Frequently Asked Questions
How do I decide size and density when choosing sponges?
It takes a little while to figure out the best fit, but we usually recommend a first kit with a small and medium size in regular density. If either are too big, you can always trim them with clean scissors. Just start from the edges and trim until the size seems right. A sign your sponge may be too big is if you need to remove it to go pee. That is not supposed to happen. It may be too small if you it is filling really fast. If both are too small, you can use two sponges at the same time on heavy days. This chart can be used as a guide.
What if the sponge gets stuck?
Unfortunately, commercial products have conditioned most bleeding people to become very detached from our bodies. Many of us are afraid of blood and contact with our bodies. Applicators and strings allow for distance. If you want to get down with sponges, you'll learn your body. And that is a good thing!
Many people are afraid the sponge will get stuck, but there is nowhere for it to go. It is important to position the sponge high/back enough to actually collect the blood properly. When full, the sponge can "drop", making it easier to remove. If you run into any issues, it most likely will be when you are trying to remove it before it has collected blood (on light days). It's important to remember that it will come out eventually, and panicking will not help that happen. Breathe, relax, push.
Depending on the sponge and the body it's in, sometimes it can take a little work to get it out (rarely but sometimes). Ways we've found to work around the "stuck" issue....
You can request sponges that are long and skinny instead of round/circular, so they are more like a tampon.
You can sew in some unflavored dental floss to use to get it out until you feel comfortable with it.
What about public restrooms?
Similar to the cup, you can bring a water bottle into the bathroom and rinse your sponge over the toilet. This, of course, takes a little planning and may not allow that warm-water rinsing that can feel great. It's usually easy to find private stalls out in public, and if you can’t, we have found that even when there is a bathroom full of people, they are usually focused on themselves. We’ve discretely brought the sponge to the sink and rinsed it. And worst case scenario, you end up telling a stranger about sponges. No public restroom’s sign “Don’t flush tampons and sanitary napkins” will ever have to apply to you, hoorah!
What If I Have An IUD?
We have lots of folks with IUD's who use sponges and so far, so good. If you are worried about cleanliness- sponges are actually anti-microbial by nature. A lot of people think they harbor bacteria like a synthetic dish sponge, but sea sponges are really incredible at naturally resisting bacteria. Check out some news articles about how their chemical compounds are being studied to combat cancer.
The main concern we hear about IUD's and sponges is the possibility of a sponge getting connected or caught with the IUD. This hasn't been an issue for anyone we know though we would just advise to use carefully and trust your body's messages. Consult with your trusted healthcare provider to be extra safe.
What Are Sponges?
Sea sponges are one of the oldest living organisms in the earth, inhabiting the planet for last 500 million years. Although sea sponges are classified as animals, they do not have brains, a nervous, digestive, or circulatory system.
The sea sponge is a renewable natural resource- Natural Sea Sponges possess remarkable powers of regeneration, they have the ability to re-grow lost parts and pieces broken off by water currents, and have the ability to settle in another location and re-grow into a clone of the parent sponge.
If not harvested, sea sponges have a definitive life span of approximately 10 years, harvesting allows for re-generation and extended life. Sponges are antimicrobial and antibacterial. They filter water and only have one predator- the sea turtle.
Sponges move in sync with the tides, which are determined by the push and pull of the moon. Our coastal ancestors used sponges for many purposes, and we are carrying on with this mutually beneficial relationship with sponges.
Do sponges leak?
Yes, sponges can leak. It really depends on the body and the sponge and the fit. One of the things we LOVE about sponges is how they form to the unique shape of each body they are in. Sponges expand and contract with our muscles. Sooo, if the sponge is near-full, and you let out a rip-roaring laugh or sneeze, you may also let out something else.
It was for this reason that we began making our indigo-dyed cloth liners. They are a comfortable (and beautiful) backup to the sponge in case you find yourself with some leaking. With that said, some people report no leaking ever. With the more dense sponges, you probably won't leak. If you are planning on heading to a strenuous yoga class, you may want to make sure your sponge is freshly rinsed and you have a backup liner on.