Last week, we looked at the nasty chemicals lurking in feminine hygiene products. Today, let’s talk about what kinds of menstrual products you can use to replace the standard drugstore products that contain those troubling substances.
There is virtually no good reason to use douches, wipes or deodorants; they do more harm than good! So, let’s focus specifically on menstrual products, since those are by far the most-used feminine hygiene products.
There are pros and cons to each type of menstrual product, and it’s certainly up for debate which is the “best” type to use. But in my experience, different women have different needs, depending on their activity levels, bodies and lifestyles. I’m just going to go over the safest, most natural options for each of the most commonly used products, and let you decide which one best suits your personal needs.
1. Menstrual Cups
Menstrual cups have become quite popular over the past few years. They are silicon cups that are inserted into the vagina to collect menstrual blood, and emptied and reinserted 2-3 times per day. Popular brands include DivaCup, Mooncup and Lunacup. Reusable menstrual cups are much more environmentally friendly than most tampons and pads, as you don’t need to keep buying and throwing out so much cotton and wasteful packaging. Most cups are made of medical-grade silicon, which is latex-free and not known to cause any allergic reactions. Another benefit is that, as the cups collect the menstrual blood rather than absorbing it, there is no risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), a very rare but potentially deadly bacterial infection that is commonly associated with using super-absorbent tampons and/or leaving tampons in for too long.
Menstrual cups are available in most drugstores and health food stores. While a menstrual cup is a greater initial expense than a box of tampons (about $20 – $40), they very rarely need replacing; they can supposedly last for years if cleaned and stored properly. In the long run, menstrual cups end up being more economical than buying new boxes of tampons and pads on a regular basis.
2. Organic cotton tampons
Organic cotton tampons aren’t too hard to come by if you’re already a health-conscious shopper. Brands such as Seventh Generation, Organyc and Natracare are available in many health food stores including nationwide U.S. chains such as Whole Foods, Sprouts and Trader Joe’s. Most are bleach-free and chlorine-free. If you try another brand other than those listed, it’s worth checking their website just to make sure.
3. Organic cotton pads and pantyliners
Like tampons, you can easily find organic cotton pads! Seventh Generation, Organyc and Natracare are commonly-found brands.
4. Reusable fabric pads
You can also try reusable fabric pads, made from organic cotton. You’ll need to wash each pad after each use, so you’ll likely want to have several to rotate out during your cycle. Since they are reusable and don’t have any extra packaging or waste, they are more environmentally-friendly than disposable pads or tampons.
Popular brands include LunaPads, Sckoon and Pink Daisy. You can also find homemade pads on sites like Etsy.com. If you are DIY-inclined, you can even make your own! Try browsing Pinterest and other crafty sites for sewing patterns.
Do you have any suggestions other than those listed? Have a favorite brand or product to recommend? Let us know in the comments!