As you can imagine, women will use thousands of different types of sanitary products during their lifetime – it can be as many as twenty thousand.
But how safe are these countless items when you consider that they are worn so intimately and so often?
There is much to consider
Manufacturers of sanitary pads and tampons are not legally required to provide the ingredients in their products. They do not have to list any chemicals used in the manufacturing process. In the search for ultimate “protection”, manufacturers have not always protected the user from the product itself.
Sanitary products are used to absorb a waste product from females but what in turn are women absorbing from their feminine hygiene items and right back into their blood stream?
The vaginal area is especially absorbent and vulnerable
- Some sanitary products are not made from cotton but from rayon, viscose and cellulose wood fluff pulp. These are all tree-derived materials made up of fibers.
- Synthetic tampons and pads contain dioxin and chlorine disinfection byproducts.
- Sanitary pads (along with panty liners and nursing pads) are made from 90% plastic which is derived from crude oil.
- The use of synthetic fibers and toxic chemicals can lead to allergic reactions when in contact with delicate tissue.
- Tampons can create the ideal conditions for bacteria growth and can even lead to toxic shock syndrome or TSS which is a potentially life threatening condition.
What are the alternatives?
Eco-friendly and safer sanitary napkins
are available that are advertised as 100% safe with no chemicals. The materials used are natural and the product is biodegradable. They also come with a negative ion tape embedded which is said to release a high concentration of negative ions, proven effective in killing bacteria. Such products are available here
is a company that makes and sells all organic feminine care products such as tampons, night time pads, regular pads, pantyliner, maternity pads and nursing pads. These feminine products do come in all different sizes and are made using 100% cotton and the cotton isn't dyed or bleached. The cotton is cleaned by using all natural hydrogen peroxide. Natracare feminine products are also very affordable (costing around five to six dollars per product). They are also very absorbent, keeping you dry and smelling fresh all day long. These products are available from here
Another range of products is made from pure organic cotton
. Organic cotton is made without the use of toxic fungicides, pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers and all those other baddies that we need to worry about. The good news about organic cotton is that it is not “Big Business” so when you support companies that use organic cotton in their production, you are helping to support the family farms that grow organic cotton. It is said that once you change to pure cotton feminine products, you will never want to go back to the old synthetic ones. They will feel so much more comfortable against the skin, allowing it to breathe; they are compatible with your body's pH; they are hypoallergenic; and they have a natural absorbency. These products are available from Dr. Mercola.
A product that is completely different to the conventional pads and tampons is the Mooncup (or MCUK
as it is known in the US). The Mooncup is described as smarter sanitary protection and is a reusable menstrual cup, around two inches long and made from soft medical grade silicone. It is worn internally (a lot lower than a tampon) but, while tampons and pads absorb menstrual fluid, the Mooncup collects it. This means it doesn't cause dryness or irritation, and also that it collects far more (three times as much as a ‘super-absorbent’ tampon). Because the Mooncup is reusable, you only need one so it saves you money and helps the environment, too. The initial cost is obviously higher than buying a few packs of tampons but it will pay for itself over and over again. The people at Mooncup believe it has the potential to greatly improve women’s experience of their periods, as well as reducing the environmental damage caused by the manufacture and disposal of throwaway sanitary protection. Made from soft medical grade silicone, the Mooncup is latex-free and contains no dyes, BPA, toxins or bleaches. Such products are available here.
Steps to limit the risk of conventional feminine hygiene products
- Choose lower absorbency tampons over super absorbent types.
- Don't just use tampons during a period but alternate with sanitary pads or mini pads where possible.
- Use an overnight sanitary pad at night time instead of inserting a tampon.
- Avoid tampons that come with a plastic applicator as these can scratch your vaginal lining.
- Do not be tempted to use a tampon between periods.
Safer to go green or change to more natural products while staying away from the conventional, harmful and unhealthy ones.
- Always change tampons at frequently as possible (at least every 4 to 6 hours).