Saturday, June 16, 2012

No More Riding the Cotton Pony!

Product Review: Reusable Menstrual Cup and Pads

I've become tired of traditional sanitary products; specifically super plus tampons in combination with pads with wings. My periods have become very heavy and everything leaks and becomes itchy and messy. I'm also slightly concerned about the potential toxins in tampons and how it effects my health.

Since I've been cloth diapering almost exclusively this past 18 months, I've become more comfortable using cloth, making my own wipes solution and reusable wipes. It's helped me see that there are alternatives to the mainstream norm. I like that I don't have to go to Target every other week to load up on more disposable diapers and wipes, thus saving me time and money, as well as it being more gentle on the l'il chicken hawk's skin.

I've decided I don't want to spend any more money on super plus and regular sized tampons in addition to pads and pantiliners. Also, Poise pads for my urinary stress incontinence. All these cotton products are taking over my bathroom cabinet! To be clear, I'm not gung-ho about this for the environment, I'm doing it exclusively my own selfish desires, although I'm sure Mother Nature appreciates it.

Now I've begun to take on my pesky menstrual cycle with more natural, long term solutions. I tried out Softcup with no luck; still some substantial leakage. So I went online and did some research on Amazon. I decided to try out the Moon Cup from Glad Rags (about $20). It's a reusable menstrual cup made of medical grade silicone material. I ordered Size A - for chicks who've had kids.

Moon Cup Reusable Menstrual Cup
I also ordered Glad Rags reusable cotton menstrual pads that come in a pack of 3 and have snap-on wings (about $20). At first thought, these both seem messy and disgusting but I'm actually VERY pleased with them. They are so much more ideal than the traditional norm. The pads are not itchy and uncomfortable at all. 

Glad Rags Reusable Menstrual Pads
My first period using these tools was last week and it went swimmingly. There was a wee bit of a learning curve and some leakage problems during the heavy days, but I've decided to stick with it. What I learned along the way, was that when you first insert it, it is best to pinch any air out, rotate it a little, pull outward a bit, then  push inward again to get the suction just right. I also needed to snip down the little nub part to almost nothing because it was irritating me.

It was almost fascinating to see how much blood I was actually collecting on my super heavy days. It was a lot! I could feel a puff of air (queafing) when it was getting full. I almost thought maybe the suction element helped hurry the period along quicker. Also, don't be too hasty when inserting. Maybe wet in under water first, because your tender exterior skin (clinical term: labia) might tear which really hurts for several days.

Once I got past the first few days of learning and leaking, it was so easy. I did yoga, office work and power walking with it in. It was all manageable and I started to forget all about it, like I do with tampons. During the last few days of my cycle when the flow was light, I just wore the reusable menstrual pads - one each day for two days. No bulkiness, itch, smell or discomfort. Quite a pleasant surprise. Cleaning them was easy - rinse in the sink in cold water and then wash in the washing machine, dry in the dryer.

My only concern is scaring my husband in any further with my 'alternative' lifestyle. I definitely have to shut the bathroom door as I'm learning to use these new tools. But then again, having a huge garbage can full of bundled up, toilet paper-wrapped cotton products and all the tampon and pad wrappers isn't that discreet. I just need to be able to clean out the Moon Cup and rinse out the pads more discreetly than letting them soak in the sink.

So, I'm on a happy Moon Cup adventure that I hope to be able to use for the last decade of my menstrual life. I am not going to be buying any more disposables - unless I'm going camping or swimming I think. We'll see how much I leak on the next cycle.

If you want to learn more about the Moon Cup, there are a ton of reviews and user tips on Amazon.com and online. It is so fascinating to read others' stories. It seems that there are a lot of Moon Cup users in the UK - they are happy to talk about their Moon Cup experiences online and they tend to be very entertaining. They are also quite chatty about in on Twitter. It's so funny to read some of the witty, off-the-wall posts.

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