- Alternative to pads
Pads and tampons
Harmful, expensive and environmentally unfriendly
Feminine products are generally made of
non-organic cotton and several synthetic or toxic ingredients
Components include rayon,
polyester, propylene, polyacrylate, polyethylene,
and fiber finishes - Synthetic materials so close to skin are not ideal,
since they contain potentially harmful processing chemicals (made known because
of TSS) and most do not allow good airflow around vaginal area (can cause rash
and be a breeding ground for yeast and bacterial infection). Non-organic cotton
is heavily sprayed with many known carcinogenic chemicals.
Dioxin content is of particular
concern in endometriosis and infertility –
an endocrine disruptor and a
known carcinogen, dioxin disrupts estrogen and can accumulate in our bodies.
Typically produced in industrial processes using chlorine to manufacture
herbicides and pesticides,
process pulp and bleach paper (E.g. feminine care products, facial tissues,
toilet paper and diapers, all of which touch and can contaminate body tissues).
In monkeys, dioxin has been shown to increase/promote endometrial tissue growth,
which is of concern in endometriosis and infertility.
Tampons have a risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) because they are worn
vaginally for long periods
(no pun intended!)
and swell as they absorb blood
TSS is a bacterial infection
linked to making tampons more absorbent -Tampax tampon label reads: ”The
risk of TSS increases with higher absorbency”; BTW, the risk is obviously
increased by leaving overnight with a heavy flow (this used to be warned against
on tampon products, but has now been removed). Risk of TSS is generally low 3-4
Expensive and environmentally unfriendly
One Menstrual cup lasts for years and costs the same
as the average woman will spend on disposable sanitary protection in 3-6 months
Back in 1998, 6.5 billion tampons,
and 13.5 billion sanitary pads plus all of their packaging ends up in landfills
and sewer systems -
according to waste consultant Franklin Associates. The high plastic content of
sanitary pads (and diapers) ensures they remain in our environment for centuries
as they are neither biodegradable nor recyclable. Disposal of used sanitary
products increases pollutants in the sea from sewage and air pollution from
The Menstrual Cup
What is a menstrual cup?
It is a type of cup or barrier
(~ 2” long)
inside the vagina during menstruation to collect rather than absorb menstrual
A light seal is formed with vaginal walls -
fluid to pass into the menstrual cup without leakage or odor. This seal is
released for removal, allowing you to empty the contents, rinse/wipe and
be used overnight and when traveling, swimming or exercising.
designed to sit lower than a tampon, but it can not be felt when properly
when used as directed; no health risks related to their use have been found
How to insert Bell-Shaped Cup
Two types of menstrual cup currently available:
Made of rubber, silicone or TPE
(Most cups are silicone because of
Reusable for up to 10 years
Must be removed before sexual intercourse
Soft, flexible cup resembling diaphragm
Made of polythene
May be worn during intercourse
(although not a contraceptive)
Small or large size – small size recommended for women <25 who have not
given birth vaginally, otherwise the large size is recommended;
A shorter cup may be needed if a woan’s
cervix sits particularly low
Advantages and disadvantages of menstrual cups
over tampons and pads
Some women find menstrual cups more difficult to
insert and remove than tampons –
persisting for about 3 months
usually wins the battle;
A little cleaning required
Does not absorb vaginal secretions –
like tampons do and so does not cause dryness
Collects at least double the amount of blood as a
‘super-absorbent’ tampon’ – and therefore
doesn’t need changing as often
More cost-efficient and environmentally friendly
– reusable cups cost ~$30.
Avoids potentially harmful chemicals in
pads and tampons
The Mooncup is designed to be folded and inserted into the vagina - then removed, rinsed and reinserted up to every 8 hours.
The Keeper - manufactured in the U.S.
this is made from rubber (latex), otherwise identical to the Mooncup below;
The Mooncup -
UK-manufactured; called MCUK ® in the USA, but the
product is identical and made from silicone (for those with latex allergies).
site sells MCUK® for $30 including free delivery (in 2011).
Meluna - German
brand, made out of TPE (thermoplastic elastomer).
Divacup – 100%