Do you know what disposable sanitary pads are made of? Most likely, you've never thought about it, as menstruation is not a topic that is often discussed in our society. However, it is important for every menstruating person to know.
If you use pads, you're having them pressed up against your body, specifically the skin around your vaginal area, for around 5 days every month. The skin around this area is highly permeable. Items that come in constant contact with your skin are absorbed into your bloodstream and distributed throughout your body.
Disposable sanitary pads contain certain chemicals that you definitely don't want near your vagina. They cause undesirable side effects and are detrimental to your health. Here are 5 nasties in disposable sanitary pads that are harmful to your body:
The fibres in sanitary pads are chlorine bleached to look white and sterile, but this bleaching process creates dioxin, a highly toxic pollutant. Dioxin accumulates in the fat stores of the body and can stay there for up to 20 years. Exposure to dioxin can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, hormone dysfunction, endometriosis, and various forms of cancer.
Apart from cotton, rayon (synthetic fibre derived from wood pulp) is also used in your sanitary pads. Rayon is cheaper than cotton, and helps to enhance the absorption capacity of pads, but also contain dioxin from the bleaching process.
Conventionally grown cotton is heavily sprayed with pesticides and herbicides, and these chemicals can stay on the cotton long after it has been harvested. Side effects of exposure include infertility, hormonal disruption, thyroid malfunction, diabetes, endometriosis and depression.
Sanitary pads often advertise themselves as 'leakproof', with an impermeable plastic layer at the bottom of pads which do not allow liquid or air to pass through. The plastic traps moisture and heat, creating an environment that promotes the growth of yeast and bacteria. It can also cause sensitive individuals to experience burning, chafing and soreness.
Scented sanitary pads with odour neutralizers and other artificial fragrances contain a combination of unknown chemicals, which can enter the bloodstream and cause side effects. On the surface, they also irritate the skin, causing allergies and reactions.
Menstrual Cups: The Best Alternative
Don't want these harmful chemicals and materials near your vagina every month? The best alternative to disposable sanitary pads is a menstrual cup.
A reusable menstrual cup can last up to 10 years, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars on period supplies, and preventing more than 2,400 disposable pads from being disposed!
Not only is it better for your body and your wallet, it's also better for the planet!
For a period that’s better for both your body and the planet, consider switching to a menstrual cup, which can be worn for up to 12 hours a day. Although the upfront cost may be higher than a pack of sanitary pads, the menstrual cup basically pays for itself after just 3 months, and can last you for years!
To find out more about menstrual cups and other reusable menstrual products, such as washable cloth pads and period underwear, visit www.theperiod.co where we answer all your questions about these sustainable alternatives!