Feminine Hygiene the natural way
The human body is an amazing thing, and we are often reminded about it when we can compare it to something more tangible; for example, that every thirteen seconds, the body produces more cells than there are people in the US. I have also always found it fascinating that the female body prepares herself every single month just incase fertilization might take place. It gets everything ready and aligned for the “big moment” and if nothing happens, then she just tries again… and again. On average, women will have a period once a month for about forty years. How is it then that we often neglect to look after our bodies as best we can?
One way of looking after our reproductive system is by carefully choosing the products we use when we have our period. The tampon and pad industry is a booming market. From scented products to extra absorbency, advertising is rather convincing that you really need that bigger tampon that will last longer or the scented pad that will keep all the smells away… what smells may I ask? I never knew that pure, sterile blood has a bad odor to it?
Lets look a bit at the safety of these products for your body. The vagina is one of the most absorbing parts of the body, and therefore, whatever is placed inside or near it, will most likely be absorbed into your body’s cells and bloodstream. Almost all sanitary pads and tampons are made with bleached rayon, cotton and plastics. Rayon is made when cellulose is combined with chemicals such as carbon disulphide, sulfuric acid, chlorine and caustic soda. Sanitary pads also contain quite a bit of plastic, leaving you with little airflow and increased risk of urinary tract infections (UTI’s). As with disposable diapers, the bleaching process uses chlorine, resulting in the production of dioxin, a chemical linked to neurological implications, cancer and immune system suppression just to name a few. Tampon fibers can also easily be left behind inside of the vagina, causing Toxic Shock Syndrome, vaginal infections and UTI’s. They absorb the natural fluids and good bacteria in the vagina, which are produced to stay clean and healthy. The carbon footprint of disposable feminine hygiene products is also massive and, as with disposable diapers, is creating a huge headache for future generations to come.
So then what are the alternatives you may ask. There are three completely natural options, which will help you look after your body, the environment and your pocket. After switching from disposables to a more natural product, some women have even claimed to have lighter periods and feeling less emotional. All the options are available through Lady Matters in South Africa.
A menstrual cup is a reusable cup made from medical-grade, latex-free silicone rubber. It catches the menstrual fluid rather than absorbing it like a tampon. It can take a few tries to get it inserted correctly, but once you have mastered it, you will never look back.
Cloth pads are reusable menstrual pads that are easily washable, comfortable to wear and made from natural fibers without all the chemicals.
These are natural sea sponges that are inserted into the vagina to absorb the blood, then rinsed out and used again. They are reusable and will last for about 3-6 cycles.
Frequently asked questions:
Q: Will I have to touch my own blood?
A: Yes, just like you will touch your own blood when the graze your arm or cut your finger. Menstrual blood is no different to any other blood in your body. It is clean, sterile and pure.
Q: How do I insert a menstrual cup?
A: There are several “how to” videos on YouTube and your cup will come with clear directions.
Q: How do I wash my menstrual cup?
A: You can rinse out your cup in running water between uses, and it is advisable to sterilize your cup between cycles.
Q: How do I wash my cloth pads?
A: Since menstrual blood is sterile, you can add it to your normal washing. Avoid using fabric softener, which may cause a build up and affect the absorbency of the fabric. As with underwear, perfumed washing powder may cause irritations if you have a very sensitive skin. If you do not have a problem with your underwear, you won’t have a problem with your cloth pads.
Q: Are sea sponges safe?
A: Sea sponges are free of chemicals and synthetic fibers. They are gentle on the skin and contain naturally occurring enzymes that inhibit bacteria and mold. They also have healthy sea minerals that your body loves and needs, such as sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, and so much more.