Monday, July 15, 2013

Reusable Menstrual Products: Finding What Works

The Climate Crusader is talking reusable menstrual products.

Earlier this year Julia from Color Me Green shared her love for cloth pads, and Lunapads, specifically. The company is located here in Vancouver where I live, and I have had the privilege of meeting co-founders Madeleine Shaw and Suzanne Siemens on multiple occasions. I've even interviewed Madeleine for my podcast on my personal blog.

Like many people, when I first heard about reusable menstrual products I was somewhat baffled. I remember my mother talking about how, before the invention of disposable pads and tampons, women used rags. I remember feeling nothing but glad that I would never have to do that. However, after having babies and using cloth diapers, the idea of trying cloth pads didn't seem so strange. In fact, compared to toddler blowouts, cloth menstrual pads are downright tame.

I've tried a few different solutions when it comes to reusable menstrual products. What I've discovered is that there really isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. In the same way that people opt for different disposable solutions, you may find that one kind of reusable option works better for you than another. If you find that one option doesn't work, it's worth keeping an open mind and trying something else.

I've recently settled on a reusable menstrual solution that I love - the Diva Cup and Lunapanties. The Diva Cup is a reusable silicone menstrual cup, which is worn internally. If you want to know more about it, our own Eco Yogini has written a very informative post to explain more about how it works and dispel some common fears.

While I don't experience leaking with my Diva Cup, the truth is that there is often some spotting when I insert and remove it. There are also lighter days when a Diva Cup feels like overkill. That's where my beloved Lunapanties come in. Made by Luna Pads, the Lunapanties are underwear with a cloth pad lining sewn right in. Because they're all one piece, there's no slipping, twisting or bunching. They come in lots of different styles, too, so that you can rock a thong or hipster as you prefer. I'll admit to being more of a hipster girl myself, but whatever floats your boat.

I realize I sound a bit like an ad, here, but I'm not being compensated in any way for this post. I just really love my Diva Cup and Lunapanties!

Sometimes something that seems strange at first actually isn't that bad in practice. I've discovered and re-discovered this truth many times in my green journey. Just as I've gotten used to composting, shopping for products with less packaging and walking my kids to school, I've gotten used to using reusable menstrual products. I've also found that what works for my friend and what works for me may not be the same thing. Whether you love cloth pads, adore your menstrual cup, or go for something entirely different, by choosing reusable over disposable, you're making a difference every month, and that's what counts.

Do you use reusable menstrual products? Which ones? I'd love to hear!


s.e. said...

i've been using cloth pads for almost 23.5 years. I tried the diva cup and the keeper but couldn't use either in spite of having given birth to 5 kids. My 16 year old special needs daughter has been using cloth pads for 5 years too.

Helena said...

I use cloth pads. When my cycle returns (still on hiatus after last baby), I plan on trying a Diva Cup. I'm not sure it will work--the reason I switched to cloth pads is that I'm allergic to the synthetic ones and after having my first baby couldn't comfortably wear a tampon (sorry, probably TMI), so I'm not sure if a Diva Cup will be comfortable. But I definitely want to give it a shot.

Christy said...

I've been using cloth pads for over 15 years and I love them. I love how there are now so many cute fabrics and I look forward to helping my daughters pick their own out (I've already shown my oldest some on line). When I started using them they were hard to find, very expensive and only one colour (unbleached cotton).

I started using the Keeper around the same time but found that I was allergic to the material it was made from (I think some latex). Then about 10 years ago I found the Diva cup, made with medical grade silicon and I was in love! I do experience some leaking and spotting on occasion so I always double up with cloth pads. There was a slight adjustment period (no pun intended) but I'm glad I worked through it because I am a convert and try to tell my friends about it (they are not convinced at all).

I have never used Luna panties, although I have been tempted by sales to try them out. Maybe I'll give them a shot! Thanks.

Sarah said...

I use a mixture of homemade cloth pads and the Diva Cup. When I made my pads a few years ago I immediately fell in love - way more comfy then scratchy disposable pads and stuffy tampons! I got my Diva Cup earlier this year and it took me a couple months to figure it out, but now I love it too! And for people who think its awkward or inconvenient to take care of your reusable products, I'm a college student who lives with roommates and I have never had a problem!

Betsy (Eco-novice) said...

I want to try reusable cups and pads. I've actually already bought a Divacup but am still psyching myself up to try it.

Bloodheart said...

I've been a menstrual cup user for 10 years - I discovered cups via a 'green' thread on a forum, I immediately wanted to try them given their promise to make my super-heavy flow easier to manage (they delivered on that promise). I occasionally use cloth pads too, I prefer AIO pads from sellers to go along with my Ladycup menstrual cup - I've not a fan of Divacup or Lunette pads. I'd never go back to using disposables, ever.

But lets not forget that even those who choose to stick with disposables can be environmentally-friendly and healthier too by choosing organic cotton tampons and pads - FAR better for health and environment than commercial brands like Tampax, Playtex, Kotex, Always, etc.

Amber Strocel said...

@Bloodheart - Excellent point! There are always ways to make greener choices, pretty much whatever you're using.

Anonymous said...

I have used cloth for about 10 years. My daughters started off with cloth. We use prefold diapers for the heavy days and homemade pads of 9 layers of flannel for lighter. The pads are just strips of old flannel sheet folded over 8-9 times and then zigzagged around the edges on the sewing machine with the ends rounded. To hold the diapers or pads in place we wear stretchy tummy hugging lycra panties just for that purpose. No slippage.

It was after the last child in diapers I realized if they were good enough for the baby and for my grandmother in her day, they were good enough for me.

Then, recently, I have moved further on the path of green frugality to the realm of Family Cloths. Our TP usage slowed to about one roll of the good Scott tissue a week. My hubby is even a fan of the Family Cloth.


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