Safe Alternatives to Toxic Feminine Hygiene Products

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist June 24, 2013

tampaxApproximately 43 million women in the United States use tampons. Millions more use sanitary napkins. These feminine hygiene products are usually made of cotton or a blend of cotton and rayon for absorbency. Rayon is a cellulose fiber made from wood pulp.

Until the late 1990s, the cotton and/or rayon used to make the tampons were bleached with elemental chlorine gas which was known to leave dioxin residues. Dioxin is a pervasive environmental contaminant and a known human carcinogen. It accumulates in body fat over time with repeated exposure.

The use of these dioxin laced fibers in the manufacture of disposable feminine hygiene products caused millions of women and girls to unwittingly allow carcinogenic toxins to come into contact with the thin and delicate tissues of their female reproductive organs, month after month, year after year.

In response to fears of dioxin residues in feminine hygiene products, bleaching with elemental chlorine gas is no longer used. According to the FDA, sanitary products are now bleached via one of the following methods:

  • Elemental chlorine-free bleaching These methods include the use of chlorine dioxide gas as the bleaching agent as well as totally chlorine-free processes. Some elemental chlorine-free bleaching processes can still generate dioxins at extremely low levels.   In practice, however, this method is considered to be dioxin free by the FDA.
  • Totally chlorine-free bleaching These methods are completely dioxin-free. Totally chlorine-free methods include, for example, use of hydrogen peroxide as the bleaching agent.

Is the dioxin really and truly gone with these new bleaching methods?  The FDA reports that dioxin can “theoretically” be created with chlorine free bleaching.  In practice, however, it appears dioxin is still very much present. A study sponsored by the FDA Office of Women’s Health published in 2005, found “detectable levels of dioxin in seven brands of tampons,” including at least one 100 percent cotton brand.

Dioxin Exposure Directly Correlated with Development of Endometriosis

Endometriosis was found to be directly correlated with dioxin exposure in a colony of rhesus monkeys chronically exposed to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD or dioxin) for a period of 4 years. Ten years after termination of dioxin treatment, the presence of endometriosis was documented by surgical laparoscopy.

With endometriosis rates soaring in young women, one has to wonder if chronic exposure to low levels of dioxin residues from sanitary products could partly be to blame?

Chlorine Dioxide is a Pesticide

Even if dioxin is mostly gone using these newer bleaching methods, another problem emerges in the manufacturing process for tampons and sanitary napkins.

While totally chlorine-free bleaching with oxygen or hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) appears safe, the use of chlorine dioxide is likely not. While chlorine dioxide smells somewhat like chlorine bleach, it should not be confused with elemental chlorine gas.  They are two distinct chemicals that react differently and produce by-products that have little in common.

Chlorine dioxide is an antimicrobial pesticide that has been used for its disinfectant properties since the early 1900s. Microbes are killed by chlorine dioxide via disruption of nutrients across the cell wall.

Chlorine dioxide was one of the pesticides used as part of the federal decontamination response to the anthrax spore bioterrorism attacks of October 2001.

So, while dioxin residue may potentially no longer be a problem for sanitary products, pesticide residues are.

One problem replaced with another as is frequently the case with industrially manufactured products!

Is exposure to chlorine dioxide residue dangerous?

No one knows for sure.  While chlorine dioxide itself is toxic, the effects of long term, low level exposure such as would occur for women and girls using conventional sanitary products several days each month for decades on end is unknown.  According to a 2002 World Health Organization report on long term exposure to chlorine dioxide:

“There are no chronic inhalation or dermal studies available and no conventional carcinogenicity studies are available”.

Cotton: The Most Highly Sprayed Crop of All

Besides the concern for chlorine dioxide residue, commercial sanitary products made with cotton or a cotton/rayon blend would contain other pesticide residues from the cultivation of the cotton itself.

According to the Pesticide Action Network:

Conventionally grown cotton uses more insecticides than any other single crop. Nearly $2.6 billion worth of pesticides are sprayed on cotton fields each year – accounting for more than 10% of total pesticide use and nearly 25% of insecticides use worldwide.”

Unlike cotton clothing that can be washed before coming into contact with the skin, feminine hygiene products are used right out of the package, immediately coming in contact with delicate and thin tissues of the female reproductive system.

Between the bleaching process and pesticide laced cotton cultivation practices, disposable feminine hygiene products like sanitary pads and tampons are likely some of the most toxic personal care items women and girls use on a regular basis.

Rumor Control: Asbestos in Tampons?

Internet rumors in recent months have claimed that there is asbestos in commercial tampons. These claims suggest that asbestos is purposefully added to tampons by manufacturers to promote excess bleeding and hence, sell more product and increase profits.

You will be relieved to know that testing of commercial tampons has not indicated this to be true. According to a FDA report:

“Asbestos is not an ingredient in any U.S. brand of tampon, nor is it associated with the fibers used in making tampons. Moreover, tampon manufacturing sites are subject to inspection by FDA to assure that good manufacturing practices are being followed. Therefore, these inspections would likely identify any procedures that would expose tampons products to asbestos. If any tampon product was contaminated with asbestos, it would be as a result of tampering, which is a crime. Thus far, FDA has received no reports of tampering. Anyone having knowledge of tampon tampering is urged to notify FDA or a law enforcement officer.”

Safe, Green Choices to Toxic Feminine Hygiene Products

Safe, effective, convenient natural gum rubber menstrual cupsThe data is ominous regarding the health and safety of repeated use and exposure to commercially produced feminine hygiene products like tampons and sanitary napkins. Pesticide and dioxin residues are a very clear and present danger to the health of women of all ages and these products should be avoided if at all possible.

For women and mothers of newly pubescent girls who wish to choose a safer route, fortunately many options are available.

First of all, organic feminine hygiene products could be used. While these products may avoid the pesticide residues from commercially grown cotton and the chlorine dioxide gas used in bleaching, other problems emerge with disposal.

The book Flow: The Cultural History of Menstruation, estimates that the average woman throws away up to 300 pounds of feminine hygiene related products in a lifetime.  While this may not be huge (.5% of personal landfill waste), considering the astronomical amount of garbage produced, it all ads up particularly when there are greener options available.

One option for safe and reusable sanitary items would be organic, cloth pads made with cotton, hemp or even bamboo.  For heavier days or when water sports or other sports related activities are involved, however, pads just don’t cut it.

For active women and girls, a reusable menstrual cup made with natural, nontoxic materials like gum rubber is an excellent choice. A good quality cup will set you back about $30 upfront, but you will likely never have to buy another one and will save hundreds in the coming years compared with purchasing disposable organic sanitary tampons.

Menstrual cups are easy to use and in most cases, you don’t even need a pad when wearing one. The female scientists in the Biosphere 2 used menstrual cups as their sole form of feminine protection.  Just be sure to get the correct size: one size for girls and women who have not given birth and one for women who have.

There is no doubt that ditching commercial feminine hygiene products is one of the smartest personal care changes a women can make to assure her current and ongoing reproductive health.  Choosing organic disposable products or even better, a reusable, natural materials menstrual cup that is safe, convenient, effective, easy to use and good for the planet is a wise practice not just for ourselves but for our developmentally vulnerable young daughters as well.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Sources:

World Health Organization, Chlorine Dioxide

Anthrax spore decontamination using chlorine dioxide

Dioxin Facts

Tampons and Asbestos, Dioxin, & Toxic Shock Syndrome

Pesticide Action Network: Cotton

Endometriosis in rhesus monkeys following chronic exposure to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin

Biosphere 2

 

Comments (138)

  1. I used a menstrual cup for many years and loved it! Unfortunately, after my fourth baby and in my forties, it wouldn’t stay in like it was supposed to and the end would slip out, making it very uncomfortable. I wound up switching to a large size sea sponge, and it’s perfect! It expands to fit as needed and it never slips.

    Reply
  2. Gidget Blunt via Facebook September 5, 2014 at 6:49 am

    Could never get it positioned properly and would shift while running. On the heavy days it would fill completely up in an hour. Cloth pads are not nearly absorbent enough either. If I could find an alternative that actually works I would love it.

    Reply
  3. Desiree Lopez via Facebook September 3, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    I love my Diva Cup!! It does have a rather steep learning curve but after the first couple cycles, it is super easy and convenient. I’ve had mine for 3 years and I’ll NEVER go back to pads or tampons!

    Reply
  4. April O'Meara via Facebook September 3, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    Good evening all! I am posting in search of items for the auction for my daughter’s school. The auction is being held on November 1st so if you have any items, talents or services that you are willing and able to donate we’d certainly appreciate it! I can come pick up smaller items if needed! Blessings!

    Reply
  5. Kaylin VanderHart Brinckley via Facebook February 28, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Love love my diva!!! I will never go back. Give it a couple months trial before you give up on it though!

    Reply
  6. Kathryn Bernstein via Facebook February 28, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    I worry about divacup causing backflow and endometriosis. It just doesn’t seem natural to be letting the blood collect inside of you…

    Reply
  7. Susanna Martin via Facebook February 28, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Audrey Meldrum I don’t think there is a ‘best’ one. Different women prefer different cups. My advice would be to google some reviews and see which one would work best for you. :-) That being said, I have given birth vaginally twice and I love my Lunette size 2 cup. No leaking unless I wait rediculously long between emptying it.

    Reply
  8. Laura Pinckney Kasko via Facebook February 28, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    I had a hard time at first using the cup, but once I got used to it, it was amazing! When I was flowing heavily (I am now done with periods, thank goodness!), I also used a cloth pad on my underwear. Just don’t be too far from a restroom when it needs to be changed! In public I would empty it into the toilet, replace it, wipe my hands with toilet paper, and then leave the stall to wash my hands as usual. Very little fuss, and such a healthy, economical, and ecological alternative!

    Reply
  9. Geertje van der Burgh via Facebook February 28, 2014 at 11:45 am

    I had a silicone one, but it kept getting messy. Blood all over the place, while wearing it and while removing it. Ended up throwing it out and going back to tampons. Did I do something wrong?

    Reply
  10. Belinda B. Popovich via Facebook February 28, 2014 at 11:28 am

    I use both Diva and Moon cup, both silicon and pretty flexible. Diva holds more then Moon and I learned that if my cervix is in the lower position (since it moves) I cut my Moon cup to have a shorter stem to fit right during those times. I love mine a lot and not as scary as I had originally thought. I’m 31 but I read somewhere to switch size at 30 so I did.

    Reply
  11. Rachel Worthington via Facebook February 28, 2014 at 11:22 am

    And for those of us squeamish about a huge suction cup, there’s the super-comfy, all-natural, customizable sponge! (Jade & Pearl makes one!)

    Reply
  12. Cheyenne Lachele Kelly via Facebook February 28, 2014 at 11:01 am

    I actually get the softcup and reuse it, even though it says not to. It’s similar to a cervical cap, but it was a lot easier to use than the Keeper. I may be trying the Diva Cup next though, because it sounds less stiff than the Keeper.

    Reply
  13. Lindsey Swanstrom via Facebook February 28, 2014 at 11:00 am

    Sarah Gibbs, I think the rule of thumb is that if you’re over 35 and haven’t had a vaginal delivery you order the larger size. I have the diva cup, silicone version, and it’s a bit if a learning curve but great to not have to use stinky pads and toxic tampons

    Reply
  14. Judit Settel Sohr via Facebook February 28, 2014 at 10:47 am

    Could you address the difference between the silicon cups and the rubber one in this post. I read the silicone does not leach out. Just wondering. Thanks.

    Reply
  15. Before I switched to using menstrual cups and reusable pads, I always had issues with excess bacteria. I always had a horrible smell, discharge, the whole nine yards. My mom told me it was normal, doctors alway assumed it was an STD even though all the tests were negative. I just assumed that would be my life until menopause.
    I can’t remember who told me about reusables, but I gave it a shot. I am now 3 months in, and the excess bacteria issues haven’t happened! I couldn’t believe the difference, but after reading about the chemicals found in tampons, I am not surprised anymore :)
    I have discovered that I do have a high cervix, so the Diva Cup was too short for me. I’m thinking of going to a moon cup next. Does anyone have a suggestion for a longer menstrual cup?

    Reply
  16. Kerry Denise Madewell Holloway via Facebook February 28, 2014 at 10:43 am

    make my own fem pads they are soft and absorbent eco friendly, since having surgery for cervical cancer I am careful to what goes near my personal garden!

    Reply
  17. Samantha Harris via Facebook February 28, 2014 at 10:40 am

    I love using cloth pads. I have been doing so for over a year and cannot imagine going back. (I had also used sea sponges as a back-up; they were very comfortable, but I prefer not having to go the ‘internal’ route). It is amazing how much different your period can be (and how much more comfortable you can be) when you make the switch. I’ll never go back!

    Reply
  18. Sarah Crandall via Facebook February 28, 2014 at 10:39 am

    I know it’s better, but I’m still terrified to try it. Silly, I know. Working up the courage to try it over the summer when I’ll have more time for a learning curve.

    Reply
  19. Cathi Foster via Facebook February 28, 2014 at 10:38 am

    I LOVE MY CUP!!!!!! I tried getting my daughters to use it but they are still uncomfortable with it (they are 16), I will keep trying.

    Reply
  20. Lyssa Hanson via Facebook February 28, 2014 at 10:37 am

    I’ve just started my reusable feminine product collection. Never looking back!! There is a very noticeable that makes me feel cleaner and healthier.

    Reply
  21. Sarah,

    I was wondering why you suggest the Keeper cup as opposed to the other menstrual cups made of silicone? I purchased a Keeper cup but am having trouble inserting it, and since it seems more stiff than the others I am considering trying a different one, but wanted to know your opinion on the silicone and if it would be better to try to stick with the Keeper cup?

    Reply
      • Can you tell me more about why the gum rubber is preferential to silicone? Is using a silicone menstrual cup similar to using plastic? Any information you could give me on what about the silicone you dislike (particularly for this use)/why you prefer the gum rubber would be very appreciated!

        Reply
  22. How is Chlorine dioxide a pesticide if it relieves my menstrual cramps 100% when I take it as MMS with no negative side effects?????? I have used it for many other things and it works extremely well with no ill health effects!!!

    Reply
    • Oh!!! I’ve also used it on some really nasty spiders bites my cat had on her paws and it healed them up beautifully!!!!! She also stopped fighting me when I started using it. I think there’s A LOT of underhanded business going on criminalizing what I believe is likely a real miracle!!! I’ve been using this stuff for months now and have not suffered ANY symptoms of dioxin poisoning or any other ill health effects! In fact I feel better when I take it!! I’ve been told I’m healthy & clean after having my blood and urine tested for toxins immediately after taking MMS and having used it for months!! I think the facts about chlorine dioxide aka mms are getting really twisted probably because it’s extremely cheap and easy to make at home and can be used to treat just about anything!!!

      Reply
      • Well, I guess you can call it a pesticide that only destroys foreign microbes, heavy metals and particles that have no place in a functioning system. This is what I believe.

        Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist July 12, 2013 at 3:49 pm

      Please link over to the sources for more information about chlorine dioxide.

      Chlorine dioxide was used for anthrax spore decontamination .. it very effectively kills microorganisms and would not be a good idea to have in contact with the delicate tissues of a woman’s reproductive system .. beneficial microbes which keep pathogens and yeasts in check could be negatively affected which would disrupt the ph balance of the tissues and potentially cause susceptibility to infections.

      Reply
      • Yes, just like water, chlorine dioxide can stifle cells if you take too much of it at once but that doesn’t mean that it will harm you or be helpless at more appropriate doses. I read of an incriminating study of chlorine dioxide done on rats and the doses given to them were equivalent to about a gallon to a human! The numbers used to describe doses were in complicated math. Chlorine dioxide takes the place of oxygen until it is used. A single dose of mms is about 1-3 drops for a human and in those studies those rats were given about the same amount and more to come up with their conclusions. 50 mg’s is equivalent to 1 drop. Seems fishy to me!!!

        Also, I have used mms on many parts of me and only one time I experienced a mild burning sensation at an infection site which I felt was pleasant and found the growth had lessened the next day with no other negative reactions or feelings. In my experience chlorine dioxide has proved immensely useful and valuable as long as I don’t overdo it.

        Reply
          • I think you might want to read this article again. Sarah has raised some questions and concern regarding the lack of testing regarding chlorine dioxide, and points out what it is effectively used for. She does not talk about ingesting it (and a cursory glance at the link you provided indicates that it is in a different structure to the pure, concentrated chlorine dioxide that sarah it talking about anyway) she is talking about putting it against a mucous membrane. You are comparing apples to oranges. Apple juice may be awesome to drink, but you wouldn’t inject it into your blood!

            Also, that wasn’t even the main point of the article, or Sarah’s main concern regarding commercial menstrual products!

            Not everything you read is attacking you or the things you care about. It’s ok.

          • Yea, I was only talking about Chlorine dioxide which is the same chlorine dioxide she’s talking about. I was just pointing out that chlorine dioxide is being unfairly criminalized is all.

  23. I’ve just turned 30 and have just started using a menstrual cup (Lunette brand.) I’m so grateful for the information, that had been posted by Paleo Parents, about the menstrual cup. I have had my Lunette for 4 cycles and will never ever go back to any tampon, PERIOD ;) It is so easy, quick and I don’t have “empty” the cup as often as I’ve had to “change” a tampon. I have always had heavy periods and I was concerned about leaking but I have no issues at all. Also, always had long periods (7-10 days!!) but wearing the cup shortens the time by 1-2 days. http://www.lunette.com/

    Reply
  24. Might a problem with recurring yeast infections be an issue with menstrual cups and sea sponges? If one had a YI when the flow started, for example. Does that make sense?

    Reply
  25. What can you use when you have days you literally cannot leave the house and have to change every 30 minutes? The cups are GROSS for that!

    Reply
    • Shannon,
      This is off topic, but related to your post. In my 40s, my periods became more and more heavy, finally becoming so heavy I, literally, could not make it out of the bathroom before “flooding”, even with double protection, and my periods started lasting a very long time. After 3/4 of a year of frustration, I had a 4 month, continuous heavy period. One conventional ob/gyn called it normal, another wanted to pretty much cut everything out. I finally contacted our more naturally oriented doctor (affiliated with WAPF) who immediately stated that I was estrogen dominant and called in a prescription for bio-identical Progesterone from the International Women’s Pharmacy. Within 3 days of taking the capsules, my long and extremely heavy period stopped and I’ve never had one of that unusual length again. The very heavy flow was back to normal again the next month. I finally had my life back. I encourage you to talk with a truly educated doctor (not easy to find) and, possibly, to get your hormone levels checked.

      Reply
  26. I’ve been using the Diva cup, bought from http://www.iherb.com.
    New customers can get USD10 off by using the coupon code HEN293. Feels comfy, doesn’t leak at all but took me a while to get the hang of it.

    Reply
  27. I love my Diva Cup. I’ve had it for three years, and it’s probably one of the best things to have happened to me. My period barely even registers on my list of concerns thanks to it. This can be a slight problem, as I’ve pretty much forgotten I’ve been on my period/wearing my cup more than once. This typically leads to me accidentally leaving it in for longer than 12 hours, however there are no ill effects. Try that with a tampon!

    Reply
  28. When you get your kit, there will be extensive instructions on how to use them. When I use mine, I insert the sponge just so the whole sponge is inside the vaginal opening (no sponge outside) Sorry for the graphics. No need to push it back any further as it will spread out and fill any extra space.

    Reply
    • @ Jennifer, thank you for answering my question. Don’t be “sorry for the graphics” , lol, you explained it perfectly, I know exactly what to do…well done :) I think I bought just the 3 sponges of various size from Amazon/Jade and Pearl. You have given wonderful advice all through this discussion thread and I super appreciate it. :)

      Reply
  29. Thank you for this post, and thanks to all you ladies for your informative comments! This has come at a perfect time for me, because I have been considering a switch from conventional sanitary products to natural, reusable products. I’m going over to Amazon to buy them right now! :-)

    Reply
  30. To use the sea sponges, rinse them really well when you first get them. But for use during your cycle, just wet with warm water, squeeze all the water you can out, then while it is balled up, gently insert. It will expand to your body. I rarely use a pad underneath, but when I first started using the sponges I was unsure of how absorbent they would be. So, wear a light cloth pad until you understand how absorbent they are. When the sponge is full, you gently and slowly pull the sponge out, rinse it out (squeezing it out under water) and put it back in. At the end of the day, I let mine sit in warm water with a few drops of tea tree oil. You could also your hydrogen peroxide. Then I rinse, squeeze and let it dry over night.

    Reply
  31. I made some out of flennel when making baby diapers. use them some but not for heavey days. I was thinking that towel fabric that is 5 or more time asobnate would be good inside of the pull on bottom and flennel on top. have to find it tho to be able to make it.

    Reply
  32. I use cotton cloths as menstrual napkins, so problem solved for me.

    My question is: what are in baby diapers? I bought many cloth diapers for my baby but they were only useful for 2 months or so… then, they started leaking. I try to use them every now and then and they leak. So, I have to use store bought baby diapers. Does anyone have a solution for this?

    Reply
    • Most commercial baby diapers have polyester linings which, of course, do not actually absorb fluids, but rather trap them. Most of our babies were in cloth diapers which i either made from cotton flannel with terry lining made from old towels; or good quality cotton or hemp diapers which I purchased from sites such as Eco Baby or… gee, it’s been 4 years since I’ve had one in diapers and now I don’t remember where else! But there are a lot of resources online for very good quality diapering supplies. Most of ours were the fitted kind with either velcro or snap closures.
      The liners I later used for my own personal needs, including for menstruation. They are rather handy to keep in my nightstand !-)

      Reply
  33. I have extremely heavy periods one day of my cycle (used to be for 10 days straight – things are getting WAY better with acupuncture) and the only way I survive is with my Diva cup, which I still empty every hour or two that day. I hated it at first, but found when I trimmed the stem off of it I had no problems. The base of the cup itself is enough for me to grab without needing the stem. If anyone has tried a cup and had issues, this may help? I’ve never had kids, but use the larger sized Diva cup…

    Reply
  34. I thought it was rather peculiar that Glad Rags the Keeper A and Moon cup size B reviews on Amazon are identical?!

    Reply
  35. I used tampons prior to child birth but have not been able to after childbirth, because the bloodflow leaks around the tampon. I am wondering if any of you have had the same experience but have had success with the Diva Cup or similar item. Also, my cervix is tilted – anyone know if this would be an issue. Also, I am germophobic and can’t imagine emptying anywhere but home but guess I could skip the Diva Cup on those days. Is the cup much messier to change compared to a tampon? I don’t like the thought of having messy hands.

    Reply
  36. You will notice that their texture will change (tougher) and that their absorbency will decline at around 6 months.

    Reply
    • @ Jennifer, Thank you, that is good to know :) I placed my order today and as strange as it sounds, am actually looking forward to mother nature so I can try them out. That’s weird, huh :)

      Reply
  37. You will be surprised at how large, large is. Just remember that they squeeze down very small for easy insertion after you wet them with warm water. I like to get the multi-size for different flow days. You can also use more than one for really heavy days. I always hated tampons because they hurt (insertion and extraction) but no such issues with my sponges despite the sponge size.

    Reply
    • @ Jennifer, Great idea, I’ll buy the multi-size! I love the idea that I can use more than one for crazy flow days. Once again, thank you, thank you :)

      Reply
    • @ Jennifer, How do you know when it is time to replace the sea sponges with new ones? I see in advertisements that they can last up to 6 months. :)?

      Reply
    • I don’t mean to repeat questions but one of them is caught up in moderation…it’s about the replacement….:)

      Reply
    • Jennifer, I have never heard of sea sponges for this. I’m assuming you squeeze them small and insert, and then… any leaking? do you have to wear a pad too?

      Reply
  38. I would not buy sea sponges from the art or hobby store. You will have no idea how those sponges were processed (were they bleached or soaked in some harmful chemicals to be cleaned? how would that be different from regular tampons?). I agree the price may be a shocker for some, but just be careful if you decide to buy “sea sponges” that are not sold specifically for your delicate private parts. Also, remember that you can use them for multiple months (you would spend more on regular tampons). The sea sponge tampons that I have used have all be super squishy and super soft (not scratchy in any way). Softer sponges are selected for this purpose. These sponges are actual sponges from salt water bodies not man-made, so no worries about petroleum.

    Reply
    • @ Jennifer :)
      Thank you, that was extremely helpful :) I guess perhaps size L would be best to start out with because it can be trimmed? I think I’ll get some today :)

      Reply
  39. To be honest I find even tampons difficult to use and have only used them when desperate (swimming lesson when I was a teen for example) so I honestly think I’d massively struggle with enen a small cup (I have 3 kids but they were all C section babies). Instead I have been using cloth pads. I find them okay but they do tend to leak ( at least the ones I’ve got), but still they are a more environmentally friendly option than disposables (however if I was staying away I’d probably use disposables for convenience).

    Reply
  40. *On the sponges*-please not that you do not have to pay $28+/- to buy sponges. These are exactly the same as the sponges I use for my artwork, and can be purchased at an arts and crafts store for about $3 for a pack of 3, or $5 for a larger pack. Don’t fall for the scam of them being “special”. As long as you rinse them well, they will be fine.

    Reply
  41. I bought a Diva cup as well as natural panty liners and they just arrived in the mail last week so I haven’t tried the Diva but did try the panty liners. I don’t think I’ll ever like the “Nutracare” natural liners as much as I like “Always” conventional liners but I don’t like the idea of cancer either, so, there it is :) I just never really gave much thought to tampons, pads and liners. It’s just been the last few years that it occurred to me that we really live in a toxic environment. Changing over to safer (non-toxic) methods for sanitary needs is another steps towards cleaning up my personal environment (preceded by change in diet household and personal care products). I think I was dragging my feet on this change because I’m 53 and thinking menopause is just around the corner for me. Even so, I’ve decided that I’ve had enough chemicals and late is better than never (and the potential consequences). Anyway, as weird as I’ve heard Menopause symptoms can be, the CUP might ease this transition. :)

    Reply
  42. I couldn’t agree more! Been using the Lunette menstrual cup for almost 5 years now and love it! Every month, I think about all of the tampons and pads that I would be throwing in a landfill without this device. As well as the freedom from toxins by using a medical grade silicone product!

    Reply
  43. I love my Diva cup. I got it almost a year ago. I have to watch to make sure I empty it on my heaviest days as I have clots and sometimes they overflow the cup. Otherwise, it’s great! When I’m at work, I usually just empty it and re-insert but sometimes I do wash it out in the restroom (just make sure noone is there). It’s very comfortable – I often forget I have it in! I have not noticed any difference in my cramps whether I had tampons, pads or the cup.

    Reply
  44. Before menopause I used a mooncup and got on well with it. But – if you ever get cystitis the cup may become infected and boiling it will not sterilise it (I got re-infected because of this). I fear I don’t know what would sterilise it – but do be careful if you do have a urinary tract infection. I eventually cured the infection with large amounts of D-Mannose (expensive but safe and effective) but then hit menopause, so I never got round to finding out what would have killed that bug.

    Reply
  45. I use Glad Rags while home. They pay for themselves in about 4 cycles.
    I tried the Diva cup and no matter what I did it would work itself out to the point I’d
    Have to remove it. I tried over and over to no avail. To bad it did not work for me.

    Reply
  46. Glad to see the post. I was thinking of trying it because I am tired of the money thrown away on pads and tampons. Also I had no idea of the health risks, so thats just another nudge to make the switch. I am concerned because I tend to have cramps with tampons and I’m wondering if I will have the same problem with the diva or k cup. Anyone with experience have any suggestions?

    Reply
  47. Love it!! Especially if your a back packer!!! I have used one for over 15 years and already bought one for my daughter when her season comes. Incidentally I have never replaced my original rubber cup. My tricks are PRACTICE, you’ll be able to feel when you have just the right suction to seal and catch. Also always break the seal before removing, kind of like when your nurser falls asleep and you need to detach, don’t just pull it out, release the seal by pressing in on the side and then it will come out easily and comfortably. I also use some organic washable pads at night in case I over sleep. Give it a try I have never looked back.

    Reply
  48. Thanks Sarah! I switched to natural organic ones last year. I can’t believe I didn’t switch sooner!

    I have a question for anyone with experience with theses cups. How would this work in an office setting or in a public bathroom? I can see this working at home in a private bathroom since you have to empty it several times a day. But in a public bathroom? How would you get around people seeing you washing it out?

    I tried the Softcup a couple years ago when I still had heavy bleeding and it actually leaked a couple times! Also, it was painful to remove. Does anyone have experience with the rubber one Sarah shared? Thanks for the help!
    Sarah @ Politically Incorrect Health\’s last post: Calamari with Garlic Aioli Sauce

    Reply
    • I have a pretty average flow, so I only empty in the morning and evening. On my heaviest day, I might add another 1-2 empties. There is no risk of TSS, and the cup catches much more than you might think. If you find that you must empty it more often, try to find a handicap stall (with sink inside). I have heard of people taking a water bottle into the stall to rinse also, but I like to wash my hands before and after inserting the cup.

      Reply
    • I have the Diva cup and, generally, don’t have to empty mine but once in the morning and once at night (you can leave it in for 12 hours). I have emptied it in a public restroom. You just empty it in the toilet, wipe it out with toilet paper, and re-insert it. It’s recommended you wash it once a day not necessarily every time you take it out. I had a roommate that used the Softcup. To me those seemed a little more involved because of where you have to place them. I LOVE love love my Diva cup. I have been using it for a little over a year and wouldn’t go back to using tampons at all. =)

      Reply
  49. I LOVE the sea sponge above every other product I have ever used, I am forty years old.
    You can buy the sponges online. They are called Sea Pearls and cost about $25 for three. They last for month and all you have to do is rinse them with water during and soak them in tee tree oil, colloidal silver or hydrogen peroxide when you are done. I started buying the whole sponge from a reputable source so I can cut it to my size. I love using the sponges, because they are natural and rumor has it that they were even used by Cleopatra.
    I must say that I have never gone swimming with them, therefore I can not comment on that. Reviewers say though that the sponges can be used for watersport too.

    Reply
      • Please take note-these sponges being sold for this purpose are a racket!!! Go to the local Hobby Lobby or Michaels and buy *exactly* the same thing, for about $3. You can even buy a larger pack for less!

        Reply
  50. I bought the Lunette cup just a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, I can’t get it to work. I am a 44 yr old virgin and it seems too wide to insert as directed. It seems a waste not to be able to use it. I am chemical sensitive and working to green up my entire life, including making my own toxin free products. Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?

    Reply
  51. I have a cup and I only use it during swimming in the summer. It is very uncomfortable for me. I know I am putting it in right but if I am feeling even slightly gassy or having cramps even moderate ones the cup really irritates me. It feels like it takes up too much space! I have birthed 3 children and have no doubts there is plenty of space lol. I’m a bit on the sensitive side though. And I still much prefer to use this when taking the kids swimming then using a tampon even for a short amount of time.
    LeaG\’s last post: The Creek

    Reply
    • I had a similar problem with mine when I first started. But I was just not putting it in right. I was not giving up though. I kept trying, give up, try again, give up. My cycles are only 3-4 days so I didn’t have a lot of time to really focus on making it work. Finally one cycle I was determined for it to work. Spent a lot of time changing angles and distance in and finally found the sweet spot. I would never go back!

      Reply
    • Lea, you may need a smaller size. Also, if you are eating right and staying away from coffee and chocolate, your cramps should be minimal to non-existant. It is exceedingly rare for my daughters or I to have cramps, but when we do it is without fail traceable to drinking coffee frequently in the days or weeks before.

      Reply
  52. I personally have used sea sponges for the last two years and I prefer them above all other options. I made myself cloth pads for a night, but during the day…I rely on my “sea pearls”. They are super soft and easy to clean. You can also get different size sponges for different flow days. You can use them up to 6 months if you clean and store them properly. I love them. I included a link for the started kit.

    http://www.amazon.com/Pearls-Sponge-Tampons-Pearl-Deluxe/dp/B000WS16MQ/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1372084911&sr=8-5&keywords=sea+pearls+sea+sponge+tampons

    Reply
    • I’ve bought sea sponges way back for makeup application &/or art work and they were really scratchy. I see you wrote “super soft” as in squishy ? Are they scratchy though? I would like to try these just incase I don’t like the Diva cup I bought or for lighter days perhaps. I love all these suggested alternatives…I’ve always hated peeing on that tampon string, lol another benefit of loosing the tampons :)

      Reply
  53. This info is so important these days!

    I made the switch over to 100% organic cotton tampons and re-usable pads and period panties several years ago. It’s saved us so much money and spared me so many more nasty chemicals. It’s absolutely APPALLING to think about how many nasties have been absorbed through my vaginal walls. And I shutter to think about the women I know who continue to allow this to happen in their own bodies.

    SHARING ARTICLE IN LOVE!!! <3

    Reply
  54. My only concern would be with using this on my young daughters. It this not difficult for young girls who have never been sexually active? It seems like it would be rather difficult for them to comfortably use and not pose problems with the hymen.

    Reply
    • I know an organic sanitary napkin which doesn’t cause a disposal problem,it has a lot of benefits for the body not only for girls but for others who are experiencing u.t.i.,dysmenorrhea,insomnia and prevents cervical and prostate cancer by detoxifying and regulating your blood flow. If you guys wanna get help,Contact me: 09066353244

      Reply
  55. I was given the Diva Cup by someone who loves me, and even at my “advanced” stage (in menopause now”, I will not be without it until I am done, and have recommended it to my daughters and anyone with whom I can (tactfully) have the conversation. It is soooo comfortable and easy!!! It does not leak, does not cause discomfort, and is relatively un-messy to use. I love that I can have my period without being totally messy every time, and this is more important than ever when at this point in time a period can last for 10 days or more!
    Ladies, don’t just think about getting one, buy the cup and give it a try!
    One silly, embarrassing warning, don’t insert the cup too far inside or you will find yourself lying on your back with your husband helping you to retrieve it !-))

    Reply
      • I got the Diva cup too and find it uncomfortable. It seems to press on my bladder. Anyone else have this problem? I got the one for use after giving birth but maybe I need a smaller size? Anyone use a sponge, if so how do you like it?

        Reply

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