I already anticipate this post will shock, disturb, and sway some, but I hope you’ll take away some new perspective and possibly make healthy changes in feminine care. Ladies, this post focuses on managing your menstrual cycle healthily.
First, let’s debunk this myth about menstrual cycles.
Myth Debunk #1: A large amount of blood is lost during menstruation.
Growing up, I was prepared for my cycle with the maxi pads and tampons. Unfortunately, these products are not that healthy, as they are loaded with several chemical ingredients.
Tampons, for example, are designed to be used for no more than 8 hours. Why? Toxic Shock Syndrome, the result of dangerous bacteria causing an infection that can be deadly. Since the 1980s, tampon companies have revamped their product to contain less of the ingredients that can lead to TSS; however, several other chemicals remain, including dioxins, chemical byproducts of the bleaching process for tampons.
Dioxins are listed as carcinogens by the World Health Organization (WHO). The cause of concern with tampons and dioxins is the limited ability for the body, namely the vagina, to eliminate this chemical from its system.
Myth Debunk #2: You need to use feminine products to clean the vagina.
No. The vagina is a super-tissue, naturally cleaning itself; a healthy vagina does not need douches, vinegar soaks, or feminine washes to make it smell flowery or fresh.
While the vagina self cleans, it is also a very sensitive, softer, more permeable tissue. When a tampon is inserted, it may be less likely for the vagina to dispose of the dioxins and rather absorb it into the body’s bloodstream and store these chemicals within fat tissue.
While many companies have adjusted their tampon production process, these products are listed as “medical devices” by the FDA, meaning there is less regulation in the ingredients and production process. Equally frightening is that as “medical devices,” companies are not required to list ingredients.
What’s the alternative?
- General option: Use tampons that clearly list their ingredients and don’t use artificial fragrances. Tampons made with organic cotton are even better than other options out there that use synthetic fibers.
- Eco-friendly option: Use a menstrual cup. These do take some time for adjustment but are amazing. Menstrual cups are made of medical grade silicone and are inserted into the vagina to hold menstrual blood. Most cups can stay inserted for 8 hours and can be used overnight. These cups eco-friendly, as they are reusable for years.
Don’t even think sanitary pads and liners get a pass. These helpful tools can be causing more harm than good. Sanitary pads are also considered to be “medical devices,” leaving companies to place whatever ingredients inside they so desire. This can include cellulose wood pulp, plastic, phthalates, and more dioxins. The concern around plastic is whether it contains Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical proven to cause birth defects and serious developmental and intellectual issues in children and are linked to heart disease and cancer in adults. BPA has been found in most plastic materials: bottles, plastic bags, plastic toys, even receipts. Sanitary pads made with artificial fragrances and adhesives that have been linked to hormonal imbalances, cancer, birth defects, vaginal dryness, and even infertility.
What’s the alternative?
- General option: Use sanitary pads that list their ingredients and don’t use artificial ingredients. Use sanitary pads made from organic cotton.
- Eco-friendly option: Use a reusable cotton sanitary pad. Again, on average, only 1-1.5 oz. of blood is lost during a menstrual cycle. A cotton sanitary pad will certainly contain that. They can be soaked in cold water with apple cider vinegar or antibacterial essential oils (tea tree, eucalyptus) and later washed in the laundry.
Why reusable feminine products?
These products, made with artificial ingredients, plastics, and plenty of chemicals are thrown into trash cans and later thrown into a landfill. They never decompose…
If you’re worried about the sanitary issue behind using reusable products, hand hygiene was discovered to be a helpful way to eliminate the risk of direct transmission of infections and germs.
But seriously, disposable/compostable or reusable, do whatever works for you, just know we only have 1 Earth.
3 Ways to Improve Your Feminine Care:
- Use feminine products that are free from artificial ingredients, list all ingredients, and use organic cotton.
- Use reusable feminine products that are eco-friendly and use medical-grade materials.
- Love your entire being. Learn more about your body and what care works best for you. Remind other ladies to love their entire selves too.
Why isn’t the standardization of feminine products production a bigger issue?!
Historically, legislature has stayed pretty silent on feminine products. One congresswoman, House Representative Carolyn Maloney, has introduced a bill (several times) for further investigation into the effects of feminine care products and advocating for regulation of these products. It has yet to pass.
Ladies, God didn’t make any mistakes when He created us. He knew we are capable of carrying another life in our wombs and dealing with great physical pain and changes on a monthly basis. Loving every part of your being is a crucial step towards true self love. Don’t forget to practice self love in your feminine care.