By Hannah Schenker
When I started my period, the mainstream and accepted ways of dealing with it were disposable tampons and pads from well-known brands. We heard stories about the “old days” when women would wear strange belts and launder their cloth pads – none of which sounded at all appealing. We were completely disconnected from our bodies, from the blood, and found it all rather unpleasant and disturbing, something to keep silent and ignore as much as possible. But times are changing.
We care more now about our health and our miraculous bodies and want to honour the cycles we go through. We care about the health of the planet, and want to consciously use our spending power for the good. We are aware that these are products that we will use for days at a time, every month, for a big chunk of our lives, and it’s time to start choosing better alternatives.
But times are changing. We care more now about our health and our miraculous bodies and want to honour the cycles we go through.
Many of us are already clued up to the fact that regular tampons and pads are putting our most sensitive and absorbent skin right up close and personal with a wide array of chemicals and toxins like dioxins, furans and pesticide residues, especially if using anything scented. We are aware of the need to choose organic cotton over synthetic rayon and heavily sprayed conventional cotton – for our health and that of the planet (conventionally produced cotton is one of the most toxic crops grown, using 20 percent of the world’s pesticides and herbicides). Because of all of this, we are also concerned about Toxic Shock Syndrome and endometriosis. We know that “disposable” does not equal disappearing, or biodegradable, or sustainable – and are aware of the impact on landfills of all these synthetic products.
We know you are ready to consider reusable menstrual cups, reusable cloth pads and even reusable breast pads for the mamas reading along, and we’ve found a business passionate about these products – Enhanced Health NZ.
A menstrual cup will get you really up close and personal with your own body and the blood it produces each month – something that might take some getting used to, but is so worth it. You insert the folded cup (made of medical grade silicone), let it open up and catch the blood, held in place by your muscles. There is a bit of a learning curve involved – just as there is when first using tampons. But they are also the most risk-free, environmentally friendly and cost effective choice.
You spend a little more up front for the cup (around $40), but you can re-use it for years to come (8-10 years, so that’s $3-$4 a year!). They come in different sizes – before baby and after baby – and when inserted properly you shouldn’t feel it at all and are free to do anything you would normally do. The best thing about menstrual cups is that they are not drying like a tampon. The blood can flow but so can any other natural juices, keeping your body healthy and not stagnating or getting irritated or growing harmful bacteria. Personally, I’ve found that it results in a far less painful period that is also shorter – and I’ve got endometriosis. So that’s saying something. To check out a good range, based right here in New Zealand, visit Enhanced Health NZ.
See next page for reusable menstrual pads and breast pads…