Monday, March 12, 2012
You Put a Sea Sponge Where???
It's inevitable. That monthly visitor, Aunt Flo. Also known as the Crimson Tide, Big Red, the Leaky Basement, Moon Time, On the Rag, Aunt Ruby, Riding the Cotton Cowboy, your Period, your Cycle...oh yes, and Menstruation.
Those 18 months of ragtime-free life while being pregnant and breastfeeding was euphoric, but since it came back, I had to start seeking out waste-free alternatives to feminine hygiene (like a good little hippie).
I stocked up on Happy Heiny's mama cloth, FuzziBunz cloth pads and Mommy's Touch mama pads, and cloth pantiliners from a wonderful mama on Etsy! Those are awesome and I love them (I'll go into details about those experiences on another post) but cloth menstrual pads weren't such a practical idea when it came to Traveling without frequent washer and dryer access, as I have been lately. The month before our planned trip, I ordered a set of Jade and Pearl Natural Sea Sponge Tampons.
Oh boy, you should see the reactions I've gotten when I casually mention to my acquaintances that I have a Sea Sponge chillin' up there. Most reactions are those of interest, wonder and fascination, even amazement at the idea! I have, however, definitely witnessed my share of completely freaked out awkwardness. As though it's the strangest possible thing a person could ever insert into their sacred place. Now, tampons constructed with cotton (that was grown with pesticides), wood rayon, chlorine bleach, dioxin, dyes, fragrances, and super-absorbent chemicals, all in which contribute to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), Ovarian Cancer, and Endometriosis, as well as general infections ....."totally okay", right???
Now, before you start cracking jokes about what else I've got stored up there (Starfish perhaps? Anemones? Seaweed?) hear me out....
How They Work
Sea Sponge tampons, functionally, are not that different than 'regular' tampons. Sea Sponge tampons come in different sizes ("Teeny", "Medium", "Large") to accomodate the variance in flow and fit. The sponges are all sustainably harvested, naturally and thoroughly sanitized, and trimmed to fit well. It's best to "size up" because if the sponge is too big, you can always trim it down to make it more comfortable, but a sponge too small will not be quite as functional. All you do before insertion, is wet the sponge to make it soft, squeeze out the water, insert with a clean finger, and let it do what it was designed to do. Unlike 'regular' tampons (which personally bother me the entire time they are in use) I absolutely can not feel the sponge because it is so soft and shape conforming. When it's time to take it out, simply insert your finger, bear down your pelvic muscles, and you will feel the sponge descending down. Just hook your finger around it, and pull it right out. Unlike 'regular' tampons, there is no friction, no abrasions, and no leftover fibers lingering around. Take your sponge to the sink, rinse it out (I usually add a drop of Tea Tree Dr Bronners natural soap to get it really clean, and then rinse it out thoroughly) and re-insert. There is no waste: no extra garbage to sit in the landfill for the next 500 years, no icky hygiene products sitting in the trashcan just waiting for the dog to drag them out, and you never have to worry about running out of tampons and having to run to the store!
On the Go
Sea Sponge tampons usually come in a set of 2 or more, and come with a cotton carrying case so that when you are out and about and find yourself in a public restroom, you will have a place to store the used sponge before rinsing it out.
Cleaning after Use
There are many safe, natural ways to clean your sea sponge tampons after your cycle. You can soak them for 10 minutes in a cup of warm water mixed with one of the following items: 1 tsp Sea Salt, 1/8 cup Hydrogen Peroxide, 1 tsp Colloidal Silver, 1 Tbsp Baking Soda, 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar, or 2 drops Tea Tree oil. Set it out (preferably in natural sun light) and let it air dry, and then store them in the cotton bag until the next cycle.
It has been said that the average woman spends about $100-$200 a Year on feminine hygiene products!
Now get this.... I only spent $13 on a 2-pack of Sea Sponges. Sea Sponges may last up to a year before needing to be replaced! That means, on average I am saving $87-$187 a year!! To me, if there's an option that can eliminate waste and be reused over and over again, there is no sense in throwing money away (literally!).
Another amazing thing about Sea Sponge tampons is that, if you choose, you do NOT have to abstain from intercourse during your cycle. Sea Sponge tampons are safe to use during sex. Although I choose not to (I'm so achey and sensitive during that time, sex is the last thing on my mind) we are, however, planning to buy a set specifically for using in conjunction with spermicide as a barrier to prevent pregnancy! (Remember "the sponge" contraception? Basically the same thing except natural!)
Just like 'regular' tampons, you can wear Sea Sponge tampons while swimming, as the sponge naturally protects your vagina and prevents any outside water from coming in.
My past three cycles while using The Sponge have been great! And while I miss my Mama Cloth, I will definitely be integrating the Sea Sponge tampons into each cycle! They are comfortable, clean, renewable, natural, waste-free, and keep me very clean and fresh during a time that can make any woman feel the opposite!
For more information about Sea Sponge Tampons, visit Jade and Pearl.