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Women Only: "Monthly" Best Practices Cups & Sponges
I'm not a mobile yet as I'm currently deployed to Kuwait supporting military operations hoarding the funds for my vehicle and the build-out once I return stateside.

In the mid 2000's I started becoming more mindful of what I've been blindly doing to my body.  As an AA/Black girl I'd been habitually straightening my hair with either extreme heat or extremely caustic/toxic chemical compounds which are extremely harmful to skin & hair.  I was using stronger & stronger deo/antiperspirants to avoid BO, which leads to toxic offing into your lymphatic system via your armpits and can lead to breast cancers.  And every cycle, stock piling chemically bleached and plastic feminine products.  Let's not talk about all the yummy yet disgustingly enhanced foods that I aimlessly ate without ever looking at the labels.  I no longer use any of the above products and I leaning in on more plant based eating habits.

As I'm taking a more engaged hold of my life one of the things I've moved toward are reusable/sustainable feminine products.  Moving closer to my nomadic lifestyle I think this is one of the decisions that will work well with being on the road.

What are your thoughts and best practices regarding your monthly?
Are you still a commercial pad or tampon user?
What are your thoughts on home/handmade/cloth pads, cups & sea sponges?
Are you currently using them on the road?  What are your pros, cons & tips.
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SondraRose (11-29-2017)
I am now going through Menopause, so no more need of these products.  

When I was menstruating, I used a MoonCup (Was living in the UK at the time).  It worked well for me, once I got used to it.  I imagine that’s using a menstrual cup on the road would be no big deal, but I would make sure to have some fragrance-free wet wipes or similar at hand, since the cups can be more messy to deal with.

Oh, and I tried sea sponges for awhile, but the ones I used (natural makeup sponges are cheap) did not hold enough fluid and leaked.
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I'd experimented with cloth feminine pads several years ago, long before the nomad thing. I think I gave up on them pretty quickly back then because changing out my pad at work or somewhere else away from home was inconvenient and messy, and I was rarely prepared for it - in the privacy of home, it was a different story, although even then, I sometimes worried about my male partner's reaction when I rinsed them out and left them to hang dry in the bathroom - he never said anything to suggest he was put off, but, I was still self-conscious (ugh, glad I'm finally breaking free from misogynist social conditioning).

I can't speak to the cups or sponges since I've not tried them, but now that my situation is different and I don't worry about the same things anymore, the cloth pads are great. The ones I use are handmade with organic cotton and bamboo cloth - I bought them from a maker on Etsy. Since the bamboo cloth is anti-microbial, I'm comfortable stashing them in a small separate cloth bag straightaway, without rinsing, and then a brief presoak on laundry day before they go in with the rest of the wash is all that's needed.
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I've used menstral cups for about four years now and converted most of my friends as well. (I use cloth pads too, as a backup for leaks). They're amazing.

Going into nomadic life I think a cup would make life somewhat easier storage wise and waste wise but I would recommend experimenting with them on your lighter days and before you hit the road. Changing them for the first time can be a mess and it can take some practice to get them to open properly. You might be in the washroom screaming internally because you've had to pull the cup in and out and it's still not opening. That's common.

I recommend wipes if you can't wash it at a sink each time.

A couple of my friends disinfect theirs at the end of their cycle with alcohol or peroxide, and then another one uses denture tablets, all instead of boiling. Really have to make sure the material can handle that: most cups are silicone or latex, and then a company called Meluna uses a different material (I forget the name) that might be unique to them.

There is a joke some people make about 'the morning flood' where the cup filled completely overnight. So depending on your cycle's heaviness or your bathroom set up you might want to seriously consider using pads as back up. Especially if your bathroom plan is 100% dependance on public restrooms and you have to drive, put on clothes, leak all over the clothes, regret life with a period. XD

The positive about the cup is during your period it is literally always there with you. Aways bring another thing with you though... people have dropped them in the toilet by mistake and been stuck.

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Cammalu (12-01-2017)
Hi there!  I've been using a cup for the last year and I LOVE it!  I originally decided to try it out when I went backpacking and knew my moon cycle would start in the middle of the trip.  I wasn't a fan of the idea of packing out used tampons so I got a cheap cup ($13) on amazon and was hooked once I tried it.  I found the youtube "Period Stuff" playlist by ItsJustKelli  on natural menstrual products to be quite helpful when I was in my research phase.
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