Yesterday, on TV I came across the documentary Tampon, Our Closest Enemy.
My relationship with tampons ended a long time ago, so I wasn’t exactly surprised by the title. After I read this article a few years ago, I immediately stopped buying them. I always preferred menstrual pads, but even if you’re not an avid user, there’s always a situation when you need a tampon: when going for a swim, to the beach, or a trip.
The documentary’s description sums it up pretty well:
“Cases of menstrual toxic shocks are increasing around the world and woman that have been close to death are witnessing. Thanks to independant studies and tests, we know now that tampons contain dioxicis, toxic components, among 10 the most dangerous chemicals classified by the WHO. However, a real taboo surounds this product, while women use an average of 11 000 tampons in their lives.”
Tampons were found to contain several toxic ingredients, including potential carcinogenics and dioxins. They can help the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria develop in your organism, creating a life-threatening infection. The more absorbent they are, the worse it can get. There’s also a remote chance of happening with very absorbent menstrual pads, although a major difference here is that you usually don’t keep a menstrual pad for more than 3/4 hours. With tampons you tend to keep them for too long, more than recommended.
I really advise you to read the article and later watch the documentary. It can really shed light into the problem.
After talking about this on my Instagram yesterday, many of you asked me about alternatives. Which is something the film lacks.
So, let’s talk about it.
What I use: menstrual cup (there are several brands out there – I like LunaCup and DivaCup).
Other alternatives: cloth pads, and if you really have to: organic cotton pads/ tampons. I would not use a tampon but the organic brands at least are not full of toxic ingredients.
Here’s the truth: using a menstrual cup can be very difficult. They are different from anything else you’ve used so far, there’s definitely a learning curve and it will get at least 2 to 3 cycles until you get used to them.
I find this guide quite helpful. I learned to use mine based on Amazon reviews. But here’s a few tips:
- Start using it before you get your period, on your day off. It will give you time to learn how to insert it properly without having to rush trough the door.
- Read the instruction carefully.
- Research before you buy one. There are many brands and although they are quite similar, you might not get it right the first time.
- Don’t be afraid to go up there – it’s your body and it’s just blood. Really.
- Lubricant helps!
Even if it’s just coconut oil.
Personal experience and benefits:
- I took me 4 cycles to get it right. I had a cloth pad to help me with the first few cycles.
- You learn a lot about your own body by using the cup – for example, I know that on my second day I actually need a larger cup to be able to insert it correctly. So I have two different sizes.
- It’s zero waste.
- When you get it right, it’s way better. I keep mine for 8h to 12h which gives me the flexibility to go through an entire day of work without thinking about it.
- It’s great for exercising.
- It doesn’t smell.
I think most people don’t use it because they are a bit scared and that’s ok. I was too. But there are plenty of videos and guides so you are not alone. Besides, we can’t let difficulties and lack of information jeopardize our health.
Thanks for reading,