Reusable Menstrual Cups vs Tampons

Posted by Mrs Money on April 14th, 2009

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Throughout a woman’s lifetime, it’s believed that she will use an average of 16,800 pads or tampons. Tampons and pads can be cheap, but what if you could eliminate having to purchase them each month?  You’ll be saving so much money over your lifetime, and also eliminating thousands of tampons and pads from making their way into our landfills.  Here’s how you can do it:

divacups.jpgReusable menstrual cup, such as a Diva Cup, Moon cup, or Keeper. These are generally made of medical grade silicone.  What’s nice about these is that there’s no risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) like you can get by using tampons.  Also, it’s much more comfortable and pretty easy to use.  It costs around $25 and should last forever.  By using bleached tampons, you are subjecting your “girly bits” to bleach, chemicals, perfumes, irritants, and cotton fibers; and really, does that sound like a good thing?  Not to me.  I don’t want bleach or chemicals to be absorbed into my body through um, there.

DivaCup or Keeper?

I had been a big fan of the Diva Cup for years, but decided I wasn’t crazy about it.  I then decided to switch to the Keeper Cup because it was made out of natural rubber and the stem was longer.  I love it!  I think it is more flexible than the Diva Cup and you can’t even tell it’s in there.  Plus, the longer stem helps with removal.  I know a few women that have complained about not being able to remove their menstrual cup.  There is a very slight learning curve with menstrual cups.  When I first started using mine, I didn’t have it sealed all the way and had leaking problems.  I was pretty mad! After I figured out how to fix it, I was a lot happier and have used my Keeper cup since.

If you aren’t a fan of the menstrual cup, you may want to give the next product a try.

clothpad.jpg

Cloth Menstrual Pads or “Mama Cloth”

Cloth menstrual pads are pretty self explanitory, but I’ll give you a little break down on their benefits as well.  Cloth pads are usually made from flannel, and some of them have a layer of PUL (polyurethane laminate) to make them waterproof.  Cloth pads are nice for women that prefer pads to tampons.  Cloth menstrual pads are used like a regular disposable pad, and are much more comfortable.  A large benefit of cloth menstrual pads over disposable pads is the fact that you are not exposing your feminine parts to toxins by direct contact.  Disposable pads are made of chemically treated wood pulp!  Yikes.  You can even make your own pads if you are so inclined.  Unlike the menstrual cups, cloth pads do require a little more work.  Obviously they have to be washed, and that turns some women off.

I use both cloth menstrual pads and the Keeper menstrual cup.  I definitely prefer the Keeper menstrual cup over the cloth pads, but sometimes it’s more convenient to slap a pad on versus inserting the menstrual cup.

Either way you go, you are doing your wallet, body, and environment a favor buy using alternative menstrual products. I know it may sound gross, but I promise it’s not that bad!

Would you consider switching to a menstrual cup or cloth pad?

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11 Responses to “Reusable Menstrual Cups vs Tampons”


  1. Chelle says:

    Wow, I did not even know products like these existed. It would definitely save on money though, when you consider disposable ones are $5-$6 a box now!

    [Reply]

  2. K-money says:

    I think these sound interesting and I have been considering them for a while, but I want to hear from someone who has actually used a menstrual cup.

    [Reply]

  3. Phoebe says:

    I started using one (the Moon Cup, the silocone version of the Keeper) about 8 months ago, and I love, love, love it. It pays for itself in a few months; you don’t even notice it’s there, and since it contains rather than absorbs, it doesn’t dry you out. There’s a bit of a learning curve, (figuring out your own cycle and how often you need to empty it, getting it adjusted right) but it’s pretty short.

    [Reply]

  4. Mrs Money says:

    Chelle- I am glad I could share that with you! Hopefully you’ll give one a try.

    K-money- I’ve actually tried both, so if you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them!

    Phoebe- I’ve had a Diva cup for a few years and enjoyed that. There is a learning curve, but once you get past it, it’s great!

    [Reply]

  5. kerry says:

    oh, i use the diva cup and i LOVE it!!! yes, it totally saves me money- plus i get to skip those store trips. :) diva has a great website that i was obsessed with when i was researching; tons of info. no more bleach and chemicals inside my body, no more adding to the landfills… it’s perfect! whatever reusable product you try, applaud yourself for making an impact on both your life and the planet!

    [Reply]

  6. Thanks so much for writing about alternative menstrual products – especially ones that are reusable, and therefore, gentler on the environment. It’s really great to see that so women are beginning to be bothered by the waste that is caused by disposable menstrual products, and are therefore turning to reusables.

    I hope that you and your site visitors will want to see a concrete rendering of exactly HOW HARMFUL disposable menstrual products are to the environment. Just check out Keeper.com’s Comparison Photo Page. On the left side of the website, you will see a button with the words, “New: Photos!” in red. Clicking on this button will lead you to the Comparison Photo Page, which shows — in pictures — exactly HOW MUCH WASTE the average woman who uses tampons creates in one month, one year, ten years and 40 years. (And by the way, the average woman menstruates for forty years!)

    I think you will agree with me that these photos are worth at least A THOUSAND WORDS, because, frankly, I don’t think that women who use disposable menstrual products — which is, unfortunately, MOST women — actually like to think about the lifetime accumulation of waste they are foisting on our environment.

    This visual provides actual proof of the huge amount of environmental waste we women create, in this small area of our lives alone.

    And you’ll just love the photo on this Comparison Photo Page of the DUMP TRUCK, which is FILLED with 260 POUNDS of tampons and packaging. Believe it or not, the average woman actually uses (and tosses into the environment) that many pounds of tampons in her menstruating lifetime – and if she uses disposable menstrual pads, there will be even more waste!

    Thanks!
    Julia Schopick
    Director of Marketing
    The Keeper, Inc.
    Keeper.com

    [Reply]

  7. Mrs Money says:

    kerry- the Diva cup is what I have too. I am happy that there are others out there that share the same passion I do!

    Julia- Thanks so much for stopping by and for the lovely comment! I’m off to check the pictures now.

    [Reply]

  8. Pippa says:

    I notice you didn’t mention Sea Pearls here! Honestly, I can’t even imagine using a Diva cup or something similar because I am, ahem, very small and I find even the “slender” or “junior” tampons to be downright painful. But I prefer not to use pads because, well, blood and hair and everything becomes a big mess. But I /love/ my Sea Pearls. They’re reusable tampons made from sea sponges. The way they are harvested actually cause the sponges to reproduce so it’s a renewable source, they’re biodegradable once they’ve gotten to where you can’t use them anymore, and even I (with all of my sensitivity) don’t feel them *at all* when they’re in place. They need to be pulled out and rinsed a few times a day, with about the same frequency as you’d change a tampon, so that can be a problem with public restrooms, but if I’m going out and worried about that, I’ll keep an extra in my purse in a waterproof container, already dampened, and just change it in the stall and rinse out the other one when I get home. And honestly, even on my heaviest days, they last longer than tampons ever did for me – you just need to pull them out and rinse them because blood is a great growth medium and you don’t want things to colonize (I tend to get lazy towards the end of my cycle and leave one in for 12 hours or so – and then I get a yeast infection). You disinfect them with vinegar or tea tree oil or peroxide, no big deal, and let them air-dry when you aren’t using them. Because they are not bleached or chemically treated in any way /and/ they don’t overdry the way that tampons do (need to be dampened to be inserted), there is essentially no risk of TSS also. They are wonderful and definitely my alternative menstrual product of choice.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Pippa- That’s a great point! I didn’t mention them at all. I really don’t have experience with them, but they sound amazing! Thanks so much for all the great information!

    [Reply]


Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. How Far Would you go to Have a Baby? | Save Green and Live Green! 14 05 09
  2. My Review of the Keeper Menstrual Cup | Save Green and Live Green! 29 06 09

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