So with how unstable the world economy is right now, I figured I’d touch on the topic of saving money and investing. Now of course, what does this have to do with menstruation? Well after all, I try to keep things on-topic so of course it has to do with menstruation! I regularly talk to men and women about menstruation, particularly relating to feminine hygiene products. Why though, do I touch on this topic so often? It’s because menstruation costs money, seriously! If you’re a disposable products user (or once was), you’ll know exactly how much your period is costing you every month, every year. Now I understand that the world runs off businesses and things cost money, so I’m not going to say that feminine hygiene companies and manufactures are evil, but what is evil, is that in countries like mine (Canada), feminine hygiene products not only cost money, but the government taxes you on basic hygienic needs. Suffice to say, it’s not realistic for feminine hygiene products to be free, but the government already gets a double-dipping just because your menstruate (or buy the product). Suffice to say, I often hear my girls talk about their lack of money and that they’ll cut back on this-and-that, but rarely do I hear them consider their spending on feminine hygiene needs.
As someone who menstruates or purchases feminine hygiene products, the Canadian government feels that you should be penalized – or – at the very least, that they deserve an additional cut on your feminine hygiene supplies. How does the government get a nice double-cut of your products? Simple. First, the company which sells you your products has their revenues taxed. Second, as a consumer of feminine hygiene products, we also pay an additional 5% which also goes to the government. It’s of course fair for the government to tax companies (and individuals) for income earned, because after all, that’s what keeps the country up and going… however, they also earn an additional 5% because you happen to menstruate or use such supplies. As of 2009, it is said that the federal government of Canada penalizes women by an estimated $69 million per year¹!
Ok, so enough about our government since we’re not the only country who has such taxes for feminine hygiene supplies, but rest-assured, menstruating costs you money! So in a year of doubtful economy recovery and rising costs-of-living, feminine hygiene products should be the least of one’s concerns! So how can we alleviate such concerns? Let’s consider individuals such as students who work off limited resources (unless your family happens to be very wealthy) or low-class households who have small budgets, cost of feminine hygiene supplies add up very quickly. I’ll use one of my friends as an example:
She is a student and her tuition is already paid for by her parents. The only thing her parents expect of her is to maintain enough money to: 1) Pay for her living expenses, 2) personal/entertainment spending, and, 3) basic needs. She works part time and every week she earns about $200 gross, so don’t forget about income tax and general deductions. Assuming she is lucky enough to have that same schedule throughout the month, her approximate income is $800 over 4 weeks. Without going into the details of “sales”, let’s assume every period you spend about $6 approximately 20 pads or tampons. Of course this varies per person based on flow and also let’s not discount that dollar amount only applies to “active” menstruating times… many women also use pantiliners throughout their cycle which may really bump those figures upward. In a year, that’s $72. Wow, that $6 sure doesn’t look like a large chunk of $800 right? $400 goes to rent and that’s very basic ($400 left). $100 goes to utilities not covered by the rent ($300 left). $150 goes to groceries ($150 left). $70 goes to transportation ($80 left). Let’s not even get into things like movies, bars, clothing, haircuts or whatnot, so she has approximate $80 left in a month of “other” spending. So in a month 7.5% of her “left over” money needs to be spent on her pads and tampons. I removed the taxation aspect of her pay since individuals who make under the exemption in Canada doesn’t need to pay any taxes. All of a sudden, her cost of disposable products is a considerable amount.
So what can one do to help alleviate the cost? Well certainly “free bleeding” is an option for those with extremely light periods but is probably not the case for most women. I’m sure quite a few of you know I’m leading up to the idea of reusable menstrual products. Cloth pads, menstrual cups, sea sponges and the likes all are a great form of cutting costs from where it hurts (no pun intended). I have lightly touched on the topics of reusable products in the past and there is a world full of amazing sites on these products that can be accessed via Google, so you’re welcome to reference it. No doubt, reusable products have an initial “high-cost” impact, as such products can range from $40 to $150 (for full ‘period’ set of products), which may account for a year or two of purchasing conventional disposable products. Nevertheless, most of these reusable products lasts 4-5 years, therefore it’s a “long-term” investment. What I should point out is that unlike menstrual cups which usually require some form of manufacturing, it’s possible to make your own cloth pads with some material and know-how. Menstrual cups tend to be quickest “recovery” of invested money with short of a year worth of feminine hygiene supplies.
I suppose the question may come up about the cost of extra water spent on the cleaning of these products. I haven’t had any experience with sea sponges, so let’s put that aside for now. However, in the case of menstrual cups and cloth pads, the “additional cost” (if any) is miniscule. For cloth pads, unless they’re heavily saturated, cloth pads can be thrown in with regularly laundry. Some people opt to pre-rince them or use stain remover, but that’s strictly a personal choice or “as needed” based on the degree of pad saturation. Menstrual cups are even easier to clean since it’s a matter of “dump and wash” – although to enhance the sterility of the cup, it is usually recommended to do a boiling-water submersion to prepare it for the next period. All this doesn’t equate to a lot of additional water used.
As I mentioned before, some women like to use pantiliners all-cycle round, which makes cloth pantiliners even more attractive! Buying a weeks worth of cloth liners (or if you decide to make them) will keep you protected and can go in the weekly laundry anyway. For the women who feel that they’d feel more comfortable using reusable products only at home, that is still a great idea! There probably are women out there who use reusables at home and disposables outside. Feminine hygiene options are a personal choice of course, so you do what you feel is best and most relaxing. If I menstruated, I think I’d also do the same, although I really really like the idea of cloth pads! I also give the thumbs up for cups since they’re to only product that can provide you with a “one unit, many uses” product such that, you can carry it in your purse and not have to carry 3-4 pads or tampons for just-in-case, but being able to use that cup over and over again during a day! Can you see how this is more than just a cost-effective option?
Now that we’ve spent so much time on highlighting the cost savings of reusable products, let’s consider the investment part of this. What are you investing in when it comes to using reusable feminine hygiene products? Not only money, but in your health and the environment, something that you simply cannot attach a price tag too! In fact, wouldn’t almost everyone agree that your health is of utmost importance? Reusable feminine hygiene options are a beautiful way to keep trash out of the landfill and if only people took the time to think about how many pads and tampons are disposed of daily which is making a huge impact on pollution. Your ‘typical’ companies also manufacturer pads and tampons that will likely not degrade for ages. Think about what you want to leave the next generation, because 500 years from now, those who have inherited the earth from us will still be digging up your used pads and tampons … or well, at least walking and living on top of them!
I understand that it’s easier to spend $6 a bit at a time rather than a hundred dollars up front. I also understand some people are under financial constraints and putting that kind of money down initially may not be possible. However, if there’s anything next to survival needs that I’d invest in if I menstruated, it would be in either cloth pads or a menstrual cup! Over time, I’m saving myself tons of money and also investing in my own health, keeping chemically-treated and synthetic products away from my body. Also, there’s a reason why cotton panties are popular, because it’s comfortable, natural, allows your body to ‘breathe’ and as a result, healthy. Likewise, many cloth pads are made of cotton and other non-chemically treated absorbent materials. What are two important factors of any feminine hygiene product? Comfort and Absorbency! Cloth pads and menstrual cups have just that, at a fraction (over time) of the cost and is a great way to investing in future generations and that of your very own body! You may also find yourself surprizingly becoming more open about your body and menstruation when you open your mind and adopt reusable products. I have found that some of the most open-minded women I talk to about their bodies and periods tend to be ones who are use such products. Of course it may be because they were receptive enough to try these products in the first place, but you may find yourself suddenly becoming period-positive which is what I hope ALL men and women achieve!
The next time your “visitor” drops by, consider making the switch to a healthier, eco-friendly and more period-positive you!
I just wanted to wrap up this year with a nice, eco-friendly post. As someone who has spent a lot of time promoting disposable feminine hygiene products, in 2012, I hope to be able to provide more information on menstrual cups, cloth pads and the likes to my readers. To start, I would like to re-post an entry written by Be Prepared Period. I felt this post was particularly worth posting because I had just finished some discussions with my girls about converting to cloth pads and one of their greatest concern was cleaning of used pads. To many, the idea of cleaning cloth pads might be a bit icky, especially if you’re accustomed to being able to wrap/roll & toss.
After seeing this post, I spread the information to my girls, telling them that they have a new method of cleaning their cloth pads with minimal effort on their part. I know that looking at your own menstrual flow, especially all spread over a cloth pad might not be a beautiful sight (though I stand by the fact that menstrual flow is a beautiful part of the female body), the Eco-Clean Laundry Ball serves as a great tool to cleaning cloth pads AND the rest of your laundry!
Suffice to say, with most organic and environmentally friendly solutions, the initial costs tend to be higher than conventional products. For instance, organic menstrual hygiene products, including reusable and disposable products, all tend to cost more than your everyday disposables. However, in time, not only do most people save money, but more importantly ensure good health for their body. I’m sure almost all of us would agree that our health is of utmost importance and by using organic products, you are one step closer in making healthier options for yourself and your loved-ones.
I hope you will enjoy this post as much as I have and thank you to http://bepreparedperiod.com for their permission for me to re-post this article which they have written. For the purpose of this post, the contest information has been removed to not interfere with their rules & regulations and the fact the contest is already expired.
A Better Way to Clean Cloth Pads
Finding healthier products for one’s body and the environment is a growing trend. As more and more people better understand the effects that many traditional products have on their health and the environment better options are being sought after.
One specific type of product that has been increasingly popular is cloth menstrual pads, such as Lunapads. Lunapads and products alike are a great reusable menstrual option that allows women to save money (after the initial investment), be eco-friendly, all while choosing a healthy alternative to disposable pads and tampons.
Choosing this reusable option (or considering the change) leaves many with questions like, “How do I go about cleaning reusable cloth pads?” We realize this can be a big change for those making the switch from disposable feminine hygiene products.
While we are not familiar with every brand of cloth pads, we can tell you that Lunapads can be washed by hand or machine in any temperature with regular detergent and can be air or machine dried. That said, we have a question for you. Picture this…you are excited to try out your cute, new, organic cloth pads, you’ve gone through your cycle and it is now time to wash them. You put them in the wash and now what do you do? Do you add a chemical detergent? Doesn’t that seem wrong? You’ve spent the extra money to put a healthier, organic fiber next to your skin and now you are going to wash them with what?? Detergent? Did you know that this once organic cloth pad will absorb the detergent and hold it next to your skin? If only there was a better option… (an option you AND your septic could LOVE)
Here’s the exciting news…there is one!!! About 9 months ago we were lucky enough to meet Jean Cox with H2O at Home, a company that continues to think outside the box creating environmentally friendly and chemical-free products. Their vision is to introduce their unique products and to spread the idea that YOU can preserve the environment WITHOUT making compromises to your household. While we could go on and on about the many awesome products they offer, we plan to share with you one (okay..maybe 2 or 3) special products that can help you with your laundry.
The first product, the Eco-Clean Laundry Ball, was what first attracted us to H2O at Home. This nifty little ball allows you to wash your personal items and clothes with little or no laundry soap. That’s right! This laundry ball allows you to wash your personal items with LITTLE OR NO LAUNDRY SOAP!!! Knowing how many skeptics are out there, it’s hard to imagine using little or NO soap, but we are here to tell you, “It works GREAT with no soap!” We’ve been using it for about 6 months and absolutely LOVE it!
Many ask, “How on earth can my laundry get clean with NO SOAP!?!?” The simple but maybe not so simple answer is, it works by increasing the pH level of the water to that of classic detergents. Inside the Laundry Ball, friction from ceramic pearls reinforce the cleansing properties of water, softens fabrics, protects against oxidation, eliminates mold and germs and preserves colors. It really is pretty amazing! Many moms that have children in cloth diapers are turning to this option of cleaning as they become aware of the dangers of using laundry soap. Now think, if this ball can clean poopy/soiled diapers, imagine how well it will work on your cloth pads or other laundered items! With no chemicals, this product is perfect for those with allergies or sensitivities.
As mentioned above, the Eco-Clean Laundry Ball is not the only wonderful product out there by H2O at Home. Another question or challenge you may have is, “How do I remove stains, is there a more natural option for that too?” And the answer is yes; there are actually a couple options. H2O at Home also offers a product called, Netepur Soap. This natural textile soap is perfect for pre-treating stubborn stains. In addition to blood, Netepur Soap will remove grease, grass, food and even red wine. Plus it is 100% biodegradable! And speaking of biodegradable, Ruby’s Red Wash is another wonderful option. It was specifically designed for menstrual stains, and is made from live bacterial cultures.
And if it wasn’t great enough that H2O at Home has these terrific alternatives to cleaning without chemicals they also have a personal line of products including a Feminine Wash (Many women do not think of using a separate soap for this, nor do they understand you are not supposed to use regular soap in this area). H2O at Home’s Feminine Wash is an extremely gentle cleanser that balances and protects your most sensitive areas. It is made of an intricate blend of organic geranium, calendula, cornflower, and aloe that calms and soothes skin irritations. It is also pH balanced making it safe for daily use, and is ECOCERT and COSMEBIO certified.
So what do you think? Are you as excited about these cleaning alternatives as we are? Do you have questions? Let us know your thoughts! Please feel free to comment below.
(Just an FYI, as you may be wondering…this post is not a paid post. Our intentions are only to share with you healthier and eco-friendly alternatives based on our own personal reviews.)
I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone Seasons Greetings and/or Merry Christmas from the Men In Menstruation team.
For those of you who got or already have your period today, congratulations! I hope your period treats you well as it’s a beautiful gift to have over the holidays. If your partner starts her period today and you’re a menstrual fan like me, I’m sure that this is a better Christmas present than anything money can buy 🙂
If you’ve delayed getting gifts, consider buying some reusable feminine hygiene products this year or perhaps to vouch that in the new year 2012 that converting or at least trying a reusable menstrual protection is on your list of things to do!!
Have a safe one, everyone!
I thought this might be a very useful post, though I have to admit I’m not a parent nor someone who has had to raise a child with no female support. Before embarking on this post, I have done my research as well as talk to fellow single-fathers, including one of my gay male friends who has adopted a young girl. At some point or another, most of these men will have to explain the intricacies of menstruation to their little (but growing) girl. With menarche beginning at an earlier age than ever before, these men will be challenged ever so much with handling their daughter(s) period, particularly when their daughter is too young to even fully grasp the concept. Also, never having periods ourselves, it only makes our job that much harder and not even able to have experienced what periods feel like. Nevertheless, not having the experience, doesn’t mean we still can’t be prepared. Rather than concentrate this post on saying, “What is the wrong action to take” or “How to do it the right way” I hope this entry will provide some tidbits on how I would feel if I were stuck in such a situation. Every person is different so while one method may work for one, others may not. With the age of which girls are starting their periods, it might be hard for us now to rely on schools to provide the education. In our province, the revised Sexual Education curriculum was dropped due to objections from religious groups (don’t even get me started on this), so you’re much better off as a parent (or parents) to provide your own and proper education.
Part of making your own job easier as a father having to talk to your daughter about menstruation is to foster a close enough relationship with her where she feels comfortable talking to you about it. This type of relationship is not something that builds overnight, but something that must start from day one with your child. I understand in situations where a man has suddenly lost his female companion that he would not have thought about having the bear the responsibilities of a single dad, but certainly, why would you not want to build a strong relationship with your own daughter anyways? It is my hope that should I have a daughter(s), that they will not only feel comfortable talking about their bodies and menstrual health with their mom, but also myself. Being a part of their well-being from birth will stress to them that daddy is also available to talk just because we have not experienced the same thing. I understand some people will argue that as a male who has never experienced menstruation, what place would we have to be a part of educating a female on menstruation… but just because you’ve never been shot before, doesn’t mean you don’t know a bullet is painful (that comparison wasn’t meant to denote the relationship between a gunshot wound to menstruation, that was strictly a coincidence).
The next point is about educating yourself. Whether you had a female partner or not at some point in your life, menstruation may still be a very abstract thing for you. With the world of the internet, you no longer had to be like me, hide in the corner of a library and read up on the female body and menstruation and turn red as people walked past me. There are plenty of resource articles (many which are more professionally written than this) on menstruation which you can learn from. Before you can really make your little girl feel comfortable expressing her own worries to you, you must at least know a bit about her body as well! If you show discomfort, it will only convey to her that her body is something to be shameful over and that a natural bodily function like menstruation is not something “normal”. I’m sure that as a single father, there must be at least some sort of female support you may have, friends, family or whatnot who you can turn to for help should you want some anecdotal knowledge. I’m also sure a medical practitioner would also be able to assist should you not be capable of assisting your daughter fully.
Periods aren’t a curse nor something “bad” – and periods happen for a reason. One of the single dads I talked to told me that when his daughter grows up, he’ll try to persuade her into “getting rid of her period” either by surgery or through hormonal control. I was really taken aback by this because it almost seemed like because he didn’t want to deal with his daughter’s period that he wanted to simply make it a non-issue. Something also seemed unusual that he would be making such an important decision on behalf of his daughter, even though it isn’t like she has a disability where she wouldn’t otherwise be able to make an informed decision. Getting rid of menstruation is a very big thing and I think it should be something up to the girl to decide on, unless she’s incapable of doing so. The start of your daughter’s period is something to be happy about, she’s becoming a grown woman and it indeed provides an extra opportunity for father-daughter bonding. Yes, it might come with some pains and tears, but you should always have an open arm and receptive ears for her to come to in time of need. Don’t forget that as uncomfortable as you may be having to do the “period-talk” that it’s only twice as bad for her.
Menstrual education should start young to build comfort and knowledge. I’m not necessarily saying to remove all childhood carefree life, but certainly a slow introduction of reproductive health might help sooth the way to discussing menstruation. In fact, one thing I’d really take advantage of is a “doctor, dad and daughter” talk at a regular visit. With the presence of a medical professional, it will ensure accurate knowledge and it will show that daddy is both learning so that he can teach and be comfortable with menstrual talk. Much of the male disgust behind menstruation stems from generations of misinformation and misunderstanding. Would we rather our future generations live in ignorance or in knowledge?
Parenting is a very difficult thing and though I am not yet a parent, I have already seen many friends and family alike who have sent the fear of parenthood through my spine. One day, I will meet parenthood with both anxiousness and fear, for it is an opportunity to grow, learn and teach all at the same time. I know that teaching children is beyond what I can comprehend right now. In my opinion, I would try to teach my children about sexual education through age-appropriate means (which would vary between child-to-child, some are more knowledge/mature than others). To scare a child into knowing something they’re not prepared for would only cause terror and ruin a carefree childhood. At the same time, not preparing them means they will meet fear face-to-face. Even if I did not go into details about menstruation with my daughter, I would definitely make her aware that should she begin menses, that she should let me or mom know and that ‘bleeding’ from her vagina is not a sign of injury. As with most guys, we consider bleeding to be a source of injury and pain (which is not ALWAYS the case with menstruation), therefore it already makes a “bad association” in our minds. I want to convey to the guys out there that menstruation, while resembling a cut, is nothing even close to it. I actually find that blood from injuries tend to cause more fear and disgust than menstruation does… or rather, I should correct myself and say that I don’t fear or feel disgusted at menstruation at all, but then that’s just me 😆
To be honest, it’s hard to have “sex talk” with your child, let alone something so very intimate such as menstruation. As a single-father, it becomes even harder as a result of the lack of female support. However, know that you are not alone and if you do a simple Google search, there are MANY men out there who are all brave like you to raise a daughter (or even daughters) on your own! Your daughter might even feel embarrassed to talk to you about it, so you must be receptive and at times if you feel she might already have had her period, try to strike up a conversation about it. Your daughter might be more apt to answer “yes I did get my period” than to have to bring the topic up herself. Of course you don’t want to be the dad that hounds her to see if and when she got her period, but then you also want to ensure the channels of communication are available and that if she’s not going to approach you, that there are telltale signs of menstruation. Unless she’s hiding her disposed feminine hygiene products (including wrappers, applicators, etc), there will usually be some noticeable evidence. If you don’t want to be upfront with your approach of asking her, a simple trip to the supermarket with her could be an opportunity to walk down the feminine hygiene aisle casually and inquire as to whether she needs anything. Sometimes the best conversation is no conversation, if she does need something and she doesn’t look like she’s in the mood to talk, just let her place what she needs in the cart/basket and off you go!
Other than a leak the next embarrassing thing might just be having to purchase your own feminine hygiene supplies. When I asked most of my girls, they sometimes dread buying pads and tampons more than even bleeding through panties! Why? Because at least you can hide leaks, you can’t hide such obvious purchases! For most of my girls, I quelled those fears pretty fast, either with them or without. I have always been around for (well at least most) my girls and I typically will go out and buy their feminine hygiene supplies before/during their period. They were always able to rely on me as an “older brother” or even my bebe lets me buy her stuff for her. With that said, me buying their stuff has actually helped them get over the fear, because hell, if I’m a guy and buying “this stuff” – wouldn’t it be even more natural for a girl to be buying it? Likewise, as a father, buying your daughter’s feminine hygiene products is an essential demonstration to her. First of all, there should be at all times available feminine hygiene supplies in the house AND she needs to know where they are (better yet, even know how to use it). Keeping some in multiple places might be beneficial, in her room, in the bathroom and perhaps in a closet of some sort. Heck, sometimes removing the discreteness of these products in the bathroom help encourage openness. I have been to some of my friends house where they OPENLY have pads or tampons in the bathroom. Depending on how comfortable your daughter is with discussing her menstrual cycle with you, it might even be possible to encourage her to try various brands and types of protection. Again, the internet is a great resource and having some knowledge on these products (such as the differences between pads/tampons/liners, wings/no wings, and proper usage) will truly help her.
Don’t forget, buying feminine hygiene products for your daughter is something to be proud of and that any loving father would do. You’d be surprized how many guys do it and if you actually spend a day in a supermarket, you’re likely to see quite a very occurrences of it. A lot of the time, we just sometimes don’t notice these things and pretend it doesn’t happen, but in reality, I’ve seen many guys buy these items before on their own. The great thing about being a guy and buying feminine hygiene products is that people will never assume it’s for you! So what’s there to be ashamed of right?!
I know I often put a lot of emphasis on disposable products and that’s truly unfair. However, I think certainly disposable pads and tampons are where most women start off anyways. Once your daughter becomes accustomed with taking care of her own body and handling her menstrual cycle, another great option for those who want to penny-pinch is to consider reusable products. Not only do you save a lot of money ($$$), it is also a great way to teach your daughter to become “in-tune” with herself, be eco-friendly and encourage great bodily health. If you’ve never thought of how much you (and your daughter) could really be saving, consider taking a look at this great chart provided by Lunapads (http://lunapads.com/why-switch#cost-savings). In my own opinion, I have found that many women who use reusable products often are much more open-minded about menstruation and female body/health.
For those who live in Canada or the US, you can also consider a great menstrual resource like Bepreparedperiod and particularly their store should you rather be able to purchase pads/tampons for your daughter online or even schedule recurring deliveries. If you or your daughter believes that tampons are going to be part of your menstrual repitroire, ensure that she is aware of the potential dangerous of tampon usage. It is both your responsibilities to ensure that proper usage knowledge is understood, particularly due to the potential of TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome), a deadly viral infection. You can read more about TSS and the realities of it at YouAreLoved. I see many forum posts of girls who ask, “How do I talk to my dad about my period?” so make sure you validate your daughter’s concerns as being valid and that you are always willing to listen. A person cannot know everything, so whether you have to turn to the internet, a friend, family member or even stranger (such as a nurse or doctor), your daughter’s well-being and health should be your top priority. There are times when we must set our own shyness or pride aside for our family!
After finishing this post, I realize that some of the information in here might be pertinent to any father, not just single-dads. Nevertheless, this is hardly the exhaustive resource and all the possible angles I could cover, but then there are only so many hours in a day 😛 Anyone who needs more information, please feel free to comment or send me an IM/Email. I am also available on twitter (though it’s publicly viewable so if discussing menstruation is not comfortable for you, you may not want to contact me through twitter) @ http://twitter.com/MenMenstruation
Thanks for reading and don’t forget that your daughter will thank you and love you forever for which you have done for her!
I started using a menstrual cup for the first time this past January. I had read about it online but did not know anyone personally who had tried it. I was hesitant at first because the thought of cleaning it made me nervous and I thought it was going to be very messy. Once you get the hang of it though, it’s not.
I am not going to lie, the first couple of months I used the cup it was awkward and a bit messy. I read the instructions over a few times to fully understand how to insert it properly to create a suction. It takes a bit of practice to master it (best time to practice is when you’re not menstruating so you aren’t dealing with a messy situation).
Cleaning it out is not as bad as it seems either. Lucky for me I have a sink right beside my toilet so I can just take it out, swivel, clean it, swivel back, and put it in.
With the DivaCup you also do not have to worry about TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome), and you can leave it in for 10 – 12 hours! I empty mine once in the morning and once in the evening. If your flow is extremely heavy you may need to empty it during the day. The cup does hold 30ml and that is what an average woman bleeds during her entire cycle. I know I bleed much more than that, but I can still get by on changing it two or three times a day.
So to sum it up…
Positives: No TSS, holds more, less waste, saves money, no strings to tuck in, leak free, wear it in expectation of period starting
Negatives: Costs a bit up front, practice to master the suction, cleaning it, a bit messy the first two months
You may wonder, what exactly IS a menstrual cup? Since the review above is for the Divacup brand, here’s the information provided on their site (source):
The DivaCup is a non-absorbent menstrual cup that simply collects menstrual flow. It is inserted in the vagina and sits at the lower base of the vaginal canal. It is worn internally, yet because it is soft and smooth, it cannot be felt nor will it leak when inserted properly.
The DivaCup is the most clean and convenient method of feminine hygiene protection. No need to touch the flow. It is worn low in the vagina, not near the cervix, so it is easy to remove. No mess!
The DivaCup ends hassles with unreliable disposables in endless absorbencies, shapes and styles. It is perfect for all activities – giving women true freedom without the worry, guessing and unreliability that disposable feminine hygiene products pose.
The DivaCup can be worn for up to 12 hours before emptying, washing and reinserting for use for another 12 hours. It can be used for light or moderate flows and is emptied more often to accommodate heavy flows. Perfect for overnight use.
The DivaCup’s expert, proprietary, patent-pending features make it comfortable and assures ease of use and reliability. Perfect for traveling, running, biking, hiking, dancing, camping, swimming, diving, scuba, yoga, extreme sports and more…
- Latex-free, BPA-free, plastic-free
- No dyes, colors or additives
- Comfortable, reliable
- Clean, convenient, easy-to-use
- Worn for up to 12 hours at a time
For those who have not seen a Divacup before:
Here’s what the Divacup packages look like – very snazzy! 😀
For those who are not familiar with menstrual cups, you may wonder why there are two versions. 1 version is for women who are under 30 or have not delivered birth vaginally or through c-section. The other version is for women who are over 30 or have delivered birth through either birthing methods. You can buy one from here as well!
I hope this demystifies my stance on reusable products! I am very for-reusable products but I find it difficult for me to give an accurate review based on my lack of female anatomy to try it out. However, I’m glad Amelia took the time to write one up for me and appreciate her efforts in spreading the word about more environmentally-friendly and health-conscience form of menstrual hygiene!
As I was stumbling around in my “Readomattic” of interested tags, I ran into a great article concerning the use of reusable products. I am quite guilty myself about the lack of coverage I have on my site. I have through recommendation of several readers, to post information pertaining to reusable feminine hygiene products. However, I lack much of the expertise when it comes to that because I have yet to date a girl who actually uses them. Furthermore, out of all my girls, only 1 uses them actively and 1 tried and defaulted to using disposable pads. Due to my lack of a vagina, it makes it extremely hard for me to test the items mentioned below – lol. On my blog, I try to bring “awareness” to subjects, not necessarily promote. As with pads, tampons and now alternative menstrual protection, I would like to stay away from saying which form of protection is better – that’s up to every individual to decide on their own. However, I will never object to providing information to help someone make an informed choice.
Having received the explicit permission of the author, I am reposting her entry. Unfortunately because of the way WordPress handles copy & pasting, the alignment of text/pictures are not correct, however, the entire article is still readable. Furthermore, you are encouraged to visit the author’s site for other “environmentally sound ideas”!
I will not be making any additional entries this evening as I got word from my close-friend letting me know that her grandmother has passed away. Fortunately (if that’s really a good way to describe it), her family was well-prepared for it and all affairs are already in order. Her grandmother was well over one hundred years (100, that’s right, COUNT IT!) old and although at any age, death is never fair and easy – in the Chinese culture, we consider this a “happy departure” given the age and non-tragic circumstances. I will be spending tonight helping her out with what I can (as little as that may be).
Just for fun, I added my “favourite brands” to the widget bar… I removed a couple of widgets that don’t seem to get much attention anyways. Hrm.. didn’t I just say something about not promoting things I like? Damn… lol. I knew if I didn’t add O.B. and Stayfree there, two of my girls will eat me alive, so I made sure those brands were there… hahahaha.
Get over it, my dear! February 10, 2010 by pickupamerica
By Kelly Klein
Hello, ladies! (Yes, you.) I’m here to talk to you about a great way that you can be more sustainable and create less waste every month! I know it’s a touchy subject… not everyone likes to talk about their menstruation experiences, but I encourage you to read on with an open mind as this information is good for your body, the environment, and women everywhere. Contrary to what a good friend believed as a kid, you don’t just get your period once and are done with it. Nope. It happens quite regularly and frequently over the course of a woman’s lifetime. This means that women will spend a great deal of time, energy and money suppressing menstruation every month. Current mainstream sanitary methods are not cutting it, and if they continue to be the norm, our landfills, waterways and bodies will hold the waste for years to come.
Tampons and pads are just plain wasteful. According to Susan Kim, the average U.S. woman will use 10,000 tampons in her life, throwing away a total of approximately 250 to 300 pounds of pads, plugs and applicators. A tampon takes about 6 months to biodegrade while any plastic (applicator, pad lining, and/or packaging) will never biodegrade.
The main ingredient in most tampons is cotton, which happens to be one of the least “green” crops out there. According to the Organic Consumers Association, “just 2.4% of the world’s arable land is planted with cotton yet it accounts for 24% of the world’s insecticide market and 11% of sale of global pesticides, making it the most pesticide-intensive crop grown on the planet.” AND almost half of the chemicals used on cotton crops around the world are classified as hazardous by the World Health Organization. Not only is this bad news for the plants and animals and farmers who come into contact with these substances, but pesticides don’t exactly go away. After all, cotton is used in tampons because of its absorbency. Pesticide residues stick around in tampons in the form of dioxins and other potentially harmful chemicals. Our vaginal walls are made of the most absorbent tissues in the body. Ladies, do the math.
What about tampon disposal? If you flush a used tampon, it enters our waterways and is absorbed by marine life or ends up on coast lines, which is — of course — a problem. If you throw it away, you wrap it in some toilet paper and it ends up in a landfill somewhere. At throwawayz.com, (a site that sells small biodegradable plastic pouches to throw tampons away in), it is estimated that the average U.S. female uses about 450 rolls of toilet paper in their lifetime just on tampon disposal, about 9.5 trees per female.
So, lets recap:
- Growing cotton to make tampons is bad for the environment.
- Using tampons exposes your body to harmful substances.
- Disposing of tampons creates a vast amount of waste that contributes to the pile up of pollution in our landfills and waterways.
Both 1 and 2 are addressed by using organic tampons, but not number 3. To address all of these issues, we have the fabulous menstrual cup. This is a reusable, flexible cup that is inserted into the vagina and rests around the cervix (like a diaphragm) to catch menstrual fluid. There are several brands; Divacup, Mooncup, Instead, Lunette, Miacup, Lady Cup, The Keeper, to name a few.
In my experience, you do need to give yourself some time to adjust and figure out exactly how to insert/remove/use a cup, but it is well worth it. You usually only have to clean it once a day, you don’t have to carry around tampons all the time, it doesn’t dry you out unnecessarily, it doesn’t get all full of water if you swim or take a bath… it’s pretty great. At the end of your cycle, you simply boil it for a few minutes so that it’s sterilized. There is a great blog that will give you all sorts of tips about using menstrual cups and answer all of your questions, so I won’t get into that here.
But I will say this… Most women I talk to dismiss menstrual cups with one simple comment: It’s gross! All I have to say is: Get over it, my dear. It is your body and your body’s process, so what’s there to be afraid of? Yes, while using a menstrual cup you will become very familiar with your vagina (and you might even find your cervix!). In order to use it correctly, you will need to do some trial and error. So what? It’s time that we accept menstruation (and our vaginas, for that matter) as a regular part of our lives and become comfortable asking questions and talking with one another. Susan Kim’s article is all about the taboo of menstruation. It’s an embarrassing subject for most women and it’s mentioned in the media in “pitches and jokes that basically use our poor ol’, much-maligned bodily process to get an easy laugh and/or earn a buck.” We got a lot of work to do to break down this taboo and it all starts with confronting our personal feelings toward ourselves and our bodies. Who’s with me?
P.S. If insertion techniques aren’t your thing, why not try a reusable pad? Yea, you have to clean it, but you can easily keep a large jar or bowl of water in the bathroom to soak them overnight and you’ll probably need about 7-12 per cycle. You can make your own from old diapers, flannel sheets, or terry towels. A number of manufactured pads are on the market in both organic and commercial cotton.
P.P.S. Props to any males out there who read this whole thing. Knowledge is power!