Like most women, you have probably been wearing disposable maxi pads and/or tampons every month for many years, AND, like most women, you probably aren’t aware of what they are made of and how they can affect your health and the environment.
I too, used to be one of those women. When I was a teenager and first started menstruating, I remember my mom running to the store to get some disposable maxi pads, and later, after my friends said how great they were, tampons. I remember being scared to use the tampons, always seeing the warning about toxic shock syndrome. I used them anyway, for many years, not knowing about the other scary health risks, and the impact that these items have on the environment. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the only times I suffered from vaginal yeast infections was during the ones I wore tampons.
The good news is that there are safe alternatives, including one that makes it so you almost forget you have your period. ***I’ll get to that after I explain about the dangers of disposables.
Material/Ingredients of Disposable Maxi Pads:
Sanitary napkins are made of bleached rayon, cotton and plastics. They then have added fragrances, along with chemicals used to absorb the menstrual flow. Most contain “hazardous ingredients including dioxins and furans, pesticide residues, unknown fragrance chemicals, and adhesive chemicals such as methyldibromo glutaronitrile. Exposure concerns include cancer, reproductive harm, and endocrine disruption. Studies link pad use to allergic rash” (Chem Fatale). Yes, you read pesticide residues right – the cotton used is not organic, unless it states so (I have never seen this on any mainstream brands), and almost 85 percent of the world’s cotton is heavily doused with pesticides. In fact, the cotton industry uses more pesticides than almost any other industry. So, when wearing pads, you are cozying up to pesticides in your vaginal area (nice, right?). Then, once used, these pads, along with the chemicals they are made of, end up in landfills.
I never really liked disposable pads, but was also naïve and didn’t realize that there were alternatives. I can say that I tried many different brands of disposables over the years, trying to find ones not only comfortable, but that didn’t end up smelling. I found that no matter what, after about an hour of wear, there would be a stench. It wasn’t until I became aware that there are cloth options that I realized the stench was solely from the ingredients in the disposables mixing with the blood and not allowing proper airflow (thanks to the plastic). Once I found a great organic cloth pad, I never went back to disposable ones. The cloth pads are comfortable, don’t smell, and don’t end up in landfills. The cloth pads are free of man made materials, and getting organic ones insures that they are also free of pesticides.
Material/Ingredients of Tampons:
Tampons are made from the same materials that disposable pads are made from. When inserting these fibers inside of your vagina, you are exposing yourself to the chemicals they are made of and the side effects they case – so essentially, you are inserting bleach, pesticides, and any number of chemicals used to make plastic malleable, and that’s not all “Tampons are also known to absorb the natural fluids and bacteria’s that the vagina produces to stay clean and healthy. Let’s look at the #1 ingredient in generic tampons and sanitary napkins: Rayon. Rayon is a fiber that is made from cellulose fibers, cellulose is a natural fiber, but to produce Rayon chemical procedures are needed that include: carbon disulphide, sulfuric acid, chlorine and caustic soda. Side effects from exposure to too much Rayon can include: nausea, vomiting, chest pain, headaches and many others” (Collective Evolution). In addition, tampons have been found to contain mold and even cocaine – My point in highlighting these is to show you that unless you are cutting them open, you really don’t know what’s inside… wait a minute… as I illustrated above, even if you do cut it open you still don’t know what’s inside!
An Alternative to Tampons and all other Menstrual “catching” products:
I still can’t believe it too me 35 years to learn that there is a safe alternative to tampons and pads that is so simple to use that you can literally forget that it’s there and not have to worry about it. I’m talking about a menstrual cup. It’s so simple in design and so easy to use I can’t figure out why more women don’t know about them.
What is a menstrual cup?
A menstrual cup is a small ‘V’ shaped cup that is made out of medical-grade silicone and literally sits right inside of the vaginal canal catching the menstrual flow. My personal favorite menstrual cup is the SckoonCup. It is easy to insert (okay the first time there is a learning curve, but each time after that is a breeze), it’s easy to clean, it’s cheap in that you only need one, as opposed to going through a box of pads or tampons each month, it’s non-toxic, and it only needs to be changed every 12 hours. You will have less cramps than when using a tampon, due to tampons only absorbing the liquid and not the tissue. In addition, the SckoonCup doesn’t leak and you will not have any odors coming from your vaginal region. Really, It’s a Godsend.
***At this point, I should mention that I was sent the SckoonCup to try in return for a written review of the product. Everything I think and write about it are my own thoughts. And, as is required of me by law, “This post was created as part of the SckoonCup Review Campaign in which I am a financially compensated blogger. The opinions are my own and based on my own experience.” Please note, I would have pulled out and not have written this review had I not loved and wouldn’t have used it myself. As always, I only recommend products that I would use in my own hoe and with my own family. ***
Now, over the past year I have tried a variety of brands of menstrual cups, including the Diva Cup. I find SckoonCup to be most comfortable and easiest to insert. This is because SckoonCup is designed with a better grip that allows you to fully turn the cup the 360 degrees that it needs to be turned and has it’s suction holes pointed up in order to get the suction needed for it not to leak. This also insures no pain in that when I didn’t have the Diva suctioned quite right, due to not being able to turn it so well, I would experience pain, especially before a bowel movement. The pain was caused by stuck air and was extreme. In addition, because it is made from a softer silicone, I found it easier to insert than other cups.
The SckoonCup is made in the U.S.A., which, if you have been following me for a while, is important. All too often heavy medicals and dangerous chemicals are found in the packaging and products coming from countries like China and that is NOT okay for anything entering my home, much less my private area! It comes in two sizes – one for pre-birthing women and one for post birthing women. These are the only sizes needed and there is no guessing to do. Either you gave birth or you didn’t, so choose accordingly.
**Raising Natural Kids serves as an affiliate for Amazon, and links any products we use in our own homes and with our own families to Amazon when applicable. Any monies earned help us to run and maintain this blog.