This One’s For The Girls: Green Your Period

by heather

It shows up under many guises…

“Aunt Flo”

“The PD”

“THAT time of the month”

“My one excuse to eat chocolate unconditionally”

Whatever you like to call it, for us girls our period is an inevitable part of life.

It might be a taboo topic for some, but today I’m tackling the issue of how we can go about making our periods more eco-friendly.

For the guys, you’ll probably want to skip this one. Although, you might enjoy my next post down the list, “Composting Toilets: All You Ever Wanted To Know“.

I’m A Newbie Too…

I’ve begun to realize lately that although I live a pretty green life, there are a few things that just haven’t been on my radar. Toilet paper was the first; I realized a few months ago that I never gave my toilet paper a second thought (you can see my dramatic change of heart in this post, “Why I Spend Extra on Recycled Toilet Paper“).

The other thing that has not been on my radar is my period, and all the waste that goes along with it. Tampons, pads, panty liners….I use all that stuff monthly, and into the garbage or down the drain it goes. There’s no recycling or reusing when it comes to that stuff. And I’m ashamed to say that until last month, I didn’t give this much of a thought either.

I’m a complete fanatic when it comes to taking my canvas bags to the grocery store, I avidly recycle both my garbage and my rainwater, but pad and tampon waste? Like I said…just not on my radar. Embarrassing.

But, not anymore. Now that it is on my radar I’ve committed myself to greening up my own period, and thought I’d write a post while I was doing my own research.

Just The Facts, Please…

So, I want to start out by making the case on why we should take the time to make our periods more eco-friendly.

First of all, tampons aren’t that healthy for us, or the environment. Here’s an excerpt on tampon safety from the National Research Center for Women and Families:

Tampons, used by approximately 43 million women in the United Stated today, are usually made of cotton and rayon. Rayon is a synthetic fiber made from wood pulp. During that process, a toxic byproduct known as dioxin is created. Very small amounts of dioxin are in the rayon fiber. In addition, until the late 1990’s a chlorine bleaching process that also produces dioxin was used on both the rayon and the cotton used in tampons.

In 1994, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a report that stated that dioxins are known to cause cancer in animals, and probably cause cancer in people. The EPA also has determined that people exposed to high levels of dioxins may be at risk for a damaged immune system, increased risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and reduced fertility. Recent research on monkeys has linked dioxin exposure with increased risks for developing endometriosis, a painful disease in which uterine tissue is found outside the uterus, frequently leading to infertility.

One study found that 80 percent of the monkeys exposed to dioxin developed endometriosis, and that higher levels of exposure caused the development of more severe forms of the disease. Two of the monkeys in the study died of endometriosis.

The report goes on to say that although dioxin has been reduced in recent years due to a new bleaching process, it’s still there in trace amounts. And here’s another enlightening quote, from the same report:

More recently, a study sponsored by the FDA Office of Women’s Health and published in 2005 found detectable levels of dioxin in seven brands of tampons, including at least one 100% cotton brand. Although the FDA currently requires tampon manufacturers to monitor dioxin levels in their finished products, the results are not available to the public.

Um, yikes.

So, that’s just the health aspect. We haven’t even gotten to the environmental consequences yet!

According to Consumer Reports magazine, a woman will use thousands of tampons during her lifetime. And during a recent international coastline cleanup day, over 20,000 tampons were picked up in one day.

It’s a sobering figure. I can’t even guess how much is dumped in landfills or flushed down the toilet each day. Big time yikes.

Want To See Just How Many Tampons You’re Throwing Away?

1 year's worth of tampons, courtesy of TheKeeper.com

After this article originally posted, Julie Schopick, the marketing director for The Keeper (a reusable menstrual cup) let me know of some incredible pictures they’ve got up on their site.

The pictures show exactly how much waste a woman generates per month, per year, and after ten years of using pads and tampons.

I must admit I was floored by these pictures. The last one shows an entire dumptruck full of tampon waste (including boxes and wrappers), which is the amount of garbage one woman will generate after menstruating for 40 years.

Click here to see the rest of these images yourself; they’re pretty sobering. Thanks, Julie, for sending that in. Very enlightening!

Green Period Options

The good news to all this is that these days, we’ve got plenty of options for an eco-friendly period. Here are some you can take a look at:

Diva Cup

The reason why I’m starting out with the Diva Cup is because this is one product that completely eliminates all waste from your period.

The Diva Cup is a medical grade silicon cup that you insert for 10-12 hours at a time. The cup catches your flow, which you empty out twice per day. It’s approved by the FDA for medical safety, and is endorsed by Green America.

There are a lot of really great perks to the Diva Cup.

  • First, it’s all you need. No more wasteful tampons, pads, or pantyliners. Diva Cup estimates that over 55 million women in America use disposable menstruation products each year, so eliminating your need for these products can dramatically reduce your footprint on the earth.
  • Another big perk to the Diva Cup is that it saves you money. Diva Cups run between $23 and $33, depending on where you get yours, so it’s an investment. But, I spend about $150 per year on pads and tampons, so that’s a big savings in the long run. You earn your money back in 2 months. And, they last for years.
  • It’s also much healthier for your body than tampons. You don’t have to worry about TSS with the Diva Cup. And, you can sleep in it.

And the drawbacks? Well, there are some…

  • There’s a learning curve. I haven’t gotten my Diva Cup in yet (I ordered it through Amazon this week), but everything I read suggests that getting the insertion just right takes some time. At the onset there might be some leakage until you get the angle just right. So, we’ll see how it goes!
  • It takes some getting used to. Again from what I read, most of us aren’t used to seeing our flow in all its glory. So, you need to feel comfortable, or at least have an open mind, about your body and its natural cycle.

If you surf online about the Diva Cup, you might be surprised at all the rave reviews it’s gotten from women all over the world. I know I was, and it was their glowing testimonials that finally convinced me to give it a try. Amazon.com especially had some really informative reviews.

The Menstrual Cup Forum is a complete goldmine of information on all the different menstrual cups out there, from the Diva to the Mooncup, and everything in between. If you want to know what it’s truly like to use one of these, how its done, if its grody, if it’s comfortable…every question you can think of is answered on this wonderful forum. The women that write in to answer your questions are kind, funny, and very informative, so don’t miss this resource if you’re interested in getting one of your own.

As soon as my own Diva Cup comes in and I have the chance to use it, I’ll be posting a product review here at The Greenest Dollar. I must admit I’m kind of excited (and nervous too). But I love the thought of not having to flush another tampon down the toilet, or throw another pad or applicator in the trash. So, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I love it as much as everyone else does.

Other Menstrual Cup Options

Thanks so much to Heidi, who let me know as soon as this article posted that there are tons of other options out there besides the Diva. Here are the links she sent in (you can also see them in her comment, below the article):

Mooncup.com

Mooncup.com

If any of you have used these other brands, I’d love to hear what your experience has been like!

Seventh Generation Organic Cotton Tampons

Now I haven’t used these tampons, but from reading reviews online they seem to work pretty well.

Perks: Seventh Generation Organic Cotton tampons have no bleach, no rayon, and no plastic applicator. They’re low waste, and much healthier for your body than regular tampons.

Drawbacks: They’re pricey. A box of 20 is going to run you just over $5 at Drugstore.com.

But, if you sign up for Seventh Generation’s newsletter, they’ll send you $1 off coupons every few months. So, you’ll probably get one for their tampons eventually.

Reusable, Handmade Pads

Ok, remember me coming clean about me not having a green period? Well, all of this is new to me too. I haven’t used reusable pads before, but frankly I’m shocked I never thought of using them. To avoid

GladRags.com

GladRags.com

massive guilt, I’m chalking up my ignorance to Tampax’s aggressive marketing campaign, and Always’s annoying commercials telling me to “Have A Happy Period”. Whatever.

I love the idea of using reusable pads, and I was amazed at the options out there. Here are some great resources I found.

For those of you with enviable sewing ability, here’s instructions on how to make your own reusable pads:

Last Word…

Like I said earlier, as soon as I get to know my new Diva Cup that’s coming in the mail soon, I’ll write up a complete review on how things went.

Have any of you used the Diva, or any of the other products I mentioned? I’d love to hear what you think on this, and what your experience has been. I’m sure other women would too. I really feel that all the commercial products we use (and the hype that goes with them) have put us sadly out of touch with the natural cycles of our bodies.

After all, this is part of our life. And yet, I can’t help but feel weird and uncertain about using the Diva Cup next month. And I hate that I’m squeamish about my own body like that. But, I know I’ll overcome it and be less wasteful as a result.

Thanks for reading!

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February 26, 2009 at 10:13 pm
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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Heidi February 20, 2009 at 4:25 pm

Wow, you just barely hit the surface! I’ve been a cup user since late ’03 and switched to cloth pantyliners and have not looked back since!
There are oodles of cloth pads/liners out there by small groups with awesome support, especially on facebook ( http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=2204672458 ) and livejournal. There are actually quite a few brands, Diva happens to be a bit harder to clean than some of the others, but they’re all basically the same. Some brands hail from the UK, the Czech Republic, Finland, etc.
Current cup list that I’m aware of –
http://www.divacup.com/
http://femmecup.com/
http://www.keeper.com/
http://www.ladycup.eu/
http://www.lunette.fi/
http://www.mooncup.com/

Every user I’ve met has been more than happy to answer questions, hopefully things will work out for you, everyone I know who has tried it has been thrilled and continued use* – only one person I know has been unable to use the cup due to a cervical cyst, so if there’s any issue with use, don’t ignore the problem! All the best!

heather February 20, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Wow, Heidi, you rock!

I’m adding those links to the article now. Thanks so much for adding all that!

Heidi February 20, 2009 at 4:47 pm

It’s a shame there’s such a stigma surrounding periods and how they’re dirty/unclean/taboo, seeing as they’re as natural as flesh and blood. There’s also a product called the “instead” which is marketed as a cup, but is messy when being emptied and while reusable, is also disposable. Potential perk for those who would like to have sex and use their cup simultaneously – cups and sex do not mix, but the instead has a plastic membrane that doesn’t interfere *** is not a form of birth control! linky – http://www.softcup.com/

heather February 20, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Heidi,

I know, and I count myself into those who have been “stigmaed”. I mean, I really had reservations about using anything besides pads and tampons, and I consider myself a “try anything” kind of girl.

Well, I busted my reservations down and ordered the Diva anyway.

Thanks for the heads up on the “Instead” product; that’s another one I haven’t heard of.

Do you mind sharing with me (and with other readers) what kind of reusable pads you think work best? Have you had any trouble with leakage on those?

Heidi February 20, 2009 at 5:33 pm

Heather,

The squeamish seem to overcome the bodily fluid phobia when confronted with the ease and practicality of cup use =) It did take me about 3 cycles to get the courage to change the cup when *not* in the shower (and trust me, 2-3 showers a day gets to be a bit much!)

Note: cups should be rinsed as often as emptied, and while they can be emptied as frequently as flow requires, they should NOT be left in for more than 12 hrs at a time, but emptying every 8-12 hrs is normal for a moderate flow.

I can’t give an unbiased review of a lot of the pads – since I never use them without the cup, I only need a light layer of protection because the cup rarely* leaks (maybe once or twice a year does the seal not quite set right, probably my own fault). So the residue is generally controlled nicely with a double layer of flannel. Personal favorites due to said light weight absorbancy would be from http://www.tlc-pads.com/ (the order form doesn’t work, but they’re a pair of college students who are very helpful). The classic Luna Pads – http://www.lunapads.com/ – seem more heavy weight than I need, even the liners, but they’re great if I opt to not use the cup for a period. Just gooogling “cloth menstrual pads” offers a ton of option, organic and otherwise. Glad Rags seems to be a popular brand as well. As you pointed out, Etsy has a lot of sellers & patterns and whatnot.

The world of cloth pads is amazing, I’m really quite the tomboy, so having a crazy rainbow of monkeys, pigs, stars, hearts, etc in my underwear is kind of a strange feeling. As with anything, you just have to know your flow, and your body and pick pads accordingly to avoid leakage. Cloth perk: they last forever and it’s hard to go astray. That said, depending on your activities, they occasionally bunch like crazy O.o …still way more breathable than plastic ones though!

Heidi February 20, 2009 at 6:18 pm

Also – youtube is filled with strange factoids and false-oids (yay, new word?!) but this clip has been especially helpful for a lot of people – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAKpyw-R-po – it’s especially relevant for cultural sensitivity! Something I’d never even thought of, seeing as I never travel much beyond North America and Europe.

Mrs Green February 21, 2009 at 12:24 pm

Fab post and a subject close to my heart! I’m really looking forward to sharing this topic next week in the Carnival of the Green and I hope you inspire many women to give this a go 🙂
I’m a washable pads gal and I love them …

We covered the topic on our site here:
http://myzerowaste.com/articles/personal/reusable-sanitary-protection/

heather February 21, 2009 at 4:13 pm

Heidi,

Wow, you rock girl. Thanks so much for taking the time to educate me, and other readers, on this subject! I hope that other women decide to take the leap too and go with more eco-friendly options like a cup or cloth pads.

heather February 21, 2009 at 4:48 pm

Mrs. Green,

Thanks so much for writing in! My Diva cup actually just came in the mail a few minutes ago. I must admit, I’m having to work up the courage to go in and give it a go. I know it sounds ridiculous, but this is just so foreign!

But, nothing ventured nothing gained. : ) Again, for all you other newbies out there just like me, I’ll be writing up a comprehensive product review on the Diva in just a few weeks.

I’ll keep you posted!

scentualsoundtracks February 21, 2009 at 10:20 pm

Thanks for this posting! I considered reusable pads but unfortunately I remain one of those women who wears disposable pads/liners for the convenience of throwing them away and not having to wash them. I can’t stand the idea, too, of leaving anything from a tampon to a Diva Cup inside of me for hours on end. I do, however, use Seventh Generation pads and they work well for me. I consider my choice the meeting ground between my personal preference and honoring nature.

Julia Schopick February 22, 2009 at 2:19 pm

I was really glad to see this posting about the waste caused by women using (then disposing of) tampons and pads — and the benefits of using reusable menstrual products. You point out that a woman will use thousands of tampons during her lifetime. Amazing, isn’t it? I was also fascinated to read that, during a recent international coastline cleanup day, over 20,000 tampons were picked up in one day! I’d love to know where you found that statistic. (I’m sure it’s true, and I’d like to cite it myself!)

Your visitors/readers might like to look at a visual that graphically demonstrates the impact of our use of disposable menstrual products over a lifetime.

Keeper.com recently posted a Comparison Photo Page (See http://www.keeper.com/photographs.html), which shows — in pictures — exactly HOW MUCH WASTE the average woman who uses tampons creates in one month, one year, ten years and 40 years. (The average woman menstruates for forty years!)

These photos are worth at least A THOUSAND WORDS, because, frankly, I don’t think that women who use disposable menstrual products — which is, unfortunately, MOST women — actually like to think about the lifetime accumulation of waste they are foisting on our environment.

This visual provides actual proof of the huge amount of environmental waste we women create, in this small area alone.

And you’ll just love the photo on this Comparison Photo Page of the DUMP TRUCK, which is FILLED with 260 pounds of tampons and packaging. Believe it or not, the average woman actually uses (and tosses into the environment) that many pounds of tampons in her menstruating lifetime – and if she uses disposable menstrual pads, there would even be more waste!

Julia Schopick
Marketing Director
The Keeper, Inc.
http://www.Keeper.com

heather February 22, 2009 at 6:23 pm

Hi Julie,

Thanks so much for writing in!

The”20,000 tampons in one day” statistic came from the Consumer Reports article that I quoted in the post. You can see it by clicking on this link: http://tinyurl.com/dhbckj

And you’re SO right about those pictures! That’s completely amazing, and I’ll definitely repost that link further up in the article for people to check out.

Thanks so much for sending that in!

Heidi February 22, 2009 at 8:48 pm

Heather, I hope it’s not too late to add my two cents on first-time cup usage… the key is to relax. Seriously, if you can conjure up a candle-lit bubble bath and coax your body into recognizing that the cup is your friend, things will go much more smoothly than a cold turkey dry run. A bit of lube will also help quite a bit if you’re tense. Most people I’ve talked to got the hang of use quite a bit faster than I did, but my brain/body kept getting tense because I wasn’t even much a tampon fan when I switched. So about 10 mins at a time was all I could manage psychologically. Now my biggest worry is forgetting it’s in there!

Layla February 23, 2009 at 10:39 am

Great post!! & so glad you switched over to ‘the light side’!! 🙂

Sadly, I must admit that (although muchly ‘green’) I was a user of conventional stuff for very long too – until a year or two ago an incinerator in my Granny’s town being built sobered me up!!
I was just AFRAID of the ‘icky’ new stuff too!! lol (or throwing money away with this if it didn’t work or if I’d hate it..)

& then whenever I brought it up tentatively everybody in my close family or surrondings would get into a huge shock! lol!!
I mean, for Grandma and Mom, the ‘throwaway’ stuff you could proudly buy over the counter was the height of ‘women’s liberation’ or something!!

But, I interviewed Grandma deeply.. consulted online communities on Livejournal and 43 things… and tried the makeshift homemade cloth pads myself!! (I thought, if I really don’t like them, at least I wouldn’t have spent a fortune on them!)
/I don’t even buy or sew the stuff lol.. Grandma said ‘we just used any cloth there was!’ – so I figured ‘if women had done this for centuries..? – though I may venture out into ‘prettier ones’ someday too..)
And as for washing them, they just get thrown into laundry with the rest of the ‘white stuff’! (I do rinse & keep ’em soaked beforehand..)

… & I totally love ’em!!
/It does matter though how you fold them and how much fabric there is, depending on the ‘flow’, ideally they’re not crumpled up to start with, though I’ve usually been to lazy to iron:)/

Oh, and I used to faint at the sight of blood in ‘the old days’, so if I can do this, everybody can!! 🙂

heather February 23, 2009 at 12:23 pm

Heidi,

Thanks so much for those tips! Would you believe I chickened out? Ha!

The Diva showed up in the mail at the tail end of my cycle anyway, so I’ve got a whole month to work myself up to it again. : )

I’m sure I’m imagining it to be way more complicated than it actually is. Benefits of an overactive imagination.

I really appreciate you sharing your experiences here; it’s not only helping me, but also all the other women who are considering making the switch too. You’re the best!

heather February 23, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Layla,

That’s awesome that you made your own. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

Carole Blake February 23, 2009 at 6:35 pm

This whole post shamed me into investigating the Mooncup that I actually ordered, received, and shoved into a drawer around a whole year ago,meaning to get around to using at some point when I had more time. I was feeling very up for it when I ordered it I seem to recall, but a combination of not being sure if it/I would leak, along with a very busy life (teaching assistant/ICT technician/mum of three mostly grown up boys/a living apart fiance arrangement) – and all being a bit different to what I’ve ever known, I know, rubbish excuses all – anyway…

Thanks to reading about this on My Zero Waste I’ve gone and actually (and only around midcycle, so no panic yet) had a “practice insertion” and everything seems comfortable and not too different, so I’m definitely going to have a try when P day arrives. Luckily my school facilities include a sink and loo all in the same cubicle which makes the whole “emptying” routine slightly easier. Hmmm, I’m thinking I may have to run up a couple of fancy panty liners just to cover all eventualities. I will keep you all posted!!

heather February 23, 2009 at 7:09 pm

Carol,

You rock! That’s so awesome. Good luck with your endeavor; I’ll be starting my own efforts next month!

Definitely keep us posted, and thanks so much for writing in!

bethgraced February 27, 2009 at 6:50 pm

I’ve been using the Diva cup for about a year now, and I love it. The first cycle or two, though, I had issues. It *HURT* to take out – I nearly cried. Then, genius that I am, I discovered that I needed to squeeze it to release the suction seal it had on me, and presto! No problems. I love not having to use a bathroom every time I’m out and worrying about leaking. I do occassionaly wear a liner just in case, but I’ve very rarely needed it. I want to make the switch to reuseable pads next. 😀 Good luck! You’ll work up the courage, and you’ll be so glad you did!

heather February 27, 2009 at 7:20 pm

Beth,

Thanks so much for writing in!

I’m definitely strengthening my resolve for next month. 🙂

This article has been immensely popular with readers, and it’s been so wonderful that so many other women have written in with their stories. It’s not only helping me make the transition, but it’s helping countless others as well.

Thanks so much!

blackbv February 28, 2009 at 9:37 am

Thanks for your submission to the February edition of the Advice for Women from Women blog carnival.

Carole Blake March 3, 2009 at 2:53 pm

Hi All,

I said I’d let you know how I got on so here it is:

Well first thing this morning at around 7.30 (somewhat unexpectedly at only 26 days along – very unusual for me, must be flipping menopause irregularity I reckon, as I’m just about getting to that age now) was the time to start using my long ignored Mooncup.

I reckon I was quite brave to carry on as planned as, although I had a normal work morning at school lined up, I was also to be out all afternoon taking one of my sons to an appointment nearly an hour’s drive away. Then would have to hang about for two hours before taxiing him home again, and wasn’t sure about toilet facilities or anything.

All I can say is that I wish I had switched over a year ago when I first got my mooncup. After a quick check at work around 10am, and a quick “wash out” of the cup, (there’s a sink right in the cubicle so that was easy) I re-inserted it, and didn’t check again until about 3pm when I found a Wetherspoons to have a cup of tea in and was able to nip to the toilet.

There have been NO LEAKS, which is a major event on my “first day on” so to speak. I can’t feel that it’s there, and I’ve already saved about 4 tampons just on my first day. Tbh, I had some in my bag for backup just in case things didn’t work out, but they are still in my bag.

One thing I noticed, and this is just because the Mooncup is a “catcher” and so is not absorbant like towels or tampons, is just how messy what comes out of your body actually is. It does seem like a LOT of blood,, even tho it’s really a fair bit less than a teaspoon each time, and if you’re very squeamish about that sort of thing you might be a bit put off. However, I feel that if you can ignore that, it really is a much better solution. I’ve gone through the day, and especially this afternoon once I realised that I wasn’t going to have an embarrassing leakage feeling very safe and secure.

I’m not EVER going to have to worry about ever buying tampons again, or of being caught out, or running out of them, as well as knowing that I’m helping the environment.

Hope this helps a few people make up their minds…

Carole (feeling very brave and smug)

heather March 3, 2009 at 7:49 pm

Carole,

That’s so wonderful! Good for you. Thanks so much for writing in and sharing.

As you might have read I chickened out last month; my Diva came in when I was almost done with my cycle, so I’ve resolved to give it a go this next month. After reading your story though, I know I can do it!

I hope my first run is as successful as yours was!

Layla March 5, 2009 at 6:10 pm

Carole, great to hear it’s worked so well for you!! 🙂

I’m pasting some links if other girls reading this might be intrigued:
http://community.livejournal.com/cloth_pads/profile
Lots of links to other excellent communities & sites with advice etc.

A community for menstrual cups: http://community.livejournal.com/menstrual_cups/
It even has a comparison of all the different reusable cups, so if by any chance a cup would not be completely comfortable, one can always look for a more comfy one!!
http://community.livejournal.com/menstrual_cups/1285963.html?nc=55
So basically take it as ‘experimenting’ & hopefully it’ll fit anyway!! /just posting this for any new ladies who might wanna try this!/

And this is the LVJ community for making your own cloth pads (especially if you want them to be pretty!!:) http://community.livejournal.com/diy_pads/ Some are really funky and creative! 🙂 Like this one, lol! http://community.livejournal.com/diy_pads/274117.html#cutid1
People experiment with different materials, fabrics, patterns etc. There are tutorials too etc.

I basically just fold mine, but I’m getting really intrigued to try my hand at sewing too!! 🙂
/mind you, I can’t really sew at all lol!/

And maybe I’ll even get brave enough to use a cup someday? 🙂

Do tell us how your first period with Divacup goes!! 🙂

Layla March 5, 2009 at 6:13 pm

Oh, lol – you have one of the communities listed already .. – silly me! 🙂

Anyway, use what you will, just sharing the love!! 🙂

Glad to hear you liked my stories!! 🙂

Jessica March 27, 2009 at 10:57 pm

You inspired me! I just went to lunapads and bought a pantyliner and pad. It cost a lot for what it is, but hopefully it will be worth it!

Cafe March 29, 2009 at 7:24 pm

I just recently bought my pads from http://www.newmoonpads.com/pads.html.

I bought pantiliners and regular menstrual pads. I am currently pregnant right now so I haven’t tried the pads, but I have worn them to see how well they stay put – and they are great. For starters, I absolutely love the fact that I’m not throwing away the pantiliners. In fact I change them more frequently just because I’m not throwing them away and wasting them.
On this site they have “sleeper” pads and they are HUGE. If you are plus size and can’t seem to get pads big enough so you don’t leak, that’s the way to go. Just make sure you chose them with wings.

My next goal is to stop using toilet paper. It’s very hard for me. Especially with dealing with #2. What I do with them is, I change my reusuable pantiliner every time I go to the bathroom. I place it on the sink. And then put all the used reusable wipes on top of the pantiliner. Then when I leave the bathroom, I fold the pantiliner in half (holding together the clean sides) with the wipes “inside” and drop it in the diaper pail. No one in my house knows I do this so that’s how I keep it secret.

heather March 30, 2009 at 5:41 am

Cafe,

That goes in line with everything else I’ve heard about moonpads; they’re awesome!

My goal is to stop using TP too. #1 seems like a breeze, but I’m like you; I have a hard time imagining using it comfortably for #2.

Oh well; I guess I need to stop imagining and just do it!

Thanks so much for writing in and sharing your experience!

Ashley April 14, 2009 at 5:54 pm

As a woman with long time pad sensitivity, it’s GREAT to see the idea of cloth, reusable pads and liners. I’m so going to make myself some! I’ve tried “Instead” in the past, but had problems with the little bugger popping out randomly, which, needless to say, was problematic. I tried for 6 months without solving the problem. Ironically, I use the Nuva Ring as birth control, but whatever…it was a problem. Thanks for being willing to discuss this issue publicly!

heather April 15, 2009 at 2:49 pm

THE UPDATE:

Well, we have success!

After almost two months of being a chicken (yes you read that right; my Diva Cup sat in my medicine cabinet for two months until I worked up the courage to use it) I finally took the plunge this afternoon when this month’s cycle started.

And, I’m in love. Seriously.

I had NO PROBLEMS inserting the Diva for the first time. I followed the directions that came with it, and it went right in.

As I write this, I can’t even feel it in there.

Amazing!

I’ll be posting my complete product review of the Diva Cup in a few days, after I get the hang of using it (and pulling it out and cleaning it this evening).

Thanks to everyone who wrote in and shared their stories about the Diva Cup, and menstrual cups in general. All of you helped me take the leap, and other women as well.

You all rock!

Melissa Blount June 3, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Thank you for this. I never heard of the diva cup. I ordered my daughter (11) some pads from etsy and I will be getting myself the cup. Excellent excellent information.

heather June 3, 2009 at 12:37 pm

Melissa,

That’s so wonderful! Thanks so much for letting me know.

Luna Pads (www.lunapads.com) just sent me a sample pack of their reusable pads for a product review, which I’ll be doing within the next month. I’m interested to see how these compare with etsy pads!

You’ll love the Diva Cup. I’ve now posted the product review from my own experience, which you can see here:
http://www.thegreenestdollar.com/2009/04/diva-cup-product-review/

I’m still in love with it. It’s truly an amazing product.

Thanks so much for taking the time to write in!

Layla June 20, 2009 at 6:13 pm

Great to hear you like it!! 🙂

I just stumbled over some comments where people say they had less or NO cramps with the cup!!
& there were links to different folding techniques, apparently some work better for some people etc.
Thought I’d add them here, maybe others will find this useful! 🙂 http://community.livejournal.com/menstrual_cups/453392.html
and http://community.livejournal.com/menstrual_cups/1044441.html#cutid1

Emily October 22, 2009 at 8:03 am

I ordered a Ladycup earlier this year and never see myself going back from using a menstrual cup. I’d been using tampons for years and had never known that there was an alternative to tampons or pads. When I first heard of menstrual cups, I thought they were disgusting. I put them out of my mind. Then one day, I brought them up in a conversation with my friends. They were intrigued. In a good way. I now have been using my Ladycup for five months. The site you mentioned, the cup forum, was very helpful to me. There’s also a youtube channel about it that was helpful. Get a menstrual cup!

Carola October 24, 2009 at 1:13 pm

Ditto all the cup info – I have never looked back after switching to a cup. Here is one other new addition to the cup market especially for those with silicon sensitivity or allergy: meluna.eu
I was considering selling starter kits for girls getting their first period. I know there are some on the market, but none organic and totally reusable – that is my goal. What do you think?

Jacquie January 18, 2010 at 8:43 pm

Hi all!
I just thought i should add my 2 cents..
Growing up, my mom was really into “all-natural” and “organic” and things of that nature. She never used disposable diapers with her babies – always cloth. And she only used all natural remedies when we were sick. Not until i was in High School did i actually realize why she was such a “hippie” as my sisters and i all called her growing up. I began to gain a new awareness of my impact on the environment and even on my own body. Before then, i never really stopped to think that the things i was putting in my body could affect everything from my sleep quality to how shiny my hair was. I am proud to say that have since joined my mother in the “hippie club”.
Just about a month ago, i was going through a coupon book i picked up at the local health food store, and i came across a coupon for “The Diva Cup”. It had no description of what it was and the picture was really small, so i knew nothing about what it was. But i was so curious! With all the time i spent thinking of ways i could choose healthier alternatives for everything, why didn’t this product ring a bell? My curiosity led me to my computer where i googled “The Diva Cup”.
2 hours later, my eyes burned from reading all about The Diva Cup really intently. I was amazed! I am pretty sure that i read every single word from every single link on that website. Haha. I wanted to know what this Diva Cup was all about. After those 2 hours, i was convinced that i should give The Diva Cup a try. But i wanted to sleep on it. So i did.
The next day, all i could think about was The Diva Cup (Haha, i know, like Heather, I think I’m in love..). So i decided to finally to just go back to that health food store and buy one already! I was a little nervous though..
I stood in the aisle where The Diva Cups (DC from now on..) were. One left in my size. I paced back and forth just staring at it.. It was pretty intimidating, i’m not going to lie. So, i decided to call up my older sister, who is just as much – if not more – of a health freak as my mom, for advice. I told her about how i had read about it. She told me she had heard about it too and always wanted to try it. After standing in that aisle and talking to her about it for like 10 minutes, i finally picked up the DC and walked to the check-out line with pride :). Now that i had some good references backing me up, i felt comfortable enough to buy it – although it was a little pricey for a college-student’s budget (Hopefully it’ll be worth it!).
I couldn’t wait to call my mom and tell her about my new investment! She was really excited about it and thoroughly supported me in my decision. She told me she couldn’t wait for me to give it a try and call her and tell her all about it.

Fast forward 2 weeks to the present. ——-

Now, on my 3rd day of this month’s cycle, i finally decided to give it a try (The past couple days have been too light to need anything). I was pretty excited, actually – which is saying a lot, because usually i dread my period. Anyway, i read and re-read the instructions and finally decided to “take the plunge”.
Unfortunately, after about 10 minutes of trying to get it in, even after several approaches and angles, i could NOT get the little guy in there. So i temporarily gave up with hope for “better luck next time”. Perhaps i was not relaxed enough – which they say it is very important to be relaxed.
Although i have not gone back in for a second try, i still have high hopes and look forward to a tampon-free future (I’ve always hated those things – especially the fact that you never can be too sure exactly what’s going in your body with them. Ugh). I am determined to be a Diva Cup user – No matter how many tries it takes! I will try again tomorrow, and hopefully it goes well!!

Oh, and let me say sorry for two things:
1. That this was so long… Didn’t mean for it to be! :/
2. That the ending isn’t as triumphant as you probably would have hoped..

So, after my failure today, i wanted to read up a little more – and that’s what brought me to this sight. So i just want to say THANK YOU, Heather (and everyone else) for not letting me lose confidence in The Diva Cup! And thanks for all the other sources and products mentioned. I’m so glad to know that there really are other real people out there who are trying to make the world a better place by being more concious of what they’re putting in their bodies and in their garbages. 🙂

heather January 24, 2010 at 12:02 pm

@Jacquie,

Thanks so much for writing in with your story! I would definitely keep trying. It’s definitely important to be relaxed. I hope you’ve had better luck by now! Please let us know if you finally got it to work. The forum on Community Live Journal is also a great place to ask questions and get support. Thanks so much for reading!

Emily July 5, 2010 at 7:30 am

I was so surprised not to see Party In My Pants on this site! http://partypantspads.com/ I bought my first cloth pads from them and I love them. I got the organic flannel and it is so comfy. My only critique is that, as an everyday cyclist, I have a problem with the little metal snap on the bottom. Usually I bike to work without it and then put it on when I get to work. I also had a similar problem with my Keeper, as the tail of the cup was too long and poked out. I trimmed it and now I have no issues. AND I also started using the NuvaRing, and I haven’t attempted using my Keeper since then. I have a very light flow on BC, so I’ve just switched to my cloth pads. Happy cycling! 🙂

Sarah September 12, 2010 at 10:29 am

I’ve been using glad rags for over ten years now….before the ‘hip to be green’ trend started. I would never go back to unsafe and uncomfortable stuff down in my business again. Around 5 years ago I ventured to try out the moon cup……WOW……can’t describe how wonderful and comfortable this product is. I use both the MC and GR and set aside the bloating and cramps, some days it doesn’t feel like I am having my period! When I told people about my new change they said it was gross…..I responded, you know what’s grosser then that…..all those cooder pads in land fills!!! I added if you can’t handle what your own body goes through….you may have a bit of a problem. So in the end I save money, the environment, upped my comfort levels, and get to education people on my ‘different’ lifestyle choice!!

Alexia Gill October 30, 2010 at 12:51 am

Thanks for posting your article and all the followups. I thought I would speak up since I didn’t see any reviews for Luna Pads in the comments. I decided to go with Luna Pads because they were a little different than the other pads I looked at. Instead of the inserts going inside the base, Luna Pad inserts go on top. I’ve found them to be great. I’ve used them for 4-5 cycles. I have a crazy flow pattern so I bought a couple of all sizes, even 1 overnight ( or maternity) pad. They work well, hold a lot, and wash well. I snagged a wipe box that was empty and have used that to put the pads that need washed in. I’ve tried rinsing them before washing and not rinsing and really there is no difference. I just throw them in the washing machine with my other clothes and wash them in cold water. I have to say that the customer service at Luna Pads was great, and the quality of the pads matches the price. They seem expensive, but when you add up how much you would spend on pads for the next 5 yrs (Luna Pads website says pads should hold up that long) the cost for the Luna Pads is a steal. Thanks again for educating, keep it up!

GubgorGautt March 11, 2011 at 4:21 pm

пачт для gta 4, камеди семья тусовщиков 2, симов для симс 2

siobhan August 22, 2011 at 12:33 am

i’ve been using diva cup 2 for 6 months now. love it!! will never turn back!

siobhan August 22, 2011 at 12:34 am

i’ve been using diva cup 2 for 6 months now. love it. will never turn back!

Micheala May 23, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Party in My Pants Pads are my favorite cloth pad brand, they are much higher quality and last longer than any others I have tried, plus they come in much more adorable patterns. You should check them out!

Nicole May 28, 2012 at 3:42 pm

I’ve been using a Lunette size 1 for the last 2 cycles.. It seriously, is life changing. I was the person who found out about menstrual cups, along with everyone else, and met it with a very naive “ewwww!”. I also said, “I could never be a vegetarian, I like meat too much.”, and I’ve been a vegetarian for 6 years.. so I guess I don’t have the best track record here.

I found the “moldy tampon” story, and that was my breaking point. I am so highly allergic to mold spores that if that had happened to me I could be in some serious hot water. So I needed to try something new, and menstrual cups seemed like a good fit. I use a Nuvaring for BC so the idea of inserting something is not something that made me squeamish at all. My biggest concern was comfort, eliminating my TSS risk and convenience.

WOW, my Lunette solved ALL those problems. Most of the time during my cycle, I honestly forget that I am on my period. No leaks, no cramps (or very, very light), no nasty string.. and best of all, only “dealing” with my period twice a day. I used to have to change my tampon every 3-4 hours… always feeling like you are being tied to a bathroom sucks. I go for a 2 hour run, then a hike and a bike ride, then go run some errands without leaking, bunching, or a string accidentally poking out of my shorts.

Anyone who is interested in reusable products – try them. You seriously have nothing to lose and your life during your period to gain!

Queen of Cups June 8, 2012 at 8:23 am

Hello, I wanted to share my link with you girls, I made a website all about menstrual cups, comparing all the brands and explaining why they are so much better than disposables tampons.

You can go post your comments and questions on my forum http://forum.menstrualcup.co

I have an online shop selling over 10 brands of menstrual cups at the best price.

Have a great day 🙂

Kate September 25, 2012 at 6:14 pm

You are forgetting the greenest period of all…NO PERIOD! Depo provera, the pill, Mirena, and inplanon are all designed to minimize or even eliminate Aunt Flo! Plus, they’re the best birth control. Skipping periods means skipping the costly, unsustainable mess, skipping the pain and ick, skipping things like anemia and even ovarian cancer. Just say no to Aunt Flo!

Emily August 31, 2013 at 10:47 pm

Hi! I’m a newbie at this whole period thing and am only 15. I don’t like having to carry around a bunch of supplies and being nervous about leaks during my fabulous week. I was wondering if others who are more experienced would recommend a diva cup for a relatively active girl. Also, how is this contraption washed? Can you pull of a public washroom cleaning? Plus, how do you know if the seal is good? If I could get some advice that would be great, thanks!

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