Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Product review: Jade & Pearl Sea Sponge Tampons

To start out this review ( just to warn you this is my first) I am going to let you know how I came across this company and their product.This is going to be a bit long I think :) Also there might be TMI moments.I will warn you ahead of time on those.

Ok here we go....

Like I said in another post I was looking for natural/eco friendly alternatives to feminine products.I had already used cloth pads but I was looking for something that might be a bit more leak proof, discreet when wearing and a way for me to collect my moon flow.To be honest I am not sure how I 1st came across the Jade & Pearl web site, probably google although I'm not sure what I was looking for.I had no idea what a sea sponge tampon even was, so it was pure luck.And I do indeed feel lucky to have found them.I emailed them and got a reply from them within hours! They were so helpful and open to work with me that I could not believe it.Their customer service is amazing and they are personable and answered any questions I had.
I got the product in the mail within days.The kit I got had 2 sponges and a cloth bag to store them in.I also got a few brochures.Their items are printed on recycled paper using soy ink and packaged in biodegradable cellophane.How sweet is that?!? The brochures were very informative and the directions could not have been any clearer, it was all pretty straight forward stuff.How to clean it, insert and remove ( which I was the most nervous about) and how to store it.I could not wait till my next moon cycle to try it all out! I was able to fight my excitement and wait a few days to open the packaging so I could take pics and all.Now I will admit that at this point I was NERVOUS.I felt the sponges and they were hard.I looked at it and thought there is no way....... But I'm a trooper and I was going to try it out no matter what.But before I get to the review and let you know how it worked for me I will give you some info about sea sponges.

Sea sponges have the ability to regenerate from even the tiniest fragments, and as it is harvested millions of eggs and sperm cells are released into the surrounding water.Making sea sponges a renewable resource that provides a ecologically sound product for menstrual use.Women through out the ages have used rags,sponges, grass,cattail,moss,seaweed and other absorbent materials to collect their menses.
Think of this, the average woman uses nearly 17,000 disposable pads and tampons throughout their menstrual years.In North America alone an estimated 20 BILLION bleached pads and tampons end up in the landfills and sewage systems each year!! And that does not even take into account the applicators and packaging that goes along with these products.
There are many risks with conventional tampons besides the dreaded TSS ( Toxic shock syndrome).One hazard with conventional tampons is Dioxin, a by-product of the tampon fiber bleaching process.Risks associated diseases related to Dioxin exposure and synthetic fibers are endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease to name a few.
I have had issues with wearing tampons for many years.I was nervous to try these to be honest because of my past tampon use.So like I said after I opened the package and felt them I was even more apprehensive.But I took a deep breath and got them ready for their first bath.The minute they hit the water they turned so soft I was amazed.I could not believe the change just a bit of moisture made and then I realized that inserting these things would be a breeze and I was almost certain that I would have zero issues with them.I chose the baking soda wash to clean them, since I know that baking soda is a softener.All the other ways to wash them are all natural too which I just love.I rinsed them and squeezed all of the water out and got one ready to insert.(Now you can wear more than one if you have extra heavy flows,they also have a teen size which I thought was nifty.)Ok so I sat there, took a deep breath and popped it in.No resistance, it forms to your own personal shape and curve so it fits where it needs to.I sat there.And I sat there a bit longer.To be honest I was a bit nervous to stand up and have the thing fall out.It was a irrational thought I knew but I was still nervous.Finally I got up, nothing.I wiggled, nothing.I bounced, nothing.I squatted, nothing.
TMI alert.... I was worried about the mess involved with manually inserting the sponge.But with the sponge being moist when you insert it kinda clears a path for you and there was extremely little mess.No more so that with any other product.
I wore it for 3 hours before I took it out.I wore a cloth pad with it since I was nervous of leaks.Again I was nervous for nothing.
I will say this, I felt it inside me.Now I had not worn a tampon in almost 16 yrs.I remember that last time I wore one and it was agony.This was nothing even near that.All that I felt was a slight fullness.Not even what I would call pressure.I just knew it was there.I honestly was amazed at the comfort of it.But like I said it was so very soft when I wet it that I knew it would form to my shape.There is no way tampons could ever do that or come close.
Removal of the sea sponge brought on more unnecessary anxiety.Does anyone know what its like to remove a tampon that's dry? Its horrid.I didn't know how absorbent the sponges would be so I had that in the back of my mind.I was also scared of ripping it.I felt for it, pinched it gently and it slipped right out.I gave it a look over and realized that I could have flowed 3xs the amount I did and still been in the clear.Those little things sure can hold a lot.At this point you could rinse and reinsert.I rinsed it out.....ok I harvest it, if anyone wants to know how that went just ask and I will fill you in.So anyway,after I harvested what I could I rinsed.It rinsed out SUPER fast and easy.I'm used to having to squeeze and flush out my cloth pads but this was much easier.I squeezed it under the water a few times then the water ran clear.That was it.From beginning to end ( if you take out my neurotics) the experience was a smooth, comfortable and earthy experience.I knew the whole time that I had nature/sea sponges in me, at one point I made myself giggle cause in my head I was singing ♪♫♪♫♪'Shes got the whole ocean, in her womb'♪♫♪♫♪ to the tune 'Hes got the whole world in his hands' LOL
I happen to love this product and will use it again.The sponges have to be replaced every few months but the price is ridiculously low so it shouldn't be a issue for anyone.Check out Jade & Pearl, they have moon time kits for girls just starting out, lunar calendars and cyclebeads to chart your cycle,cloth paniliners,and other all natural items.You can tell they take pride in their wares and the have a respect for the environment.Its a quality company.
If anyone has any questions at all please just ask either here or contact me ( from my profile page).Don't be scared to ask a personal question if its something you want to know.I had a hard time not adding tons of TMI here, so believe me when I tell you I have no problem discussing anything.

Ok people, let the Sponge Bob Square Pants jokes begin :P


KrisMrsBBradley said...

My worry with products like this is always what do you do with it when you need to take it out in a public bathroom?

I really do believe in the naturalness of menses and all, but I still do not want to be rinsing something like that in a public sink, lol!

Anyone have suggestions on how to handle that?

Crazy Squirrel Lady said...

Some women bring a bottle of water in with them to flush the sponge out and then just reinsert it.
Some women get two set and they just carry new ones with them and put the full one in a zip lock bag till they get home to rinse out there.
I will probably bring a water bottle in with me then rinse and reinsert it.They flush out really easily.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Your review almost makes me want to have my period back again so I can try these sponges. ALMOST. Yay, menopause!

Anonymous said...

Now those are interesting! I wish I'd found those when I still had a use for them. Excellent review! I hope more women try those.

Unknown said...

Love the review! I will definitely have to try this product.

Meganne said...

I guess anything tampon-related just isn't for me. But if I was going to suck it up and try something like it again, I'd probably give these a shot. Your review was intriguing. :)

Crazy Squirrel Lady said...

Thanks alot for all the feedback and too all of you for reading the review.I appreciate it :)

These things are so cool.They get two thumbs up from this non-tampon using woman lol

Hilary said...

These look great. I'm definitely going to try them. They will help save the earth and save money at the same time. I went to their site and noticed that they also have all natural bug spray which is what I have been looking for forever!
Thanks for posting this!

Bridgett said...

This doesn't sound bad at all!
I'm very interested in tryinig these.

But I had to giggle about the Spongebob line. :)

Thanks for the great review!


Anonymous said...

you can thread a piece of dental floss through it as well to make it easier to remove, just tug gently so you dont tear it and ruin the sponge!

Hyla said...

WoW! Look at all your replys!!! Awesome woman!

Crazy Squirrel Lady said...

I had heard about the dental floss but to be honest I dont think I will need it.It was a smooth removal.Thanks for pointing it out though because some women might want that option.I might go back and add it to the review, thanks!

Thanks Hyla :D

Unknown said...

Hmmmm. I may have to give this a try!

Skye said...

Another thing I might try suggesting are the Diva/Moon cups. I've never tried them, but they're reusable. They don't work like a tampon in that they collect rather than absorb so there is no rise for TSS like there is with tampons and even sea sponges.

A less eco-friendly alternative would be instead (, which I've personally used. It takes some getting used to, but it can stay in approx 12 hrs (twice as long as you would use a tampon) and no risk of TSS.

Thanks for sharing the info on the sea sponges, I was wondering about those, too.


Phoebe said...

Interesting but I am so happy with my menstrual cup that I don't swap it for anything else.

Anonymous said...

I just got through buying a Lunette Selene cup which I'm eager to try. I actually found it through the Jade and Pearl site. While I'm not fond of their selling homeopathic medicine, I do like the idea of using something natural, reusable and biodegradable as a tampon. It's very primal and very human.
I would probably suggest Anonymous' idea for adding a piece of string to pull it out for women who have ahem, longer canals.
Another thing I personally like is the sponge's ability to naturally form to your body shape. It's something that needs to happen with the menstrual cups, but that will only happen if they become more popular.

I just hate the idea that so many women have no problem with using disposable menstrual products. If everyone used reusable, the public bathroom's wouldn't be such a nightmare to go into. Even if they aren't into being "earth friendly", it's just good housekeeping! I mean really ladies!

SnailPacer192843 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Krickie said...

I found this product a few years ago and I love it also. Besides the fact that they are ecofriendly and cost effective, I agree that they are extremely easy to insert, take out, and clean, and also very comfortable. I used to have such issues with tampons: cramps, rashes, itching, burning, just miserable. These don't bother me in the slightest and I'm just so much more comfortable.
I can even have intercourse during my periods when I am using them (something my husband was always a bit squeamish about before) because they are so unobtrusive and there is no mess.
Love it :)

Kvgum said...

Squirrel Lady, What do you mean you "harvested it?" and is there any way they can dry up inside you? I know when a tampon is dry it's a bitch to pull out. The thought of the dry sea sponge being pulled out makes me cringe in pain. You said they are hard when they are dry, right?

Dais said...

I just bought some of these, then did a Google search on how to use them and how to clean them. From there I found your review, which is great! It answers all of my questions, though I still want to know how to clean them. I vowed off of disposable feminine hygiene products several months ago, but have yet to try tampons. Thanks for the info!

Heather said...

I recently purchased the DivaCup and used if for the first time this cycle. It's pretty cool and I'd definitely recommend it. It's pretty easy to remove and insert and it's really not as messy as you might think.

Thanks for the review of sea pearls. I've been thinking about getting some myself.
One other thing I've heard is that some people use them when they get intimate during their cycle and they don't even notice them (or their cycle)

Anonymous said...

I have been considering this option for about 6 months now, and even more seriously since we changed our baby to cloth diapers a few months ago. Thanks for the review. This was helpful to me, as I have been wondering many of the same things you stated feeling apprehensive about at the start of switching to sponges!

Sarah said...

Great review! I'm just curious... what do you mean when you say you "harvested what you could"?

Anonymous said...

I have used conventional tampons and pads (who hasn't?) as well as cloth pads only, diva cups, diva cups with backup cloth, and Instead.

I can't use Instead because of my shape, I can't use a diaphragm either, they just fall out.

I lived my diva cup but can't use anymore (due to the natural effects of my age), they don't stay in reliably.

I like cloth but at this time of my life, my flow is EXTREMELY heavy and cloth pads just aren't practical.

So I am very excited to try these. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Interesting review, when I first heard of sea sponge tampons I felt grossed out but your post is really making me consider it :P I was just curious, what did you mean when you said that you 'harvest' it?

Anonymous said...

by 'harvest' it, i think the author means that she either saved the blood in a jar or emptied it directly into a plant pot.
menstrual blood is incredibly nourishing for plant growth!

also, people save ("harvest") their menstrual blood for a variety of reasons some being art related.

Mike said...

I have been using sea sponges for almost a year. I was looking for an alternative to pads and tampons after many years of using both. I only wish I would have found these sooner in my life. They are very comfortable to wear...I actually use a plastic applicator (that I clean after each use). It has helped me insert the sponges a bit better. I also take little container of water, vinegar and tee tree oil mixture with me when I am out and about, it helps keep my sponges fresh and cleanses them a bit better. These sea sponges are the most comfortable thing I have used for my menses. I love Jade and Pearl too, they are a quality company! Great review of the product as well.

Anonymous said...

I interpreted her comment about "harvesting" to mean that she might have picked out some of the clots first. But who knows.

Thanks so much for the review. I need to be able to have sex during my period so I'm going to see if they can overnight them to me. I found a sea sponge at the store and was going to try that but it was SO hard in the package that I didn't buy it. It's reassuring to know that they soften up nicely when wet.

Anonymous said...

I'm REALLY glad I found this review, even if it was a while ago since it was posted.

I have vaginismus, which is a condition where the pelvic floor muscles shut involuntarily upon insertion. It can happen in various forms, meaning, it can happen with just tampons, just sex, just a finger, or with everything. It can be psychological AND physical.

I have only used a tampon once successfully. I ended up with the worst cramps of my life and I had to take that thing out of my body and it was so painful.

I tried the Jade & Pearl sponges and I am amazed at how easily I learned to insert it, remove it, and have NO LEAKS! I have used disposable pads my entire life. I knew that a person wasn't supposed to feel a tampon, but I never actually imagined that I could insert something and not feel it. The sponges were exactly that--I can't feel them AT ALL. And if I do, I barely notice it, or it's full.

I have found that this is actually helping my condition because not only have I been able to learn about my body more, but I have learned to use the pelvic floor muscles in order to insert and remove the sponge. I really do recommend this for anyone else with vaginismus

I do, however, think they should make a disposable version. Most people don't like the idea of something reusable... they have reusable and disposable cups, right? Well, why not have disposable sponges (or something that is pliable, adjustable and lightweight, like a sponge)? Of course, tampon companies would stomp on the competition like *that* but still, I think there should be a disposable version for those who want the benefits of a sponge but aren't comfortable reusing.

Crazy Squirrel Lady said...

Sorry I have taken so long to reply to some of these comments...I will make a post about what I mean when I say 'harvest' and try to clear it up :) Thanks again for reading!

Anonymous said...

please please tell me where i can get this in ireland tomorro,i need one for saturday night.please please please

MummyLea said...

I have recently just purchased the sea sponge, i am still waiting to receive it but thought i would google the product to get some info. Im glad all that ive read so far is positive :)

One thing i read on a different site was that these sponges are safe to use during sex, not as a contraceptive but as a way of having "clean" none messy sex. Has anyone tried this? My main concerns are the thing falling out or it actually being messy, or uncomfortable for the male. Any feedback or advice would be appreciated :D

BritMcG said...

Thank you for your LONG informative post! I found it extremely helpful! You were the icing on the cake to send me ordering my sponges! Thank you!
I'm curious what harvesting is... I've never heard of that. My email is mcg_fam (at) yahoo. If you have time to let me know.

Anonymous said...

Just tried this for this moon. I was surprised at how little fuss and muss there was. I had 3 kids so I'm guessing it was easier for me to catch an edge of the sponge to grab and remove. No, it won't dry out inside of you, as we are moist and the sponge had been pre-moistenned with water before inserting. I rinsed out every 3-4 hrs during the day for the 1st 3 days of my moon. Then found I could space it out to about 6 hrs or so after that. What a way to be 'in touch' (literally) with my moon. I'm so glad I didn't use tampons and won't from now on.

Anonymous said...

I am very interested in making the switch as I am getting increasingly sensitive in my girly parts by the month, it seems. I was wondering how large they are when dry. I was trying to find a cheaper version of the aforementioned brand after and if I go with the sponge. What would your thoughts be on buying and cutting your own sponge? I have found a place to purchase natural silk sponges for $1.50 for a 2"-3" and $4.00 for a 4"-5". Any opinion would be welcome! Thanks for the great blog :)