Some women use small sea sponges (not the cellulose kind used in thekitchen) as all natural tampons. You just wet a sponge under the faucet,squeeze it out and push it in as deep as you can with one finger. Rememberto aim toward the small of your back.. You pull it out with your fingersas well, and rinse it out in the sink and reuse it. A sponge should bethrown away as soon as it starts to look ratty. If they start to smellfunny, they can be rinsed with a little vinegar in water.
Sea sponges cannot be sold as "menstrual sponges" becausethey are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for thatuse, but most health food stores sell them as "cosmetic sponges".Look for small, yellowish natural sponges which are about 2 inches long.
Some women find them more comfortable than tampons. One problem withtampons is that they can cause dryness and irritation by being too absorbant.The sea sponges are more gentle.
They are not bleached like tampons. They are used multiple times, whichcuts down on waste.
They are not as convenient as tampons: you have to rinse them out (whichcan be tough in a public restroom), and maybe carry a used one around ifyou are away from home.
They require that you be comfortable with your body because you haveto stick your fingers in your vagina to get the sponge in and out. Theymight take some practice to use.
Toxic Shock Sydrome. Almost no research has been done on sponges usedfor menstruation, but when you put anything inside you for a while youshould be concerned about TSS. Since they are not made of synthetic materials,and do not have a string, we might guess that they would be safer thana tampon.
They come out of the ocean, and the ocean is polluted, and we don'tknow how that pollution affects the sponges and how that might affect yourbody. Sponges from Florida and the Caribbean might be grown in less pollutedwater than sponges from the Mediterranean.