There are so many reasons not to support the disposable menstrual product industry, which is based on unneeded waste and profit at the expense of women's health and the environment.
As a new generation of young, conscious women are probably searching these pages, wondering if there are alternatives to disposable pads.
Often we tend to focus on the less pleasant parts of menstruating and forget to take care of our bodies that are hard at work. As women and moms, we’re often too busy putting the needs of others above our own.
But your period can be a monthly reminder to take extra care of yourself. And one of the best ways to care for your body is to choose safer personal care products like cloth menstrual pads.
Here are four compelling reasons why you should switch to a reusable choice for your period:
1. Cloth Pads are good for your body
Conventional disposable products can contain plastics, artificial fragrances, adhesives, and chemical gels – things you don’t want next to one of the most sensitive parts of your body! Cloth menstrual pads are free from irritating materials, so you can avoid unnecessary exposure to the synthetic ingredients in disposable pads and tampons.
2. You will reduce your menstrual cramps, infections and skin rashes.
If you suffer intense pain during your period and are using disposables, consider using alternatives like cloth pads, 100% organic cotton products or menstrual cups. Disposable pads also use plastics, which block airflow to your vagina, and not surprisingly, can encourage a painful rash. Disposables also use synthetic fibers like rayon, which are super-absorbent, but will also absorb all the moisture in your vagina, increasing your chances of severe pain and infections -- especially if you are wearing one for hours, all day, all week.
3. Reusable options are much healthier for you.
Disposables are typically made with a combination of plastics, cotton, synthetic fibers and wood pulp. Conventionally produced cotton is one of the most toxic crops grown, using 20 percent of the world's pesticides and herbicides. These materials are then bleached with chlorine dioxide, creating polluting, harmful and bio-accumulative byproducts like dioxin, which not only end up in the environment, but also remain in our bodies for decades. Add other synthetic chemicals and artificial fragrances to the mix, and you've got a recipe for side effects like allergic reactions, hormone disruption, reproductive and gynecological disorders like endometriosis.
4. It's sanitary, doesn't leak and easier to clean than you think.
When talking about reusable options, one is inevitably faced with the questions: "is it clean?" and "will it leak?" Many cloth pads use a removable liner for extra absorption, and many have a waterproof lining sewn inside. It may be a tad bulkier, but occasional bulk is infinitely better than a lifetime of health problems. With the right maintenance, reusable products are just as sanitary. For cloth pads, most recommend soaking them overnight in water (you can add hydrogen peroxide or tea tree oil to sanitize further) and toss them in the wash for a hot water cycle.
So while we might not have the space to discuss the gender politics behind the modern menstrual industry (making us perceive a natural process as "filthy"), it ultimately comes down to the fact that it is about our bodies, our minds -- and our choices to make.