What is a menstrual sponge?

 What is a menstrual sponge?

Many individuals have started to rethink their choices when it comes to feminine hygiene products, seeking solutions that are reusable or sustainable rather than disposable as people become more conscious of the implications their decisions can have on the environment.

Although they are advertised as an environmentally responsible alternative to other goods, are menstrual sea sponges safe?

A genuine living sea sponge or a synthetic one can make up a menstruation sponge. They are reputed to be extremely absorbent and behave much like tampons without thread. It is thus not unexpected that people may have been using them to absorb period blood for thousands of years. Menstrual sponges are advertised as natural and environmentally friendly period products nowadays. However, they are not the most secure kind and need careful thought before usage.

Pros and cons of menstrual sponges


Absorbent. Although it's impossible to determine how absorbent a natural sea sponge is, they expand to hold moisture within.

Reusable. The environment and your pocketbook may benefit from your ability to reuse them for between 6 and 12 months, according to the manufacturers.

Comfortable. Due to its flexibility and softness, the sponge adapts to the contours of your body once inside.


Safety issues. Due to the possibility of toxic shock syndrome (TSS) and other illnesses, they cannot be sold as menstruation products in the United States without specific FDA permission.

A pain to remove. You'll need to stand in the bathtub or over the toilet to stop blood from leaking onto the floor.

Need to be thoroughly cleaned. However, no studies have been done on how to clean them for hygienic usage.

Just suitable for a few hours. Therefore, you'll need a lot of sponges or other cleaning supplies.

Practicality and safety of menstrual sponges

Similar to tampons, menstrual sponges are put into the vagina, where they collect menstrual blood and expand to contain it. However, they lack any sort of applicator for simple insertion or a thread or rim for assistance with removal. They may be cleaned and used again after removal, unlike tampons.

Not at all, says the FDA. Due to a major safety risk, sea sponges marketed as sanitary, hygienic, or menstruation sponges need specific permission. Because when 12 natural sponges were studied in the 1980s, it was discovered that they included things like grit, sand, and germs.

One TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) case and a Potential Sponge Association were both linked to the usage of marine sponges. Other safety issues exist as well. A period sponge, for instance, may not be clean enough to be inserted into the vagina, introducing more bacteria. There are also no specific instructions on how to clean a menstrual sponge. Additionally, when inserted and withdrawn, their natural roughness may leave tiny scratches inside the body, making it simpler for germs and other substances to enter the body.

The potentially fatal disease known as toxic shock syndrome (TSS) has been connected in the past to specific tampon usage. However, studies from 1982 that examined vaginal bacterial floral over the menstrual cycle discovered that menstrual sponges included the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus, a significant contributor to TSS. Although the problem is uncommon in modern culture, using menstruation sponges is not advised due to the danger of TSS.

How to use a menstrual sponge? 

Although using a menstrual sponge is not advised, here are some suggestions to assist you to reduce danger if you do. You can follow these tips for the insertion and removal of the menstrual sponge. 

Wash your hands first.

Insert the menstruation sponge inside. The procedure for inserting a menstruation sponge is the same whether it is natural or artificial.

Next, moisten the sponge with water or a lubricant that contains water. There is no data to back certain manufacturers' recommendations to use essential oils as lubricants, and doing so increases the risk of discomfort.

Squeeze the sponge again to drain any extra liquid.

Get yourself into a comfortable posture by doing one of the following: sitting on the toilet or raising one leg.

Just like you would put a tampon, crumple up the sponge, and insert it into your vagina.

You might need to take out the sponge and trim the edges to improve the fit if you're uncomfortable.

The sponge should be removed after 4 to 8 hours, which is about the same amount of time as a tampon.

You'll probably need another one or another period product to use while it's being cleaned, which takes some time.

And keep in mind that they are transitory. WaterAid recommends a maximum of six months.

A menstrual sponge cannot be removed with a string.

So all you have to do is place two fingers into your vagina while standing over the toilet, shower, or any surface that can be easily cleaned.

Bearing down on your pelvic muscles might be helpful if getting to the sponge is challenging.

Pinch each side when you can feel it and carefully pull it out. There may be blood because the procedure might be nasty.

Taking better care of a menstrual sponge

The cleaning procedure is crucial to lowering the possibility that germs and other infections will linger on the sponge and enter your body. Although you should clean your sponge before using it for the first time, there isn't any data on the best cleaning technique. Advice for beginners is the following: 

Take a cup of warm water, and add one tbsp of vinegar or one tsp of hydrogen peroxide.

In a solution of hydrogen peroxide or apple cider vinegar, soak the sponge for five to ten minutes.

Completely rinse it, wring out any extra water, and hang it to dry in a spotless environment.

While some companies suggest boiling, this is not encouraged since it may cause the sponge to break apart and seriously harm the vagina when reinserted.

Alternatives to a menstrual sponge

The ideal reusable period solution for you will depend on several things, such as how much blood you shed during your period, how often you can change your product, and if you lead an active lifestyle. The best reusable period care product for you will depend on several things, including how busy your lifestyle is, how frequently you'll be changing your product and others.

Menstrual cup. It is a great choice if you're searching for a period device that is both functional and reusable. There are several accessible brands, models, and sizes. Menstrual cups might be a little challenging to learn how to use at first, but with enough experience, they're usually very simple. 

Menstrual discs. These are period products in the form of a disc that may be placed into the vagina and left there for the same amount of time as menstrual cups. They provide much the same purpose as cups but come in a variety of shapes. Additionally, a menstrual disc allows for intercourse, but a cup does not.

Tampon. More environmentally friendly alternatives include organic tampons without an applicator and reusable period pads.

Free bleeding. As an alternative, some people choose free bleeding, which is just choosing to completely forgo period products while menstruating. Some people regularly practice free bleeding, while others might only do it occasionally, such as before going to bed.

Period panties. Also offered are period undergarments. These underwear include absorbent pads that are machine washable and have a large capacity to store a lot of menstrual blood. Period underwear users may go about their daily activities and then just take the underwear off and wash it at the end of the day.

Although some companies are presently promoting sea sponges as a secure substitute for conventional period hygiene items, you should be aware that neither medical experts nor regulatory bodies support menstrual sea sponges. Menstrual sponges may be more environmentally friendly than other period products, but managing your period with them is not advised. Companies are not permitted to promote them as menstruation products without FDA permission due to serious safety concerns. Menstrual sponges are now being marketed as cosmetics rather than personal hygiene items, indicating that their intended usage has not been authorized. The usage of menstruation sea sponges has raised concerns among medical specialists.

Other options, like the menstrual cup or reusable menstrual pads, are preferable if you wish to convert to a reusable, environmentally friendly period solution. These goods are secure for you and safe for the environment.

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