A while back, I posted about how organic cotton tampons can be an easy way to begin your transition toward more sustainable menstrual products. You can further minimize your environmental impact by choosing to go with non-applicator tampons: less waste than applicator tampons!
Natracare is one relatively affordable brand of organic tampons; Seventh Generation is another. It’s easy to find these at many drugstores and online!
But moving on to today’s topic: if you are looking for a reusable internal product, let’s talk about menstrual cups!
The DivaCup is certainly the most popular, most well-known brand here in the US, but there are tons of options to choose from. Menstrual cups are great: they are easy to clean, they last forever (I’ve had mine for nearly a decade now and there’s no sign of wear and tear): plus, best of all: cups hold your menstrual flow, rather than absorb it, so there is no risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome with menstrual cups.
One $25-35 cup could easily cover all of your menstrual product needs for the next decade!
While I admit that changing your cup requires a bit more time and work than changing a tampon (especially while you’re just getting used to it), many folks find they only have to change their cup twice a day! The DivaCup holds more liquid than a Super Plus tampon — without any TSS risk.
So cups require a little more time and care while changing, but you have to change them fewer times per day.
Many folks like that you can use a cup even on a light day, since cups won’t dry you out like tampons do.
To clean, just wash with plain (preferably unscented) soap and water. I use Dr. Bronner’s myself. If it makes you feel better, you can also boil your cup every few months or at the end of each cycle, but there is really no need.
Just be sure to wash your hands before inserting or removing your cup (just as you would before inserting a non-applicator tampon).
Cups are great to travel with because you only have to bring one cup and it’s tiny travel bag.
If you’re interested in trying other cups, I’m a huge fan of the MeLuna cup, made in Germany. Sometimes they’ll even send you a free sample “second quality” cup with your order. I’d recommend starting with a medium classic cup if you have average flow, as the classic style cups pop open easier than the soft cups. You can always graduate to a soft cup or a larger cup once you master the art of cup insertion!
They have seasonal specials, too, which offer you the option of trying two cups at a discounted rate.
I like the MeLuna cups because they are affordable, have fun colors, and have some really great stem options like a ball stem or a ring stem.
One word of caution: please be sure to break the suction before removing your cup, so you don’t hurt yourself or damage your cervix. You can break the suction by sliding your finger up to the top of the cup and inserting your finger above the rim. Alternatively, you could try pinching the cup and listen to see if you hear it release.
Menstrual cups are great for those who prefer internal products like tampons.
I’ll discuss sea sponge tampons in another post, but menstrual cups are by far my favorite internal menstrual product.
PS: Cups are also great for swimming! Just think: no tampon strings hanging out of you to suck up chlorinated water while you’re in the pool.
These 8 inch pads by Pink Lemonade, available on Etsy, are some of my new favorites.
Granted, everyone has different personal tastes, but these pads fit my body just right! Easy to care for with their poly fleece water resistant backing, and they come with a variety of fun top fabrics: minky, bamboo fleece, bamboo velour, hemp, flannel. I highly recommend trying one of these pads if you’re considering making the switch to cloth!
For the record, I highly recommend checking out etsy for cloth pads. Some of my current personal favorite etsy shops to check out: Pink Lemonade, Matersum, Sew Fussy, and Yurtcraft.
I personally never cared for the LunaPads design mentioned below! Party in My Pants make super thin, super cute pads, though I find the nylon can be a little stiff and tends to shift around more than some of my other wool and fleece-backed pads.
Since someone asked where they could get a diva cup I figured I’d write a post on Menstrual Cups and Cloth Pads and tell you a little bit about them and wear to find them.
Menstrual Cups are little silicone cups that you use much like tampons. You insert it into the…
Not my video, but this YouTube review can help guide you in your cloth pad search! This video reviews Go With The Flo pads, which I personally have not tried.
I will say that I prefer natural materials, and these pads fit the bill: they are made with organic cotton, bamboo, and hemp. They also offer the option of either a fleece or wool backing. Some of my favorite cloth options! Adding these pads to my “to try” list.
Check out these beautiful hand-dyed bamboo velour pads now available at the Pink Lemonade Etsy shop!
Bamboo velour is one of my two favorite fabrics for cloth pads. It’s luxuriously soft against your skin, and it absorbs moisture better than cotton!
(Hemp is another one of my favorites: it also absorbs better than cotton.)
These Pink Lemonade pads are lined with WindPro fleece, so they should be leak proof—or at least leak resistant.
Most of my current pads are wool-backed, so this will be my first time trying the WindPro fleece backing.
I highly recommend trying a liner if you’re interested in making the transition to cloth pads. No fuss, no muss: just throw in the laundry with the rest of your clothing. I prefer to wash all of my laundry on cold, to save energy, and my pads come out perfectly clean each time — and they never stain my other clothes.
You can line dry or tumble dry — just make sure not to dry your pads on super high heat!
After decades of sloppy research, bad publicity, lawsuits and widespread fears of health hazards, the intrauterine device is making a major comeback in the United States.
Although the IUD has long been the most popular reversible form of contraception worldwide, use of the device in this country, where oral contraceptives have always been far more popular, has lagged far behind that in other industrialized nations.
Now, according to Dr. David A. Grimes, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, “the IUD is indeed enjoying a well-deserved renaissance.” In an interview with Medscape, a Web site for doctors, he noted that the IUD is increasingly seen as perhaps the safest, most convenient and most effective reversible form of contraception.
The number of women in America now using an IUD has more than tripled since 2002. In the 12 months ending in August 2011, IUDs accounted for 10.4 percent of contraceptives issued by doctors, up from just 1.7 percent in the 12 months ending August 2002, according to data from SDI Health, a health care research firm.
Among contraceptive users in this country, currently about 6 percent have an IUD, a hassle-free device that, like the pill, does not require a woman to do anything to avoid pregnancy at the time of a sexual encounter.
Given that nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, having a contraceptive in place when the mood strikes can reduce unwanted pregnancies and, consequently, the number of abortions. Not only is the IUD more than 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy, but insertion of an IUD soon after a woman has unprotected intercourse is often effective as emergency contraception.
While no method of birth control is foolproof, the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals lists pregnancy rates among IUD users as 1 per 100 users a year at most, compared with about 3 per 100 for the injection of Depo-Provera, about 8 per 100 for the pill and about 15 per 100 for the condom.
Furthermore, IUD use has been found to reduce the risk of developing endometrial cancer. And a new study, published online by The Lancet Oncology in September, strongly suggested that IUD use can protect against cervical cancer as well.
But the lingering effects of a bad rep that IUDs no longer deserve may still be keeping millions of American women from choosing these devices from the cafeteria of contraceptive choices.
Two types of IUDs are available in this country: one, called ParaGard, releases tiny amounts of copper; the other, called Mirena, releases localized amounts of a synthetic hormone, the progestin levonorgestrel. IUDs do not disrupt the menstrual cycle and, unlike the pill, they do not prevent ovulation; rather, they interfere with fertilization and implantation.
With ParaGard, which can remain in place for 10 to 12 years, copper stimulates production of fluid in the woman’s reproductive tract that kills sperm. Should an egg become fertilized, copper-induced changes in the uterus prevent implantation.
Read the full story here.
A lot of people do (no news to us). Some of them started using the hashtag #iusebirthcontrol on Friday as part of a response to news that religious groups are pushing for broader exemptions to the new health reform provision that would make birth control coverage without co-pays mandatory…
Interested in trying alternative menstrual products?
Option 1: Organic, non-applicator tampons
Organic cotton tampons are an easy first step you can take toward reducing your impact on the environment.
Seventh Generation and Natracare both make chlorine free organic tampons.
Try the non-applicator version to further reduce your environmental impact and to get more used to dealing with ladyparts during that time of the month.
That way, you’ll be more comfortable using a menstrual cup if you ever decide to go that route.
Option 2: Menstrual Cups: Hard to go wrong with the Divacup. For about $30, your menstrual needs are covered for the next decade!
Cloth pads are great for days when you don’t want to deal with internal products like tampons or menstrual cups. Easy to clean: just throw in the wash with your regular clothing.