The Shag Shop is McGill's online safer sex & health boutique and a resource for sexual health information. Order here.
For questions about sexual health, where to get STI testing, or contraceptive options, please don't hesitate to shagshop.stuserv [at] mcgill.ca (email,) call 514-398-2087 or facebook us and a Peer Health Educator will be glad to answer you.
The DivaCup is a top grade silicone menstrual cup. An environmentally friendly alternative to pads and tampons, the DivaCup is also an economical solution since it is reusable. The DivaCup provides reliable protection without leaks, and there is no latex, rubber, plastic, or BPA in this menstrual cup.
The Shag Shop carries Diva cups in two sizes:
This is DivaCup's partner in crime: a botanically-enriched concentrated cleanser for the face, body and more importantly, the DivaCup! Made of a mild, pH balanced solution, this wash is ideal for sensitive skin and is 100% plant-based. No animal testing or animal ingredients, parabens, sulfates or petrochemicals have been used or included.
LunaPads (washable menstrual pads)
These super comfortable, reusable pads are available now in the Shag Shop! You simply put an 'insert' (small liner) inside the pocket of the reusable pad (or a few liners if you are having a 'heavy' day), choosing cotton, hemp or towelling inserts. The pads have wings and fasten with velcro so they are very secure. Made with organic and fair-trade cotton.
Natracare Organic Cotton Pads and Pantyliners
Natracare Organic cotton and chemical-free pads are high quality products made from only pure and natural materials that are not bleached with chlorine and are free of plastics and other synthetic materials (like perfume) that have a negative impact on our environment.
Natracare Organic Cotton Tampons
Natracare tampons are all made from only certified organic 100% cotton and were the world's first fully certified organic cotton tampons. They are non-chlorine bleached and do not contain synthetic materials, such as rayon, or chemical additives such as binders or surfactants.
What are alternative menstrual products?
Alternative menstrual products are designed to offer you a wider variety of options for your period. Some include:
- Non-chlorine bleached all-cotton (organic) pads and tampons
- Reusable, washable cloth pads
- Sea sponges
- Menstrual cups
These products are chosen for many different reasons (health, environmental, economic, social, comfort) and thus it is up to you to decide which one best suits you and your needs.
Most regular tampons are made of a rayon-cotton blend and undergo a chlorine bleaching process to make them white. This brings up two health concerns. First, it is known that rayon contains dioxin, a carcinogen. Dioxin is also a by-product of sprayed pesticides and of pollution from incinerators. While the amount of dioxin is very small and tampon companies are required to monitor their level, results are not available to the public.
Second, highly absorbent viscose rayon provides a hospitable environment for particular bacteria to grow that cause toxic shock syndrome. Sea sponges, menstrual cups, and non-bleached tampons and pads are made of materials that are more friendly to your body. Look up different products to see what each is made of to help make an informed decision.
Many people also prefer these products because of the difference in total cost compared to disposable tampons and pads. For example, the DivaCup is around $40 and can be used for several years. In comparison, disposable tampon and pad users spend $100 on average per year. Re-usable and washable cloth pads are cheaper in the long-run, easy to make and maintain yourself, and can be used for many periods. However, the start-up cost can be prohibitive for some.
An estimated 11-14 billion disposable tampons, applicators and pads contribute to ever-growing landfills in North America per year, not to mention their packages. On top of that, it takes over 500 years for one disposable pad to decompose!
Also, the process of bleaching the pulp that is used in tampons and pads releases dioxins into the environment. Choosing products with a longer lifespan is one way to reduce your support for these harmful practices and their effects.
Alternative menstrual products are also chosen as a means to combat the stigma surrounding periods and the companies that perpetuate such ideas. Some find cloth pads more comfortable or feel more in touch with their body and cycle with the DivaCup or Keeper. Some like the simplicity of having only one or a few products that they can depend on at any time.
Fortunately, access to alternative menstrual products is on the rise, making them a realistic option for more and more people. In recent years, there has been increasing support and popularity for such products, which has helped them enter mainstream markets. There may be an adjustment period to find what works best for you, but the change can be well worth it. Check out a new approach to you period!
Can't find what you are looking for at the Shag Shop?