We use them every single month and they come super close to our most precious space, yet we seldom think about what tampons and pads contain and how they may be affecting our health.
1.What are they made of?
Most pads and tampons are made of cotton. This is one of the most grown crops and also one of the most pesticide ridden crops. Cotton is considered the world’s dirtiest crop due to its heavy use of pesticides. Cotton grower’s use 16% of the world’s pesticides.
Dioxin is one of the most worrisome ingredients within these pesticides as it has been linked to endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, cause cancer and reduced fertility.
The average pad also contains the same amount of plastic as four plastic bags. That plastic is also likely to contain chemicals like BPS, BPS and affect our natural hormone balance.
2. Everything down there gets absorbed
Your cells in your vagina are super absorbent and whatever is in that space is going to be absorbed. This can be advantageous if you are wanting to make a healthy suppository but if you want to avoid toxins leaching into your body, then it is imperative that we become more aware of what we use.
“Vaginal tissue is lined with permeable mucous membranes, which protect the body from bacteria, but which can also easily absorb or be irritated by other chemicals,” explains Alex Scranton, director of Science and Research at Women’s Voices For The Earth, a group that advocates more research into menstrual products’ safety. These vaginal membranes are filled with blood vessels, which allow any chemical they are exposed to be easily absorbed into your bloodstream.
“Studies have shown that hormone chemicals, like estrogen especially, will be absorbed vaginally at 10-80 times the rate that the same dose would be absorbed orally,” notes Scranton. So it isn’t hard to believe that any pesticides and chlorine present in the cotton used to make your tampon would be quickly absorbed through your vagina, too.
3. Your choice impacts the environment
Think about it… all those tampons and pads have an incredible environmental impact. In one lifetime we may use 11,000 to 16,000 tampons in a lifetime. That is all landing up in landfills, rubbish and simply doesn’t biodegrade easily.
We’ve also got to consider that all that growing of cotton and use of chemicals lands up in our rivers and oceans.
4. Blocking the nature of things
When we menstruate, we want things to flow out of the body. Using tampons creates a block and also opens up room for infection and unhealthy bacteria. It has been shown that tampons are not able to absorb all parts of our menstruation process. They tend to only absorb the liquid parts of our period. This means the thicker cells are not being absorbed and remain stuck in the uterus.
We are also not supposed to have something with old blood sitting inside of our bodies for extended periods of time. Menstruation is our bodies way of cleansing. It is supposed to come out!
Recommendations for natural menstrual products:
If you like pads: use washable pads to allow a natural flow of things, without all the chemicals and without impacting the environment. You can find many options on Amazon as well as handmade pads on etsy.
If you like tampons: Use a Diva Cup (available on Amazon) or Mooncup to replace tampons. These can be used each and every month, saving you money and the environment at the same time.