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Have you used 'soft tampons'?

I've come across 3 brands: Beppy, Gynotex (both from Netherlands) & Joy Division (from Germany). I've used sea sponge tampons & LOVE them. They are more comfortable than cups for me, especially the first day, but they are challenging to manage away from home on the first few days. They also have more maintenance than cups & I have to be diligent about washing well & fully drying. I don't regularly sanitize or sterilize my cups, but with the sponges I feel the need to keep them super clean.

The soft sponge tampons are not easily available in the US (probably not FDA approved & super high shipping costs from Europe) and they seem to be rather expensive at around $2 per sponge, which is used just like a tampon (for up to 8 hours safely) and then thrown away as they are not intended to be washed out and reused. It seems that they are marketed as a 'special use' tampon for swimming & sauna since they have no string, and particularly as a clean period sex tool. They come in a pack of 4, unlike fiber tampons standard box of 20ish, so it doesn't seem like they are intended to get you through a whole cycle.

I know most of the world has a different relationship with tampons than the US; I've heard that applicator tampons can be hard to find in Europe (makes sense, it's double the trash!) yet they are the standard in the US. Also, I've gotten the impression that stateside it's common for people to wear tampons exclusively throughout their period, but it seems that many Europeans wear pads at night to take a break from the 'pons; I remember my mother recommending pads at night to reduce TSS risk.

So, I'm wondering if anyone has experience using soft tampons; Did you like it? Was it worth the cost? Anything you didn't like? Do you know of some way to get some that won't cost $5+ per sponge?
Diana: Me: Clowndiana_molloy on April 9th, 2016 11:06 pm (UTC)
Etsy have crochet and sewn tampons, why not use them? But a pack of 10 or something and just wash them in the machine
mossmorton on April 10th, 2016 04:28 pm (UTC)
I'd probably just make some myself, but I don't feel like I would find them very comfortable; the dry fabric would be too much like a fiber tampon, and I cringe thinking about getting them out.

The nice thing about sea sponges is that you first wet them with warm water & then they are so soft & squish down and conform to you, so it's not a firm wad of fiber/fabric, but they still absorb a lot. Tampons never worked for me, most everything just went around them (I have a lower dangly cervix) & while I'm sure fabric/knit/crochet would be better than disposables the idea of inserting and removing a wad of fabric just doesn't sound nice.

Plus, if I am not home I can rinse out the sponge and put it back in, but it seems like a fabric tampon would be more difficult to clean out & then get dry enough to absorb again.
..::bella vita::..por_que_no on April 10th, 2016 12:22 am (UTC)
Interesting, but is the only difference between this and a sea sponge tampon the fact that these are synthetic (not actual sponge animals)?

They look like a good option if your cervix is SO low that cups won't go or stay in. But they'd be quite a problem if your cervix is high enough to go out of reach. I don't think I'd be able to remove one of these on most days.
mossmorton on April 10th, 2016 04:51 pm (UTC)
I think so, some kind of synthetic sponge material? I wish I could find exactly what they are made of... Maybe they have a greater absorption & finer pore structure than natural sponges?

I wonder if you could reuse one for a whole day, rinsing it out really thoroughly when it's full, but obviously this would be higher risk for bacterial growth.

I was hoping this post would get a response from someone who has/does live/visit Europe and has experience with them since I don't think I'll invest $20 to try a 4pack from ebay anytime soon. Wish I had found out about them last summer, I knew someone who was in Germany!

I have had to fish a sea sponge out of the depths of my vagina, since it got pushed up in there... it was tricky to say the least, but I never thought I couldn't get it, so I can't imagine it for someone who can have issues getting a 2-3in long cup out! However, I have found with sea sponges that they tend to stay where you put them as an object with stay at rest unless acted upon by an outside force :)
bklynmom on April 13th, 2016 12:38 am (UTC)
Amazon sells gynotex for as cheap as six for 10.88. Femininewear sells them for more but less than you seem to have found. My thought is that they might not hold that much, but it's not too much of an investment to try it out. Let us know,