Hello everyone, happy RUMPS week!
As it’s reusable cloth sanitary pads (csp) and menstrual cups week I thought I’d write about reusable sanitary products and the benefits to using them, as well as telling you about my experience of making the switch from disposable sanitary pads to a menstrual cup.
In previous posts I have talked about how damaging to the environment disposable nappies are and it thankfully just as we are beginning to become more aware of the downsides of disposable nappies, so too are we beginning to notice the downsides to disposable sanitary products.
It’s that time of the month again…
Aunt Flo, time of the month, cousin red, whatever you want to call it- lets face it, getting our period is possibly one of the miserable times of the month for many of us. With all the cramps, bloating, hormones, and the discomfort that come with it, it’s easy to see why Aunt Flo isn’t exactly the most welcome guest.
Not only that but the expense of all of the products we are told we ‘need’ in order to get through it all is ridiculously high and in all honesty I can say from my own experiences that the over-priced disposable sanitary products like tampons and pads seem to make the whole event even more unpleasant, if that’s even possible. Firstly: sanitary pads are chunky and uncomfortable, they’re itchy and they rustle when you walk (which is really annoying!) They’re also overpriced and let’s be honest- they smell.
The companies that make these perfumed chemical-ridden monstrosities claim that they help ‘mask’ the odour that is apparently part and parcel of menstruation. But this isn’t true- did you know that disposable pads are the biggest cause of odour? Any woman who uses reusable csp (and for the purpose of this article I spoke to many csp users) will tell you that cloth sanitary pads do not produce any kind of nasty odour, unlike disposable pads. If anything the perfume in disposable pads seems to create bad odour! That’s one thing I will never miss about disposables pads!
Sanitary pads are messy- I doubt there are many of us out there who feel particularly clean when we use them, and apart from this unpleasant feeling – they’re just not very good for our health either. More and more articles and studies are beginning to highlight the dangers and possible side effects of these products and the nasties that they contain. It makes sense really, when you consider all of the chemicals and poisons that are in these things to make them so absorbent, it can’t be very good for you to have them pressed up against you for 24 hours 5-7 days in a row.
Tampons are (in my opinion) very unpleasant and dangerous things, I used to use them when I was younger but stopped a about 10 years ago because I just didn’t fully trust them. The side effects of tampons are now widely known and there’s more and more awareness being raised about the dangers of using them. Apart from the fact that some people are actually allergic to them, if used for long stretches tampons can cause Toxic shock Syndrome, which can be deadly.
Another major factor to consider with disposable sanitary products is the cost- you’re literally throwing your money away each month! Say the average box of 20 pads is £4, times that by 12 months in a year and times that amount by 30 years! That’s a lot of money being wasted, most of us don’t even think about it, but when you stop to consider just how much we spend on these products you realise just how much money we are wasting. Compare that to the £15-30 spent every 5 years with reusable products, that’s quite a difference.
What does the waste that is produced by disposable sanitary products do to our environment?
Even if you choose to ignore all of the above factors, the damaging impacts that disposable sanitary products have on the environment are hard to ignore. Tampons and sanitary pads, like disposable nappies take hundreds and hundreds of years to break down and decompose, so just think about it like this: if the first tampons were invented in the 1930s then they are STILL most likely intact in a landfill somewhere!
And it will only get worse, the amount of waste that is produced each year from disposable sanitary products alone is shocking. Consider the amount of tampons/sanitary pads that each woman uses in a month and then times that by the 30-40+ years that she menstruates and then imagine all of the millions of women that use disposable sanitary products- that’s a lot of waste! It’s a scary thought.
Ditching the disposables
I have really wanted to make the switch from disposable to reusable sanitary products for quite a while, but like so many women I was a little unsure where to start, and there were so many questions:
“Do I go for csp or menstrual cups?” “How do I select the right size for my flow?” “Are they clean/ easy/ safe?”
But of course like most things the thought of doing it was more complicated than actually doing it. I chose to go for the menstrual cup as I’d heard such great things about it, and they were clean and fuss-free. The sizing options were easier than I thought, very simple in fact; the brand of cup I went for had two sizing options: A for women who had not given birth vaginally and B for women over the age of 30 or who had given birth vaginally.
I can’t tell you how happy I am that I made the decision to switch to a menstrual cup and finally ditch the disposable pads! I can honestly say I would never go back to disposables, and every woman I’ve spoken to who uses reusable sanitary products has said the same thing.
My first experience using the menstrual cup was fantastic, when it arrived in the post I think for the first time in my adult life I actually couldn’t wait to start my next period! I thought it would take a while for me to get the hang of using it, but it was so easy and I took to it straight away. No more mess, no fuss, and I even felt like my cramps were less severe and my flow was lighter. Result!
The menstrual cup is made of medical grade silicone, is easy to clean and so easy to use, it’s no more difficult to use than a tampon. Best of all you don’t feel it while you’re using it, and if inserted correctly it wont leak. Removing it is just as easy and then all you have to do is empty and rinse each time before using it again. At the beginning of each cycle it’s recommended that you sterilise it in a pan of boiling water before use, nice and easy. Best of all these beauties last for years, so you really do save a fortune.
This month’s visit from aunt Flo was a breeze, I barely noticed she was here and In the future I don’t think I’ll dread her presence quite as much as I did before. 😉
So to those of you out there who are toying with the idea of switching to reusable sanitary products- do it! You’ve got nothing to lose! Chances are you’ll feel better for doing it, the environment will thank you, and so will your wallet!