Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Secret Women's Business

Wow! Post number 100! Have I really written that much? Hope you've all enjoyed them...

This 100th post is a special one, and one that is very close to my heart. Today I received my copy of Clean Food Organic in the mail (a very thoughtful gift subscription from a beautiful friend), and found that it contained just the very article I had been searching for for a long time.

It is titled, 'Secret Women's Business - your way to a healthy and sustainable menstrual cycle'. The article sheds a really bright light on something that is an integral part of our lives as women, and looks at the possible health risks that are associated with conventional menstrual products.

A lot of us make conscious decisions about our health and the environment everyday, but the items we use monthly probably don't get much of a second thought. Most conventional pads and tampons are made using synthetic materials such as polypropylene and plastic, and most use a super absorbent material that is petroleum based. They are also bleached with chlorine, and some may even use dyes (usually an azo dye which is made with heavy metals), to colour either the tampon string or the absorbent liner in pads. These chemicals and plastics can act as xenoestrogens (man-made chemicals which mimic the action of the hormone estrogen in the body), and therefore have the potential to affect your hormonal health. Chlorine is also a known carcinogen, so the long term affects of its usage could be catastrophic.

There is also the issue of fibre loss in tampons. Some of the most popular brands of tampons use bleached cotton and rayon, both of which are made up of loose fibres that shed with both the insertion and removal of the tampon. Many medical practioners have had to first remove residual tampon fibres from around the cervix before being able to collect clear samples when doing routine pap smears. These fibres could possibly be the cause of many conditions such as endometriosis, polycystic ovaries and cancer. They can also change the bacterial conditions internally and cause many vaginal infections such as thrush. Toxic shock syndrome is another well known side effect from tampon usage. It is rare, but can be fatal.

But body health aside, there is also the issue of the environment. Along with disposable nappies, every year we throw away billions of plastic and chemical laden pads, liners and tampons. This ends up as landfill, and will never break down. A very scary thought.

So what are our options then if we choose to abandon these modern day so-called conveniences? There are many. My product of choice is cloth pads. I have used them now for several years and will never look back! Aside from being kinder to me and the environment, they are also kinder to my hip pocket. Well made cloth pads will last for years and are extremely comfortable. They need no special care either. I simply soak them in clean water, then rinse in the washing machine and wash the same way as any other load of clothes. Many work-at-home mothers create them, and there are lots of websites supplying them. Their popularity is fastly growing! My favourites all come from Just jump on and search for 'cloth menstrual pads'. You will be astounded at the variety! And believe it or not, since using cloth pads, my cycle is shorter, less painful and far more enjoyable. Yes, enjoyable. It's no longer the most dreaded part of my month.

I also sometimes use a Diva Cup, but that is a whole other blog post! Stay tuned for that episode....

But for those of you that are not ready to make the cloth jump, there are other disposable options made from organic cotton which has not been processed with chemicals and other additives. Both pads and tampons are available in organic cotton, and both are also biodegradable. Most good health food shops will supply these products.

So who else is ready to join the cloth revolution? If anyone has any questions regarding anything I've written above, including where to get cloth pads, or information on brands of organic cotton products, please leave a comment and I will endeavour to point you in the right direction!!


  1. Edited to add - I would have loved to have been able to put up a link for the article, but unfortunately it isn't online. I've done my best to reproduce the information I think is important, but recommend that you get a copy of the latest Clean Food Organic magazine if you want to read the article in it's entirety. There is more information in it that might be useful to you.

  2. First of all bec, congrats on the 100th post. I have read each and every post and I have enjoyed them all.
    As for cloth pads it is making more and more sense the more I hear you talk about them. I think I will eventually be one to use them and look back and think why didn't I do this sooner.

  3. Hey Bec, I am seriously thinking of joining the cloth pad revolution. I had a look at the punkyspads link, they seem really good. Does the starter kit seem good enough? Basically I'm wondering how many and of which types you'd need for a normal cycle. And they said flanel or cotton, Which do you use/prefer?

  4. 100 post is a great milestone as a blogger, congrats about it. I have read some of your work, and looking forward to read all of your post.