Thursday, December 9, 2010

Green up your period

I know it's not really a Christmas topic. But I thought I would throw this post in to spice things up a bit here. Each month Aunt Flow comes and goes and we end up using tons of paper products that end up in the landfill or sewer system.  You may think it's just a little bit but take a moment to think about it. You started your period what year? You get a period 12 times a year so times that by how many years you have had your period. It really is shocking how one person can cause so much paper products to go in the landfill/sewer system.  But old habits are hard to change especially when it comes to Aunt Flow.

The reason I bring this up is because I was at a friends house last night and I started feeling like I was coming down with the stomach flu. Then it started turning painful and I felt like I was going through hot flashes or was going to puke. I apologized and ran home like a little girl. I started my period. So I'm a wimp. Whatever.

There were no options when I started my period. No organic cotton and no bleach free alternatives. Nothing! All that had changed thank goodness and you can find options in just about any store you go into. Only thing holding you back now is yourself. So like a true friend that I am I decided to help you out a bit and show you all your options good or bad.

Hassle Free Green Options

Natracare is a great product to start with. You can find it in just about any major store chain and usually cost just a bit more than traditional tampons. Well worth the extra money and I will tell you why. Tampons are made with cotton blends which most people are not aware of.  Usually they are blended with rayon which contains traces of dioxin which is a chemical is associated with cancer. Remember Agent Orange? Yeah that stuff. That yummy stuff is in direct contact with your vagina's lining and can go directly into your blood stream.  Chlorine free is the only way to go if your going to use paper products.

Seventh Generation is one of my favorite brands for a few reasons. Just like the product above they are chlorine free. These two brands are pretty much the same. The only difference I can find is the price. Seventh Generation has an amazing website where you can sign in and talk with others in the forum. From ingredient list of all their products, super fast amazing customer service, and are very close with their customers. You can email them directly, facebook them, twitter them, myspace or watch cool video's on Youtube. They love hearing your likes, dislikes and comments and always reply to them. My favorite thing about this company is that they have coupons you can print at home from their site. I can find most of their products on sale at Fred Meyers and use a coupon with the sale to get the product for about half price.Amazon is another great place if you don't have a local store that carries them.   I have yet to see the Natracare on sale anywhere near my home. Seventh Generation is your brand if you live on a budget.

Not so hassle free options 

You can easily knit your own tampons, sew your own fabric menstrual pads, or even make your own sea sponges tampons. The best place I found how to's is at reusable menstrual products . I have yet to try making my own fabric pads because a bit scared and a tad lazy. But I did make my own sea sponges and did try them out. I am not a fan of them but know many people who are. These options are your best green choices because there is no paper or plastic involved and can be reused infinity. No more money being flushed down the toilet or put in our landfills. If you don't want make your own tampons you can buy them here . You can also buy premade handmade fabric pads at Etsy and also at eBay which is where I bought mine. You will save a bundle buying from the actual homemakers who make them.

 The DivaCup is another great option for those who don't want the hassle of making your own product. The Diva Cup is a latex free silicone cup that you fold up and insert into your lady parts.Your lady parts hold this cup into place so there is no worry of it falling out.   It can be used over and over again if you take care of it properly. They come in 3 different sizes so any sized woman can use this cup. At the price of $24-$32 it is an investment but will pay itself off very quickly.  You can find them on Amazon (best price I found), eBay,   Luna Pads and I will be investing in one of these next month to try my hand at them.

And then there's the free flowing option. If you don't wear undies (yes there are people who won't wear them) then you will need to hit the bathroom constantly. If that sounds like fun then have a go at it. I will keep to the options above.

So for now i'm out of here. If you want to live steer clear of my home. Just sayin...


Lisa Sharp said...

I use Natracare tampons and LunaPads. :)

adventuresindinner said...

Love my Diva cup! Its only drawback is that it is so comfortable you do need to remind yourself that it is there.

Surviving and thriving on pennies said...

I really like Natracare. Currently using Seventh Generation because I found some on clearance a while back and stocked up on them.

I would love to switch to a Diva Cup but have to wait till next months paycheck. I tried one back in high school but it totally freaked me out and I gave up. Urr!

One question: How do you take it out? Over the toilet? Is there a wrong way to put it in? Is it really that comfortable? How often do you change it?

I know their website tells you answers but would love to get your perspective on it because you actually use it.

Thanks everyone!
p.s. And if I forgot to mention another option share with all of us!

Surviving and thriving on pennies said...

Anna-Thanks for all the info!

One other question. If you cramp ever, does this help out with it? The reason I ask is because I use Tampons currently when I am not at home and I always get cramps when I use them. I have the most irregular periods with cramps. My period has been nothing but a hassle since I was 16. It's a "you never know when" kinda situation.

Just trying to make it regular and as comfortable as possible.

Anonymous said...

I ran out of pads in the middle of a cycle a few months ago, so I folded an old ankle sock in half and safety pinned it in place. That's all I've used since then. I leave a pantiliner underneath for extra protection, and I stay at home which makes it easy to get to the bathroom often. When the sock is soaked through I rinse it and hang it to dry. I know it doesn't work for everyone, but it's good enough for me.

Anna Clark (and occasionally Casey Hook) said...

I've had reduced cramping since I switched away from dispoasables, but I'm not sure if that's due to the cup or not- I've also really improved my diet, and I think that might have more to do with it.

I have read from others who had cramps with tampons that the cup didn't give them the same cramps, but I can't vouch for it myself.

Wendy said...

I've been using a DivaCup and my home-made cloth pads for several years (it's been a long time - I think it was 2006 or 2007 when I bought mine??). I wouldn't go back to disposables ;).

In answer to your questions:

I take it out over the toilet or in the shower, otherwise it would be a big mess ;). My flow is heavy for a day or two in the middle, and I have to empty it every eight to twelve hours. It's usually not a problem.

There is a "wrong" way, but only in that if it doesn't open fully, the cup will leak, which is bothersome. As long as it fully opens, it's make a complete seal and everything is fine. I can't explain how you'll know if it's fully open. It's really something you'll have to discover for yourself ;).

Most of the time I don't even realize it's there. Once it's in and fully open, I don't feel it. I had a really hard time with tampons and never used them, because I tend to cramp a lot, but the DivaCup doesn't bother me, as much. That's not to say that I don't ever cramp, because I still do, occasionally. Those days, I either use a cloth napkin, or a take an aspirin.

I have not changed mine. I know that DivaCup recommends that the cup be changed after a time. Initially, the company wasn't making that recommendation, which is why I bought one. I clean mine thoroughly after each cycle, and after I've used soap and water, I also clean it using a q-tip and tea tree oil to kill any potential bacteria. So, far, so good ;).

Nicole said...

Love, love, love my glad I switched about a year ago! I was a tampon girl, and honestly for me starting use was a bit of a learning curve. You will quickly learn if it is "in correct" because you will have leakage as previously mentioned. And you will also learn, depending on your cycle and flow, how often to empty, as again, you will leak. I empty twice a day usually and either do so over the toilet or in the shower, which is much easier for cleaning. And you totally can't even tell it's in, it's even better than tampons.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the support of Natracare! We're working hard to get it right for women so appreciate the kind words. If ever you do want to get in touch we're on Facebook, Twitter and of course the good old telephone and email! All details on our website.

Following the discussion about painful periods, we received a comment today from a lady called Christy Wood in New Orleans that some of you may relate to:
"I began using your product, natracare organic cotton tampons, about four months ago. Immediately I noticed a difference with my menstrual periods - they were not painful anymore. No severe abdominal cramps and my blood flow was so much less. For 20 years I had been using Playtex and had no idea they were the reason my periods were so intense and painful. For four months straight now, my life has continued to improve because of this product."