to use a cup or I am destined to be a pad wearer.

    • Lauren  

      I’ve worn my cup and cloth pantiliners running (including racing), walking, and weight lifting and had no problems. I don’t have experience with cross fit, so maybe someone else will chime in. I haven’t had a problem with it, though if you’re a heavy bleeder, you might need to stop more often to empty/change things out.

      Tampons are made of absorbent materials. I’m not sure what you were allergic to, but I’d recommend trying a cup for sure. They’re generally made of healthgrade silicone (look for a brand that is), and they don’t absorb anything — I don’t think there’s anything there for your body to react to in an allergic fashion.

      Hope that helps!

  9. Dawn

    I use the Diva cup and love it. I still have to wear a pad with it at least part of the time (very heavy flow) but it’s worlds better than tampons (which leak much worse) or a pad alone.

    I’ve discovered that the sizing is important, and their guidelines aren’t necessarily right (ie: use size 2 if over 30 or previously given birth). I was wearing the size 2 for years (being almost 30 when I started) before I tried a size 1 and found out it works much better for me.

    Also, removal is actually much easier if, rather than “bearing down”, you do a kegel. Seems counter-intuitive, but it breaks the suction better with less discomfort.

  10. Tricia Merritt-Ellis  

    I haven’t worn disposable menstrual products in years. I’ve trained and ran in half marathons, regularly do P90X. Switch already!

  11. Sasha

    I tend to be on the free bleeder side. I just don’t like anything touching me down there at those times. I am a heavy bleader but have learned my body and times well enough to be able to do it with little to no mess. I recently have been looking into cloth as it is not as easy with a 6 year old and one on the way to be natural all the time. I used to just get a wash cloth and place it in my underpants when I had to go some where I i think it is time to treat myself. I also have been interested in the cup for some time but am afraid of getting the wrong size

    • Lauren  

      Cool! I’m intrigued by free bleeders and how you manage that. (Feel free to expound if you’d like, though you of course don’t have to!)

      The cups usually come in two sizes, and if you’ve had a child, whether vaginally or by C-section, it’s recommended to get the larger size (also if you’re over 30, regardless of childbirth history). The sizes aren’t that different, though (DivaCup’s are 1/8″ / 0.3 cm different). I can’t guarantee it, because certainly there are people who’ve found their recommended size to fit badly, but most people find that the sizing guidelines are accurate. I understand the hesitation, though, since the cost is more significant than the washcloth you’ve been using 🙂 and it’s not something you’d return or resell if it doesn’t fit!

  12. miranda

    I will never use pads,tampons and softcup forever
    So I can reuse menstrual cups,cloth pads,sea sponge and reusable tampons

  13. Holly

    I was curious; How active can you be with the cups? I use tampons because I move around A LOT. Would the cups wiggle loose?

  14. pErSoNa

    I just started using my Diva Cup today! It was amazing because I was waiting impatiently for two weeks for my period before, and because of that I was actually paying attention to my body. My period is always a few days too late or too early, so it would always be a surprise when it came, but because I was anticipating my period I paid attention to how my body felt and knew the exact day my period came. I’m loving the Diva cup. If I ever have daughters I hope they’ll use alternatives, if my mom was still menstruating I’d ask her to try alternatives! I’m so happy!

  15. Merlinda Little  

    I was thinking of this. I was using pills before and it stopped my mens but I get depress so much using them. I was using a biodegradable nappies for my son but my napkins are not =(

    There are just no options for me but this is really helpful. When i was younger I use muslin cloth but Im just too busy now.

    Thanks for this and I will try the options available now.

  16. Amy

    Great article 🙂 I switched to a mooncup about 4 years ago & I’m not exaggerating to say that it was life changing! Like others have said, I feel more in touch with my cycle, it feels more natural & not something that has to be commercialised and ”managed”. There’s less smell, less mess – I haven’t found any drawbacks! I’m a little evangelical about them now…

  17. Suzanne

    Great article! I love how you covered all the bases.

    My 12 year old daughter and I immediately switched when I read the story of the ‘moldy tampon’ and then watched the video on how an Always Infinity pad burns compared to an organic cotton one! Yuck! We went through the entire house, purses, bags, the car and found all of our stash of disposables and tossed them all! I ordered 16 silk sponges of varying sizes (1.5″ to 3″) from a UK supplier. They had already been treated (I could tell by the color) but I treated them again with hot water and peroxide bath and checked to clear out sea debris that had been missed. I paid $25 including shipping to Canada. I have also made a whole stash of cloth reusable pads for me and my daughter and have started to sell them! It was a total learning curve for me…I can whip up an outfit without a pattern in a flash, but these, it became an art for me and an obsession with getting it right.
    I had heard that women who switched had less pms symptoms, less cramping and their periods were shorter. I thought, ‘yeah right’. I didn’t care what happened as long as I wasn’t damaging my body nor my daughter’s body! Well, my periods went from being super ridiculous heavy, lasting 6 to 10 days every month. My periods are now 3-4 days and have been since the first month using sponge. Holy Hannah! Hooray!!!!! (And I like knowing that there are 2 fewer women contributing to the landfill mess!)
    For those of you who think it might be gross…it isn’t! No more smell…disposables make your period reek…and it naturally doesn’t. If you’ve ever accidentally bled in your underwear, did you throw them out? Hell, no! You soaked and scrubbed to get the stains out. Did you gag? Not likely. In fact, a lot of women I know have a stash of underwear referred to as ‘period’ underwear! (You know what I’m talking about).
    I love my pretty pantyliners and pads and so does my daughter and she soooo prefers them over the Always because they are so much more comfortable and no one at school can hear all the darn plastic in the bathroom and KNOW that she is on her period! Cleaning the pads doesn’t bother her in the least, she knows she’s made the right choice for herself and the environment!

  18. Jules

    Is there a book out there for girls to get to know there bodies that doesn’t suggest maxie pads and tampons only? Maybe something that suggests cloth pads as a choice, herbs for taking care of the body, shave or not to shave, great pictures….There has got to be one out there. Please

    • Lauren Wayne  

      Reaching for the Moon, by Lucy Pearce, is a great one that’s open and honest about the different options out there, including an encouragement toward reusable options. It also includes a section on herbal remedies. I don’t think it has pictures, and it doesn’t say anything about shaving, but it doesn’t suggest it’s necessary, either, just mentions in a positive way the new hairs that will grow on the pubescent body. Overall, it’s very centering and natural. I think you’d like it! She has another book, Moon Time, aimed at adults.

  19. Rebecka

    I have Lunette period cup and that is absolutely amazing! Its made in Finland, so I feel safe that the silicone is properly made. As a supliment to that I have clothpads that I’m wearing the first day of my period(just to be sure, I leaks a litte little little bit) My clothpads I’ve bought from http://www.clothcycle.com.au/ (Dicount code: http://couponfollow.com/site/clothcycle.com). They are amazing and distribute pads to girls, ages 10-19, who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds in India.

  20. Maggie  

    Wow, who knew there would be so many different options? Its amazing that we have come this far and I myself have converted and would never go. Great post and very informative!

Leave a Comment

Send me an email when additional comments are made on this post.

All comments are subject to moderation, please see the comment policy for more information.