This week (10-16/10/2016) is Real Menstrual Products Week, so I thought I would add to the fun, by doing a quick guide to different types of reusable menstrual products. I don't use sponges or menstrual cups, but researched quite a bit before deciding to go for CSP. So here are the basics on each type of RMP.
Sponge tampons are natural sponges, that can be used as tampons. You dampen them and then insert them and they are good for a few hours. Then, once they are full, you can rinse them and reinsert. Practically, it means you only really need two or three. They last a year and can even be composted at the end of the year. This makes them zero waste and so don't contribute to landfill at all.
These are the option I use. They look very similar to disposable sanitary pads, but aren't sticky and do not have all of the different chemicals in them. Most have poppers which can be used to fasten them around your underwear. You store and wash them similarly to cloth nappies. They normally have three layers a waterproof layer, an absorbent middle and the part that sits next to your skin.
Menstrual cups are egg cup shaped, silicone cups, designed to be inserted and catch your monthly flow. You remove it regularly to empty it and then just reinsert it. Then at the beginning and end of your period, you sterilise it. Many women who previously used tampons now use these cups and have never looked back. Aside from being more environmentally friendly (they can be used for up to ten years) there is also little known risk of toxic shock syndrome when using menstrual cups, making them better for us to.
I hope this guide has helped you make a decision about what RMP you might be interested in. With many retailers having offers this week, now is an excellent time to try something new.
Pictures curtesy of Go Real - Reusable Menstrual Products Information