Your bleeding time is a sacred time. A time to honor your body — not subject it to toxic chemicals and add money to the alread way-too-filled bank accounts of big hygene companies. There are a ton of alternative products out there that feel better, are safer to use (did you know that tampon use is a major cause of bladder- and yeast infections? So unnecessary!), re-usable and thus protect the environment.
I’ve put together a list of the ‘major players’ for you. Keep in mind that this is not meant to be extensive and all the options I show for buying any one of these product types are just exemplary suggestions. You may also want to check out ecomenses for further information and instructions on making your own cloth pads.
Do you have a favorite store for your menstrual products – online or off? Leave a comment or write me an email. I’d love to know and include it in this list!
* Eco Femme *
This is an initiative that is very dear to my heart. I know some of the women working at Eco Femme personally and I can vouch for their integrity. I love the work they do empowering local woman in Tamil Nadu (South India) to learn about their own bodies during menstruation and enable them to make their own cloth-pads. Eco Femme doesn’t sell in every country around the globe yet. You can check out their homepage to find a local retailer or online shop in your country of residence. If your country isn’t listed and you are interested in purchasing their pads or self-sewing-kit, please don’t hesitate to contact me and we’ll find a way.
In this Germany-based shop you can find a variety of beautiful colors and cloth textures (from cotton to silk) for both panty liners and pads. In addition, Kulmine also sells sea sponges and menstrual cups. I’ve made amazing experiences with this shop — can you tell?
Menstrual cups are usually made of medical grade silicone and shaped like a bell. The flexible silicone cup can be worn inside the vagina for up to 12 hours. Instead of absorbing the blood, such as other products, the cup acts as a recepticle: it catches the blood. For me this is one of the most interesting aspects of it! You come into contact with your own blood, which – I am surprised to say – is a new experience for many menstruating women*. Simply boil your cup in a pot of water to sterilize it before and after each period. Some women* even empty their cup into flower pots where it acts as a natural fertilizer. Brilliant, don’t you think? They can be used while swimming and sleeping and most have a “life-span” of around 10 years. Here are some of the most known producers of menstrual cups:
Sea sponges are a naturally occuring option! They rest in the upper vagina and absorb your flow, needing to be removed and rinsed every 4-8 hours (depending on your flow). Sponges can be rinsed in a vinegar/water or lemon juice/water mixture between cycles and are then air dryed and stored in a cool, dry place. This option is not as long term reusable as the cloth pads or cups, since the sponge naturally degrades over time (especially if you boil it).
If you live in Europe, you can buy your sponges at a number of online retailers. For Germany, the two I have made great experiences with are Blumenkinder and the beautiful Kulmine shop.
If you live in the US, Holy Sponge is a wonderful project that I would whole-heartedly support buying from!
Choose whatever works best for you and you feel most comfortable with. Whatever your decision may be — I wish you a happy bleeding time!