Every woman has a menstrual cycle. She has it once a month, for around 5 days, for around 40 years of her life! During this time, women need to use a variety of items to stay fresh and clean.
Feminine hygiene products are big business! The Tampon and Pad industry is a $718 Million dollar market, and tampons and pads are essential. This got me thinking about the reasoning behind the creation of these products.
Tampons and menstrual pads are mass-produced, and inexpensively made, out of bleached rayon and plastics. It seems odd that we never see advertisements for much safer options, for example, items made from cotton, or reusable pads or menstrual cups. These options are significantly less harmful and are safer for the environment.
Up until a couple of months ago, I didn’t even realize that there were alternative products, or even imagined that there was any potential danger from using menstrual products.
Most sanitary napkins and tampons are made with bleached rayon, cotton and plastics, so how safe do you think these materials are, to be inside or near your female organs?
These items have the potential to leave fibers in your vagina, which can result in bladder and/or vaginal infections, and possibly Toxic Shock Syndrome. Tampons are also known to retain the fluids and bacteria that the vagina manufactures to stay clean and healthy.
Rayon is the number one ingredient in tampons and sanitary napkins. Rayon is a material that is manufactured using cellulose fibers. Cellulose is a natural fiber, however to manufacture Rayon, certain methodologies are required that include: carbon disulphide, sulfuric acid, chlorine and caustic soda.
Symptoms from too much exposure to Rayon include: vomiting, migraine headaches, chest pain and many others. Rayon is found in tampons and pads, and clothes are also produced from it. Sanitary napkins additionally contain a lot of plastic, which does not permit enough air flow, potentially causing a cluster of diseases.
Tampons and pads are also bleached with chlorine which creates a chemical called dioxin. Dioxin is connected to breast cancer, endometriosis, immune system suppression and many other conditions.
A menstrual cup would be my first option for a tampon/pad choice. It is an adaptable silicone cup that is embedded into the vagina. Basically, this cup catches all the blood. It gets emptied every 12 hours during your period and then you reinsert it. You may find it gross –I thought that too, at first, and I didn’t think I could ever use it.
But that changed as I discovered all the positive impacts that came from using a cup. When properly used, there is no reason that you would ever need to actually touch blood. However, if you do, what’s the harm? Simply wash your hands!
It may take a couple of cycles to get the hang of how to use one of these menstrual cups, yet once you do, you’ll wish you had tried one much sooner.
I suggest that you keep on using pads or liners until you’ve gotten the hang of it, just to be on the safe side. Not only will you save a considerable amount of money by using a cup, but you will be supporting the environment, as well.
If the average woman uses around 17,000 pads or tampons during her lifetime, multiply that by 3.5 billion women on the planet, and you do the math. Another amazing thing about using menstrual cups is that some women have commented that they’ve had less cramping during their period! A few brands of menstrual cups are: “Divacup,” “Mooncup,” “Ladycup” and “Lunette,” among others.
There are also reusable pads on the market, which are made of safe, washable materials.These are available for all different levels of flow. These are perfect for women who don’t like products which have to be inserted. These reusable “pads” are made with safe breathable materials to help keep you leak free! A few brands that are on the market today are: ‘Luna Pads,’ ‘Glad Rags,’ ‘Pleasure Puss’ and you can make your own, too.
There is one final option to generic tampons and pads. They are pads made from organic cotton which don’t contain chemicals, and don’t leave synthetic materials behind.
They can soak up fluids, but are still not the best thing for the environment. But they are considerably more natural and can biodegrade much faster. These go under the name of: “Seventh Generation,” and “Natracare”.
So there you have it! I trust that this article opened up your eyes to the impacts and risks that are connected with using pads and tampons, and made you rethink the items that you are using presently. There are numerous sites that give more information on these items, so explore and find what’s best suited for you and your way of life.