Several weeks ago, after noticing that my supply of tampons and pads (not to mention the Midol that makes my periods almost bearable) was getting low, I headed to the feminine hygiene aisle of the local supermarket to stock up. To my chagrin, every box smelled like flowery chemicals. In vain, I searched the entire aisle, even sniffing the boxes, in an attempt to find the unscented products hidden amongst the throng. These products are already full of bleach and other chemicals. I do not need or want even more added to make me feel "fresh." I don't know about you, but I'm making an effort to eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, and minimize the toxins I come into contact with throughout the day.
As I get closer to menopause, my periods have gotten heavier and more painful. I regularly pop Midol like it's going out of style and have to double up with a tampon and an overnight maxi-pad (with WINGS) just to make it through a couple of hours. So, though I have been thinking about more natural options, it just didn't seem practical for my situation. However, after having so much trouble even finding unscented products, I went to my solution for every problem--the Internet.
My original intention was simply to order my usual array of unscented products, but then I ran across an article from Bitch Magazine called Oh Joy Sex Toy: Testing Out a Menstrual Cup. I was intrigued, and followed a link from the article to GladRags, a Portland-based company where you can buy a wide-range of natural, reusable menstrual supplies. After reading the testimonials, I was sold, and promptly ordered a Mooncup and a starter kit of cloth pads (for back-up against leaks or in case I didn't like the Mooncup).
I know exactly what you're thinking. It's what my mom (a nurse) said to me when I told her that I had just started using my new Mooncup - "Isn't that gross?"
Actually, it's way less gross than I expected. It's a bit awkward at first and does require a period (haha) of adjustment. But here's the thing. Even after only a couple of days, I am falling in love with my Mooncup. Why, you ask? Well, let me tell you!
First of all, inserting and removing the Mooncup gets easier every time you do it. Just be ready for a laugh the first time you attempt it. And don't worry, it won't get lost up there. Despite my initial fumbling, I have yet to spill it. I feel clean and dry, unlike my experience with tampons and pads. My skin is not at all irritated and the rather funky smell that I have come to associate with my time of the month is completely gone. I am having only minor cramps--no more need to buy stock in Midol. My big worry, overnight use, has been put to rest. Normally, even when I use a tampon and a pad, I generally wake up in a crime scene on my heavy flow days. Though I was nervous about how the Mooncup would handle overnight use, it worked like a champ. I am feeling better than I ever have during my period and wishing that someone had told me about this years ago.
Here's a video that explains what a Mooncup is and how to use it. I particularly recommend the second fold she demonstrates. It works like a charm!
If you're still not convinced, check out this rap battle, Tampon vs. Mooncup: