Green your life ~ one period at a time!!

To start this series out I wanted to answer this question, ahead of time:

Why would anyone, in their right mind, willingly choose to purchase and use reusable menstrual products?

Well, there are a couple answers to that question.  I want to talk to you about both of them: Cost and Health!

Perhaps if you’re not already excited about this topic, I’ll at least peak your interest enough to pay attention to my upcoming reviews.  I’m not going to talk about brand in this post ~ that is reserved for the individual reviews to come.  But for now, let’s go over some basics.

COST

1. The average cost of using disposables:

On average, a woman will spend $4.00-5.00 per cycle.  If you take into account the average time span for a woman to have a period is approximately 40 years (give or take depending on genetics), that would be in the ballpark of $1920 – $2400 in her lifetime!  And that’s only taking into account tampons.  Not everyone can get by without using pads, as well, for either part of or their entire cycle, so that amount could potentially double.  Now if she chooses to use organic tampons and pads that cost will go up even higher.

While over an entire lifetime that may not sound like quite a lot.  You might even argue that the convenience is worth the cost.  But let’s just say you took that money monthly and invested it somehow.  Not only would you be saving that amount, but it would be increasing that savings all those years as your stocks/bonds/whatever rose in value.  Something to think about for sure!

There a cost to the environment as well!  On average a woman will throw away nearly 17,000 disposable tampons in her life-time (add pads to that if used).  Experts estimate that plastic tampon applicators may actually take 300 to 500 years to biodegrade.

2. Price range of purchasing re-usables:

This can vary greatly depending on what options you choose.  But I’ll just give you a brief example to get us started.  We’ll look more in depth at the costs of different brands in each review later on, but for now….

Menstrual cups will run you an average (a very rough average) of $30-something (will last you 10 plus years) and sea sponges range in the teens to low-twenties (will last you anywhere from 6 months to a couple of years).

Menstrual pads, from what I’ve seen so far, range anywhere from $5.00 up to around $15.00 per pad, depending on the brand you choose.  You can save on this by purchasing “set” or “bundles” that sellers have put together for you.   These can last you a very long time depending on how you care for them.  How many you need will depend on many factors: how heavy or light your flow is, how many days in each cycle, if you want to wash them as you go or wait until after your cycle ends, etc…

So, as you can see you will be purchasing these alternative products a lot less often than you now do disposables.  As little as a bundle once or twice in your lifetime or as often as 6 months to 2 years for the sea sponges.

Laundry cost ~ the cost here is negligible, just throw them in with your regular washing loads.  No need to run a separate load.

HEALTH

Keep in mind, as you read the following, that we’re talking about one of the most absorbent tissues in a woman’s body.  Her reproductive tract.  Nearly anything placed on this tissue gets absorbed into the body.

Dioxin is a by-product of the chlorine bleaching process used in the production of tampons and pads and has been called one of the most toxic substances ever created by humans.  It is known to impair the immune and reproductive system.  It’s potentially carcinogenic.  According to a Swedish study, there is a link between tampons containing dioxin, and other chlorine by-products (dioxin is not the only one), and an increased risk of cancers of the female reproductive tract ~ especially the uterus, ovaries and bladder.

Toxic Shock syndrome (TSS). is a rare bacteria caused illness occurring mostly in menstruating women who use high absorbency tampons.  It can also be caused by using vaginal barrier contraceptives.  It is a strain of staph, the bacterium Staphylococcus Aureus.  Hyperabsorbent tampons may facilitate the infection because their prolonged intra-vaginal use enhances the bacterial growth.  Symptons include high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, sunburn-like rash, red eyes, dizziness, lightheadedness, muscle aches and drops in blood pressure which could cause fainting.  The infection can cause shock and kidney & liver failure.

Rayon is a super absorbent fiber used to make tampons and pads that not only absorb menstrual blood, but also the normal vaginal secretions that protect the delicate tissues.  This causes drying and ulcerations, which enables toxins to enter the bloodstream and infect us.  Rayon actually encourages bacteria growth, it’s been proven to amplify the production of TSS.

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Clearly the best options to choose are products that contain no harmful or synthetic chemicals, and THAT is the reason for this series.  I want to help spread the word and educate people about all the great options we actually have available to us but don’t necessarily hear about.

SO SPREAD THE WORD LADIES!!!!  Share my blog with all your girlfriends!  Subscribe via email or RSS feed so you don’t miss anything.  This is an important topic all women should know about.

3 responses to “Green your life ~ one period at a time!!

  1. Beverly Dittmer

    Sensitive subject handled very well. Valuable information many women need to have!

  2. It’s somewhat disturbing to realise that the sanitary pads that I used when I was a teenager (back last century ;) ) will be around long after I am dead and dusty!

  3. This is a fantastic summary of why so many women are choosing to green their periods. I find reusable cloth pads and cups so much more comfortable, and its such a bonus that you never run out! Thanks Heather for your eloquent overview of this subject :D

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