Jade and Pearl Sea Sponge Tampon 2 Pieces Sea Pearls Sea Sponge Tampons Reusable

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Gross is Relative (why I would never use disposable tampons again)

Oct 15, 2008
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Softer, more comfortable, healthier, non-toxic, better for the environment

Cons:Can be more difficult to use at first and seems gross

The Bottom Line: Sea sponge tampons may seem gross, but they are really a lot healthier for you and better for the environment.  All things considered, disposables are really gross.

If the thought of a reusable tampon seems disgusting and foreign to you, you are definitely not alone. At first the concept of handling a tampon more than by the string and longer than it takes to flush it down the toilet seemed beyond consideration to me. Sure, I know that women have been using sponges for millenia, but that was before they had other options, right? And sponges are animals, too - yuck! Aren't they dirty? Won't they hold bacteria? And even if you get past all that, you still have to rinse the blood out in the sink with your hands? It seems so disgusting - why would anyone do that?

I won't tell you that it wasn't a learning curve at first, but to explain why I made the switch I should first start with what we assume about tampons and what is the real truth about them. First of all, many people assume that tampons are sterile. This is not the case, and because they are not sterile, a sea sponge tampon that you sterilize yourself is likely to be cleaner than a tampon that's been sitting in your bathroom cabinet. Many people also believe that tampons are made of cotton fibers, which is true in a few cases with organic tampons like Seventh Generation and Natracare, but the major brands and store brands often contain rough synthetic fibers to increase absorbency that can put small tears in the vaginal wall allowing bacteria to pass and increasing the risk of infection including Toxic Shock Syndrome and causing skin irritation. Although a sea sponge feels hard out of the package, when dampened it becomes very soft, and the incidence of infection is much lower. Another concern is the chemical bleaching process used by many disposable tampon manufacturers. While it is arguable that the levels of chemicals like dioxin (which has been linked in animal studies to endometriosis, male and female infertility and other medical problems) are below acceptable FDA limits in tampons, dioxin is also present in many other items and foods we come in contact with daily. Because it has an 11 year half life in the human body, the dioxin you take in today will still be in your body 22 years from now. Since there is no way to control the levels of dioxin in each item I use and then to track that level for a period of 22 years to make sure it does not reach toxic levels, I find it best to eliminate it wherever possible. I was also surprised to find that the harmful effects of the synthetic fibers and chemicals can be transferred to my husband (and since he has more sensitive skin that I do, we could see the difference in him first).

Having more information on tampons and my husband behind me helped me decide to make the change, but there are other good reasons to try alternative products like sea sponges as well. I find them a lot more comfortable since they are softer and compress more easily to fit my shape. Every woman is shaped differently, and when you get the package from Jade and Pearl, the sponges are oversized so you can trim them to fit you rather than the one size fits all approach taken by the big manufacturers. Not having a string can seem like a pain at first, but it also makes it easier to use the bathroom with the tampon in place without worrying about a messy string and reduces irritation for me from the string. It takes some practice, just like using a disposable applicator tampon does, but once you find what works for you they are easy to insert and remove.

In addition to feeling better physically, I also feel better about the reduced environmental impact I am having. Imagine all the pads, tampons, applicators and packaging a woman uses in her lifetime. Much of this is plastic that will in all likelihood outlive the woman who used the product. All of this waste ends up in a landfill somewhere and the manufacturing process contributes to waste and pollution as well. It may seem gross to use a reusable tampon, but all that pollution from disposable menstrual products is really gross for us and the generations to come. Jade and Pearl sea sponges are harvested in a sustainable way (they are pulled by hand, releasing the sperm and eggs of the sponge into the water to produce more sponges) and are biodegradable, so they have minimal environmental impact. The sponges last for 6 months, making it easy to keep them on hand so you never have to run to the store last minute or search for a store or vending machine when you are out somewhere. Ranging in price from $10-15 for two (one year supply), they are much less expensive than disposable tampons.

I won't lie - the first time you have to wash out a sponge in the sink and reuse it, the process seems gross. This is psychological, a result of how society perceives menstruation. If you watch commercials they treat it as something disgusting and embarrassing rather than a healthy, natural process. When menstruation is perceived as normal and healthy a sponge that needs to be cleaned is no different from a washcloth or toothbrush. Cleaning the sponges is not difficult either. For during cycle cleanings, water is acceptable, and at the end of the cycle, you clean them fully by soaking in colloidal silver, tea tree oil, baking soda or other natural cleaning and detoxifying agents for 15 minutes then rinsing them out and drying them. There is no need to boil them or add toxic chemicals to get them clean. They function just like a tampon, and can be left in as long as a tampon without the need to remember to pack extra (though I generally carry one extra if I am going out for a long time with no access to a private restroom). Now that I actually tried them, I will never buy disposable tampons again.

Recommend this product? Yes

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