Menstrual sponges: what they are and how they are used

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Menstruation is a natural process in which the woman expels monthly eggs that have not been fertilized through the vagina. Among its most common symptoms are pain in the lower belly, abdominal swelling, tenderness in the chest and menstrual bleeding (also popularly known as a period). For this last symptom, we find different methods so that our underwear does not end up staining with blood such as compresses, tampons or menstrual cups, among others. However, have you ever heard of menstrual sponges?

Menstrual sponges what they are and how they are used

In we want you to know all the methods so that during the menstrual period you feel as comfortable as possible. Therefore, in the following article we will explain everything about menstrual sponges: what they are and how they are used.

What are menstrual sponges

menstrual sponge, also known as a vaginal sponge, is one of the alternatives to compresses and tampons, that is, another way to collect the bleeding that occurs during menstruation. This menstrual flow collection system works very similarly to other methods such as the tampon, as it is inserted into the vagina in the same way and has an almost identical duration (approximately 6-8 hours). But the vaginal sponge is a product that is characterized by being more flexible than the previous one, since it adapts perfectly to the vaginal walls, which gives more comfort to the woman during this period that can be so annoying. If you normally feel discomfort during your period, we recommend reading this other article on How to feel comfortable with your period.

There are two main models of menstrual sponges: natural or marine and synthetic. However, it is important that we distinguish these types of sponges with another that has nothing to do with it and that is often confused with this method of fluid collection: the contraceptive sponge. This other product is not used to absorb menstrual bleeding, but is a contraceptive method based on the use of spermicides to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.

How menstrual sponges are used

It is normal that before using a product that you have barely heard of; you think that its use can be difficult or somewhat complicated. However, the vaginal sponge is a fairly easy method to use. You'll just need a little practice to get used to using it. In fact, below we will give you a series of tips on how menstrual sponges are used:

  • To introduce it into the vagina you will first have to moisten the sponge well and drain it to remove excess moisture. Then fold it on itself so that it fits well through the entrance of the vagina and insert it with your fingers to the bottom, as if it were a tampon.
  • Removing it can be a more complicated task than getting it into the vagina. If it is the first time you use this product, it is convenient that you use its grip system, which is a hole that the sponge has in the lower part, to be able to remove it more easily.
  • Another trick to extract it in a simple way is to bend down until you squat with your legs apart. In this position, insert your fingers a little until you find the grip of the sponge, which is a hole in it, and then pull it until you take it out of the inside of the vagina.
  • If the above tricks do not work, the most advisable thing to remove the sponge is to get into the shower and wet the entrance of the vagina. In this way, the sponge will swell and be closer to the vaginal entrance being able to grab it more easily.
  • Finally, discard the sponge in the case that it is synthetic or, in the case that it is a natural sponge, follow the instructions indicated on the container to wash it and thus be able to reuse it whenever you want.

Advantages and disadvantages of menstrual sponges

Now that you know what menstrual sponges are and how they are used, below we will explain about the advantages and disadvantages, both natural and synthetic so that you have all the possible information before acquiring them:

Advantages of the natural menstrual sponge

  • As it is a natural marine sponge, it is a 100% ecological and reusable product.
  • These types of models can be trimmed to the taste of each woman, so that it best suits the needs of her body.
  • More than one can be combined depending on the amount of vaginal bleeding. That is, we can use a larger one the first days of the period and a shorter one in the rest.
  • Its shelf life is approximately 6 months.

Disadvantages of the natural sponge

  • They have a slightly rougher texture, so their introduction can be somewhat annoying, but if they get wet well there is really no problem.
  • They do not have a grip system for easier extraction.
  • They are more complicated to acquire in pharmacies.
  • Its cleaning does not guarantee that the product is absolutely disinfected, so they could alter the natural pH of the vagina and consequently, cause some infection.
  • Its use is not recommended during sexual intercourse as it complicates washing.

Advantages of synthetic menstrual sponge

  • They have a grip system that facilitates the extraction of this method.
  • They usually have envelopes with lubricant so that their introduction into the vagina is less annoying.
  • They are easier to acquire both in pharmacies and in other establishments.
  • Being disposable, its use is compatible with sexual intercourse.

Disadvantages of synthetic sponge

  • They are not biodegradable or ecological. They are also not reusable, so they are not as economical as the previous ones.
  • They usually come with a unique size, so they cannot be combined during menstruation days.

How to clean menstrual sponges and dry them

Another of the most common doubts is how to clean the menstrual sponge and dry it after each use and to store it until the next mesntruation. For this, it is not advisable to use soap or detergents that can alter the vaginal pH and facilitate the appearance of infections. The best thing is that when it is being used during the period, simply rinse, when necessary, only with water until it is left as clean as possible, the excess of it is removed to the maximum and it is put back.

Once the days of menstruation are over, yes you have to clean it more deeply to store it until the next use. Just follow these steps:

  1. Let it soak for several hours, for example at night, in a container or in the sink with water and a tablespoon of vinegar or a tablespoon of baking soda.
  2. After this time, rinse it with plenty of water, as many times as necessary until you see that it is as clean as possible.
  3. Drain it and let it air dry. To make this easier, you can pass a fine thread, with the help of a needle, and make it a knot to hang the sponge and dry more quickly.
  4. When dry, store the sponge in a suitable bag, such as a cotton one. Some of them already come with the bag when you buy them.

Also, keep in mind that it is recommended to change menstrual sponges, whether synthetic or menstrual sea sponges, every 6 months at most. It is advisable to do it before if you notice that it begins to get rid of, releasing dust, and in case of stopping using it you have to throw it into the organic garbage if it is natural.

Where to buy menstrual sponges

If you dare to try this alternative to pads and tampons you will be interested to know where you can find it. To buy menstrual sponges go to:

  • Pharmacies
  • Specialized online stores
  • Supermarkets

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