So here it is… my review of menstrual products for non-plasty rebels. First of all – there are a LOT of reviews out there, and I’ve found most of them very helpful – it’s always a good idea to get a few different reviews from the likes of Plastic Free and Vegan
, Beth Terry, and this SUPER detailed cool one by Lauren Wayne
Initially I tried the Natracare products – so – first things first. The regular (as in non-applicator) tampons are wrapped in plastic.
In every other way, though, they are much better than “mainstream”(haha punny) tampons. Certified organic, unbleached, non-GMO cotton. The pads, however, are NOT wrapped in plastic – and are fully compostable.
Commonsense Organics stock Natracare, and in Gisborne you can find them in Manutuke Herbs.
In both cases I found them quite comparable to any other tampon and pad, did the job just fine. I’m not a huge fan of pads, though, especially ones with wings. Maybe I’m un-co I’m not sure but they always seem to bunch and move about and the wing bit sticks to the base bit and gaahhh… it’s kind of like a sticky tape disaster except your undies are involved. Hōhā.
Now you have a few options here – you can make your own, by hand even. I’ve heard of others repurposing an old sock as well. Or you can purchase them online – Environmenstruals have a decent range or, again, at Commonsense Organics (I picked mine up from the central Wellington store although they don’t appear to be on the website).
COMFY! I’ve found mine to be pretty handy, actually. I did have a little problem with it shifting around a bit but hey… couply safety pins and you’re good to go. I still use mine for back up with my cup. Only thing is though – once they’re at full capacity you really need to be at home because you can’t exactly rinse/wash them out and then put a soggy cloth pad in your bag or pocket – not to mention it’ll probably be a bit awkward at a communal bathroom sink.
So THIS I was excited about. I looked at a bunch of options on Environmenstruals and decided to go with the Femmecup – I liked the measuring lines for tracking your flow and thought the little cloth bag was cute. Unfortunately it arrived wrapped in plastic (which made it’s way to my plastic tally for that month). Anyways – they’re usually made of latex, soft plastic, or in the case of mine (Femmecup) medical grade silicon. The cup is held between the vaginal walls, just below the cervix and catches the flow in the cup rather than absorbing it. Apparently they last longer than tampons but so far I have had to change mine more often in the first couple of days… although maybe that’s a user interface error 😛 . Just to be safe, I use my cloth pad on the first couple of days. They don’t dry the vagina out the way that some tampons can, you DON’T wind up putting bleached cotton with residual pesticides etc inside your whare tangata and you know what… it’s just better for you to become acquainted with the flow, texture, and colour of your Awa Atua. Really – stop putrifying it, that’s medieval patriarchal bollocks. I’ve never been a fan of how we treat our sacred sheddings as waste anyways – so I’m pretty happy to be using an alternative. I’m now at the point that I’m considering how to use it rather than simply disposing of it – so far I’m a fan for using it as fertilizer for a really kickass plant – like a Venus Fly Trap. I shall call her Gladys.
Anyways – the cup is a little finnickity to work out at first, but once you get your technique down it’s ok… you need to fold it and then twist as you insert. It’ll form a seal between the walls. Like I said… I’m still using a cloth pad for back up on days 1 and 2 but after that I’m all goods (reading through some reviews while writing this, I’ve seen a couple of more technique tips that I may try out). I’ve certainly enjoyed getting to know my flow better and of all the options this one will give you the most information on how much you’re shedding and what that might look like. Observing your blood can give you valuable information about your health and fertility.
Another option is sea sponge – I haven’t used one myself but here is a GOOD review on them by Raising My Boychick.
So there you have it, folks – no need for us to be using those toxin-loaded, GM cotton, petroleum plasticky baddies in or anywhere near our whare tangata.
9 thoughts on “The Review. (About Bloody Time)”
Kia Ora Tina
Yes, unfortunately most of the cups come wrapped in plastic for hygeine reasons. The femmecup does have a cardboard box option, but it makes it sooooo big to post that it ends up going into the larger postbag so the waste ends up being a little on the high side.
It’s very dissapointing that biodegradable/vegetable based packaging isn’t more of a norm in the alternative menstrual product industry. I try to buy celulose bags for my own pads, but I’m never sure that I can trust what I’m getting 🙁
The femmecup is only 15 ml of useful capacity (most of the time you’ll find it starts leaking at that point, but occassionally you might get 25-30 ml out of it), so it’s not a lot higher than a super tampon on heavy days (although on light days it could easily be at least 2x a regular tampon becasue of that non-drying aspect). I too found that my cup filled up faster than I’d have otherwise expected, but I also had less cramping because it opens the cervix just a tiny amount, allowing everything to pass more easily. Nice wee bonus.
It’s amazing how much you can see about your overall health from getting to know your menstrual blood. I’ve found it really fascinating to follow and observe.
Anna-Maria you were fantastic to deal with. Great service. 🙂
Hi, I am an acupuncturist and I recommend to my patients that they avoid using tampons, as they are going against the natural downward and outward flow of energy/blood. They cause more stagnation, more cramping (esp if non-orgnic) and introduce bacteria into the reproductive tract. Menstrual cups are better than tampons, but still hold bacterial material inside for hours and infect the reproductive tract with bacteria, also interrupts the energetic flow.
That makes GOOD sense actually Belinda thanks for those points.
New on the block is Drion organic sanitary pads and liners with the green strip containing negative ions and far infrared energy, helping women have pain free and PMS free cycles. And no plastic! I’m happy to send you some samples to review. Selling at health stores in Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland. Refer http://www.drion.co.nz
Ah that would be a godsend for me I cramp TERRIBLY. Thankyou! I’ll email you shortly.
Hey I can make you some more pads at some stage Hun….loving mine. Carla
I really disliked my cup initially- just couldn’t work out how to use it properly!! I finally got the hang of the cup and now couldn’t live without it…doesn’t have that uncomfortable dry feeling that you get with tampons…my local food coop sells them completely unpackaged which is great 🙂
Kia Ora @Tina No Doubt Plastics or Such is tend Dangerously for our Healthy.