At first glance, you wouldn’t think that feminine hygiene has anything to do with nourishment, would you? Oh, but it does.
The female private areas are highly sensitive and highly important to our overall health and happiness, and yet many commercial feminine hygiene products contain synthetic materials and chlorine, both of which can be extremely disruptive and harmful to health.
According to Dr. Mercola, the highly-absorbable synthetic materials can lead to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) and the chlorine used in the bleaching process can release dioxin, a known carcinogen. And besides the health angle, I’ve got other gripes with the regular commercial options — they’re wasteful, cost more money in the long run, and they’re uncomfortable.
So it only makes sense that we choose more natural, healthful products to support our monthly cycles.
It makes one wonder — why do we even have the disposable options at all? Personally, I believe it’s a bottom line thing for the disposable products companies. Because they’re certainly not better for us!
I don’t really want to be specific about my own experience. 😉 Let me just say that after having switched to more natural options, I will never, never, never go back to disposable pads or tampons (neither of which really worked for me anyway). On so many levels, the natural is better. They work and feel better, are more healthy, and they cost less and produce less waste.
What natural products are available?
- cloth pads — soft, surprisingly absorbent and very comfortable
- menstrual cups — inserted into and worn in the vagina to catch flow
- sea sponges — from naturally occurring organisms, reusable, and less drying than tampons
It might sound yucky to deal with dumping out, rinsing, and/or washing these items when we’re so used to just chucking away used products. But let me assure you: it isn’t that yucky — it’s a matter of adjusting back to a new normal. You’ll adjust, I know it.
Here are six reason why natural personal hygiene products are so much better…
1. They’re more healthy.
As I mentioned above, the synthetic materials and bleach in commercial products are implicated in TSS and cancer. Cloth pads, cups, and sea sponges contain no synthetics and are virtually risk-free when it comes to health.
Natural products are more likely to be free of chlorine. Chlorine, in addition to releasing carcinogen dioxin, acts as an antibiotic, killing native beneficial organisms in the vaginal canal. These organisms are vitally important for our own health, but also for our children who pass through the vagina during birth. To ensure chlorine-free natural products, choose organic, unbleached fabric for your pad materials.
According to GladRags, one of my favorite sources for natural feminine hygiene products, here’s why you don’t need to worry much about TSS when using menstrual cups or cloth pads:
Q. Can I get Toxic Shock Syndrome from using a menstrual cup?
Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is caused by normally harmless bacteria found on our skin or in other parts of our body. If the bacteria get into the bloodstream, the toxins released can cause serious and even fatal disease. It is a rare disease and has been associated with tampon use — especially high-absorbency tampons, as they can dry out the vaginal canal by absorbing the vagina’s natural moisture, creating the opportunity for miniscule tears to occur and increasing the chance of TSS. Menstrual cups “catch” your flow, rather than absorbing it and have not been linked to TSS.
Q. Can I get toxic shock syndrome when using cloth pads?
There is always a “chance” of getting toxic shock syndrome (TSS) with any menstrual product. GladRags are one of the safer options because blood is not staying in the vaginal canal, where the development of TSS is most likely to occur. TSS is caused by usually harmless bacteria found on our skin or in parts of our body. If the bacteria get into the bloodstream, through a cut or tear, they release a toxin. While the risk is still minimal, tampons create a more ideal opportunity for the growth of these bacteria and can dry out the vaginal canal by absorbing the vagina’s natural moisture, which can lead to minute tears and increase the chance of TSS.
2. They’re more comfortable.
Ever felt like you’re wearing a diaper? Those thick synthetic-material pads sure give tell-tale swish-swish plastic sounds when you move. What about uncomfortable dryness from highly- and too-absorbent tampons? How about excessive cramping? Yes, those are side effects of synthetic products, too.
I can testify you hardly notice you’re wearing anything extra when using a cup and/or cloth pads. They’re completely comfortable and help make that time of a month a less-dreaded event. And many women report fewer cramps when using natural products.
Honestly: the first cycle using a cup won’t be a complete breeze. You’ll be figuring out how to insert it so it doesn’t leak, figuring out how to take it out and dispose of the blood, and also wearing it. But by cycle two, at least from my experience, you’re off to the races.
3. They work better.
Got a heavy flow? Or clots? Tampons simply don’t work. You’re leaking all over, and have to wear a pad anyway! On the other hand, a cup catches all this with literally no mess (though on heavy days wearing a light cloth pad is very helpful). I’ve heard that the Diva cup is more suited to heavy flows than the other cups.
If your flow is light, you can literally forget you’re having your period — change your cup morning and night and forget about it in between. Do all your usual activities without worry.
I’m not exaggerating — they work so. much. better. Even the pads.
And slightly related, when using a cup or even rinsing out a cloth pad, you get a much better idea of what your body is doing. From the amount of flow, to the consistency of flow, to the size and number of clots, to fluctuations and changes in your cycle month to month. Once you get past the yuck factor, you realize that these are interesting things to know about yourself. They might come in handy to tweak and improve your nutrition (high numbers of clots can indicate iron deficiency, for example) or to give a medical care provider an insight into what your body is doing.
4. You’ll save money.
Yes, cloth pads and menstrual cups require an up-front investment, whether you purchase them ready-made or buy materials to make your own. However, they’ll last for years and you’ll recover your costs in a matter of months to a few years — all while experiencing the health and comfort benefits. (But in my opinion, it’s totally worth it even if you didn’t save money.)
5. They’re less wasteful.
Disposables add pounds and pounds of waste products to our landfills every year. They clog our septic lines. Wouldn’t you rather stop filling up the trash and be able to reuse products over and over and over? I know I would.
Cloth pads can simply be washed with your darks (no additional load needed), while cups and sponges require rinsing and occasional washing. Truly easy on God’s good earth!
6. They’re perfect for prepping.
Want to be prepared for a natural disaster or survival situation? No need to buy hundreds or thousands of consumables for a rainy day. Instead, for each female in the family, get a cup (and maybe an extra or two) along with a generous set of pads. You’ll save lots of storage space and probably money, too. And you won’t have to deal with the extra garbage the consumables produce.
Convinced? I hope so!
I made the switch to natural products earlier this year. I am so happy I did, but I can’t believe I took so long. Seriously — such a waste of time, money, and comfort.
If you’re like me, don’t wait any longer. Get switching and you’ll be so happy you did.
Here are more resources.
I purchased the Diva cup plus a starter kit of cloth pads (overnight, regular, and pantyliners) through GladRags.com. Then I waited for their periodic specials (delivered via email newsletter) and used those opportunities to purchase the rest of our supplies at a discount. When they run a special, you can save quite a bit. I am very, very, very happy with everything I’ve purchased from them.
Yesterday, I asked for resources, links, and tips from readers on Facebook and you gave lots of helpful replies. (Thank you!) You can read them all there, but for now, here are a few highlights:
- Menstrual Cups: What Every Woman Should Know — a funny and informative post from Dirty Diaper Laundry
- Lots of links to etsy shops and work-at-home-mama offerings!
- Others shared their experiences with the Diva cup, Moon cup, Lunette cup, and the Keeper cup
- and much more in the Facebook thread
I would love to hear your experience with, or thoughts about, natural feminine hygiene. Got resources to share or comments to make? Got another reason to choose them over disposables? Please feel free!
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Leah G says
I’d love to hear other peoples opinions on various products. I use cloth on the kids and it only just dawned on me to use it myself. I have used organic disposables for a while and just ordered some cloth pads from a WAHM on Etsy. very excited to try them out.
I LOVE my cloth. I have not had a yeast infection concurrent with my period for 4 years now. I use a diva and am never going back!! I bought wool backed cloth from SewFussy and form LiliaDesigns on etsy. They are so comfy that when I am headed into a HOT sweaty day I wear one for simple comfort.
C Munson says
I just switched to the MoonCup. Can’t believe I have gone decades (!) without doing this. How much money and earth space would I have saved before doing this?
I love that I can go all day and not worry at all about leaking. I am on cycle 2 and learning how to take it out is something I would save for the privacy of your own bathroom. 🙂 But I can see I am getting the hang of it.
I am hoping to get my daughter to start using it soon – she just started her period a few months ago – but I will bring it up periodically.
I love my Diva Cup and cloth pads!! I will never go back!! I’ve gotten a whole lot less UTIs since switching away from tampons.
Jennifer H says
My favorites are Homestead Emporium Reusable Pads! The only downside is that there are so many beautiful options out there! May have slightly different design features. I highly recommend that people order 1-2 pads from several different places until you see what works best for you.
I have been using cloth for almost 10 years, and now, we are preparing for my preteen daughter to use them from the beginning!
I have a Diva and SeaPearls, which I love. I do wish I had the smaller of the two sizes of Diva, mine is the larger one and even though I am over 30 and have given birth, the thing still fits so tight it can be uncomfortable.
I need some frank opinions from mothers of teens. When I was a teen I used tampons only when I needed to go swimming. They were painful and difficult to use until after I was married.
I have fretted so much about feminine hygiene now that I’m a mother of a menstruating child. I was okay with using chemical-laden products on myself, but the thought of doing that to my child is very different.
And yet, I don’t want to put my daughter in an uncomfortable position by insisting she use an internal product just because it’s crunchy. Does anyone know if it’s comfortable for a virgin to use a cup? Is it more or less comfortable than a tampon for swimming season?
Thanks for taking the time to address this.
Wardee Harmon says
Elisabeth — My understanding (at least with the Diva cup) is that it will be uncomfortable for a young girl who isn’t sexually active. Which of course we don’t want — the sexually active or the discomfort. 😉 They say if she’s used tampons she might be able to use a cup because the tampons have stretched things out. That info is at the Glad Rags FAQs page. They say she might be able to start with the sea sponges and work her way up to a cup. With my girls, I’m having them use cloth pads only. They’re not interested in cups, much less tampons, at this point. 😉 Swimming would be an issue if you swim a lot. We haven’t crossed that bridge yet.
Can anyone else address the swimming issue and the young girls issue?
Thanks so much, Wardeh. We haven’t had to use anything internal yet, but we’re going to have to address that sometime this summer, just because of scheduling.
Depending on the style of swimsuit, you can just wear the glad rags. I have a shorts style bottom and no one can tell I have the glad rags on.
Depending on the style of swimsuit, you can just wear the glad rags. I have a shorts style bottom and no one can tell I have the glad rags on.
Or do you quickly duck into the restroom to remove the GladRags before going straight for the water?
My daughter who is 13, started using a diva cup when she was 12. She took right to it. I think it’s easier when introduced early on. I have 3 daughters. Of my 2 oldest, they had already had their cycles for awhile and had been using pads/ tampons for awhile. I guess they couldn’t get past the “ick” factor. I’m hoping they’ll change their minds eventually after they get through the drama queen years. Lol.
I think it depends very much on the teen. I was a competitive swimmer from age 8 on up and used tampons only until just recently, at age 35. I never had any problem inserting them or having any pain, and neither did any of my friends and all of us used tampons regularly.
I think she should use what she feels most comfortable with. Sea sponges are very soft and easy to insert, or she could try organic tampons to start with, she may feel more comfortable using something similar to her friends. And tampons now come in different sizes too, so a smaller one is less bulky.
And while you are in the water, you really don’t need to use anything at all! The water and your body naturally keep anything inside. Once you are out of the water, you know you need to slip on a pad or something, but often while swimming we were in the water for hours and never used anything at all.
Thanks so much, Rebecca. I wish I had talked to you when I was a teen. My mother told me that if I couldn’t make a tampon work I couldn’t go in the water, so there was one occasion where I wasn’t allowed to participate in the party. If I had known all I had to do was stay in the water…
That whole you can’t swim during your period is a huge old wives tale! but it still seems to be around for some reason? I had a roommate in college that opted out of a swim party one day and when I asked her why she said she had her period! I was totally confused because I and a whole group of girls had spent a decade of swimming while menstruating. It totally threw me!
I wonder if the myth came about BECAUSE your flow stops while you’re in the water? After all, that’s pretty much the only situation I can think of where it does temporarily stop mid-flow. It’s enough of an exception that it might make pre-scientific people fearful.
I think it may depend upon the person and how heavy their flow is. If I went swimming without using any tampon, I would *have* to be the last person out of the pool because the second I was out of the water, it would start flowing again! So I completely understand the desire to avoid swimming during my cycle.
Since females’ cycles actually align when the women are together a lot, it may be easiest to spend a good deal of time together (extended sleep-over, etc), and then plan any swimming parties according to everyone’s cycle so there’s no need to worry for most females. 😉
My period never stopped when I was in the water, but I have an excessive flow. It isn’t the same for everyone.
Bethany Nash says
Let her choose! I used cloth pads from 11-15, when I first heard about the Diva Cup from a friend. I LOVED it. So much cleaner to use, and no laundry for me to do. Also, don’t limit by brand. I used Diva for 11 years, but now I’m getting a better fit with Lunette. Give your daughter all the options, and let her select the one that works for her. Menstrual products are really personal, and she will appreciate being treated like an adult when it comes to personal care.
My daughters used clean pads right before they got into the water. The back pressure from the water usually keeps one from actively bleeding until you get out. Then they headed straight for the bathroom.
If you are worried that the bleeding is too heavy, you can always do the above along with using a baby washcloth, roll it up to look like a tampon, and then place it inter-labially (not inter-vaginally).
Susan Russell says
So glad you spoke out on this. My 14 yr old dtr is a huge proponent of using the reusable pads, she is the one who brought it up in fact. (she is terrified of trying the diva cup) We have several of differing thicknesses of the pads from a couple different internet sources (use for different types of days) and I use them as needed when I get my winter pneumonia ‘cough leak’. They are fantastic and very comfortable. Sometime they don’t dry as well as I’d like, so I just clothespin them to a hanger for some extra time out and they do fine. One gal even sent us a little zip up case for them if we are out and need to change, just like a little wet diaper bag! I love that!
Jennifer H says
Yes, these are great for mild urinary incontinence, as well! I convinced my mom and 83 -year old grandma to use cloth panty liners!
I have the problem of incontinence and would love to try the cloth pads where do I order them from please
Hi – I’ve been using cups for years now; I’d second the recommendation (with the Keeper, although I’m now using a Mooncup) to try it for three cycles before making a final judgement – I did find that it took me about that long to get used to getting it in the right place to avoid leaks.
On the other hand, a couple of years ago I misplaced it for a while (it was in a pocket in my overnight bag from a trip away…) and had to use tampons for a cycle – I was amazed at how yukky and messy the tampons seemed after having got used to just emptying the cup into the toilet!
So… the yuk factor is mostly just about what you’re used to!
I LOVE my Diva cup! It is the only reason I don’t mind having a period!
Bethany V. says
I was nervous about the Diva Cup so I ended up with the Lunette. It’s definitely growing on me. I don’t find it anymore bothersome or messy than using tampons and actually a little less uncomfortable, especially at the beginning and the end of the cycle. I’ve been using cloth pads for more than three years now and really like them. Sometimes they shift, which is a little annoying, but mostly I like them. I also found Etsy to be the best place to find reasonably priced pads. I figured out that with Luna pads it would have taken me 5-6 years just to break even! But I found a great seller on Etsy (CarolinesCreations09) whose products are quite reasonably priced.
I have had a uterine ablation and have VERY LIGHT periods now, sometimes only light spotting. I use nothing more than a panty liner. I am past the point of using stuff like this but am simply curious about some logistics. I used tampons for most of my life and never had any problems. How does one handle (specifically rinse) the Diva cup or the sponge in a public restroom? How do you handle cloth pads when out and about? Do you launder them and can they be bleached to disinfect? Would like to know more about swimming or camping or college dorm situations (like tents and outhouses)? Heck, I’m wondering how I could have pulled this off at work for 14+hours. Life doesn’t stop because we get our period. These things sound very much like they are not user friendly outside the comfort of the home? Not judging, just seeking info to satisfy my curiosity. Thank you!
Wardee Harmon says
In a public restroom, you simple pull out the cup, empty in toilet, wipe the outside with toilet paper, and reinsert. Or, if there’s a large stall with a sink, you could rinse. For pads, you would carry a zipper pouch for wet things (or a ziploc bag) in your purse. (I’m not sure the sponge would be feasible unless you could rinse.) With you, having light periods, it is conceivable you’d never to need to make a change away from home. In my opinion, the cup especially makes dealing with the cycle away from home easier.
Jennifer H says
I handle cloth pads in the same way I handled cloth diapers. If you were using disposable products (pads or tampons), you would still have to bring them with you. I have a small wet bag for bringing used pads home.
We camp, too. Not campground camping, but backwoods camping. Same thing. You have to pack out everything that you pack in.
When a person uses disposable products during a long work day, what do they do? The only difference is that you bring home the soiled pads to wash.
Ohhh. I normally don’t use a purse unless on a road trip/vacation, I just shove an extra panttiliner and/or tampon in a pocket. Do the pads get smelly if left in a plastic bag for hours? Can they be bleached to disinfect and deodorize? What about the cup, can it be disinfected? Anything that comes in contact with body fluids gets thouroughly cleaned around here! Sounds like I’d have to start carrying a purse… ugh. Thank for the info!
Just to throw some ideas out there, even though I’m not a current user of their products. You wouldn’t need to carry a purse around, you would just need access to a purse for a few days a month. That might mean leaving a purse in a car or a desk drawer, just in case you start today and then carrying a purse for a few days.
As an alternative, you could just use a cup and empty it frequently, so you don’t have to worry about carrying anything with you.
I’m not sure I would worry too much about disinfecting. The products that you buy are not sterile already. Although they will be touching bodily fluids, they will be infected with your own microflaura, so I wouldn’t worry as much about it as if it were a product that was shared. I would treat it the same way as if I got blood on my underwear because my disposable product leaked or I started unexpectedly.
Once again, you could choose to use a cup and plan on boiling it for sterilization.
Jennifer H says
We don’t use bleach in our home. I wash my pads the same way I washed diapers and family cloth. They get washed once in cold water to remove soil and prevent staining. They get washed a second time in hot water. I use vinegar and/or baking soda in the wash.
Bleach would also destroy the beautiful hand-dyed fabrics!
Does hot water make them shrink?
Wardee Harmon says
I use cold water so they don’t stain. And I air-dry so the dryer heat doesn’t fade the colors. I don’t know how warm water would effect them.
Jennifer H says
The hand-dyed fabrics shrink during the dying process. My favorite pads are made of organic bamboo velour (skin side), windpro fleece (panty side), and a hemp core.
One of the first pads that I purchased was not made with pre-shrunk materials. Since most pads are made with more than 1 fabric, pre-shrinking is the right thing to do.
Wardee Harmon says
Pam — A pocket might not work. 😉 I suppose anything like this would get smelly if left for hours and hours, but after a day? Not that much. You can soak your cup and/or pads in a hydrogen peroxide-water mixture to sanitize and deodorize. (I have not had any smells linger past a regular wash — with pads, at least.) Many people do it at the end of each cycle for the cup, and for the pads, there are various ways. Some people keep a bucket with water and soda (or hydrogen peroxide) and put rinsed pads in it, and then wash them at the end of the cycle or daily or whatever works for their laundry situation. What I do is rinse out my pads with cold water and just toss in the wash with the darks. They come right clean just like underwear. Also keep in mind that I don’t rely on pads for the majority of the flow — that’s what the cup does. The pads are just to catch the drips on heavy days.
I really think you’d have the very least bother with a cup. With your light flow, you wouldn’t have to keep anything in your pocket at all! Much less a purse. 🙂
Bethany Nash says
I have needed to empty the cup in a public restroom exactly once in 12 years. With moderate flow you can go up to 12 hours without emptying. I wash the cup with soap and water, but it can easily be disinfected at the end of each cycle. Boiling water is sufficient.
As long as we’re asking super-intrusive questions, do you get one different color or style for each person that is menstruating in the house?
Jennifer H says
LOL! Right now, I am the only one using them. I have a 10 yo daughter that is built very differently from me. I have purchased several pantyliners and smaller pads that are too small to be practical for me. For now, our pads are just different.
Wardee Harmon says
Good questions! We picked different colors/pattern for each — as much as we could. 😉
Bethany Nash says
My sisters do have different colored Lunette cups, but since the cups are stored in a little bag when not in use, there really isn’t a lot of opportunity for confusion. We always kept them in our room when not in use.
I made my own (you can find easy patterns on line for free). We used a different color thread for the snaps, and that is how we kept track. You could just sew a piece of thread onto each with a different color.
Janet T says
Would LOVE to know more specifics on making your own! Where did you get material and what are the patterns called?
I switched to a cup two cycles ago (The Keeper is what I chose because I wanted something more natural than the silicone variations) and I can’t believe that at the age of 36 I have gone this long without it. I used Glad Rags in conjunction while I was figuring it out (and on particularly heavy days I still use them just in case). I won’t lie, there is definitely a learning curve and in addition to learning how to insert it properly so it’s comfortable, I’ve had a couple of disastrous moments where the bathroom looked like a massacre. But I really like how much more I know about my body, how much better it is for the environment and how much more cost effective it is.
I’ve used cloth for years! I bought some glad rags when I first started in cloth and do not like them. They are so teeny tiny, like a panty liner, nothing for a heavy or regular flow. I love the other ones I have, but I’m not sure of the brand off the top of my head.
I’ve been using cloth pads and a cup fpr a few years now, and I noticed two more advantages that aren’t listed here. The first is that my periods became shorter by about two days. The second is that I seldom suffer from cramps anymore. I should add that I’ve never had particularly long or heavy periods, or suffered serious cramping, but it’s still a noticeable difference.
In terms of how to use, I use both for the first couple of days, then switch to either/or as my flow lightens. Probably the best thing is just to experiment and find out what works for you. Personally, I wouldn’t go back.
In terms of keeping things clean, I have a small, flip-top bin in the lavatory, which I half fill with water and a couple of drops of tea-tree oil, and I put my pads in there until I’m ready to wash them. The cup is easily rinsed under a tap or in the shower – I remember reading somewhere that one alternative in a public restroom situation is to rinse it with your urine, which is sterile when it leaves the body, then dry with toilet paper. But except on heavy days you can probably manage by emptying it right before you leave the house and again as soon as you get home, especially if you wear a light pad to spare your undies from any leakage.
I’ve used the Diva cup for a few years now and just trying to sew some of my own pads. Any advice on sewing your own? I’ve been using flannel with microfiber inserts but have considered using the pul fabric for the panty side. I really would appreciate any help or advice. I need to make some more very soon, like I’ve needed to make them how long ago?? (I’ve had to use some disposables even with my diva cup!) I’d also like to know the differences between the different cups.
Jennifer H says
I am not a fan of using PUL in my pads. While it is great for its water-proof feature, it allows for zero air flow! I opt for windpro fleece, instead.
Is any fleece usable or does it have to be the windpro?
Jennifer H says
Windpro fleece is thinner and allows for more airflow than most fleeces. It is anti-pilling, too. I don’t really know if regular fleece will work as well. In my experience, Windpro fleece is what cloth pad and diaper cover makers use.
If I remember correctly they discuss differences between cups here:
I made some using PUL for the outside. It was a very sweaty proposition. Once I was comfortable and trusted it, I just used fleece for the bottom layer, a washcloth cut to size for the middle layer (folded in thirds, but it was too long, so I just a bit off), and a piece of flannel for the top layer. Fleece is AMAZING as a waterproof barrier. I wore one commercial pad underneath the above for the first week just to make SURE, and I never leaked through to the pad. The fleece stays put in your underwear, so no need for snaps or a holder for the three layers.
I’m interested this natural feminine hygiene thing. I’ve hated using pads ever since I first started. I was so happy when I finally started using tampons. But lately using them makes me feel gross. It feels unhealthy, if that makes sense. I know the subject was touched on a little. But I’m only 20. I’m a virgin and plan on being one till I’m married. I’ve been worried about using the cups. Could I use them since I use tampons? I hate pads so I’d rather not use those. However, I don’t want to have to put off going a healthier route till I get married. You know what I’m saying?
I would think that you could try using a cup. Do some research to find one that’s good for your situation (smaller/softer/you’ll know what sounds comfortable), there is a GREAT review at http://menstrualcups.wordpress.com/category/comparisons/ of the various cups out there. Try one, and try it for at least 3 cycles to give yourself a chance to get familiar with using one–unless it’s just flat-out painful. If the first one doesn’t work, try a different one, until you find one that works. Honestly, mine is so comfortable that I often forget it’s there, but even still after several years, if I don’t “pay attention” when inserting it, it still can pinch or leak. So do remember that you have to pay attention every time (I found that “squeezing” it, like if you were going to the bathroom, helps to “seat” it), but you should be able to find one that’s comfortable.
For the record, I work LONG days away from home an my first couple of days are very heavy. I just dump it in the toilet and wipe with toilet paper and re-insert; then when I’m home, I’ll do a thorough rinse. Also, after a cycle is over, I’ll put it in a lingerie bag and throw it in with the whites!
And bless you for staying pure–you won’t regret it, and you’ll be blessed beyond measure when you are married!
Jennie Manners says
Great article. Thank you. I just wanted to add a device I recently found which has changed my life. Since I had my first periods as a teenager I always felt dirty. I tried all sorts of things to cope with this. Then I came across the bum gun bidet sprayer website one day after seeing a twitter post. http://www.thebumgun.com/store
This nifty little device is supposed to be for cleaning your bottom after the toilet, but I found it just as useful for cleaning in between pad changes. I couldn’t be happier now!! To be honest the bum gun has changed my life. I sincerely recommend everyone to check it out, because in terms of hygiene and feeling good about yourself, it truly is a life changing product.
My daughter use to use regular tampons. I attended a seminar and one of the things they talked about is what is added to our feminine products. We were told there are also hormones that are in the fibers that make you bleed longer and it interrupted your cycles. I mentioned that to my daughter and she was at the store one day and were clearancing out their organic tampons She bought what was left. She said since she has been using them her cycle has shortened and she no longer get the cramping and stomach pains.
Thank you for this! My IUD is due to be removed this year and I’ve decided against a new one. I haven’t had a period in years (both a major pro and con to the IUD), but switching to reusable products when it returns is a top priority.
Brittany P says
Overall, I love the Gladrags. I’ve made more of my own pantyliners (and postpartum/overnight pads for a friend) from extra flannel I had sitting around in my fabric stash. I love, love cloth pads. They are so incredibly comfortable, and much cooler than regular (even really healthy) disposables. I know most people say you have to rinse them or soak them before washing, but unless I have a heavier day, I just throw them in the wash within a day or so, and they come out very clean, and just fine. Super easy.
My mother recently found out about health-giving, and healing properties that are found in linen. I’m curious (and in the future want to try) making my own linen pads, and see if notice any differences from my regular cloth pads. There are ready-made ones here, and more information on that website on the beneficial properties of linen: http://www.lifegivinglinen.com/pleasant-pads.html
I’d be interested to know how well a cup works for ladies in their 40s, with the flooding and whatnot that comes with peri-menopause. I look at that little cup and I just can’t imagine it holding all that!
I am 40 and have pretty heavy times. I just empty it more often, wipe it and re-insert. It’s so much better than tampons/pads that always felt slimy and hot to me.
Oohh, I am interested in this as well. The flooding is horrible! Anything that helps that ‘totally helpless’ feeling would be welcome! Even the most absorbent cloth pads just can’t handle it, at least not for long. I am ordering a Moon Cup and will see how that works along with a pad during that couple days where I work entirely too far away from the bathroom! I’ve never been much of a tampon girl, they always felt too “dry”, if you know what I mean. So wish me luck!
I have been using cloth pads for a few years now and absolutely love them! I use Zorb fabric for the absorbent layer, and organic flannel for the layer closest to the skin (in a fun print so stains don’t show). they were quick and easy to make and have made such a difference.
I decided to try the Diva cup a few months ago, and since i’m over 30 I got the larger size. Ugh! SO uncomfortable that I had to take it out after a few hours and haven’t ventured to try it again. it’s much less flexible than I thought it would be..maybe the smaller size would be better, but I’m not sure. I have PCOS and a very retroverted uterus, which makes for some discomfort even when i’m not on my period lol, so maybe that’s the cause. For now I’m happy using the cloth pads 🙂
Bethany Nash says
The Lunette cup is softer than the Diva… if you do decide to try again look up “menstrual cup comparison” and you should be able to find one that is better suited to you.
Melissa Maestri says
I Just Wanted To Note That It Is PosSible To live Without Ever Using Feminine Products Ever Again. I Have Been Without For 3 Years. I Have Learned To Use Kegals And Be Attentive To My Body. I Do Not Use Any Products. Just 100% Natural. 🙂
I am so thankful that I found this post! Thanks so much for sharing this, Wardee! I have been thinking a lot recently about how to go natural with feminine hygiene, but had no idea where to start to look. I personally didn’t want to go back to the old rag system of the olden days. I’m so thankful to find out there are other options! I will definitely be trying them out!
I researched and tried the diva cup. OMGosh! Horrible! Sorry, but it’s horrible. I have never had my fingers where I don’t want them so much in my life. and before everyone tries to give me “tips” on how to properly insert the cup, don’t. I did it correctly. The suction created was great, trying to break that suction to get it out, crazy. Then it spills. Looks like a murder scene. If I would have been in a public restroom there would have been no way to make it to the sink and scrub my hand or the little cup. Uncomfortable as all get out, you can “feel” it in there. No. Just no. For people it works for, kudos. Pads or tampons. Maybe not all natural but I still thank God for the provision of them, especially after attempting the diva cup!
Ive been using cloth pads now for about 8 months and will never go back to disposible. I have PCOS and my cycles have never been normal. They’ve always been heavy, very painful and random. Ever since I switched to cloth my periods have been medium flow, no cramping AT ALL, and right on time. Im working on getting a friend of mine to make the switch. It will literally change your life.
I tried two kinds of the cups they were awful. They hurt to get in, were gross to empty and I could feel it inside me the whole time, just extremely uncomfortable. Pads of any kind are just bunchy and gross. You smell bad after a bit when wearing pads too. I have seen that whole foods offers natural cotton tampons. I watch chemicals on a lot of things but this girl is not giving up the security and cleanliness of my tampons.
My period lasts for 7-10 days, with 4-6 of those days being so heavy that I have to wear 2 or 3 overnight pads at once. It’s heavier than post-partum flow at times. Will disposable pads work for me? Any recommendations?
Hi, I am a 21 year old girl, I have been using a lunette cup and cloth menstrual pads for almost a year now, NEVER going back. I NEVER get yeast infections anymore, I bleed less and my menstrual cramps are not as bad as they were. The last time I used tampons I cramped so bad I was lying in a fetal position crying, and I can take a lot of pain belive me. After that I was so fed up of the cramping that I purchased my lunette and a variety of cloth menstrual pads. My favourites are Yurtcraft and Homestead Emporium, sewn my stay at home mums. I have never thought of menstrual blood as unclean or dirty, so reusable menstrual pads are not a problem for me. Menstruation is a natural thing, it’s your body’s way of telling you that you are a healthy woman 🙂
Heather m says
What about post partum? If pads are the best option how many would one need? I bleed for at least 4 weeks after a baby.
I have had a Diva Cup for several years, but only use it during my heaviest days.
Please be aware that when seated properly, the Diva Cup is collapsed and there is suction holding it in place over the cervix. Only filling up with blood will release that suction. So if you try to remove a mostly/entirely empty cup, you will be pulling on your cervix and uterus as well, and that is EXCRUCIATING.
For that reason, I would never suggest wearing it on a very light flow day.
I have a very light flow and do not have that problem at all. When I take the Diva Cup out I just lightly squeeze in the outer edge of the cup to release the seal it has created and it comes out very easily.
I think the reusable, non-disposable option is wonderful, however, if you are out and about at school or work, use what you think is best for then. I cannot imagine how horrified a teenage girl would be if the Ziploc leaked at school. I’d be mortified if that happened at work! I’d rather have chemical-filled commercial disposable materials next to me at work or school than risk even one gross incident (so would your teenage daughter).
I love the idea of the cups. I purchased a Diva cup a while back but, found it uncomfortable. I’m also a plus sized woman. Do any of the style cups lend a more easier experience for the plus sized woman. I’m just not as flexible as I once was.
This girl is a natural options rockstar! In this video she does a great job explaining how to figure out which cup might be a good fit. She has other videos on cloth options too.
I have been using a Diva Cup and cloth pads for about 6 months and I absolutely love it! I originally purchased 2 Luna Pads, but don’t ever use those anymore. I have 10 cloth pads from MamaBearBabyWear on Etsy that I prefer over the Luna Pads. She has her own Ladywear line of cloth pads that are much more affordable and more comfortable than the expensive Luna Pads. I love, love, love my Diva Cup though! Will never go back to tampons.
I, like my sister, mom and grandma, have never had success with tampons. I’ve always used big, bulky disposable pads. About 2 yrs ago I decided to try a cup (I bought the Diva cup) I tried every month and just could not get it to work. It was painfully uncomfortable and leaked. I recently decided to give the Sea Sponge a try – oh my goodness!! I’m so thankful to find something that works for ME! I successfully had my first non-disposible cycle and it felt so freeing! I am a SAHM, so I’m able to rinse it in the comfort of my home, but I am thinking of getting another to take in a wet bag if I am out for an extended period of time. ? Thanks for this post, Wardee!
Any idea if the Thinx period proof underwear has anything unsafe in them? I used them for one cycle and felt so much better. Didn’t have nearly the amount of cramping or discomfort as usual.
We do not know… They are intriguing, for sure.
Traditional Cooking School.
Gunjan Sugandhi says
I am so impressed!! You know after reading your article I just felt a powerful feeling in my heart. Do you know that traditionally Indians used cotton cloth only for padding during their menstrual??? I my self have used cloth and washed and reused it. I feel so bad sometimes that we forgot our own culture in desire to be westernised and now westerners are reinventing our culture! But your article was a solid eye opener to realise how scientific my own culture always was! Thanks a ton! I will keep on reading your articles!