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tampon alternative...

hey, not sure if this is the right forum to post in, but i just gotta share this… for those that have started looked to more natural ways of doing everything as well as natural ways of eating, a friend of mine shared this tip for a safe/healthy/eco friendly and pleasant tampon alternative so you don’t always have to go for those cloth ‘moon pads’ if you want something different.

Sea sponges!!!

you can buy them in most health food stores, chemists, pharmacies, etc. just make sure to sterilize it first and after use… you can boil the sponge in water and then put in a few drops of HCL. i have about 3-4 on the go at once and boil em up all together. and you dont have to boil each, time… just wring it out and go again…



  • I’ve never tried sea sponges, but I can also recommend the Diva Cup. It’s not natural like the sponge, but it’s waste-free and laundry-free.

  • I use a diva cup, it is fantastic! Some women say it can be a pain to empty, but I have had no troubles at all. I just make sure it is empty before I leave my home. I would not recommend using this product if you are going to be doing advanced yoga or any other activity where the body is upside down. The diva cup has leaked on me a few times and I’ve been lucky enough to be at home when this has occurred. It’s an awesome product and saves your body from many pesticides and chemicals used on cotton tampons. And it’s cheap….like $25 and totally reusable! Tampons are so expensive, like $5 a box, so the diva cup pays for itself in approximately 5 months.

  • I just got the diva cup. Used it for two cycles. I love it. It takes a while getting used to taking it out and not making a mess, especially when the restroom doesn’t have running water nearby to rinse. But, someone suggested taking a wet paper towel into the stall with you. I just hope every bathroom I go to has that when I need it! I really do prefer it over tampons.

  • For more information


  • I used sea sponges from about 1984 through to 2005 when my periods stopped…..the thought of tampons seems ludicrous to me….just another way of getting people to spend their money on packaged items. I do keep a couple of tampons in my going away case because I read they are a great way of carrying compressed cotton wool around in case there is an accident or you need to mop something up. As far as the hygiene of the sponges goes: Each one would last 3 or 4 periods before it would get a bit tattered. I only cleaned them in salt water so they would also get slightly ‘tarnished’ as they got older as well as wearing out a bit. I read that when you are out you can actually cleanse and squeeze them out in the water flushed through from the cistern of the toilet but I would tend to duck into disabled toilets where possible because they have their basins (or wait till noone else is around – the sight of all that bright red water rinsing down the basin would probably upset a few folk). Every time I peed I would rinse the sponge. Natural, cheap, quick and logical. When I first read about it at a homebirth clinic the author suggested that for people who can’t deal with extracting it very easily it’s possible to stitch a strong piece of cotton through it a la tampon. Like nappy-less babies using sea sponges instead of tampons is one of those things that I think is so logical and basic that it is surprising so few people do it….

  • thanks for the link mopoke! its funny how after you have a baby and look at nappy alternatives and then realise the pointlessness of consuming and creating so much waste to deal with your period. the sponge is great for yoga too… although vegfean i wouldnt be doing inversions and stuff while bleeding anyway.. and zastrow, i just stopped breastfeeding also… my period didnt return until i stopped and this is 19 months later

  • i used to use glad rags all the time but now i work at a place where we just have stalls. not the right environment to be playing with all that stuff. i find tampons drying. i am debating between the diva cup and sea sponge. which is better for bathroom fussiness?

  • bitt – I’ve never tried the sea sponges, the one thing with the Diva Cup that I’ve found is it makes a bit of a sound when you take it out, suction cup-ish. Other than that no problem. There is some practice involved with getting it in and out but I do recommend it. I’m still using a Gladrag as an insurance policy.

  • Sweet. I saw both these options at my health food store today.

    Just one question. The cup looked rather large, if you know what I mean. I mean, is it large? Will it be constantly stretching me out while I wear it? Do you put it all the way in?

  • leahcelesteleahceleste Raw Newbie

    Does anyone have more helpful comments on the diva cup? I have had one for 2 years now but I gave up on it a while ago. I used it a couple times okay but then it seemed that every time I used it it leaked all over the place. I just got sick of fussing with it and not knowing if it was going to work or not. It's hard to take chances with bleeding through your clothes while at work!

    But, I would love to use it again because I think it is the best option out there. Also I have found that NOT using tampons helps soooo much with cramps and it makes your period shorter. I think that is part of the logic of the diva cup, it keeps everything open and flowing, instead of stopping the flow like a tampon.

    I noticed they have a help number that you can call if you can't seem to get it to work right:) I thought I would try for some feedback here first!

  • I'd really like to try the diva cup too. There is a whole huge thread about them on vegweb here: http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=16552.0

    It is over 100 pages long, but some of the people's comments and experiences may prove useful to anyone who wants to browse through it.

  • i have been using the diva cup for about 3 years now and i absolutely love it.

    to be down and dirty about it....you really can't be squeamish, you have to be comfortable with your fluids and sometimes have to reach kinda far up in there.

    i know it looks big and intimidating at first but you just have to fold it up nice and tight, it will then pop open when it gets into place. once it's there, you feel it open and then it's like a tampon, you don't feel it at all. it does go all the way in, but i wouldn't worry about it stretching you out. it's not big enough for that. oh and people always ask if you can have sex with it in but definitely not, it's not that far up.

    to be honest, it's leaked on me once or twice but usually because i was too busy to empty it when it was time (i'm a nurse so i can't always get to a bathroom at my leisure). just make sure that when you put it in, you feel it open and create a little vacuum. check it once or twice before you leave the house too see that it's not leaking and if it is, just take it out and try again. also make sure you're wearing the right size.

    it comes with a little tail which most people end up cutting off cause it ends up poking at you. this means that to retrieve it, you sometimes have to squeeze your lady muscles to push it to a point where you can get a good grip on it.

    i agree with the tip to find a handicapped stall when in public...the sink inside the stall is very helpful. if you're in a pinch, you can always take a water bottle in with you or in a dire emergency, just empty it and put it back in without rinsing.

    it gets kinda gross-looking after a few uses...they suggest boiling it to disenfect, also i think they sell a special cleanser for it. i usually just use a cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol to get rid of the discoloration. it's your own personal preference.

    in summary...get it, try it out and don't give up on it right away. i don't want to gross anyone out but seriously, the more willing you are to get up there and poke around, the more successful you are.

    oh and if anyone is wary due to the fact that it's not made from natural materials, i think they also make one made out of a natural gum rubber. wikipedia has a list of all the brands. or just search menstrual cup and i think all the websites will come up.

  • I would take a look at this too: http://community.livejournal.com/menstrual_cups

    Diva Cups can take a while to get used to, but they're definitely worth it. There are other brands, too, that some people like more. They're discussed at the link above as well.

  • MeditatingMeditating Raw Newbie

    I have a Keeper and a Diva Cup. The Keeper is the natural rubber version of the Diva Cup but I must admit the Diva Cup is more comfortable. I bought my Keeper about 13 years ago. I love them and have never used anything else since then. I keep one at home and one in my purse.

    I would not want to use anything else. There is no major clean up and it has the least impact on the environment and my health. I do not want pesticide ridden and chlorine bleached cotton inside my body to be absorbed by my most sensitive tissues. Think of the impact that all those used tampons or pads has on the environment too.

    From a cost standpoint, there is no comparison. I haven't purchased tampons in so long but when I did my monthly period was costing me about $8 in tampons. Over the past 13 years and not taking into account inflated costs of those products, I would have spent $1300 but instead spent app. $75 for products that I believe will cover my needs until I complete the change of life. That is one hell of a deal.

    BITT - I think you can use this product without incident in any situation. Unlike feces, urine is completely sterile and is often recommended as a wound cleaning agent in circumstances where one may not have access to conventional medical supplies. Wherever you are, even in the woods, you can empty the cup and then urinate in it. This will clean the cup out and it is ready to reinsert. If you are in a bathroom stall you only need to wash your hands. No one will have a clue. I know this idea may make some people queezy but menstruation and urination are facts of life and if the worse thing that ever happens to any one of us is that we get some sterile urine on their fingers then life will be a breeze. I think this product is perfect where bathroom fussiness is an issue.

  • leahcelesteleahceleste Raw Newbie

    Thanks guys for all the information! I will return to the diva cup on my next period and I bet I can get it to work. I think that sometimes I was having a hard time getting it to open up after inserting it and maybe thats because I just didn't get it far enough in there. Thanks hedwig for the down and dirty:)

  • I bought a moon cup yesterday, but she gave me size A, saying the other was for adolescents. I went on their site and the A is for women who've had babies or are over thirty.

    I am 25 no kids. Should I go exchange it? I obviously did not put it in.

  • it has a diameter of 3mm difference

  • I cannot recommend the Diva Cup enough!!! I have had mine for four years now, I boil it for twenty minutes before and after my period. There are people on eBay who make unbleached flannel panty liners that are very cheap, the wings have snaps. I used to have messy periods but now I don't have to run to the bathroom every 45 minutes.

  • pixxpixx Raw Newbie

    I've tried the Diva cup and was unable to use it. I found out that those of us who have a tilted uterus can not use it; It just won't work, and is incredibly uncomfortable. Unfortunately, they told me this *after* having bought it, and trying it. But they refunded me, so that wasn't so much an issue. Just a heads-up, if your Doc has ever mentioned your uterus being tilted.

  • leahcelesteleahceleste Raw Newbie

    That is very interesting about the tilted uterus! No doc has ever mentioned this to me but i wonder if this is why I had so much trouble using it in the past. I will give it another try but now I'm wondering... Thanks for the info!

  • Who said you can't use it if you have a tilted uterus? My doc told me that a while back, and suggested that may be part of the reason that I had NO luck at all with the Instead cups. HOWEVER... I got my DivaCup and have used it successfully, repeatedly. Only one time did I have a leak and that was in the first or second go-round of using it. I love the thing. I feel like cramping decreased as well. So even if you have a tilted uterus, it may still work - mine does! :-D

  • I hate to sound anal and superficial, but are you sure the moon cup (keeper) is NOT going to stretch me out?

  • pixxpixx Raw Newbie

    fuzzywater- the folks at Divacup told me that, when I called to ask what I was doing wrong. They sent the smaller cup for me to try, just in case, but it didn't work either. Both were incredibly uncomfortable. (I am 45, and have had a child.) I even trimmed the stem completely off, as they suggested, but it made no difference.

    Oh, but the instead cups work wonderfully for me, as long as I empty them often enough!

  • sarawsaraw Raw Newbie


    I really like these for my period. This woman makes some awesome pads! There is NO stuffing like the glad rags, and they are quick drying, and in ONE piece!!

    And here..


    She has a pattern to crochet, or knit your own natural tampons to reuse. I haven't tried these yet, but once I get some organic cotton, I'm going to see how they work for me. I've used cloth for myself and my children for years. Every time I've used store bought tampons, I end up irritated from them. :-(

    Carnap, don't worry about being stretched out from a diva cup. Even after having children everything goes back into place, so I couldn't imagine a cup that is being used one week out of the month would do any major stretching out.

  • I have tried just about everything else (sea sponges, washable pads, Instead softcups) but I have had my diva for three years and I don't hate my periods anymore. You can leave it in for 24 hours, it takes about three cycles to get used to but I can change it faster than a tampon. You can't feel it, it is MUCH MUCH cleaner, it doesn't interfere with your ph, etc.

    The soft cups didn't work for me because of my tilted cervix. Plus, they went up too high, it wasn't comfortable. All other alternatives are messy and too much maintenance.

    If the diva cup leaks on you, maybe you're inserting it wrong? It doesn't go in like a tampon, it goes in pointed sort of towards your back (not completely horizontal though). You will need to twist it until it pops open. This creates a seal, IMPOSSIBLE to leak.

  • pixxpixx Raw Newbie

    "You can leave it in for 24 hours"

    Um, ...I think it's only 12 hours at a time that is recommended that it stay in.

  • Isn't a sea sponge animal?

  • Yes.

  • yes

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