What All Women Need To Know About Pads & Tampons
What is something that every woman has to endure in her lifetime? You got it, a menstruation cycle.
On average a woman will have her period once a month, for about 5 days, for around 40 years of her life! During this time, we need to use various products to stay clean and fresh.
There has got to be a market in there! The tampon and pad industry is a $718 million dollar market, yet these items are necessities. This really got me questioning the production and ethical value behind these products.
They are mass-produced, heavily marketed, and cheaply made – out of bleached rayon and plastics. Why is it that we never see ads for the much safer alternatives such as cotton products, reusable washable pads, and menstruation cups? All of these options are much more economical and are about a million times safer for the environment. Up until a few months ago, I didn’t even know that there were alternative products, much less think that there was any potential risk involved with using generic menstruation products. Almost all sanitary napkins and tampons are made with bleached rayon, cotton, and plastics. How safe do you think that material is to be inside or very close to your vagina? Not to mention these products leave behind fibers that can cause bladder and vaginal infections, along with Toxic Shock Syndrome. Tampons are also known to absorb the natural fluids and friendly bacterias 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, and while cellulose itself is a natural fiber, transforming it into rayon involves processes which use chemicals such as 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. Rayon is not just found in tampons and pads, but a lot of clothes are made from it as well. Sanitary napkins also contain quite a bit of plastic, which does not allow sufficient air flow “down there” so in turn can also cause an array of infections. Moreover, tampons and pads are bleached using chlorine, which results in the production of dioxin, a chemical linked to breast cancer, endometriosis, immune system suppression, and various other ailments. A menstrual cup is my first choice for a tampon/pad alternative. It is a flexible silicone cup that is inserted into the vagina. Essentially, this cup catches all the blood you shed throughout the day. It needs to be emptied every 12 hours during your cycle and then you can reinsert. I know what you are thinking... gross. That was my initial reaction too; I thought that it sounded so disgusting, that I could never imagine myself using it. I guess that changed as I researched all of the positive effects using a cup has to offer. If it is properly inserted and taken out there is no reason that you should ever have to actually touch blood, but even if you do, what’s the harm? Just wash your hands, you big baby.