How old were you when you first began bleeding?
I was 7 years old and luckily, had 3 older sisters who had already gone through puberty and were able to support my transition and offer advice and tips. First, they told me about the cramps, then about the products and then about birth control.
When they talked about the products, I was told I had 2 options, pads and tampons. However, I was not allowed to try tampons until I was older so my beginning option was pads. There was so many sizes, styles, and absorbencies that I was over whelmed with knowing what was right for me.
Each of my sisters used different brands, sizes, and absorbencies because well they were all different.
When I began bleeding it was HEAVY! I would bleed for 7/8 days and have the worst cramps; I did not want to move or do anything. I hated it, but then, 14 years later, 168 periods later, and anywhere from $840-$4,032 later, I learned about 3 things that have changed my mensuration forever.
I am going to share with you today very brief descriptions of what each of these are and in a later post go into depth of each. What I really want to get to is 3 reasons why it is important for you to make the switch from disposable pads and tampons to period cups and or period panties. Stick with me to the end I promise you will not regret it.
This is an ancient Indigenous practice of using special herbs to cleanse the womb space. Nothing is physically touched or inserted into the uterus, vagina, or womb. A special blend of herbs are brought to a simmer to create a tea. Instead of drinking it, it is left to cool down enough where you can hover your hand over the steam for 10 seconds and it does not burn. Once the tea has cooled down, the person is to squat, sit, and hover over the pot so the steam can travel up in between the legs and into the womb space. Depending on the treatment being provided a person may steam anywhere from 5 min - 20min possibly. This steam helps cleanse the womb physically, emotionally, and spiritually, detaching all that no longer serves the space.
Also known as menstrual cups are bell shaped cups that are typically made of flexible medical grade silicone, latex, or a thermoplastic isomer. These cups are inserted as would a tampon, but they can be emptied, cleaned, and reused. You can go to the restroom and not worry about having to take the cup out to avoid infections since the cup does not absorb anything. It is literally a cup holding your blood, when you are ready you can empty it, clean it, and put it right back in. There are many different sizes, shapes, and colors available.
These are literally underwear, lacey, cheeky, hip huggers, briefs, you name it style of underwear. There are so many brands to choose from. The underwear are made of many different materials in order to support absorbing blood, not staining, and lasting many cycles. They can be worn alone, literally with no other period product, you bleed directly onto them. Once you feel they are full you remove them, hand wash, dry, and either put on another pair or wait for your 1 pair to dry. They can also be used as a back up to tampons or cups on heavier days to avoid stains and we all know the so common public period announcements when we bleed through will running errands.
Okay, now we know what the heck I am talking about, period cups and panties. Now let me share with you 3 reasons why you need to make the switch NOW.
I title these concerns because these are things we should be worried about. If you are not on birth control which is stopping your natural cycle, these are things you should be worried about in your over all health. Our bodies are immensely intelligent, and this monthly bleed has a huge purpose in our over all health. I know unfortunately, it is not always pleasant and it has its cons, BUT I promise you, adding one of these products to your routine will most likely make a difference in your menstruating experience.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. I hope this information is helpful to you and can support your menstrual health even just a little bit.
Disposable pads and tampons are made with many harsh chemicals and materials that can cause many health issues. They are placed in such a sacred and tender place of the body which you want to protect from those things. When you open a box of tampons what is the first thing you see? Usually a folded up flyer with small font explaining all of the risks of using the product. It talks about the dangers of using the product for too long and mentions the chemicals used in the products. If you are interested read the warning description that are printed on or in the tampon or pad packs to get more details. Why would we continue to use something we know can cause harm to our reproductive health? Our female intimate region is as we know a very sensitive region, we constantly have to change our underwear, we have discharge almost daily, and we have to keep the area clean to avoid infections and diseases.
Period cups and panties have a significantly lower risk of any health concerns. There are no harsh chemicals used in or on the products. You are in control of their cleanliness and the amount of blood in or on them. You do not run the risk of having urine or stool being absorbed when you use the restroom that could possibly add to the risk of an infection. I will admit, it is a little messy at first when you begin to use the new products, but once you get the hang of it you will truly enjoy this time of the month. You would be able to use these products a countless number of times which leads me to concern number 2; environmental concerns.
Do you know how long it takes for one menstrual pad to decompose back to into the earth? Trying ripping one with you hands (clean of course), now imagine nature trying to take care of that. According to Menstrual Health Alliance India, one sanitary pad could take 500 to 800 years to decompose as the plastic used is non-biodegradable. This means the very first pad I ever used in my life is still intact somewhere in the world. ( I hope it is not in the ocean!) So is my mothers, yours, and your mothers, and they will be for many more generations. How will these products which are essential, impact our environment in 5, 10, 20 years? These products are inevitable, we bleed every month, but do we really want or need to contribute to an already overwhelming amount of garbage produced in the world? We now have options, choices, and alternatives to disposable period products that can greatly support our reduction of garbage production. What is holding us back from keeping yet another 24 pack of pads out of our landfills this month? Our environmental impact may not be grand for just one person, but image if 20 - 500 of us made the switch... Now that would make a difference.
How much $dinero$ do you spend every month on menstrual products? These are products you will need for the majority of your life time and they are inevitable. The government unfairly taxes us on literally bleeding every month. I quoted in the beginning of this blog that I discovered these products after 14 years of bleeding. During these 14 years I assumed I bled once each month (honestly sometimes twice but that's another topic) which means 14 years x 12 months = 168 period cycles.
Warning a little bit of math is to follow, it is simple, I promise.
Every cycle I would purchase anywhere from 1 pad pack, 1 pad and 1 tampon pack, to 2 pad and tampon packs each of 24 or 14 products.
The packs use to be the cheapest $5 and could go up to $12 each.
Assuming I was to purchase one $5 pack a month, at minimum I would spend $840 in those 14 years.
168 period cycles x $5 per cycle = $840.
Now lets assume I would purchase 2 packs a month at $12 each for those 14 years.
168 period cycles x 2($12 per pack) = $4,032
I spent anywhere from $840 - $4,032 in 14 years purchasing disposable pads/ tampons! This also equals $60 - $288 in 1 year.
How much longer will I bleed for? Let's assume I stop bleeding at 55 years old, I started at 7 years old that means about 48 years of bleeding. 14 of these years I spent this amount of money... 34 more years at this rate... that is a lot of money being spent on products which prices keep rising on, taxes keep accumulating, and the products can only be used once hence off to the landfill they go.
A menstrual cup can range from $5 - $40 and can easily last you 5 years. This is it, you can easily have just one cup for 5 years and not need to make any additional purchases.
If you wanted you can have a 2nd or 3rd cup for traveling or what not but even then your yearly cost would be $5 - $120 every 5 years.
Period panties can range from $15 - $50 and can last 2 -3 years. This all depends on your care of the panties. This also means your yearly cost with 1-3 pairs can be from $15 - $175 every 2/3 years.
I am just going to leave this information here and let you do as you wish with this. Personally, I would like a better world for my future self and following generations. Better world, environment, menstrual experience, and financial capacity. One cup, one panty, one person at a time.
I hope you give these products a try and see for yourself if they are something that can better your experience.
Check out these links below for different products and pages. Share with me your thoughts.
Thank you for reading.
These should be enough websites to get your own research going.
Best of luck!