Well folks, I’m going to talk about menstrual products. Consider yourselves forewarned.
I have been using Lunapads washable cloth pads for several years now, and love them for the most part. I love not having to buy disposables in the store, and I love an easy way to reduce trash. I love having natural materials against my skin.
Washing them is a bit of a pain, but not really much more of a pain than a trip to the store. I pile them up under the sink, and whenever I need to, soak them a few times in the sink and then wash them like any other laundry. I’m finding that they chafe a bit still, and of course they’re no good for spinning class or swimming. And, well, there’s still blood getting outside the body and sitting there; therefore, there’s sometimes a smell.
Which leads to the Lunette.
You might have heard of the DivaCup, which is more widely marketed. Both, along with many other brands, are silicone menstrual cups. They’re worn internally, like a tampon, but without any chemicals, without drying or chafing vaginal tissue, and without the waste of disposable stuff. Whenever you need to — for most people, twice a day — you take it out, dump the contents, wash it with ordinary soap, and put it back in place. And you sterilize it by boiling before first use and at the beginning and / or end of each period.
I just got through my first cycle using the Lunette. I had to cut off the stem, as it was irritating. It’s easy to remove by bearing down a bit and gripping the raised rings around the bottom. It’s easy to insert, too. I found I liked the punch-down fold, but the C-fold works fine for me, too. It’s sometimes a bit of extra work to get it to open up all the way, but no more than a few seconds’ worth. I had a few instances of leaking, but never more than a few spots, and likely due to the learning curve. I just wore a cloth pad as backup.
The biggest problem I had was keeping it in, actually. Not that it ever actually fell out — just that it would get so low that the bottom bit would stick out a little — uncomfortable. I shouldn’t be surprised — I have some post-baby incontinence at times (sneezing, coughing…), so I already knew the nether muscles were not quite as well-toned as they could be. I started doing Kegels again and that helped a lot — after the first two days or so I had no trouble with it slipping too low.
I love that the maintenance is so easy and in the moment — no laundry piling up, no waiting for anything to dry. Except on the heaviest first day or two, I could empty it first thing in the morning and before bed, so no issues with public bathrooms. The few times I did need to empty it in a public bathroom, I just wiped it out with toilet paper and it was fine to put back in. Made sure I washed it when I got home.
Since it’s all internal, no smell.
And I’m looking forward to the lake this summer.