Happy Women's History Month, as we celebrate all of the amazing, strong, beautiful, and inspiring women around the globe we remember our struggles, our differences, and how we are so unique. These differences come in so many forms wether it's what we put on our body, what we put in our body, how we dress, how we consume, or just how we go about life.
One of those things is menstrual care.
What we are putting into our bodies is just as important as what the products are made out of and how they are made.
Most common and problematic ingredients found in everyday feminine care products:
Tampon and pad manufacturers often use chlorine bleach, which can create a toxin called dioxin. In 1994, the EPA issued a report stating that dioxins cause cancer in animals, and probably cause cancer in people. They also determined that those exposed to high levels of dioxins could result in increased risk of damaged immune systems, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and reduced fertility.
One study even found that 80% of monkeys exposed to dioxins developed endometriosis, a painful disease where uterine tissue is found inside the uterus.
Highly absorbent viscose rayon makes up the majority of tampons along with a little non-organic or conventional cotton. The use of rayon and leaving tampons in for extended periods of time increases the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome.
Cotton is heavily sprayed with many insecticides and pesticides and it is likely that there are still residues on the end-product, which is then inserted into your most intimate part of your body. According to a 2016 Report by the (NASS), herbicides are applied to 92% of planted acres of cotton, other chemicals such as dessicants are applied to 76%, and insecticides are applied to 40%
Check out this video on the differences between conventional vs organic pads on how they break down and the fumes that are released
BPA is found in many types of plastics and is often used in tampon applicators, as well as the lining of the pad and even parts of pads itself. BPA is known to cause hormone imbalance issues, as well as increase your risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension.
"The manufacturing of disposable menstrual hygiene products (an almost $6 billion industry) generates a total carbon footprint of about 15 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, according to the United Nations Environment Program. That's the equivalent of burning about 35 million barrels of oil"
Tampons come wrapped in plastic, encased in plastic applicators, with plastic strings dangling from one end, and many even include a thin layer of plastic in the absorbent part. Pads generally incorporate even more plastic, from the leak-proof base to the synthetics that soak up fluid to the packaging".
Over the course of a lifetime, a single menstruator will use somewhere between 5 and 15 thousand pads and tampons", the vast majority of which will wind up in landfills as plastic waste.
The best option not only for you, but for the planet. It may take a little while to get used to but is so beneficial.
1. It's cheaper. Invest in it once and you can use it for 1-3 years, if not more. You no longer have to spend money every month buying tampons and pads.
2. No risk of toxic shock syndrome.
3. Toxin free! The brands below are BPA free, dioxin-free, latex-free, and more. They are also made of medical-grade silicon.
4. Less changes. It doesn't need to be changed as often as pads or tampons. You can safely go without changing for 8-12 hours depending on your flow.
5. It's unnoticeable. You can't feel it when it's in place, and you don't have to deal with blood everytime you go to the bathroom (unless you're changing it).
6. Vaginal pH and beneficial bacteria stay in place. Tampons can absorb your vaginal fluid with the blood, which can disrupt your pH and bacteria balance in your vagina. Tampons also can make you feel dry.
7. Less blood clotting.
8. Potential to help reduce cramps.
9. Less landfill waste. You're reducing your environmental impact by not throwing a week's worth of tampons and pads out every month
ORGANIC PADS AND TAMPONS:
For those who aren't comfortable with a menstrual cup, it definitely takes some time to get used to but it's not right for everyone. Instead, using organic products is an easy switch with no change but bettering you and the planet.
1. Lower risk of TSS with organic tampons.
2. Chemical-free! Reduced or eliminated exposure to harmful chemicals and pesticides used to spray cotton.
3. Reduced risk of irritation such as rashes, redness, itchiness.
4. Chlorine-free or unbleached
5. More environmentally friendly (no impact from pesticides).