Still Using Tampons Or Pads? You Should Read This

tamponsWhat is something that every woman has to endure in her lifetime? You got it, a menstruation cycle. On average a woman will have her period once a month, for about 5 days, for around 40 years of her life! During this time, we need to use various products stay clean and fresh. There has got to be a market in there! The Tampon and Pad industry is a $718 Million dollar market, and tampons and pads are necessities. This got me questioning the production and ethical value behind these products. They are mass-produced, and heavily marketed and cheaply made, out of bleached rayon and plastics. Why is it that we never see ads for the much safer alternatives such as cotton products, reusable washable pads and menstruation cups? Any of these alternatives are much more economical and are about a gillion times safer for the environment. Up until a few months ago, I didn’t even know that there were alternative products, or even think that there was any potential risk from using generic menstruation products.

Almost all sanitary napkins and tampons are made with bleached rayon, cotton and plastics, how safe do you think that material is to be inside or very close to your Vagina? Not to mention these products leave behind fibers in your vagina that can cause bladder, vaginal infections, and Toxic Shock Syndrome. Tampons are also known to absorb the natural fluids and bacteria’s that the vagina produces to stay clean and healthy. Let’s look at the #1 ingredient in generic tampons and sanitary napkins: Rayon. Rayon is a fiber that is made from cellulose fibers, cellulose is a natural fiber, but to produce Rayon chemical procedures are needed that include: carbon disulphide, sulfuric acid, chlorine and caustic soda. Side effects from exposure to too much Rayon can include: nausea, vomiting, chest pain, headaches and many others. Rayon is not just found in tampons and pads, but a lot of clothes are made from it as well. Sanitary napkins also contain quite a bit of plastic, which does not allow sufficient air flow ‘down there’ so in turn can also cause an array of infections. Tampons and pads are also bleached using chlorine, which results in the production of dioxin, which is linked to breast cancer, endometriosis, immune system suppression and various other ailments.

 So, what are our options?

A menstrual cup is my first choice for a tampon/ pad alternative. It is a flexible silicone cup that is inserted into the vagina. Essentially this cup catches all the blood and you empty it every 12 hours during your cycle and reinsert it. I know what you are thinking… gross. That’s what I thought too; my initial thought was that this sounded so disgusting that I would never use it. I guess that changed as I researched all of the positive effects that came from using a cup. If it is properly inserted and taken out there is no reason that you should ever have to actually touch blood, but even if you do, what’s the harm? Just wash your hands, you big baby. :P It may take a few cycles to get the hang of how to use one of these cups, but once you do you will wish you had started a lot sooner! I recommend that you continue to use pads or liners until you have mastered the insertion technique, just in case. Not only will you save a lot of money using a menstruation cup, but you will be doing a huge favor to the environment as well. Think about it, If an average women uses about 17,000 pads or tampons during her entire menstruation period, x that by 3.5 billion women in the world, and yeah, you do the math…. Another great thing about using menstrual cups is that many women have reported to having less severe cramping during their period! I know that alone would encourage some women to making this change.  Some brands of menstrual cups are: ‘DivaCup,’ ‘MoonCup,’ ‘Ladycup’ and ‘Lunette,’ among many others.










There are also reusable pad products are made of safe materials that come with washable highly absorbent inserts to suit all different levels of flow. These would be a great option to women that do not like to products that you have to insert. These reusable ‘pads’ are made with safe breathable materials to keep your area healthy, and leak free! Some brands that are available today are: ‘Luna Pads,’ ‘Glad Rags,’ ‘Pleasure Puss’ and you can also make your own.


Now, if you are just not so keen on ever having to really see blood or wash your products, or don’t like these options there is another option, sit in a lake for your entire cycle. You will eventually come out very cold and wrinkled, but at least you won’t be throwing away tons of crap into the environment and you don’t have to worry about toxic chemicals being leached into your body…. Just kidding! :P OK, there is one last alternative to generic tampons and pads. There are some companies that make natural organic cotton products that do not leach chemicals, and do not leave synthetic materials behind. These can still absorb your natural fluids and they are still not the best things for the environment, but at least cotton is a more natural substance that can biodegrade much quicker and safer. Some brands of these products are: ‘Seventh Generation,’ and ‘Natracare.’

So there you have it! I hope that this article opened up your eyes to the health effects and environmental hazards that are associated with using pads and tampons, and made you reconsider what products that you are using. There are many websites that provide information with reviews on all of these products, do your research and find what’s best suited for you and your lifestyle.

If you are worried about how much fluid menstruation cups can hold in comparison to tampons and pads check out this video.

Much Love



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CE provides a space for free thinkers to explore and discuss new, alternative information and ideas. The goal? Question everything, think differently, spread love and live a joy filled life.

310 comments on “Still Using Tampons Or Pads? You Should Read This

  1. Chrissy

    I’m super surprised that not in any of my health classes (or even my environmental class) have we covered this! Though I still have questions, like: how comfortable is the cup; where would you wash the cup (doesn’t seem sanitary in the sink); what do you do in public restrooms; and is the cup one-size-fit all?

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  3. J.T.

    Just a word of caution. Flannel pads, can shed small particles and cause urinary tract infections. I made some home made pads, that had several layers in them, and maybe they didn’t get completely clean or something. Because I am getting over one of the worst bladder and yeast situations I’ve ever had. By the time you bleach your lady pads, that too can have caustic results on the skin. I tried the “hippie saves the world” route. Gotta go back to the sterile modern society route.

  4. Jolene

    Which material is the cup made of? Because in the article you commented on plastics in the general tampons and pads.. I love the idea of a reusable item, but has there been any research done on the health effects of the cup? Many thanks for your insights!

    • lisa

      It’s made of surgical grade silicone. And it will change your life! They last about five years or so.

  5. shon

    What I don’t understand it is still holding waste in your body up to 12 hours. How is that healthy? That’s why I don’t like tampons and because there uncomfortable to me.

    • Tammy

      It’s made from silicone which forms to your canal as it warms. It’s completely hygienic and can be used for up to 12 hours as it holds up to 1 ounce of fluid (average discharge is 2 ounces in a full menstral cycle). I have an IUD and have no issues with it as it sits low. It does take a day or two to get used to but after that it’s hardly noticeable. They come in different sizes (age, childbirth, natural size differences among users have helped them expand their product knowledge) so it’s not a once size fits all deal.
      I have to say this is my 2nd best feminine health product behind the IUD. I’m 31, no kids, and am a very active career woman. The Diva Cup is an awesome investment into your health! I fully recommend it :)

  6. Jenna

    I’ve been using the diva cup for years and it’s definitely saved me a ton of money!

  7. Gina

    I love the implication that tampons cause endometriosis. So the first 5 years of my monthly hell must’ve been all in my head right? Cause I certainly didn’t start out using tampons.

  8. At the risk of sounding like an idiot… For an 8hr work day, would a cup suffice?? And if not … well, what do you do to change it out in a public restroom with multiple stalls? Zipper bag?

    • lisa

      Yes it should be fine for an 8 hour day. In a public restroom you wash your hands thoroughly then wet a paper towel bring it into the stall. Empty the cup into the toilet and wipe clean. Then reinsert. At home you can give it a more thorough cleaning.

  9. ils

    I don’t use anything for my period anymore. It sounds incredible but I just don’t have to use anything anymore. Since I turned vegan, my period started to come more regularly and the quantity was less. I used a mooncup until I heard it is actually possible to train your muscles to the point of being able to ‘hold back’ the need, just like the need to go to wee. My life has been so much simpler ever since :)

    • Pam

      Hello ils,
      sounds interesting. How do you train your muscles to the point of being able to ‘hold back’ ? Can you suggest a site? Thank you.

    • Doaa

      ils that seems amazing. I know when i’m on a balanced diet, dominated by veggies, i have better periods, and by that i mean less cramps, less bleeding and more energy. but i thought that having very little flow is not a healthy thing, basically it is what happens if one is anorexic. i know being vegan is a healthy lifestyle. so i think i need to update my info. could you point out to any information related to what you said in your reply. many thanks.

    • Chrissy

      But is that safe for your system – holding it back?

  10. Suzanne

    I’m on blood thinners. My bleeding is far worse than ‘heavy’. I have to use a mega tampon AND a super maxi at the same time….and change hourly because I bled through both. Would this still be a good option? Also, couldn’t they put a ‘valve’ on the pointy end so you could just twist it open to drain without having to remove? Would seem much easier.

      • IRENE

        The way you tested tampons and pads are not accurate.
        Few errors that I noticed:
        1. Girls are not constantly gushing of blood ( for example, the way you poured that blue solution is not the same way how women discharge blood during their menstrual cycle period)
        2. The consistency of the solution is not the same consistency as the blood discharge during menstrual cycle.
        3. The tampon solution test is incorrect because only the outer layer of the tampon was actually wet and that i you squeeze it out too soon (for example in your video is about 3 seconds)it wont have any time to absorb the solution. This also goes to your pad test as well.

        MY recommendations are PADS! Just because you dont really know what type of chemicals are used in the menstrual cup itself.

        and really no matter what we do there will always be chemical issues….either you let that blood discharge without any pads tampons or whatever it is….or just simply put a DAMN PAD ON!

  11. tygr

    I have tried using a cup and my problem is that I am too small for even the smallest size cup (I used the Diva Cup I am not sure if other companies offer smaller sizes). It was uncomfortable and even after I cut down the tube that sticks out I found that piece quite irritating still and in general the cup itself was just too large to ever be comfortable or for me to forget that I was wearing it. I had a similar problem with the Nuva Ring, so it may be that I am just much smaller than the average woman.

    • Kdunea

      Same happened to me… I bought the medium size of the moon cup, and nop.. couldn’t use it. Now I don’t want to buy the small size cuz I don’t want to spend more money on something I don’t know if it’s going to work….

    • anonymous

      You may have extra skin in you inner vaginal walls, which would make ot more comfortable. Size was you’re probably not much smaller at all, its just the skin/shape. You could ask a doctor yo check if it ever gets uncomfortable with tampons or whatever.

    • vicki

      Another option not mentioned is sea sponges, used like tampons. There are three types of sponges: grass (the softest; medium absorbancy), wool (slightly less soft; most absorbant) and yellow (least soft, least absorbant). These can be sterilized by soaking in hydrogen peroxide, which is a matural by-product in the vagona snyway. These, combined with a Diva cup, allow me to get through four hours without having to run to the bathroom. (i lose a little over half a pint each month.)

  12. Dawn

    I have a very thin and tilted cervix, does anyone else have this problem and can the cup still be used?

    • Meagan

      Menstrual cups sit low so it doesn’t touch your cervix at all so that shouldn’t be an issue. It might be different if you were using Softcup, but that is a different product. You should definitely try it!

    • Joan

      I have a tilted cervix as well and I still use a diva cup, I will tell you though that I do also have to couple it sometimes with a washable pad because sometimes depending on how tilted you are it does position itself where you can end up with some spotting on your undies if you don’t. I still prefer it over other options though as it’s much much more comfy and less harmful for your body than tampons.

  13. c

    just my info in case it helps those that think they can’t use cups or cloth pads with a heavy period. you might want to give it a try. according to wikipedia: “The average volume of menstrual fluid during a monthly menstrual period is 35 milliliters (2.4 tablespoons of menstrual fluid) with 10–80 milliliters (1–6 tablespoons of menstrual fluid) considered typical.” On average, I lose about 200 ml per period. I use a large Fleur cup and a cloth pad for backup. Sometimes I have to empty my cup every 1/2 hour. It’s still worth it! My entire period isn’t that bad and I definitely feel cleaner, worry way less about TSS and fibers being left behind than when I was using tampons and I can insert the cup or use a thin cloth pad in anticipation of my period. I can’t feel the cup once it’s in and I’m not spending all that money that I used to every month.

    • I use Party In My Pants too – and I’m now a distributor in the UK for this brand. They are absolutely superb AND hold heavy flow (I suffer from severe fibroids). Give them a try. L.O.V.E. Chrissie

  14. Leslie

    Go to — they have many different types of cups that come in different sizes. My favorite is MeLuna. They have them in S/M/L/XL. I like the medium in the classic. And I always get the ones with glitter. Yep. They come in all different colors, including glitter. :D

  15. Meagan

    If you are looking for cloth pads, Party in my Pants is the best. They are really nice quality and I’ve had some of mine for a couple years and they still look perfect. Cute patterns too. I use a Lunette cup too. I also have a Diva, but I don’t like it as much as the Lunette.

  16. I have very heavy periods, so the cups are just not an option … not sure about the sponges, but the pads and cups are a no-go at this point.

    • Sofie

      I have a heavy period as well, and the cup seems to work very well! On heavier days I wear a pad with it for extra support.

      • T

        Does the cup feel like “something” is up there? so hard to believe its comfortable.

        • Meagan

          Once it is in you forget it is there. You can’t feel it. You might feel the little end part that sticks out, but I cut that off. The first couple of times you insert it it might be uncomfortable but when you get the hang of it it is good.

        • No, you don’t feel anything. I wore a pantyliner for a long time with the cups because I just kept thinking that they’d leak. They never did! And you can also have sex with the cup in. I wasn’t brave enough to try swimming with it in (imagine the cup coming loose and all that blood suddenly in the water…yikes!!!!), but others have stated that swimming is not a problem. I was just reading this to my husband actually and telling him that I should go back to the cup. It was very nice.

          • Britney

            I agree, it looks and sounds uncomfortable. Can it ever go up too far where you can’t pull it back out??

    • KarenC

      Cups are actually ideal for those with heavy flow. A cup will ‘catch’ more fluid than will even the most absorbent tampon. You’ll likely have to empty it more often than the typical 12 hours but at worst it’ll only be as often as you would with tampons. Doing so in a public restroom is really as simple as empty in toilet and reinsert. Rinsing can easily wait till you’re in a more private situation to do so. Really you’ll benefit even more since you’ll save even more money. Anecdotally many report having lighter periods once they switch to healthier alternatives too…

    • Meagan

      What do you use if your periods are too heavy for cups or pads?

  17. karen

    I’d love to try the cup but I just can’t see trying to clean it out in the ladies room at work. Gross.

    • Julia

      You can wear the cup for up to 12 hours. I usually only have to change it twice a day (morning and night) unless it’s a heavy flow. You should try it! It’s not gross :)

    • Cori

      That’s actually the thing I love about it…you don’t HAVE to do that. If you have to dump it out, you can just wipe it out with tissue, or not, and put it back in. You still might get a little mess on your hand but you can wash it off. No big deal. I love being able to wear it all day and deal with it when I get home.

    • Kirsten

      You leave it in up to 12 hours so no cleaning at work.

    • LA

      I agree. With my heavy flow., there is no way I can do this. I would be changing the cup every 2 to 4 hours.

      • KarenC

        If that’s the case then you’d be changing tampons even more often since most cups will actually catch more than the most absorbent tampon. Emptying at work doesn’t even require rinsing in a public sink. Just empty over toilet and reinsert, rinsing can easily wait till later

      • Meagan

        The cup holds more than a tampon would. Some can hold more than others though.

  18. Tiff

    I was going to recommend natural sea sponges as well. Many women like this option the best. I prefer cups and for backup natural cotton liners.

  19. DT

    Tried to use the Mooncup, found it too big to use on myself (I couldn’t even insert it without pain like you wouldn’t believe), so I wasted $30 getting it :/. Still searching for an alternative since I am not a fan of pads at all.

    • Cori

      Have you tried Soft Cups? They are a different fit than the diva cup but I think they’re easier.

    • Meagan

      The Diva cup is smaller and softer so you might like it better.

  20. Anonymous

    A better demonstration would have been use the tampon in the cup full and see how much it absorbs..Just thinking out loud.

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  22. Leslie Cucino

    I’ve used the Diva Cup before. I had very heavy periods, so emptying it every 12 hours was not an option, more like every 2-3 hours. After awhile the opening to the vagina gets very sore and irritated. If I had to worry about this now, I’d use the washable pads.

    • Nichole

      Mine got sore the first few months of using it when I was getting used to how it worked and fit and such. But I figured out that if you pull the cup out with same way you put it in (i.e. Folding the lip) it came out way easier with no more pain. This has been my smoothies period on it yet.

  23. Ches

    hehe my gf swears by natural sea sponges too

  24. miss A

    There are also natural sponges. They are amazing!

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