That tampons are made of viscose or rayon or a rayon cotton blend and are bleached with dioxin which MAY or MAY NOT be associated with cancer. When you flush them, they do not biodegrade in the sewers and end up in pipes, latching on to tree roots and ending up in water filtration plants where they are filtered out and shipped to landfills. If you own a home... think about your plumbing costs.
Sanitary napkins or pads are made of polypropylene and plastic coupled with a petroleum based absorbent material which are not biodegradable or compostable. Because of this, they are increasing our contribution to our local landfills.
I've been pondering this for some time... yet haven't actually made any big strides to change this... until now. I found this menstrual cup called the Diva Cup (there are others such as the Mooncup & the Keeper). They are sold at Whole Foods and you can purchase them cheaply online. I got my 1st Diva Cup yesterday and decided to give it a whirl right away.
The Diva Cup is inserted into the cervix during a menstrual cycle and is meant to collect the blood and is then removed, dumped, washed, and reinserted. A single cup can last you the full year decreasing your costs as well as your landfill contribution.
Fear: I was less fearful than actually excited to try my new Diva Cup, but I was also a bit fearful that I'd do it wrong, it would hurt or worse, it would leak! So I actually read all the directions.
Insertion: After washing my hands, reading the directions, and practicing the fold... I went right too it. I got it in on the 1st try, rotated it to get the seal and was fine... but then I realized that the knob on the bottom was a bit too long and needed to be trimmed. It was already in so I said, oh well next time.
The walk: After dinner I decided I wanted to walk to the natural store to pick up some organic ice cream and some natural unscented soap. During the walk I felt a little nervous - what if I did this wrong and leak? I just kept on walking hoping that all would be well once I got home. Once I got home, I immediately checked my underwear... not one leak! I was impressed.
Removal: After a few more hours I decided it was time to empty it. Though it recommends 2-3 times daily, I read a few reviews that said they were extra heavy and had to empty it more often. The removal was easy, I rotated the cup with ease and carefully pulled it out... at which point I yelled for Paul to come and look (we are pretty gross and both agreed that we wanted to see it, but that it was gross). The cup was 1/2 full! Told you I was heavy!
Washing: I emptied the cup in the toilet an then rinsed the cup with warm water. The Diva Cup website as well as Whole Foods sells a wash for the Diva Cup, but it also says that a mild unscented non-antibacterial soap will due. All my soaps were scented hence my trip to the natural store where I purchased Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap - Baby Mild Organic and Unscented Bar Soap. I love Dr. Bronner's soaps... they are USDA certified organic and smell great (at least some of them do). I washed my Diva Cup with some soap, rinsed it, (and cut a tip of the knob off) and reinserted.
Overnight: I was nervous about leakage over night, so I wore a "just in case pad" that I had.
Once I woke up I had a bit of a hard time removing the cup. The seal was stronger than the night before. I attempted to rotate the cup as directed, but I was unable to. At which point I used my finger while relaxing my cervix to fold the cup slightly and break the seal. At this point the cup was easily removed and I was shocked to see how little blood I'd removed. When I'd used pads or tampons in the past, it seemed so heavy, but now that I actually see wants coming out of my body rather than expanded rayon and cotton, I realize that it's really not that bad.
Today: Today will be my 1st FULL day of using the Diva Cup. After my shower I reinserted the cup and went about my normal morning routine. I did put a panty liner on just in case, but so far... 10Am and no leaks.
Thus far, I'm very happy with my Diva Cup. After 2 camping trips this summer with my period ... including rafting and having to stop mid river for a run into the woods where I shamefully changed my tampon and buried the dirty one - I know this is littering, I know its wrong, but I didn't know WHAT to do! - I now have another option. With having to empty only 2-3 times a day, I can go about my day virtually care free - save for a few menstrual cramps.
What I'm really excited about is snowboard season '09-10. In years past, our scheduled trips would always fall on my cycle - whether it be snowboarding, rafting, argentina, etc... Now I won't have to worry... except for my chocolate craving, dramatic emotional bitchiness, and of course those dreaded cramps... but leaks... GONE!
Try it! You can find it online for as little as $25!
I typically purchase my feminine products from BJs Wholesale. I spend approximately $13 for a box of 84 tampons and $10 for 70 napkins. I do this every few months. In addition I purchase panty liners almost every month. I'd estimate that I spend over $225 a year on feminine products which pollute the earth. I've now spent $40 (yes I over paid) on a product that should last me the year if not more. It's made of surgical grade silicone - so it's SAFE!
Next Step: Luna Pads? They are a washable pad - they have winged, heavy, long, short, liner, etc...
I don't know if I'm ready to be washing my own pads but then again I might not mind once I have my OWN washer and dryer. For now, I'll think about it... but I do know that once I have a little one running around, I will NOT use disposable diapers... cloth diapers only!