It’s hard to know where to go when your most intimate questions crop up. We often receive emails asking for advice on a wide range of topics, and we wanted to make a safe place to post some of your most personal struggles. We’ve reached out to trusted experts in the field of women’s health, and asked them to provide professional answers to equip us to make informed decisions. Better information helps us to put our worries to rest, and get back into the flow with our bodies. Period.
Join the conversation today at PeriodTalk, or contact us directly. If we are able to match your question with an expert answer, it might be profiled in an upcoming addition of Ask The Expert! (Your privacy is important to us – participation will be optional and anonymous.)
Ask The Expert #1: Cloth Pads & Conception
“I’ve been struggling with infertility for several years now and have just stumbled onto using cloth pads. I’ve tried almost everything, except for IVF, to cure my ‘unexplained infertility’. My periods have always been six to seven days long with lots of cramps and clotting. I have extreme breast pain after ovulation. Doctors have no response for any of my conditions except that it’s a regular part of menstruation. Any advice you can provide me with would be greatly appreciated.” – Anonymous Read More… >>
When it comes to understanding “that time of the month,” there’s no shortage of confusion among people of all ages and genders. One of the most common period-related myths is that there are only two types of feminine protection available: disposable pads and tampons. In reality, we have tons of other choices! Some of the most popular include menstrual cups, sea sponges, diaphragms, and my favorite: reusable cloth pads.
The idea behind cloth pads is simple: instead of the typical pad made from paper and plastic, cloth pads are made from fabric, allowing them to be washed and reused just like underwear. It may sound strange, but it’s not a new or unusual idea; women have been using cloth pads throughout most of history! It was only very recently, as our society shifted toward a preference for single-use products, that disposable pads and tampons were first marketed to women.
With the popularity and convenience of disposables, why would anyone want to use cloth? Here are just a few of the many reasons…Read More… >>
I’ve been using menstrual cups since July 2013, and they’re AWESOME! They’re definitely better than the pads and tampons I used for umpteen years.
Just when I thought period protection couldn’t get any better, I was blessed with the opportunity to try a Lunette Cup…and it was A GAME CHANGER. Before I share why, here are a few facts about the cup in case you’re not familiar with it:
My periods have always been painful. They’d often force me to miss school, university or work, and if I was caught out in the middle of town I’d been known to lie down for an hour or two in a cubicle of a public toilet.
I got my period on the second week of my honeymoon on a remote island, and I remember feeling scared one night that there was no hospital on the island, because I was in far too much pain for comfort. So they were really no picnic to begin with.
But one month, out of nowhere, on Day 2 of my period I was suddenly gripped with the worst pain I’d ever felt, and I remained in a state of complete agony for the next two days. My husband had to rescue me from work and help me to bed. I couldn’t stand up straight. I couldn’t walk without holding onto things. It was quite scary.
At this stage my periods were longer than they used to be too: I’d gone from five day to eight day periods. So I did some neurotic late night googling, and canvassed opinions from friends, and also went to a proper doctor. It looked to all concerned like I had endometriosis maybe.
Move over toxic tampons. Take a hike, sweaty pads. There’s a new player in town and it looks like she’s here to stay – 12 hours at a time. It seems women are going crazy for the menstrual cup, a reusable, bell-shaped silicone device inserted into the vagina to collect menstrual blood, and they’re taking it to the web with countless YouTube videos, blog posts and tweets praising its benefits. So what’s all this commotion about?
Throughout its surprisingly long history (early versions of the menstrual cup were patented as far back as in 1932!), the menstrual cup has not been a popular option for period care. Despite several attempts to launch the product in mass markets over the years, it was never able to compete with disposable tampons and sanitary pads. Although it is still a foreign concept to most women, the menstrual cup is slowly claiming its place in mainstream markets. It is no longer a mysterious apparatus only found in natural health stores; the product is now available in some major drugstores and can be easily bought online. An increasing selection of brands is also popping up worldwide: from Lunette, to Mooncup, Meluna, Yuuki, Fleurcup, Sckoon, Ruby, Femmecup and The DivaCup – to name but few.
Diva International Inc., the makers of The DivaCup, one of North America’s most popular menstrual cup brands with over 1 million cups sold to date, have definitely noticed the new trend. For the past 10 years, DivaCup International’s sales have been growing at double digit rates. “In the past ten years we have received great enthusiasm and acceptance around The DivaCup in both natural health and more recently, mainstream markets,” says a spokesperson for The DivaCup.
Until recently, I suffered through heavy periods every month.
On days 2 & 3, I normally had to wear a tampon AND a maxi pad. In addition to this, if I didn’t change that lovely combo every 2 hours, I had the “pleasure” of a major clean-up and possible leakage. — I’d tell you about my pads-only nights; but, I don’t want to make you weep. 🙂
Of course, everything I’ve mentioned so far made me dread, and sometimes skip, work / personal events – especially the ones that required long periods of sitting and / or frequent use of far-away public restrooms…that is, until I stumbled upon menstrual cups on Amazon.com.
MENSTRUAL CUPS – Where have you been all my life?
While checking things out on Amazon one lovely, lazy vacation day, something led me to the sanitary products page. That’s where I saw them for the first time… I’m telling you, angels played harps and sang while a voice (in my head) said, “Behold…the DIVACUP and SOFTCUP.” LOL
Using a Menstrual Cup for the First Time In a feminine hygiene market dominated by tampons and pads, trying a menstrual cup may seem intimidating at first. Menstrual cups have been around as long as tampons but are less familiar to some women. Whether you’re dealing with unpredictable periods, experience a heavy flow or want to enjoy an active lifestyle, using a menstrual cup may help you better manage your period. It’s important to know your options when it comes to feminine protection.
How to Use a Menstrual Cup There are two kinds of menstrual cups: the first is a soft, flexible cup that is worn internally, in the natural space under the cervix and behind the pubic bone where it conforms to your body. When inserted properly, it can’t be felt. You can wear it for about 12 hours at a time, after which it is disposed and a new one is inserted. It is also the only feminine hygiene product that can be worn during intercourse.
Other menstrual cups are bell-shaped and inserted internally to form a suction seal once inside the vagina. These are emptied, cleaned and re-inserted. The same one is used for each menstrual cycle.
Both types of menstrual cups are designed to collect your menstrual flow rather than absorb it. Just like the first time you used a tampon, it may take a few times inserting a menstrual cup to get it right.Read More… >>
As Earth Day approaches many of us start to think about becoming more “green.” But what does “green” mean? (and we’re not talking color!)
Definition of GREEN (per Merriam-Webster): a: relating to or being an environmentalist political movement b : concerned with or supporting environmentalism c : tending to preserve environmental quality (as by being recyclable, biodegradable, or nonpolluting)
That said, where does this leave you? There are so many ways to be “green” or “eco friendly.” You can buy organic produce (free from chemicals & pesticides), you can use cloth shopping bags instead of paper or plastic, you can choose to ride a bike or walk instead of taking the car, and the list goes on…But have you thought about making your periods “green?” Why not?
Did you know the average woman uses an estimated 16,000 menstrual products in her lifetime? Think of the amount of waste that creates. Now times that by like… EVERY WOMAN on the PLANET! Disgusting! And it gets worse, most traditional pads and panty liners are made from 90% plastic. How long do you think that will take to decompose? Horrifying!
You may be wondering, “How on earth do you make your period green?” We don’t want to bombard you with a lengthy list so here’s a few ideas you might try. It includes both disposable and reusable options. Read More… >>
I first heard about the Diva Cup a couple of years ago and I immediately judged it. The idea of inserting a bizarre-looking contraption I’d never heard of in my vagina wasn’t very appealing to me, especially since using tampons and pads were the mainstream (and what I thought where the only) options for dealing with your period. I quickly dismissed the menstrual cup, thinking only hippie/granola/environmentally-conscious women were using it.
Eight months ago, at 24 years old, I was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer. Since then, I’ve been focusing a lot on my health and embracing a healthier, cleaner, greener lifestyle. I am very conscious of what I put in and on my body, from everyday food to cosmetics which contain chemical ingredients and potential carcinogens. I had been thinking about switching to the menstrual cup because it seemed a more natural way of dealing with my period, but was afraid to do so. I wasn’t sure how it worked, how to insert it and if it would hurt. I kept asking my BFF to try it before me to see if it was worth it or not!
Last week I started my period and went to the pharmacy to buy my “period supplies”, where I saw the Diva Cup among all the tampons and pads. “Enough is enough” I thought to myself, “time to face the “beast” and get this over with”. So I bought a Diva Cup and left my usual supplies behind.
My mom was not a tampon user; they made her nauseated and feel horrible when she tried them in high school/college, so when I started menstruating she got me pads, just like her. Well, lower absorbency, but you get the idea.
The problem was that I was a ballet dancer. #1 Pads = not cool. #2 They would never stay in place. So I asked her to let me get some tampons.
She did, and I’m not sure if it was the box insert, a news story, or word of mouth but TSS was a huge concern for her. I didn’t really get the seriousness of it, but I knew enough that I was willing to go along with her guidelines: use natural fiber (cotton) tampons – don’t use a higher absorbency than I needed – use pads at night.