It seems like more people are starting to become conscious of what they put IN and ON their bodies.
After all, our body is a temple… we should be cautious of what we’re filling it up with, and plastering on it. I’m sure you’re familiar with the Dirty Dozen; the EWG’s annual list of the 12 most pesticide-filled produce items. This list is meant as a helpful guide; allowing you to focus on which produce items are most-important to purchase organic, versus the ones that aren’t as essential to buy organic. The EWG has also created Skin Deep, a database that rates how safe your skincare products are. People are becoming more aware about the chemicals found in the food they eat, as well as the products they use, and that’s great! However, there is one area that I don’t believe to be looked at, as frequently, and that’s feminine products. As a topic that’s, unfortunately, not discussed often enough, today, I plan on going into detail about your lady parts, and why it might be time to look into alternative products, for your time of the month.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I’ve been making an effort to talk more about periods, in general. After all, as women, they’re something we deal with often enough; they deserve to be discussed more than they currently are. We ALL bleed; it’s no secret!
What’s cozying up to your cooch?
Did you ever hear of that crazy phase teens were going through, where they took alcohol-soaked tampons, and shoved them up their vag (in order to get drunk)?! I know, I know. It’s ridiculous, in every aspect, right?! But you know what’s not ridiculous? The fact that those teens DID, in fact, get drunk. That’s because as our largest organ, our skin is super permeable, and absorbs anything!
In the same aspect, whatever goes up our hoo-ha is also, in fact, absorbed, by our bodies, and bloodstream. No, this doesn’t mean that you should worry about your body magically absorbing your tampon! But it does mean you should worry about your body absorbing whatever gross chemicals are in that tampon.
In a “Goop” article, written by Maggie Ney, N.D. she mentions, “Because over 90% of the cotton produced in the United States has been genetically modified to be resistant to Round-up (i.e., glyphosate), which is a very powerful herbicide used to kill weeds that compete with cotton for growth. This means that instead of spraying herbicides at the beginning of the growing cycle, crops can be sprayed repeatedly without harm. So, most cotton tampons—at least 85%, certainly any cotton that is not organic—contain glyphosate, which is problematic because it is a known cancer-causing agent.”
Scary stuff, right?! Research shows fragranced feminine care products may raise a woman’s exposure to phthalates, a class of suspected endocrine disrupters some research has linked to developmental issues like lower IQs, higher rates of asthma, hormone issues and even cancer.
Dioxins, which are another group of chemicals, are byproducts of the bleaching process involved in the manufacture of tampons. Dioxins are also a big concern; the World Health Organization calls dioxins “highly toxic” and categorizes them as a “known human carcinogen.” (Time).
Tampons aren’t the only culprit. In 2014, Women’s Voices for the Earth, tested Always band pads, and found the sanitary napkins contained chemicals such as styrene (a carcinogen), chloroform (a carcinogen and reproductive irritant), and chloroethane (a chemical known to cause issues with muscle coordination). (Your Healthiest Healthy).
Most tampon and pad companies mention that the levels of dioxin and bleach aren’t high enough to cause any issues, and the FDA has cleared these products to be sold. However, we’re not talking about single tampon/pad exposure; we’re talking about thousands of tampons/pads, during a woman’s menstrual “lifetime”.
It’s important to consider our exposures to toxins, in other areas, too. Food, water, body/face products, clothing, receipts and cleaning supplies, etc. These chemicals and pesticides build up in the body. IT CAN BE OVERWHELMING! Instead of worrying about becoming the next “bubble girl”, I recommend taking small, realistic steps.
Perfect Your Period Routine
Chances are, you’re reading this and sending me a big, “WTF?!” Girl, I hear you! At first, I was confused, pissed off and unsure, too! But that’s what I’m here for. Remember, there are easy ways we can work to reduce our toxin-exposure, when it comes to monthly visits from Aunt Flow.
I, recently, got a copy of, “Your Healthiest Healthy”, by Samantha Harris, and LOVE that she has a few pages dedicated to period-health! In her book, she recommends a few steps to “polish your period routine”:
Swap out your toxic tampons for 100% organic cotton
Try 100% organic cotton pads at night, when a little extra bulk won’t bother you as much
Pop an organic pad into some period panties (more on that below!)
Go fragrance-free (wipes, sprays, tampons, pads… all are worse with fragrances, as they are endocrine-disrupters)
Better Brands (pads and tampons)
Chemical-free products are becoming more popular (and readily-available). Here are a few suggestions:
LOLA (the brand I used to use before switching to a menstrual cup. They have a monthly subscription)
L. Organic Cotton Tampons (sold at Target. I’ve tried these, too)
Period underwear might sound gross (at first), but I assure you, these panties are anything but gross! Whether you’re a free-flowing sista, or just want some additional coverage during night-time (like me), these panties are bound to become your period-BFF.
I know, the idea of sticking a silicone cup up your baby-shooter sounds intimidating (and scary), but trust me, it’s definitely not as bad as it sounds. Menstrual cups are amazing to track blood-flow (and things like clots), as well as save yourself some money, BIG TIME! As you get more comfortable, it’s easy as pie to insert and take out.
Most women have nine-twelve periods, a year, that last roughly five-ish days. It’s a significant amount of time, and definitely an opportunity to practice using safer products! Like I mentioned earlier, don’t get overwhelmed. Take a look at some of the products mentioned earlier, and reach out to me with questions! Women are superheroes… together, we’re capable of so much!