It is at all times irritating when one thing that’s actually handy and time-saving finally ends up being actually unhealthy… like plastic water bottles or antibacterial hand sanitizer.
One obtrusive instance of this I’ve been researching currently is standard tampons and pads. I do know, I do know… all the pieces is poisonous today and it generally looks like we’ve to be afraid of all the pieces, however there are some actually compelling causes to keep away from standard female hygiene merchandise.
Luckily, there are some nice time- and money-saving options.
The Problem With Pads
Modern sanitary napkins or “pads” and tampons have undoubtedly made female hygiene simpler and extra handy, however all the pieces comes with a worth.
From an environmental perspective, an amazing quantity of those merchandise find yourself in landfills and water remedy amenities. An common lady will use over 16,000 tampons or pads (up to 300 kilos!) in the midst of her lifetime, generally extra.
Most of those merchandise include plastics, which are problematic in their own right and take a long time to break down. They additionally include particular chemical compounds and substances that make them ready to take up 10x their weight in liquid. These chemical compounds haven’t been comprehensively studied for his or her impact on the surroundings, nonetheless.
I’ve written earlier than concerning the dangers of plastic exposure, and we regularly don’t take into consideration how issues like pads could be a main supply of plastic publicity.
The labia and vaginal space is very vascular, which means that loads of small blood vessels run to this space. The pores and skin can also be particularly skinny down there, making it simpler for plastic chemical compounds to enter the physique that manner. Many pads and a few tampons include plastic chemical compounds and may even include BPA and different plastic chemical compounds. From this article:
For instance, plasticizing chemical compounds like BPA and BPS disrupt embryonic improvement and are linked to coronary heart illness and most cancers. Phthalates — which give paper tampon applicators that clean really feel and end — are recognized to dysregulate gene expression, and DEHP could lead to a number of organ harm. Besides crude oil plastics, standard sanitary pads can even include a myriad of different probably hazardous substances, akin to odor neutralizers and fragrances. Synthetics and plastic additionally limit the free movement of air and may lure warmth and dampness, probably selling the expansion of yeast and micro organism in your vaginal space.
Cotton or Not: Both Can Be a Problem
From watching commercials, you’d assume that each one tampons and pads are made up of totally smooth pillowy cotton from pristine white fields. Unfortunately, this isn’t normally the case.
Some tampons and pads do include cotton, however most include rayon, an artificial materials. There is a few proof that artificial fibers can pull an excessive amount of moisture from the vaginal partitions and stick to the smooth pores and skin there, leaving tiny artificial fibers that will enhance the danger of TSS, Toxic Shock Syndrome.
The tampons and pads which are truly product of cotton are normally bleached with chlorine (problematic on its own) or different chemical compounds.
Additionally, cotton is among the world’s dirtiest crops and is usually sprayed with quite a lot of pesticides. The Rodale Institute stories:
- Cotton is taken into account the world’s dirtiest crop due to its heavy use of pesticides. Aldicarb, cotton’s second best-selling insecticide and most acutely toxic to people and wildlife, remains to be utilized in 25 international locations, together with the U.S., the place 16 states reported it of their groundwater. Worldwide, cotton covers 2.5% of the cultivated land and cotton growers use 16% of the world’s pesticides.
- Eight of the highest 10 pesticides mostly used on U.S. conventionally produced cotton have been categorised as reasonably to extremely hazardous by the World Health Organization. The Environmental Justice Foundation elaborates extra on the world large destructive results of pesticide use in cotton.
- Cotton (83%) is among the prime 4 GMO crops produced on this planet which incorporates soy (89%), canola (75%) and corn (61%). GMO cotton manufacturing ranks ninth in world crop manufacturing.
- On a median, 90 p.c of U.S. cotton in 2010 was genetically engineered, in accordance to a USDA survey. However 95 to 98% of all cotton is now genetically engineered in 9 of the eleven cotton producing states surveyed.
On prime of that, a 2015 study found that 85% of tampons have been contaminated with glyphosate (an herbicide linked to most cancers) and that quantity was 100% when cotton gauze merchandise have been examined!
Not actually what you need being absorbed into your blood stream from one among your physique’s most delicate areas (that additionally occurs to be a part of your reproductive system!).
Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)
When I used to be a teen, I learn the warning labels in my tampon field one time and was scared to use tampons for months. Though uncommon, Toxic Shock Syndrome (or TSS) is a life-threatening an infection that may happen, particularly with tampon use.
Current theories counsel that the Staphylococcus aureus (staph) or group A streptococcus (strep) micro organism trigger the TSS an infection and that sporting a tampon (with its tough floor) at nighttime, heat, and moist surroundings of the vagina can enhance the possibilities of this an infection.
Of course, this isn’t a threat with sanitary napkins, however they’ve their very own dangers and issues (plastics, chemical compounds, artificial fibers, and so forth).
If you do use tampons of any kind, just be sure you are conscious of the signs of TSS and act shortly for those who ever suspect you could have it.
I believe we are going to proceed to discover out increasingly more concerning the significance of avoiding chemical compounds in female hygiene merchandise, however there are some nice choices already out there.
These choices are a win-win. They are made with pure supplies so they’re safer to be used, they usually cut back or get rid of waste and environmental chemical compounds as properly.
Organic/Natural Pads and Tampons
If you need to persist with the comfort of conventional tampons and pads, a minimum of go for pure and/or natural ones. These have change into rather more broadly out there currently and are about the identical worth as common choices in lots of instances. My favourite is Rael brand, that are made with 100% natural cotton cowl.
I’ll admit, it took me a very long time to work up to this feature and now I really feel foolish for taking so lengthy to make the change. To be honest, I used to be so busy having infants that I didn’t have many alternatives to strive them, however now that I’ve… I’m a convert!
A menstrual cup is precisely what it appears like — a reusable soft-sided cup that matches contained in the vagina to gather menstrual movement. It is reusable, leak-proof (in my expertise), and rather more comfy than common tampons. They don’t carry the danger of TSS that tampons do and will be safely worn for up to 24 hours.
Yes, it takes some experimenting to get used to utilizing a menstrual cup, however when you get used to it, it’s so a lot simpler. I get into all the small print (sure, all of them) in this post.
Where to get them:
I used the Diva Cup for years. It comes with two choices: Size 1 for pre-childbirth and Size 2 for post-childbirth (vaginal or c-section) or for girls over 30. Last 12 months, I had to purchase one other menstrual cup once I forgot to carry the Diva cup whereas touring and ended up with the Luna Cup, which I truly choose to the Diva Cup now. Both of those choices are medical-grade silicone and thought of fully secure.
If you’re uncertain concerning the menstrual cup thought, reusable pads are one other nice choice. They are extra comfy than plastic-based pads and have a water-resistant liner so that they don’t leak by onto clothes.
Many work even higher than disposable choices. The solely draw back is that you simply do have to wash them, however I’ve discovered that this can be a minimal inconvenience to keep away from chemical compounds and maintain plastics out of the landfill.
Where to get them:
My favorites are these handmade cloth menstrual pads from a local family-owned business (they will ship them worldwide!)
I normally simply use the Diva cup, however one other nice choice is a sea sponge. I don’t assume I’ve completely gotten the grasp of them, however they do work properly and are straightforward to use just like the Diva Cup. If the menstrual cup is uncomfortable for you, they may be price a shot. I got mine from here.
Do They Work?
I knew I felt higher and beloved the comfort of the pure choices (particularly the Luna cup and fabric pads) however I used to be amazed by a number of the issues individuals mentioned on Facebook once I posted this:
- “I have polycystic ovarian syndrome and my periods have always been unpredictable. I decided to make the switch to cloth pads and I’m so happy that I did. Within just a few months I began to have regular cycles. I used to have heavy bleeding and severe cramps/horrible stabbing pains. I’ve been pain-free and regular for 8 months now. I’ll never go back to chemical-ridden disposable products again.”
- “I switched to natural care products and also use glad rags as liners. Made the switch 2 yrs ago when I was diagnosed with reproductive issues and have never looked back. I feel better too. Firm believer that this affects women more than we realize.”
- “I use the Diva cup, and I suffer from ovarian cysts that rupture every month. Before switching to Diva, I could be using the worlds largest diaper pad and STILL feel the “gush” whereas sitting in the course of the restaurant and have to work out how to save my dignity. The Diva cup has been a lifesaver!! I can exit in public with out fear, AND I can sleep by the evening with out fear.”
- “I don’t have an extremely heavy flow like it sounds you do but my first starting day is my worst day. I’ve been using the diva cup going on two years and I will never go back to pads or tampons. I do have a history or extremely bad cramps (puking, cold sweats, pass out from exhaustion) and ovarian cysts but since using the diva cup my period has cut down from 7-8 days to 3-5 days and my cramps are half of what they used to be. I still get the cramps but I use a heating pad and I can at least function that day…. It took me about 3-4 times using it to feel 100% confident that when I put it in it wasn’t going to leak. I’m sure I’m not the only one that was constantly running to the bathroom to check!”
- “Love, love, love my diva cup! Switched about 3 years ago & only wish I’d known sooner. Went from bleeding through a super plus tampon in 20 mins on my heavy day to just having to empty my diva cup morning and night and only once a day the rest of my cycle.”
- “Flow went from heavy down to probably less than normal? Cycle went from a full 7 days to 3 or 4 days with only 2 being at all heavy. And all but stopped at night. (don’t even need the cup at night) Much less cramps and discomfort in general. I had done a LOT of hormone work the year or so prior to starting to use it, so I’m sure that was part of things, but deff saw some big changes after using it for several months. It takes some getting used to and some trial and error.”
- “Menstrual cups have changed my period! My horrible cramps are a thing of the past!!”
What do you assume? Do you employ pure options to tampons and pads? What has labored greatest for you? Please share with a good friend to assist unfold this vital information!