Intimately Green

(Images above: Vintage feminine ads from Jezebel.com)

Okay, let’s be honest. We try to ‘green’ our daily routines in so many ways, but we often avoid the most intimate aspect of our lives. I’m talking about that monthly event that causes so much of us to shy away from ‘organic’ options, that most natural of occurrences we have somehow made excessively wasteful with a myriad of unnatural and unhealthy options. Why not have a green period, ladies?

Read on for the skinny on diva cups, herbal remedies, and reusable answers to your feminine hygiene concerns!

(Images above from left: Herbal relief from HerbsGardensHealth.com, The Diva Cup from CottonBabies.com,  Moon Pads from TreeHuggingFamily.com)

I’ve always felt badly about the environmental waste associated with tampons and pads, not to mention the cost! They’ve never seemed truly sanitary to me, and disposal of them seems to cause issues – full landfills and clogged toilets, primarily. So, I’ve scouted out some better options that won’t bleed you dry or hurt our planet.

Toss those Tampons and Get Diva-fied!

So, what is it, really? The Diva Cup is a brand name menstrual cup popular in the US and Canada. International versions include the Mooncup (UK), the LadyCup (Czech Republic), Lunette (Scandinavia), and the Miacup (Africa). It is a reusable bell-shaped soft plastic device used to collect and contain menstrual flow inside of the body. Instead of absorbing all of the good bacterias and natural chemicals like tampons do, the Diva Cup allows your individual body chemistry to remain intact.

Top 5 Reasons to Use the Diva Cup:

1. Cost – Let’s do the math. A box of tampons is $5. A box of pads is $5. Monthly cost is $10, making the yearly cost $120. Over 35 years, the lifetime cost is $4,200, not including taxes or inflation! The Diva Cup is about $25 a year. That is quite a savings!

2. Environment – The average of pads/tampons used per woman each period is 18. What an amazing amount of waste in our landfills and water systems! By using a cup, all this waste could be eliminated.

3. Health – The Diva Cup contains no harmful substances, like the bleaches, absorbing chemicals, adhesives, and perfumes that are found in pads or tampons. The Diva Cup is made of silicone, which cannot be absorbed into the body. Also, tampons have been associated with Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), and no such connection exists with the Diva Cup.  There is no scientific proof of this, but quite a few testimonials claim that the Diva Cup eases cramping and shortens the length of bleeding!

4. Activity and Comfort – The Diva Cup is designed to be discreet, even to the wearer! That means you won’t feel it, and you can participate in all the activities you’re used to- like working out, swimming, soccer, etc.-with ease.

5. Hassle – No more filling your purse with tampons. No more trying to hide a bulky pad in your pocket on your way to the bathroom. You can basically forget about it for up to 12 hours!

Give Your Pads a Makeover!

There really is no good reason to keep buying pads only to throw them away, and most do not biodegrade! The solution is easy – reusable pads. Many companies make them now, and they come in a rainbow of fun and super chic colors and patterns. My favorites include Sckoon, New Moon Pads, GladRags, and Pleasure Puss, which has a calculator to determine your cash savings by switching to reusable pads. If you’re a crafty person, the greenest option would be to make your own reusable pads with these patterns. After you’ve made enough for you and your friends, make a bunch more and donate them them to Good4Girls, a charity sponsored by New Moon Pads that supports education initiatives for schoolgirls in South Africa.

Lifestyle Changes for a Greener Period…

Making some adjustments to what we eat and do can have a significant impact on our monthly cycles. Here are a few ways to help your body through those tough times!

1. Stick to a vegetarian diet for a few weeks before the onset of your period to ease cramping

2. Reduce your salt intake to avoid bloating and water retention

3. Exercise is reported to ease menstrual pain, reduce PMS, and relieve stress associated with menstruation

4. Try yoga or meditation for relieving stress at the onset of PMS.

5. Juice yourself happy – Celery and fennel are said to contain phyto-oestrogens that mimic oestrogen hormones and relieve pain. Pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain, which is a muscle relaxant for easing cramps. Throw in an apple, turn on the blender, and you’ve got an all-natural, period relief smoothie!

6. Although there is no scientific evidence to support this, Evening Primrose oil has been used for years to ward against heavy flow, PMS symptoms, and painful periods.

If you have any suggestions or tips on having a greener period, let us know!

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10 Responses to Intimately Green

  1. Cousin Katie 03/02/2009 at 5:17 pm #

    Interesting article Molly!

  2. Kim A. 03/02/2009 at 5:19 pm #

    I made reusable pads a few weeks ago and they worked out marvelously – i would highly recommend them! They were comfortable and when i finished wearing them, i just threw them in the wash!

  3. Molly 03/02/2009 at 6:05 pm #

    Thanks, Katie, and hi, Kim…did you use a pattern, or make one up yourself?

  4. Tiffany 03/02/2009 at 7:09 pm #

    I purchased the Diva Cup along with Lunapads a few months ago, and I have to say that I was very impressed with how well they work! It’s a little bit strange at first, but once you get the hang of it, it makes you wonder why you ever used tampons and those gross diaper-y “pads”. I went on the Lunapads website and purchased a starter kit. The whole website explains every question you’d ever want to know about greener feminine products! It’s really pretty liberating knowing that you can care for your body and the environment in a much better way!

  5. Breana 03/03/2009 at 12:21 am #

    What on earth are you supposed to do with the pads when you’re not at home though?

  6. Elaine 03/03/2009 at 12:56 am #

    And on the same note as Breana’s question: What does one do with a divacup in the setting of a public washroom? I know you are supposed to rinse them off (right?) after emptying the cup, but I can’t imagine doing that in a ladies’ room sink!

  7. Molly 03/03/2009 at 10:19 am #

    Good question, Breana – here’s an answer I found on the Sckoon website:

    What do I do about changing and storing pads when I’m away from home?
    A zip-lock bag is a handy solution, but we also offer a Sckoon Leak-proof pouch for storing fresh or used pads and liners too. As soon as you come home, soak the used pads in cold water with laundry soap and wash them as usual.

    Does anyone else have a tricky solution?
    -Molly

  8. mary 03/03/2009 at 2:59 pm #

    To address Elaine’s question, I’ve been using a DivaCup for almost three years and have never once needed to empty it in a public bathroom. Typically I can just empty it at night before bed and in the morning and that’s it. But even if you have a heavier flow, you don’t have to rinse it each time you empty, just at least once or twice a day.

  9. Sheila 03/12/2009 at 1:31 am #

    Hi, my mom use to tell me that my grandma makes her own sanitary pads. When I was younger, I use to wonder how she changed them when she was out in public. Haha.. But its a great idea, I’m actually thinking about making one. I’m very allergic to the cotton and plastic used by commercial napkins. The Diva Cup seems like a great idea as well however, Its not available here in Saudi Arabia or in the Philippines. I’ll probably just stick to the regular napkins when I’m out and then switch to the hand made ones at home, at least I’ll be able to cut my carbon foot print in half. :P

  10. reena 07/04/2013 at 11:39 pm #

    The diva cup is a blessing,no mess created.Initially you will have trouble inserting, but then later on you find it to be cost efficient and worth it.I use a Luna pad or Diva cup along with Adira period panty so that i don’t have to worry about staining in public.Its very comfy since its cotton,and has helped me avoid panty liners.

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