No, I'm not talking about menopause. Did you know that there's an environmentally-friendly--and pocket-book friendly--alternative for women besides tampons, pads and liners? Silicone mooncups, available in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. from a variety of suppliers (under such names as DivaCup, MoonCup, and The Keeper), cost around $30 but last for ten years. Given the amount of money most fertile women spend each month on tampons and other feminine hygiene products, it is easy to recoup the expense of the moon cup in just a few months.
While I love the idea that I no longer have to spend money on tampons and pads each month, there's an added benefit in that moon cups are far more environmentally friendly. Since the same cup can be washed and sterilized over and over, there is no waste.
Moon cups are surprisingly comfortable. They sit low in the vagina, so they don't hit up against the cervix. When properly inserted, they're unnoticeable--a claim that can't always be made for tampons and pads. They generally come in two sizes, one for women under 30 who haven't yet had children and a slightly larger one for everyone else. Unlike tampons, moon cups only catch the lining your body is shedding, leaving the rest of your vaginal fluids in tact. Because tampons absorb all fluid, they can result in uncomfortable dryness.
In addition to all the other benefits, one of the cups' best selling points is actually convenience. The cups hold enough fluid that most women can get by with emptying them only once every 12 hours if necessary (because of travel or other limitations). They don't leak or shift the way tampons and pads can. Additionally, there are no messy strings and no wetness, dampness, or odor. The cup can be inserted a day or two ahead of time if desired to avoid any leaks or spotting. And, the cup eliminates the need for dragging around an arsenal of products when traveling, or making late-night runs to convience stores in a pinch.
Moon cups are available both online and in retail stores such as Whole Foods. Based on experience, I'd encourage you to give moon cups a try--once you do, I bet you'll never want to waste money on tampons or pads again.