Guide to Safe Menstrual Products

menstrual health pelvic health vulva health
woman in white dress holding womb

This is a topic that I approach in some way with all the women I work with who are in their menstrual years. It's especially vital for those wanting to conceive or those having menstrual challenges. Also, this is information that I desperately wish I had as a teen girl, so if you know a teen please share this with her!

I think we can agree that there seems to be an ever-growing awareness around how our diet, lifestyle and environment affect our health. This is particularly important for women's hormonal health. More and more research is coming forward about the infamous “endocrine disruptors” that are found in food, cosmetics, drinking water, cookware and yes pads and tampons are included in that list!

The vaginal mucosa and the tissue of the vulva are very absorbent and have a rich blood supply, plus close proximity to reproductive organs that respond rapidly to hormonal input. So, it's vital to know what you're putting in, on or near this tissue is non-toxic. That goes for underwear, clothing, condoms, lubricant, sex toys, tampons, pads, douche products, menstrual cups, sponges and the like.

Today I'm just going to cover the products I like and recommend for menstrual health. Also, while yes this is important for your personal hormonal health, it is also for the health of the earth. Usually what's not good for the female body is also not good for the earth's rivers, lakes, oceans and soil.  

So, here are the non-toxic products I've used myself (or would use myself if I haven't already): 

Natracare: This company makes tampons, pads, liners and more that are made of organic cotton, chlorine free of course. 

Side note on tampon use: From a Chinese Medicine perspective, tampons are generally not recommended because they impede the flow of blood. This could lead to clots and / or cramping and pain. I highly recommend only using them when absolutely necessary. If you have menstrual cramping try to switch to something else for 3 months and see if you notice a difference. 

I know, many women will say “but pads are so gross.” This is interesting and opens up a whole dialogue around how we've been conditioned as women to think that our periods are messy and need to be cleaned up. Being a human is not always a clean and tidy experience and bleeding is a very normal function of the female body. I'll leave it at that for now.

Rael: This woman-owned company offers organic cotton pads, tampons and liners - as well as reusable and disposable period undies. I love their disposable pads to have on hand just in case I don’t get to laundry and I’m out of period undies. 

Other options beyond disposable pads and tampons: 

Menstrual Cup: There are many brands out there. Menstrual cups are re-usable and last at least a few years, with proper cleaning along the way of course. They cut down on waste and make it possible to use menstrual blood for rituals, watering plants or simply giving it back to the earth. One area of concern with cups is how it impacts the pelvic tissues and potentially creates suction on the cervix. I stopped using cups after my first birth and can’t imagine going back! 

Sea sponges: Like a cup, these are also reusable. They can also be trimmed to the fit you need. I don't have personal experience using sponges but I know women who do and it's a good fit for some. You can find some here. 

Glad Rags: Glad Rags are in the category of reusable pads. There are also other brands out there for this. They offer pads of all different shapes, sizes and colors. They're easy to clean and use. The website is a great resource too. 

Period Underwear: I was an early adopter of period undies! Now there are countless brands out there with various styles, fits and fabrics. Here are some brands I recommend: 

Saalt - Lightweight and they offer a lace and mesh collection! Use this link for $20 towards your first pair.

Period Co. - One of the most affordable brands out there. I love these for night time and lounging at home.

ModiBodi - A popular Australian brand that offers a variety of styles and colors.

Lastly, I want to mention the concept of not using anything or free bleeding. This can be a very powerful experience and quickly shift your relationship to your body and your period. One way to do this is in the comfort of your own home using this FreeBleed Blanket, which is easily washed and stain resistant. I also love using organic cotton prefold diapers to sit on at home.

I hope you find something on that list that will work for you! There may be some trial and error at first if you're switching to new products but it's a vital step to decreasing exposure to endocrine disruptors and taking back your menstrual health. 

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