Saturday, August 28, 2010

Products I Like: Feminine Hygiene

Needless to say, I won't be plastering this post all over facebook.  If you're a guy and the title didn't scare you silly, I recommend you quit while you're ahead.  Nonetheless, as a woman, menstruation is something we have to deal with.  Regularly.  There are about 85 million menstruating women in the US, each of whom will use approx. 17,000 disposable products in her lifetime.  Each of those products is chemical-ridden, wrapped in plastic, and, in the case of tampons, comes with an applicator as well.  Holy garbage!  Not to mention that, when disposed of "properly", they fill our landfills with bio-waste, and, when flushed, clog drains and septic systems.  75% of all blocked drains are caused by flushing sanitary products. 
I've always been a tampon girl and *sheepish admittance* have always been a flusher (sorry about the pipes, mom!) .  I was just so grossed out by the alternative, it was bad enough to have the applicator & wrapper in the trash, having to cover it up like my mother taught me to ( I stopped doing that at home pretty quickly, it seemed silly).  Like so many things in my life lately though, they had to go.   The create a TON of trash, usually contain dioxin and who knows what else (they don't have to tell you) , dry you out, cause TSS, and they're expensive.  
First I looked into sea sponges.  Not my thing.  They're very natural (and historic), but they require a LOT of care and washing, if you choose to install a string it can rip them, and they need to be replaced every 6 months. 
Then I looked into menstrual cups.  They hold the flow in a cup, instead of absorbing it, so there is no risk of TSS and no drying out.  For the same reason, they only need to be changed every 12 hours, except during the heaviest of flows.  You only need one, care is very manageable, and they last up to 10 years.  At $40, it probably will save you around $800 in its lifetime.  This is also an ideal solution if you're going to be backpacking (no garbage to pack out) or traveling in a country where feminine hygiene products are unavailable.   There are a TON of brands out there and they aren't all the same sizes.  There are even websites dedicated to describing the sizes and fits of the different brands.  The one thing they all have in common is that, in the US, they are really only available online.  I went with the Lunette (model 2) because it seemed the most straight-forward, size-wise.  There is definitely a learning curve, so it requires some patience, but on the whole I think it was worth learning to get the hang of.  The #1 lesson I learned from my trial ? MAKE SURE the suction seal has broken before you try to remove it, you'll be glad you did.  (ouch!)
If pads are more your pace, there are a number of quality cloth pad makers, including Glad Rags and PIMPS (Party In My PantS).


  1. great to see this is getting more popular! I've had a 'moon cup' for about 5 years now, it was the only one I could get at the time, but I've had no trouble with it and love the convenience, not having to restock each month, not having to throw away all that rubbish, can't complain at all really :)

  2. Hi, I saw your post linked up at Frugal Kiwi's Patchwork Living Blogging Bee.

    I use a lunette too and think it's fabulous. I posted about it at Craving Fresh a couple of months back but couldn't find a decent picture at the time, so I've borrowed your one from above. I hope that's OK!
    Here's the link to my post on it: