Oooooh scary taboo topic. Right?
If you are a man, hello! You won’t benefit much from this blog post about how to reduce your waste during a menstrual cycle. Feel free to read, or not read. However, most (if not all) women do not care if you think this topic is yucky. Your negative opinions about things that don’t even happen to your body are not needed nor appreciated anywhere. So please refrain from freaking out and kindly find another activity to do besides reading further.
If you are a women, also hello! This post is my opinion and I talk about a solution that I found which works for me, among other alternatives.
My first hope is to eliminate the shame and embarrassment that women feel about their periods. People, ESPECIALLY women, should not be disgusted by this process. That sort of thinking keeps young girls in second and third world countries from going to school during their periods. The thinking that periods are shameful and dirty needs to be changed, and that starts with women embracing this natural and healthy bodily process.
My second hope is to talk about waste-free alternatives to combat using disposable methods which can be toxic to our bodies and definitely unfriendly to the Earth.
As I have stated before, I am no expert on this stuff. However, I have read that tampons are lined with carcinogenic materials and are usually bleached using chlorine. Chemicals are also used to provide fragrances. Apparently tampon manufacturers are not required to publicly release what chemicals(?) or materials are inside their products. That’s scary and sketchy! Ew.
Plus plastic tampon applicators? No thanks.
So one of the first least extreme solutions (which still produces waste) is organic tampons, made from organic cotton. No bleaching or chemicals! Yay. LOLA is a business that sells organic tampons, AND non-applicator tampons! I love it.
Those applicators are a gigantic plastic plague that are used for 5 seconds and thrown away. I’m not paid by LOLA to say anything about them, nor have I tried any products from them; they’re just an honest company that understands a woman’s desire to know what is going in her body every month of her life. Gotta respect that. Check them out here.
Another possible solution to consider is reusable pads made from organic cotton. I have not tried this alternative either. Also falling under this category comes Thinx Underwear. I almost order a pair or two a couple different times. However, they’re kinda pricy.
Their claim is that you can wear the undies all day without leakage. They probably have washing instructions, but I don’t know what they are. These options would be good for those women who are uncomfortable or are unable to utilize the final solution I’m going to elaborate upon below. Here is their website.
The last solution I’ll talk about is menstrual cups. I have one from Lunette! And it works for me. Mind you, it was not super cheap. Maybe around $40? However it will last for about 10 whole years. :O But THINK: would you rather buy box after box of tampons or pads every month in your whole life?! This is a money saver kind of in disguise.
This tool has helped me learn a lot about my personal process. For example, what is normal: amount, color, etc. I’ve learned that I can leave it in all day, go about my business and completely forget about it, and clean it out right before bed. Many women overestimate their flow and think the cup will overflow. There is a very small chance that would ever happen. (Not to discredit or underestimate women with heavy flows, you may have to empty it slightly more often).
More advantages to menstrual cups is that one doesn’t have to remove it to use the restroom AND there is absolutely no risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS). You could potentially forget to empty it at night and be perfectly fine. Just empty it in the morning. (:
I wash it with mild soap and water in between empties and inserts, and boil after each cycle.
This waste-free alternative gets rid of pad wrappings, pads, tampon applicators, and tampons. Yay!