I haven't been having my period for a while, but I've been reading a lot about the advantages and disadvantages of various kinds of menstrual paraphernalia...When I start bleeding again (assuming it does happen someday), I don't think I'll be using tampons anymore. I've known for a long time about the dangers of dioxins (the chemicals that are a byproduct of the bleaching process used on most tampons...what the hell is the point, by the way, of bleaching something that's just going to be put up someone's vagina and saturated with blood anyway? Oh, yeah, I almost forgot--dioxins are uber-carcinogenic, too) and the stupidity of giving 6 or 7 dollars a month to an industry run by men who don't give two craps about me and my body. That's 91 dollars a year; all the women in my house, together, spend over a thousand dollars a year on tampons. This crap needs to stop. So...I suggest:
1. Reusable menstrual cups, like the Diva Cup (www.divacup.com) or the Keeper (www.keeper.com). Both are made by women, for women--hooray--pay for their slightly higher costs in just a few months, are reusable, and don't have the potential to cause toxic shock syndrome or, y'know, cancer of your lady parts.
2. Using reusable menstrual pads. Y'know how you say someone's "on the rag?" Guess where that came from? You got it--back in the day women used to bleed onto cloths, which they'd then wash and reuse the next day or the next month. You can buy them from LunaPads (www.lunapads.com) or you can make your own! Use pretty fabric to make you feel good when you're bleeding and bloated. Here are some patterns:
3. Last, but not least, you can use sea sponges. I hear what you're saying, but it's really not as skooshy as you'd think...the only thing you have to keep in mind is that you need to keep these extra super clean. When they're full, take them out, ring them out, and wash them using soap and water. At the end and beginning of your cycle, boil 'em. They'll be good for a few months.