When buying period products such as pads, tampons, menstrual cups and period undies it’s really important to be aware of what you’re putting in your body/on your vulva as both the vagina and vulva are able to absorb toxins straight into the bloodstream, bypassing the liver!
While that might sound scary, it’s actually a fantastic opportunity to make empowered choices when it comes to how you’re looking after your body. By making empowered choices around how you care for yourself during your period may even help you feel more comfortable and connected with your cycle. On top of this, using low-tox period products can even reduce period pain. This was the biggest change that I noticed when I switched from conventional products.
So, what to look for?
- Free from PFAS
- If it’s a priority for you – the impact that your period products have on the environment
This isn’t an extensive list of what you need to look for when choosing your feminine hygiene products, however it’s a really good start. By looking for the above when choosing your pads, tampons, menstrual cups & period undies you will avoid a whole lot of the baddies. Try not to get overwhelmed – the best thing that you can do is start making changes now – don’t get stuck worrying about the past. With health it’s always about what we can do in the now and doing our best – we will never get it all perfect! And that’s okay.
Why is this so important?
Or per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, can be found in period undies, pads & tampons. Unfortunately, PFAS have a nasty effect on our bodies – they impact our immune function, thyroid, kidneys, liver, insulin regulation and so much more. Higher rates of PFAS exposure is also connected with an increased risk in some cancers. Basically, it’s really important that we avoid them where we can. It is simply unbelievable that chemicals like this are used in female hygiene products (that’s not the only place they’re found – we can cover this later). This is very much a women’s health issue and something that we can only find the way forward from by understanding and having education around this issue which is simply not spoken about enough.
Organic pads & tampons –
While also being more breathable (a big plus for vulva and vagina health!) organic pads and tampons also allow us to significantly reduce our chemical exposure through the vagina and vulva as they don’t contain pesticides and herbicides. Not only this, organic cotton is also better for the environment as it uses less water to produce which means that it’s better for the environment.
Ah, why are there so many chemicals that we have to look out for just to have a period! Chlorine bleaching, which can produce dioxins, is commonly used in the production of pads and tampons. Which means that unless we are looking out for it specifically, we are putting these bleaches right into our bodies! Dioxins are a known carcinogen, which means that they promote the development of cancer cells in the body. They can also affect our hormones.
Now you have the why let’s look at a few options moving forward –
My personal favorite is the menstrual cup – pop it in, leave it for a few hours, empty it, give it a wash and start again.
I’ve tried a few over the years, first off starting with the traditional menstrual cup shape. I then moved to Nixit, which is more of a disc shape. I found this to be the most comfortable and user friendly. It also holds the most blood which is great if you have a heavy flow (if you do – keep an eye out for my next blog, or consider booking in for a consult – heavy periods just don’t have to be the norm).
I’ve had friends and clients who have been concerned that using a menstrual cup would be uncomfortable or messy. I’ve found the complete opposite. Menstrual cups are the most comfortable product that I have tried (finding the right one for you is a big part of this) and they are way less messy than pads or tampons in my opinion. If you’re worried about making a mess while you’re still learning about your body and your menstrual cup, simply empty it when you’re in the shower.
I have had a couple of clients tell me that menstrual cups just aren’t for them. And that’s totally okay too! There are so many other options out there.
Here’s a list of my most recommended products:
While ModiBodi and Hannah specifically state that their period underwear are PFAS free, not all period undies are. Make sure you check the website if you’re wanting to branch out and try a different brand.
If you just aren’t down for giving reusable period products a try, or if you want some disposable products as a back up
Then give these a try –
- Femme Organics (next on my list to try – watch this space as I may start stocking them)
- Bamboo Babe (this company offers a 2 box free trial, just pay shipping)
- Toms Organics
- Cottons Organics
The only issue with these disposable period products is that labelling them organic doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re free from PFAS. This is a trickier one to tackle unless the brand specifically states that their product is free from PFAS. I will endeavor to contact each of these brands and find out if they have any more information – if they do I will provide an update.
While covering some really big topics, I have faith that this blog has provided some education and insight for you in moving forward and making empowered choices when it comes to our periods. If you feel overwhelmed or as though you would like more support with having healthier and happier periods, please don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re interested in working together.
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