For women, it is something that we cannot escape, something that we barely even discuss, however, every month, whether on a 28-day or 30-day cycle, women experience menstrual cycles. Menstrual cycles are the body’s natural way of cleansing the body of unfertilized eggs. In order for this cleansing to take place, reproductive eggs are reabsorbed into the body and released through blood in a menstrual cycle.
During this time, women use many forms of protection ranging from sanitary napkins which are placed on the lining of the underwear or tampons which are inserted into the vaginal cavity. Regardless of your choice or protection, being that this item comes within direct contact with one of your most delicate organs, it is imperative to ensure that what you are using is at the least, sanitary and chemical free.
“Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and also the thinnest. Less than 1/10th of an inch separates your body from potential toxins. Worse yet, your skin is highly permeable — especially the skin around your vaginal area, not to mention inside the vagina itself.
This is why attention needs to be paid to the ingredients used in tampons and sanitary pads. Feminine hygiene products such as tampons and sanitary pads are an oft-ignored source of a variety of potentially toxic ingredients, including genetically modified organisms and pesticides” (1)
As if this were not bad enough, companies are not required to disclose all of the ingredients in these products, because they are termed, “medical,” ironically more reason to know what these products contain.
For one thing, we do know that tampons and pads both use cotton and cotton is one of the world’s largest GMO crops, at least 94%, with over $2 billion spent in pesticides that are sprayed on them yearly! The white look of these products can also be attributed to the chlorine bleach used to dye them creating toxic dioxin and other disinfection-by-products (DBPs) such as trihalomethane, which are linked to, abnormal tissue growth in the abdomen and reproductive organs, abnormal cell growth throughout the body, immune system suppression, hormonal and endocrine system disruption. In addition, one pad is said to be equivalent to 4 plastic bags! Read about the harmful effects of plastic here.
In an experiment, Always pads were burned alongside a 100% organic cotton pad. The results were astonishing to see the rapidity in which the Always pad burned with black smoke and the nearly extinguished slow burning flame with the 100% organic cotton pad. The black smoke and residue left on the Always pad, is indicative of carcinogens and chemicals within the product.
Let’s touch a little on the tampon issue. We’ve heard that using tampons can cause TSS or Toxic Shock Syndrome and are cautioned to insert correctly and not to sleep with them inserted overnight. But what we did not know is that when inserting a tampon, because of the delicacy of the vaginal wall, causes small lacerations that the cotton latches onto during removal and stays in the vaginal wall prolonging the risk of TSS. What this means is, even after you’ve removed the tampon, you are still at risk of TSS due to the remnants of cotton that remained on the lining of the vagina when removing the tampon.
So ladies, what do we do? We become educated in the products that we use and its safe alternatives. But what are the alternatives, I’m sure you’re asking. Firstly, shop for your feminine hygiene products as intentionally as you shop for your food items. In either respect, whether orally, vaginally, or any by means of an orifice on the body, we must remember that our bodies are the temples of God and care should be taken in all that we do concerning it. Secondly, be vigilant, diligent and dare I say, even skeptical about products and their ingredients.
Here is a list of products that you can research for yourselves as a start to your new quest in finding alternative feminine hygiene products:
Seventh Generation Chlorine Free Organic Cotton Tampons
Glad Rags Organic Pads
Organic 100% Organic Cotton Tampons
Lola Feminine hygiene products