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Simple Natural Living: Health & Eco Friendly Feminine Products--- What You Put Inside Matters



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.


ORGANIC TAMPONS
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.


REUSABLE PADS
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!


ORGANIC PADS
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. 

16 comments:

  1. Like you, I like the idea of re-usable pads, although I've not tried them. I needed a reminder to find some organic cotton products though, I always used to, but since we've moved away from the city they are harder to find. Thanks for the thoughts, they are very helpful. CJ xx

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    1. Hi there! I live in a very small town where it's hard to find organic anything! I've found my organic, unbleached tampons from epantry.com and the best part is that they'll ship out once a month if I want them to. They're very inexpensive on this site.

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  2. I use a Luna Cup (made in Sweden or something, I think? But they distribute in the U.S. and they have free shipping online) and I love it! I'm not sure how it compares size-wise to the Diva Cup, but they also have two options and I've never had a problem with pain or insertion (after I trimmed the "tail" that is). I also bought a pair of Thinx period panties a while ago, and they work really well, although I haven't bought a full "set" because they are SUPER pricey (even when I compare the price of my disposable liners/pads). If anyone has any recommendations for less expensive period undies, that would be awesome...

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  3. My sister uses Thinx underwear and she really likes them! I'm not sure if they are organic but they might be a good option.

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  4. I just got the Thinx underwear and two periods in I am IN LOVE!! FOr my heavy days I have to change undies in the middle of the day but what ever. I love that I am not shoving chemicals inside me anymore and there is little to no waste. Bonus they also help ladies in far away places that may not have as ready access to menstruation products. My daughter is 12 and loves them too. Sorta like wearing a fancy swimsuit bottom. I have been intimidated by the diva cup but maybe I just need to give that a go for the heavier days?

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    1. I am obsessed with my Thinx! I've also had them for two cycles...Looking forward to see how they hold up.

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  5. I started by using the Keeper, which was too stiff and uncomfortable, so now I use the Moon Cup, which is silicon like the Diva Cup. I also really like reusable pads. I initially bought the liner styles from Party in My Pants, because I was on the pill and had very light periods. But recently I bought some pads from Glad Rags and I love them! I still sometimes use the organic disposable kind, but I really do like the reusable ones and encourage you to try them. Party in My Pants offers a free sample to start. As far as caring for them, I usually will rinse them in the sink at home when I change them out, and then let them air dry until I'm ready to wash them. The only thing I don't like is that the short ones move around way too much, so I'd only buy long ones from now on. Great topic! Thanks for sharing!

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  6. I've got a mooncup (http://www.mooncup.co.uk/) and have used it for years. Once I got the hang of getting it in and out, it's the easiest option for me. I love that I no longer need to panic that I haven't enough (any!) tampons or have the embarrassment of disposing of them. Plus a cup is a lot cheaper because it lasts for years and better for the environment because it's just one small item which isn't intended to be thrown away after each use.

    Stephanie Jane

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  7. I use a Diva cup and Luna pads - they are reusable and have organic options. They've lasted me several years. I want to buy more because the newer ones are a little more streamlined and easier to use, they definitely are tweaking the minor problems I've had with the older ones, but I can't make myself do it because the older ones are totally functional. They have underwear options (personal favorite) and pads. I am also a heavy flow lady and layer on up through most of my period but I love the underwear towards the end where you feel like you could go back to your regular underwear without a pad but know you'll probably regret the light stain that will be there at the end of the day. My cup totally leaks more than the Playtex sport tampons I used to use exclusively but there's no going back for me.

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  8. I just finished sewing myself a set of reusable pads! I loooooove them. They're so comfortable and feel so kind to my (somewhat sensitive) skin. Plus they're affordable to make, and I feel good not adding so much waste to the trash can every month. I usually tend to wear them only when I'm home or am having a lighter day. After I've used one, I rinse it right away, and then just toss it in with the rest of the laundry (kinda awkward to do at work!).

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  9. Sea sponges are where it's at!!! I love them!! A little trickier in public restrooms but combined with a Luna pad, they are the best! Great for your pH balance too. I did the diva cup for about a year but the sponge has proven even better about leaks! Almost none! I wish everyone would give these eco and safe options a try! :):) thanks for spreading the word!!

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    1. Drea, thank you for this post! I would love nothing more than to build a menstruation hut with you.
      Sara, I love my sea sponge tampons, too! After using Natracare organic tampons for years, I made the switch to sea sponge tampons. I immediately noticed that my cramps were less severe using the sea sponges, and I can keep a closer eye on my flow. Reusable sea sponge tampons are much healthier for the environment. (Waste not, want not!) The sea sponge tampons are a bit pricey up front, but are totally worth it in the long run. I also recommend drinking raspberry leaf tea (organic, if possible!) before and during menstruation cycle. Moon power!

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    2. Thank you for the tea tip! I just bought some recently too! Love to hear about others lovin' the sea sponges :)

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  10. I have heard some really great things about menstrual cups but I have never tried it. I think that people automatically are slow to engage with new or different products when it comes to feminine health. Also, have you considered SPANX? They are an underwear that absorbs everything and keeps odor under control and you don't have to wear a pad or tampon. I love what they are doing for women and they're at the top of my list. I hope you like it!

    www.cultureintheory.com

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  11. I just finished sewing myself a set of reusable pads! I loooooove them. They're so comfortable and feel so kind to my (somewhat sensitive) skin. Plus they're affordable to make, and I feel good not adding so much waste to the trash can every month. I usually tend to wear them only when I'm home or am having a lighter day. After I've used one, I rinse it right away, and then just toss it in with the rest of the laundry (kinda awkward to do at work!).

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  12. Thank you for bringing this up. I've been using my diva cup, but after two kids, doesn't work well. I'm so glad to know about these other options

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