To be honest I personally don’t like the idea of sea sponges as a menstrual alternative….. while I prefer natural things over synthetic things, I’m not sure if I’m comfortable with the idea… for a few reasons…
- Harvesting of sponges (which were once living creatures) for what is actually a disposable product (albeit one that is reused several times before being disposed of). Yes, I realise cotton and hemp were once living plants too, but its somehow different…. plus cloth pads last longer than a sponge will…..so I find it wasteful….and even though Sea Pearls claim to be a renewable farming company, others might not be and I still don’t like the idea. Anyway, that’s an ethical thing that some people don’t care about, and that’s fine.
- Possibility of sand, particles or chemicals from pollution in the sponges not being able to wash out well enough
- Needing to sterilise it well enough between use (Although I’m happy with just soap and water on my cup, I feel a sponge is more porous and might pose more risk), so more cleaning effort involved.
- May have more TSS risk than menstrual cups
- A cup is less likely to leak, as the sponge can be squeezed through vaginal contractions
- I would worry about being able to easily find it again.. that it would work its way up higher than I could easily reach. I know it’s not possible for it to get lost, but as I have a high cervix and short fingers, this is a concern for me as sometimes even cups can be hard to reach.
- The first time I used it, it stained, which puts me off.
But anyway… I gave one a test go, for science!
I bought mine on ebay, from an Australian seller who sold art supplies. It was squashed flat to ship for cheaper, and I wet it and it bounced into its round shape. I decided not to trim it and see how that shape went as it was. I noticed a few black specks in the sponge, so I had to try and get those out…. I was a bit paranoid about making sure it was clean, then boiled it for about 3 mins. Fished it out and cooled it off with cold boiled water from the kettle, then went off to give it a test run. It shrank almost all away while in the water, so I thought I’d ruined it, but as it cooled down it expanded again.
It was easy to insert – more so that the cup… just squeeze it and stuff it in :) I opted for a “not too far in” distance as I was concerned about not being able to reach it again. (I do think the mesh bag idea for being able to retrieve them again would be good!) Very comfortable, couldn’t feel it in there at all. So that was good. I used it on a light day, as I didn’t trust it on a heavy day, so I can’t comment on how absorbent it was. But when I checked it about an hour later it had absorbed a small amount of blood and hadn’t leaked.
It did stain, and that did bother me. Although I suppose you could remove the stains. I can see the advantage is that its easier to insert than a cup or tampon and you can’t feel it at all while its in (normally with the cup I can *just* feel it if I concentrate). It is also more comfortable to remove than a tampon or cup. However there is more washing than a cup needs, it has more potential to leak and is harder to remove. So for me I prefer cups.