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I have mentioned before the importance of being mindful of what we’re putting in and on our bodies, and period products are no different. During my cycle, I prefer to use organic tampons and pads. However, the harsh truth is, even when organic, these items are not good for the planet and take years to decompose. Because of this, I also use a few other options that I’ll discuss below, to help reduce waste.
Organic Tampons and Pads
First things first ladies, I want you to go in your purse and assess what menstrual products you’re using. I’ll wait. If our bodies absorb so much of what we put on it, just imagine the products we’re sticking up our you know whats. This is exactly why I’ve made the switch to safer alternatives.
Traditional pads and tampons are filled with chlorine, bleach, and other carcinogens that disrupt our endocrine systems causing heaps of problems. Instead, I use organic, non-toxic products that also give back to the community. For tampons, my favorite is Cora, and for pads and liners, I like the brand Rael. Whether you prefer the applicator, applicator-free tampons, or pads of every size, there’s an option for you!
Another alternative to tampons and pads is a Menstrual Disc. It can last up to 12 hours, is hypo-allergenic, and can be worn during intimacy. I’m still learning how to use this myself, but I have heard amazing reviews.
Zero Waste Options
Now here’s the touchy subject (for some): the Planet. I’m all for helping the planet and trying to prevent more waste, so I also choose to use a menstrual cup. BUT, sometimes the situation you’re in isn’t ideal for using the cup. For example, I’ve been traveling while in a cold climate with lots of layers in a public bathroom with no sink in the handicap stall, go figure. Probably the worst scenario to be in, so if I know the situation in advance, I opt for a tampon or pad instead. However, I am learning to adapt to these tricky situations and with practice comes progress.
With that being said, there’s definitely a learning curve when it comes to using the cup for the first time. Don’t get discouraged though! I have been using it for a couple of years and I still have trouble every now and then getting it in properly. There are plenty of resources online and in the instruction manual on how to insert and remove, so I’ll spare you the details. Just always make sure your hands are clean before removing, hence the need for the handicap stall. Even on my heavy days, I change my cup less frequently than I would a pad or tampon. It also creates less waste because you can reuse it and with good care, it’ll last up to 10 years! [That includes washing it with a gentle soap every day and boiling in between cycles.]
If you aren’t really into the idea of using the cup, another option is period panties. The brand I’m most familiar with is THINX (for $$ off, use this link to shop). I had the opportunity to learn more about the company and purchase a pair of my own at Create & Cultivate: Vision Summit. Like regular underwear, there is a variety to choose from. There are a few different styles that each hold different amounts of blood.
So here’s the verdict…
The style I chose was the Sport, good for medium days and holds up to 1 1/2 tampons worth. I wore it on day 2, a heavier day, but with my menstrual cup in case of any leaks. I didn’t wear a pad or a liner, just me, the cup, and the panties. Since I wasn’t sure how my first time would be, I decided to wear it while I was home. I had them on for 8 hours total.
- They are comfortable to wear, not bulky and doesn’t feel like you’re wearing a pad.
- It’s more comfortable than wearing a pad or liner.
- I felt secure with them on; I wasn’t afraid blood would leak through to my clothes. I’m not sure I would say the same if I wasn’t wearing the cup
though,since it was a heavy day.
- You would have to either purchase one for every day of your period which can get pricey, or do laundry every day. I do want to purchase one additional pair for heavier days though.
- The only time I felt uncomfortable or moist is when I would use the bathroom and then pulled them back up. But that sensation went away.
Overall, I do like them. I will probably be wearing the sport to sleep on a medium day or by themselves on my lighter days until I get another pair.
Signs of PMS and cramps are just our bodies way of telling us there’s an underlying issue inside. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been conditioned into thinking these symptoms are “normal” and used to be that girl that popped six ibuprofen on my worst days. Unfortunately, that is not the case, and these could mean a hormonal imbalance. I’m no doctor, but I’ve done my research. One of my favorite sources of info is Woman Code by Alisa Vitti. She goes in depth on the different phases (follicular, ovulation, luteal, and menstrual) and so much more. From the right foods to eat during each phase to the right workouts and everything in between.
It’s a never-ending battle with trying to balance my own hormones, so, unfortunately, I am one to get cramps. However, they have gotten much better over time and thankfully nothing like they were prior to birth control [more about my experience and why I quit here].
To help with my cramps, there a few things I do before and during my cycle. Prior to my period, in my luteal phase, I use about 30 drops of Vitex Elixer for Women in my tea. It doesn’t have the best taste, but it does help if I remember to use it at the right time. Some key ingredients include:
- Chaste Tree Berry: Influences hormone levels in the body
- Cramp Bark: Relieves cramps and muscle spasms
- Elderberry: Immune booster
I highly recommend getting your hormones checked out prior to starting this to be safe. Also, do your research, don’t just take my word for it! Remember, what works for one person may not always work for the next.
Any warm foods and drinks, in general, are very soothing on the tummy and are great to include in your diet during your cycle. My favorite teas are Mint and Stress Relief.
I also tried the CBD Patch from The Good Patch. The world of CBD is very broad and slightly confusing, but I came across this patch in a wellness shop and decided to give it a try. It has Black Cohosh along with hemp and menthol to help alleviate hormonal symptoms. It also says that it can be worn for up to 24 hours. I wore it on the second day/first full day of my period for about 14 hours.
Usually, my cramps are mediocre on the first and second days, but sometimes they can get really bad. Luckily this time around they weren’t terrible, but I did find that they were almost non-existent while wearing the patch. At $12 a patch, I would recommend walking with one for travel or while you’re on-the-go. It is pricey, so keeping it for emergency use is something to consider.
What are your favorite non-toxic menstrual products and natural cramp remedies?