We ladies have it rough. We get these horrible cycles every month for what seems like forever that wreck our world for a few days.
Let’s be honest: there’s nothing positive about periods.
It’s gross, uncomfortable, embarrassing, painful, and can make you feel as if you don’t have control of your own life, brain, or body until it goes away (only to return again next month).
When I was a girl, my aunt referred to menstruation as “the unwelcome houseguest.” Back then, the older generation didn’t talk about the particulars of the “curse” because it wasn’t ladylike. She purchased my first (giant) box of pads and told me to read the directions.
These days, there’s an incredible amount of information that helps women understand how our bodies work, what we can do to ease symptoms, and access to feminine hygiene products that make it all (somewhat) easier to bear.
The aisle that holds our necessary protection for an ongoing battle is my least favorite in any store. It reminds me that (for a little while longer, at least) my stupid period will return to mess up my world for a few days every single month.
Five years ago, I started reading information about feminine hygiene products that completely blew my mind. Most women – health conditions notwithstanding – experience menstruation.
It starts somewhere in our teen years (others get it even earlier) and haunts us for thirty or forty years. For literally decades, we deal with this thing and we use the goods we’re supposed to that promise to keep the whole thing from being even worse. I don’t know a single woman who hasn’t had a horrific “accident” that resulted in utter humiliation.
Even now, we don’t want to talk about it.
Usually, we start with pads. Depending on your personal cycle, a lot of us eventually include the use of tampons. Any product that promising convenience and extra protection is our friend.
From puberty to menopause, we do what we gotta do.
With half the population of the world afflicted with menstruation, it’s a reasonable assumption that the manufacturers of these goods would be certain they were safe…right? We keep entire industries afloat with the inner workings of our wombs so they wouldn’t put us at risk!
Except…they would and they do.
New research over the last few years has rightfully called into question the manufacturing of feminine hygiene products and it turns out – the dangers they pose are a serious concern.New research on the manufacturing of feminine hygiene products found the dangers they pose are a serious concern!Click To Tweet
Your Skin is a Sponge
As your largest organ, your skin is your first line of defense against bacteria and chemical overload. However, its natural permeability makes it the ideal delivery device for anything you want to go directly into your bloodstream.
Topical medications work quickly for this very reason. Compounds absorbed through your skin bypass your digestive system – and the protection against potential toxins that it provides.
Studies have shown the dangers of this system in the use of cosmetics, hair products, and body lotions. Only recently has the safety of feminine hygiene products been added to the list.
Vaginal skin is the thinnest of your body. Any substance that comes in contact with it is absorbed into your blood immediately – just like the rest of you.
Mainstream tampons and pads are synthetic. One pad can contain enough plastic by-product to make four plastic grocery bags. You know how toxic the chemicals are that create plastic.
The companies that make feminine hygiene products don’t have to tell you what’s in it. They can keep it a secret because their goods are considered medical devices.
When you burn an organic pad or tampon, it burns cleanly. It doesn’t have much of an odor and leaves behind powdery ash like a campfire.
When you burn a standard pad – one of many you find at the store – it has thick, acrid smoke and leaves behind a gooey residue as if you melted a plastic grocery bag.
One such experiment led researchers to determine that standard feminine hygiene products contain petrochemicals, dioxins, and other chemical additives known to raise your risk of cancer, heart disease, and other diseases.
Cotton and rayon are the primary substances used to manufacture tampons and pads. Cotton treated with high levels of pesticides and herbicides before harvest, bleached with chlorine to attain sparkling white threads, added to lots of other not-so-fabulous compounds (like foam for absorbency and odor neutralizing ingredients) before they reach your market shelf.
Bleach causes dioxins to form and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determines there’s no safe level of exposure to this by-product.
The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) countered that the amount of dioxins found in tampons are below detectable amounts. They stated that these “trace amounts” were harmless.
Perhaps one tampon or pad has a trace amount of dioxin. That would be very little and probably of no concern. However, it isn’t about one tampon or one pad.
Every woman’s flow and length of menstruation is different but on average, you’ll use between 16,000 to 25,000 tampons in your lifetime.
Let’s put it another way.
Say there’s a lotion with a “trace amount” of lead in it. You apply it to your skin 8-10 times a day, 5 days a month, for more than 30 years.
Maybe you find out your favorite tea has a “trace amount” of pesticide in it that you drink 8-10 times a day, 5 days a month, for more than 30 years.
Is that still a trace amount? It seems ridiculous to consider such a thing. If we were actively applying or consuming a product with a known contaminant, we’d stop.
No one considers tampons, pads, and panty liners in the same way and we should.Mainstream tampons/pads are synthetic. 1 pad can contain enough plastic by-product to make 4 plastic grocery bags!Click To Tweet
Organic Feminine Hygiene Products
No matter where you are in your menstrual cycle – recently started or winding down – search out alternatives to mainstream tampons and pads.
Organic tampons and pads must uphold the same standards as the mass manufactured products on every store shelf. They won’t let you down in the absorbency department. They’re a little more expensive but tests have shown they test for far fewer toxins than all the popular brands.
Make sure they’re 100% organic.
You don’t have to keep using chemical-laden, toxic feminine hygiene products. You have a right to safe products – especially when you use as much of these things as we have to over our lifetimes!
Periods won’t be any easier to talk about, deal with, or endure…but safer is definitely better.