Can we have a candid discussion about our vaginas please?
Because, these poor girls are not getting the love they should be.
No. I’m not talking about sex. That’s a discussion for a different post.
I’m talking about once a month love, and the fact that most pre-menopausal women are actually quietly poisoning their bodies from the inside out. Every. Single. Month.
I’m talking about tampons, Ladies.
Don’t groan. Just please hear me out on this.
I know, I know. But tampons are so convenient and easy, and I can just toss them when I’m done.
But, did you know that the vast majority of cotton is now GMO (genetically modified organism)? Yep.
And did you know that because it’s a GMO crop, that it is generally soaked in RoundUp (herbicide and weed killer made by Monsanto) which contains lots of ingredients, but specifically a highly toxic chemical called glyphosate.
A study done in Argentina found that 85% of all cotton products tested (tampons, cotton swabs, sterile gauze, cotton balls) had concentrations of glyphosate. And the sterile cotton products tested, were 100% contaminated. What?? How is that still considered sterile??
And did you know that there is research that indicates that glyphosate, incidentally, is one of the contributors to the collapse of bee colonies world wide? So, that alone would be an awesome reason to stop using conventional tampons, right? 🙂
Tampons are also bleached. There’s a bi-product of that bleaching process that is also pretty toxic: it’s called Dioxin, and is a known carcinogen. And that clever vagina of yours is super absorbent because it’s actually a mucous membrane, so…
I haven’t even mentioned the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), which can affect women unexpectedly and can even be life threatening. I actually have a friend who survived TSS and her story lingered with me for years.
Needless to say, this tampon situation was on my list of things to look into because each month, it nagged at me every time I used a tampon.
Well, I did look into it.
And I have to tell you that conventional tampons are just too dodgy to risk life and health for, and besides, they’re pretty lousy for the environment in a lot of ways.
So, what’s the alternative? Pads? Sure, if your periods are light and carefree, maybe.
I wish. But no. My cycles are generally heavy. I used to use Super Plus AND a pad. No joke. And I still changed them every couple hours.
And besides, what if you want to go swimming? Or participate in active sports?
I researched alternatives, and I found that there are organic cotton tampons. That’s absolutely a better option.
But honestly, I wanted something with zero potential side effects. Something that would help contain my cycle, but without potentially screwing up my body’s delicate system. And I really wanted a solution that didn’t impact the environment significantly.
That’s when I discovered the Diva Cup.
It’s a menstrual cup made of medical grade silicone that you sort of fold and insert.
That’s right. I said “cup”.
It doesn’t absorb your period, it collects it. Literally.
It fills up, and you empty it, clean it, and reinsert it.
If you haven’t used one, you’ve probably got questions about how hygienic it is, or how messy it is, or how awkward it might be.
Well, I’ve been using mine for about 3 years now, so I can honestly share my own experience.
Firstly, it is awkward at first. Of course it is.
Just like it was when I first tried using tampons.
I’ve inserted tampons, removed them immediately and inserted new ones because I don’t know what the hell was happening down there, but there was some sort of misfire resulting in significant discomfort. I’ve used tampons where I’ve had to go “searching” for the string to try and remove it. I’ve used tampons which required me to basically bear down and push it out. So yeah. It’s all awkward at some point.
Initially, it did take a little getting used to in terms of inserting it, and I strongly suggest you read the instructions and follow them. There are even some amazing and entertaining videos on YouTube to help with this. I’ve shared some below.
It did take a couple cycles for me to get really comfortable with it. But, what I love about it is that it is as reliable as a tampon (more-so actually), without any of the risks or WASTE.
So, let’s see now:
- No bee killing
- No significant ongoing waste to the landfills and sewage systems of America
- No toxic outgassing in my awesome lady parts
- No running out of tampons and scrambling to find some
- No repeat costs of purchasing each month …
Sounds like a deal to me!
There are a number of menstrual cups on the market, and you can even find reviews and comparisons on YouTube (I’ve linked to some below for you). I chose the Diva Cup because it had good reviews, and a friend recommended it. I may someday try others and compare them. But for now, I’m good.
How I Use The Diva Cup
First, it comes in two sizes: for those who are younger and haven’t had children, and those who are over 30 or have had kids. I’m basically 31, and have had 4 kids, so…
It’s stored in a simple cloth bag, and each month, I take it out, wash it in hot water with mild soap, rinse it thoroughly, and then fold it and insert it.
When I’m out and about, I try and use the handicap stalls in restrooms because they have a sink right there. I will empty the cup 3-4 times a day (like I said, heavy cycle), rinse it, and reinsert it. If there’s no sink available, I simply wipe it clean with toilet paper or wipe it with a damp paper towel (if I’m thinking ahead when I go in), and then reinsert it.
I sleep with mine in, because it says you can wear it for up to 12 hours without emptying it: I empty it right before bed, then first thing in the morning—that’s way under the 12 hour limit. I will rinse it with warm water and a little mild soap when I’m home, and when I’m done with it at the end of my cycle, I wash it in very hot water and mild (organic) soap thoroughly, and allow it to air dry before storing it in its bag until the next month.
It’s so easy, I don’t even have to think about it. The other thing I love about it is that I can carry it in my purse (in its bag) when my cycle is due. My cycle varies between 25-28 days, so this makes it easy to go out and about without the worry of starting unexpectedly.
And lastly, with a menstrual cup, you’re fully prepared in the event of a zombie apocalypse. So, when your survivor warrior girl friends are stuffing palm fronds up their hoo-hahs, you’ll be silently thanking me for this moment. So, you’re welcome in advance, my friend. 😉
And if you’ve already bid your monthly friend adieu, please share this with the women in your life who are still dealing with it. You may help them in more ways than you realize.
I’ve included some additional links so you can learn more about this subject for yourself.
In the meanwhile, be good to your girly bits, Ladies. 😉
References and Resources:
Glyphosate Study and Cotton
The dangers of glyphosate to humans:
What’s in your tampon or pad:
Making the Switch:
Menstrual Cups 101:
This is an awesome video in picking your first menstrual cup by an adorable and clever Brit who knows:
Video on a very complete menstrual cup comparison:
An awesome guide to using menstrual cups:
Menstrual cup comparison chart:
How to stop your menstrual cup from leaking by an adorable and clever Brit:
A company that carries organic reusable pads:
A company that makes menstrual panties:
What and Where to Buy
Most of these are available at your local health food store or Whole Foods, but I’ve also included links to get them from Amazon. If you choose to buy them through these links, I get a little $ back which helps fund my blogging habit and is most appreciated. Please note that these are only products I actually use or trust.
Crazy, right? So many options!
Have you used any of these alternatives to tampons? Did I miss some that are just as good? Share in the comments below.
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