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Alternative Menstrual Products: Reusable Tampons

Published by Nanni on Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Photo credit by SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget

You read the title correctly: Reusable Tampons. Before you shrink back in horror and click away from the page, hear me out: traditional tampons are expensive, can be uncomfortable (even to seasoned users), and can cause vaginal dryness, irritation, infection and other health problems such as Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). The green world of reusable, recyclable, and otherwise ecologically sound items has, for women of all ages, shapes, and sizes, seen fit to offer us reusable tampons.

Consider how much money you spend on tampons every month. Even if you have a light flow, you probably go through one box, which can cost up to $7. That adds up to $84 each year. Many women have a heavier flow which requires one, two, even three boxes each month, with the addition of panty liners or pads to catch leaks. Add to this the toilets clogged with so-called flushable feminine hygiene products, sometimes resulting in embarrassing and costly calls the plumber, and you may be throwing quite a bit of money down the drain, so to speak.

A set of natural sea sponge tampons costs about $13, and lasts for years. You can even order them in different sizes so that you have different absorbencies for different levels of your flow. If you prefer not to purchase precut sponges, you can buy a sea sponge from a craft store or even a one-stop shop and trim it down to your preferred size. Just be sure to get a natural sea sponge (no synthetics!) that has no added chemicals.

The sponge may seem a little scary and rough at first, but if you dampen it slightly, it will soften and be ready for insertion. After use, you can simply rinse them and reuse. At the end of your cycle, soak them in a mixture of one tbsp baking soda or vinegar and a cup of warm water. This will clean the sponges thoroughly so that they are ready when you need them next month.

Traditional tampons absorb not only the menstrual blood they are meant to soak up, but also the natural secretions your vagina produces in order to keep itself necessarily moistened. As a result of the tampons absorption of these fluids, the user may experience irritating, or even painful irritation and chafing. Because sea sponge tampons are dampened with water before insertion, they absorb far less of the vagina’s natural fluids, but even more menstrual blood than a regular tampon can absorb. In addition, there have been no known cases of TSS caused by sea sponge tampons.

Perhaps the best feature of sea sponge tampons is that you can wear them during sex, so there is no need to cancel a date just because it’s that time of the month. Some women even choose to add a spermicidal solution to their sponges and use them as a contraceptive.

Sea sponge tampons are a safe, convenient, and cost-efficient companion to keep with you during that special time of the month.

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