Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Environmentally Friendly Menstruation

The curse, that time of the month, on your rags, Mr Red, flying the red flag, your 'friend' has come to visit, Aunt flo, iron drain, rivers run red, girlie time, red mayo, girl stuff, painter is in the house, riding the crimson wave, on the red, the red dragon, the red man, monthlies, out of action, have my girlies, 'it', fell on an axe, Mr P, ovaries exploding, I'm not pregnant this month.

What do you call your period?  I'm sure us women have a list of names we've given to our monthly cycle.  Feel free to share your names with us by leaving a comment on this blog.

A little while ago I read an article asking "Are you still using tampons and pads?"  The article talked about the chemicals in these items, as well as the costs and the waste.  Not environmentally friendly AT ALL!  Not to forget to mention these items are taxed as a luxury and the amount of money we spend on these items over our life time is crazy - roughly about 6-10K.

Of course it got me thinking of green alternatives.  So I purchased a Diva menstrual cup and reusable pads.  I got the menstrual cup from eBay (around $40) and the menstrual pads (around $11-$15 each) from yourcheekymonkey.com.au and greenchickadee.com.au - though I found out after I purchased the cup that greenchickadee also sell them.
All items are washable and reusable so I can continue using them for a number of years which will save me a fair whack of money.

How do these items perform?

The menstrual cup plugs and catches discharge much like a tampon - without the toxins.  If you do leak occasionally - the menstrual cup becomes full or it wasn't inserted correctly - the reusable pads catch leaks.  The cup worked surprisingly well.  I thought it was going to leak all over the place, it doesn't.  There is a slight trick to inserting the cup (they come with instructions) and I put it in too far once, that was awkward and painful.  When first inserted each time it would feel obvious and sometimes feel like it was going to fall out (though that could just be me), however after a while I would forget it was there and all would be fine.  I did do some slight exercise too and the cup held up well.

The part I found trickiest to deal with is having to clean the cup. Once I had removed and emptied the cup over the toilet, I would have to waddle over to the sink with my pants around my knees (great imagery!) to wash the cup thoroughly, before waddling back to the loo to reinsert the thing.  Like I said, that was a bit tricky.

The pads were slightly tricky in that they don't stick to the knickers like over-the-counter ones and thus move a bit here and there - backwards, forwards and sideways.  However, leakage was minimal so this wasn't a major issue.  I recommend wearing the pads with very tight underpants that will hold the pad firmly in place.

All up I'd say it's slightly more complicated than using mainstream pads and tampons, though this is partly due to us being so accustomed to 'easy' options.  Both items worked very well, I didn't have any big spillages and, actually one thing I would say is, I didn't wake up in the middle of the with that "Oh oh!" feeling of having leaked all over the bed.

Have you made the switch to going green for your period?  Share your story with us.

P.S. - Changing the menstrual cup in a public toilet is slightly awkward.  They make a suction sound when being removed and this echos through the toilet, plus you can't go over to the counter to wash them in front of everyone (well maybe some could...), so it's a matter of tipping out the contents and reinserting.

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