I am sure it is no surprise to hear that as part of my “Detoxify Your Life” protocol I removed chemical filled and bleached tampons and menstrual pads and changed to more eco-friendly options of menstrual cycle care. Now, lets be open and honest here, people get a bit squirmy talking about menstruation but it is a part of life, every month, for almost a week. It has been taboo since there were taboos so yes, this is a bit of a “risque” subject to talk about on a blog, but we are all adults here right? So lets talk about the health risks of mainstream tampons and pads, then we can talk about some alternatives.
When I was younger I used to have horrible cramps and heavy periods that would leave me in bed crying for days. I was in high school and otherwise pretty healthy but my periods were terrible. I used tampons like most of the other girls because I felt cleaner and there was less risk of the embarrassing leakage that I had experienced using pads. I knew about the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) from using a tampon inappropriately, but still felt this was the best option for me at the time. Too bad I didn’t know about the other risks like:
- Disrupting the natural lubrication of the vagina causing it to be dry and itchy
- Tampons are commonly soaked in toxic chemicals like chlorine that have been shown to increase the likelihood of cancer.
- Increased chance of yeast and bladder infections.
- Increased pain during menstruation.
Excluding the risks for TSS, menstrual pads have similar risks and effects, some pads I used post partum actually gave me a horrible rash! Nothing like dealing with a nasty chemical rash after pushing out an almost 10lb baby
As I grew older my periods grew more painful and infrequent leading up to my days of PCOS and Endometriosis. Thankfully after making lifestyle and diet changes those symptoms resolved (more on that in my story part 1, 2 and 3). After having kids I switched to using more eco-friendly (and body friendly) alternatives like cloth pads and menstrual cups. My cramps are nothing compared to what they were now that I don’t use toxic pads or tampons, and when I am in a crunch and use them the cramps come right back. Coincidence? Maybe, but I doubt it.
What is a menstrual cup?
It is a silicon cup that collects your menstrual fluids. You insert it, kind of like you would a tampon, but instead of absorbing the blood, it collects it. You can then remove it, empty it and re-insert it making it an eco-friendly alternative. Menstrual cups are pretty great, you pop it in in the morning and you can leave the house and empty and re-insert it multiple times a day without worrying about if you have enough pads or tampons on hand.
I have tried a few different brands and they were never really as comfortable as a tampon, which is why I was so excited when I was given a Sckoon Cup to review. They designed their cup with a very soft and flexible medical grade silicon, it is much more flexible than any other brand that I have tried. The sides are not ridged (thank you Sckoon) so when it is in you barely feel it. It doesn’t dry me out and is easy to use. This, by far, is my favorite menstrual cup so far. Mine came with a nice cloth bag to store it in when I’m not cycling and a great instruction and usage book showing how to insert the cup, how and when to clean it, and with some other great info. You can find more information at the Sckoon website HERE.
Now you have heard of cloth diapers right? And how to properly wash them, and the fact that not only do they reduce the huge environmental impact of diapers, but also save people a lot of money. Cloth pads are pretty much the same, only better because there is no poop or toilet dunking.
Cloth pads are a wonderful way to “green your period”. In my experience they are more comfortable (no chemical rashes or burns, and no extra cramps), they are more absorbent when properly washed (just like cloth diapers), and easy to use. Just put them on like any other pads and when they are full I throw them in a bucket of water with a little bit of vinegar in it (this prevents staining). When they are ready to wash I just toss them in the laundry, rinse on cold water, wash with hot water, then do an extra rinse, dry as normal and they are as good as new! I made my own menstrual pads using pre-folded cloth diapers and you can make your own using a pattern like this OR you can just purchase them from somewhere like Sckoon where they offer Organic Cotton pads.
If you chose to order from sckoon PLEASE USE MY CODE so they know I sent you. Thanks!
Referral code: LP59YV
How do you “Green” your period? Do you use menstrual cups or cloth pads?
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