rmc28: (uterus)
[personal profile] rmc28
Silicone cups

There's a "hilarious" Amazon review of the Mooncup being retweeted all over my timeline at the moment.  I didn't find it that funny, but mostly because I felt it was suffused with an attitude of "what kind of CRAZY person uses THIS?" and I don't usually enjoy having my decisions laughed at for being crazy.    It prompted me to dig out the review I wrote 8 years ago, which reminded me that I too found the first few times a bit challenging.

I used the mooncup regularly until conceiving Charles.  Then I had a long gap without periods at all, thanks to my contraception.  When I started trying to conceive again, my periods returned, and were much more painful without the pill.  The mooncup's size and solidity seemed to trigger cramps on insertion and removal and so, reluctantly, I decided to stop using it.

Washable pads

I bought a load of Lunapads with a friend, sharing the shipping costs from the USA.  With stunning timing, they arrived just after I had got pregnant with Charles, but they came in quite useful for the post-birth bleeding, and then got put away again for five years. 

The lunapad consists of a cloth pad similar in shape to a disposable pad, but with poppers to secure it to the pants.  There are two elasticated strips which allow extra cloth liners to be inserted if more absorbency is needed.  They are softer and more pleasant against the skin than disposable pads, but also bulkier and less comfortable to walk or cycle in.   I also found that the liners would come out of the elastic too easily and stick to me and I had to be careful when going to the loo or I would lose them.

Laundry was easy enough: for the post-birth bleeding, I used to soak them in the nappy bucket; last year I just threw them in with my regular laundry.

I found them less likely to leak than disposable pads, but with the same problems of coverage (unless I use extra-long pads, I end up staining my underwear) and messiness/smell, not to mention incompatible with swimming.  Fundamentally I don't like pads much - tampons or the mooncup keep my blood much more contained, and though I never smell other women's periods I can smell my own and I dislike it.

If I liked pads better in principle, I would have bought some Party In My Pants pads to replace the Lunapads, as reviewed here by [personal profile] staranise.  They seem to use better textiles technology to solve the bulkiness issues I have with Lunapads, as well as actively encouraging "just throw them in the laundry with eveyrthing else".   Getting a set for post-birth bleeding would be extravagant but I might spoil myself and do so anyway.


[livejournal.com profile] k245 alerted me to the existence of Jam Sponges, sold from the UK (I think I've seen them in Boots) and thus without enormous shipping charges.  I also like that they don't have a moon-based product name.

Wet the sponge, squeeze it, insert it.  To remove it, you bear down until you can reach a bit of sponge, which generally provides a good grip to pull it out.  It's easiest to remove when it's full.  If you are somewhere with a handy basin, you rinse and squeeze it out and then can reuse it.  Otherwise you can put it in a zip-lock bag and deal with it later.  They are much more absorbent than tampons, and so I found it was always possible to save rinsing them for when I was at home.  For heavy flow, I used two sponges.

Cleaning between periods consists of soaking in boiling water with a bit of antiseptic (e.g. teatree oil) and then leaving to dry somewhere warm, e.g. in direct sunlight.

I found the sponges easier to insert / remove than the mooncup, and no messier.  I got similar "go all day or all night" performance from them: no faffing at work, no worrying about leaking in bed.  They didn't trigger cramps the way the mooncup did and I found the cleaning regime easier than boiling the mooncup.  They don't last as long as the mooncup - the Jam Sponge site reckons about a year - but I felt they'd make a good long-term solution for me.  (And then I got pregnant on the next cycle, so I'll not be able to test that for a while.)

It took me a while to figure out the right way to insert them to prevent leakage.  The sponges have a long axis and a short axis, and I started off inserting the sponge like a tampon, long axis up the long axis of my vagina, and then I wondered why it was leaking despite obviously not being full.  The trick is to have the long axis across the vagina: the sponge compresses amazingly when wet and will then expand to fill the space available.  After figuring that out, I had no leaks.

The pretty red bag supplied isn't actually waterproof, you need a small zip-lock bag inside / instead of it to carry around either clean wet sponges or dirty sponges waiting to be cleaned.  A couple of zip-lock bags are also supplied, but again I needed to learn from experience.

Date: 2012-01-07 15:25 (UTC)
ailbhe: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ailbhe
I wonder how a reusable tampon applicator (do they still exist?) and a sponge would combine?


rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Rachel Coleman

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