Why you Should Use Plastic Free, Natural Menstrual Products
Around 17 years ago, I switched to washable sanitary towels. And I haven’t looked back.
I’ve found them far more comfortable than the disposable kind, they save me money and they are better for the environment.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the issues with conventional products and find out what we can do to make a healthier choice.
We all know now that excess plastic waste is causing untold damage to our planet. And despite being small items, the plastic waste issue is considerable around menstrual products. Research from Yoppie, the pioneers of personalised, organic period care delivered through your letterbox, has revealed that the average menstruator could generate nearly 33kgs of plastic waste during the lifetime, if they use disposable products.
As a solution to this, Yoppie sell 100% certified organic cotton products that are eco-friendly, biodegradable and ethically manufactured.
If you prefer tampons, then why not try a menstrual cup? These are bell shaped, around two inches long and usually made from soft silicone rubber. It is worn internally. You just take it out and empty it, wash it and put it back in. Using a cup can save you a large amount of money, as they cost around £20 to buy, but will last 5-10 years!
It’s not uncommon for conventional pads and tampons to cause irritation. I certainly found that to be true in my case.
If you think about it, encasing any part of your body in plastic for a few days a month isn’t going to feel great is it?
And some research suggests that using tampons can cause micro-tearing which can lead to irritation and infection.
When switching to a more natural option, without plastic, I found the irritation disappeared.
And this one is a bit weird, but this has been my experience (and I’ve since heard many people report the same), that they notice less cramping and even reduced menstrual flow when using more natural products, such as plastic free or unbleached. Who knew?!
Reduce the risk of toxic shock syndrome
Toxic shock syndrome is rare but 2-3 cases per year result in death.
Toxic Shock Syndrome develops when the common bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, produce a toxin which is absorbed into the bloodstream. The toxin rapidly overwhelms the immune system and attacks the major organs, leading to kidney failure, collapse of the lungs and in severe cases, cardiac arrest. Research suggests that half of all known cases of Toxic Shock are women using tampons.
To reduce your risk, you should use tampons with the lowest absorbency suitable, change them regularly and use sanitary towels on days with lighter flow. Switching to tampons without rayon is thought to reduce risk too and using pads reduces risk of tampon-induced toxic shock completely.
Chlorine bleach and other nasties
We’ve already talked about rayon, which is used in some tampons and is thought to contribute to toxic shock syndrome, but have you ever wondered why tampons and pads are white? Many non-organic tampons have been bleached with chlorine to get their perfect white appearance, as well as the cotton being sprayed with pesticides and artificial fragrances and attached to their string using glue.
Non-organic pads also contain harmful chemicals and hazardous ingredients which can include dioxins and furans, pesticide residues, unknown fragrance chemicals, and also adhesive chemicals such as methyldibromo glutaronitrile. All of which, Yoppie tell me, brings risks of cancer, reproductive harm and even allergic reactions.
See the table below for more details:
What about you. Have you made the switch?