So what are you guys using in and around your lady parts? Wanna talk about that? I do. Partially because you'd be surprised how many people ask me what I'm using (or not. are you actually surprised by that?) and partially because I care about your health! So yes, there's maybe a bit of TMI in this post--- but I have no problem talking about my own personal junk (obviously)! But if you don't want to hear about lady things maybe just skip, cool?
First let's talk about why it's important to think about what you're using for your menstrual cycle. I mean, I'm not an expert by any means, but sometimes we just dont think about or realizing these things till someone brings them up, right? Most tampons on the market are pretty toxic--- I mean, they even have warnings written all over them telling you of toxicity dangers. And while a toxic emergency from a tampon isn't super common--- regardless, you're still letting those chemicals slowly seep into your body. And no amount of needed chemicals is a good thing. So yay, we're not all rushed to the hospital after sticking a tampon in us! But boo, we're slowly being poisoned over time-- and no one wants that.
In general, it's probably a better idea to not stick anything inside your body, though it's not always that easy (insert inappropriate joke here). But if you really think about it... your (dark, warm, moist) vagina is the perfect breeding ground for all sorts of things. Your entire body, including your vagina is naturally (and constantly) fighting through yeast and bacteria to stay clean-- and putting anything up there, especially for extended periods (again, no pun intended) of time could not only be inviting poisons into your body, but potentially also inviting new yeasts, molds, and whatever else into the party! Unfortunately (or fortunately?) we don't have menstrual huts waiting for us at the end of the neighborhood--- and pads aren't going to work for everyone all the time. They certainly don't cover me on most days-- though I really wish they would. I'm a super heavy flow lady. I always have been. Whether using extra super strength tampons or a cup, I need a change out at least every hour. It's intense really, like a full on war between my body and life. I mean, but I'm 30 now, so I've managed for the past 18 years and made it out alive-- messy, but alive.
Personally, I usually use a diva cup + a pad on the heavy days. And on the lighter days, when I'm home, and when I can, I do prefer to use a pad--- for my health. Yeah, it's pretty uncomfortable and obviously not the most eco-friendly option of all the products, but I don't have to worry about any disruption from chemicals and so forth when theres nothing inside me. There are times when I'm totally fed up with my cup and dont want to bother though--- or when I know I'll be out of the house for a long day without easy access to a private bathroom-- this is when I opt for a tampon. But only an organic tampon. You know, we talk about eating organic foods often-- and it can seem a bit extreme to buy only organic tampons-- but it's SUPER important! Non-organic cotton is HEAVILY sprayed with pesticides (the very deadly Round-up) and is of course a GMO nightmare. Just like eating non-organic food is poisoning your gut (and entire body) with chemicals, the same goes for inserting a non-organic tampon into your body! There's not exactly a protective barrier inside your vagina preventing the chemicals from harming you. Even a little bit of toxins everyday, for five days a month, is a lot! And while on topic of pesticides, we don't really need to be poisoning our farmers either. So organic whenever possible, please!
So... I mean, I'm not a doctor or expert by any means, but we don't want chemicals poisoning us... so let's talk about options!
A MENSTRUAL CUP
There seem to be more menstrual cup options on the market each day. Since I can't speak for all of them, since I personally haven't tried them all, I recommend doing your own research on whichever brand you choose! As mentioned, I use a diva-cup almost regularly. I do like it. Sometimes it can be a totally pain (no pun intended) to put in-- but for the most part, it's a pretty easy tool and process. It's really cheap, if you consider the fact that it's a one time purchase over buying and throwing away disposable products each month (read my thoughts on that HERE). The downside, while silicone appears to be a lot safer than tampons, I'm still not really sure how much safer it really is, you know? I don't think any of us really know! We need more research on these things. Regardless, thats my option when I'm on the go and can't trust in a pad to protect me. They typically come in two sizes: model one (big) and model two (bigger). The bigger option is recommended for ladies who have had babies. Womp.
Like I said, if you're going to use a tampon, please please use an organic one! Not just because you want to protect your lady parts, but also, because it's a better option for the earth. I know it's tough buying only organic products all the time! I'm still guilty of buying clothes made from non-organic cotton, so I can't talk too much! But if you're trying to make some changes, this is a pretty easy one to start with. I like the seventh generation ones--- they're not only organic, but also chlorine free. I like the brand a lot, we're big supporters around here, so it was a no brainer which ones to pick up when I went to the store. Natracare is another common brand option-- also organic and chlorine free. I haven't personally tried them, but they seem fine.
I'll be honest, I haven't personally tried this option. Really, I'm surprised I haven't yet--- and I do intend to purchase some soon-- especially now that I'm realizing there's options on Amazon. So from someone who has never used these, yes these seem to be the most impractical option in terms of convenience, but they're certainly the safest for your body and the kindest for the earth! A trade off I suppose. I used reusable pads for my breast feeding days and I found them to be 1,000% more comfortable than the disposable ones. I tried the disposable ones once and they were super rough and scratchy--- I really truly hated them. Anyway, I digress. Reusable pads seem to be a great option for the lighter days or when you're home. They're pretty cute too (thats important, right? ;) There seems to be a few organic options too, always the better option! Again, this purchase is initially more pricey, but should be looked at as an investment to make your life better. Not into Amazon? There's a TON of small shops on etsy making organic pads to try!
As you can tell, I have many mixed emotions about pads. I love that they're better for me, I hate that the waste aspect. But a reusuable pad wont work for everyday all day life-- and it's better not to stick anything inside of you-- so an organic menstrual pad might be the next best option. Again, organic only-- for all the reasons listed above. Again, lots of options out there! On lighter days I like the seventh generation ones.
When all else fails-- there is the hut option. I mean, I would't be opposed to it. Everyones cycle already seems to change when they're around me-- I've been told I'm worse than the moon. So like, if you guys want, I'm happy to build a hut for us to share. Cool? In the meantime--- what options do you prefer? Do any of you guys use the reusable pad option? Is there a brand you'd recommend? If you haven't already seen the first period post, check it out HERE. Periods are kind of a pain in the butt (vagina), but they're part of life, so let's make the best of it and embrace womanly cycle. Or in the wise words of tim gunn, "make it work."
*photo above is by my sweet friend analu. I'm going to fly out to california for her wedding in may and CANNOT WAIT.