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Reusable Menstrual Pads: Advantages and Caution

Menstruation is a normal part of a woman’s life. A girl is believed to become a woman when she gets her first period. That explains why the topic of different means of menstrual engagement is discussed continuously.

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Disposable pads are one of the most common sanitary products used by menstruating women, but is it safe to go for reusable pads instead? It is vital to note that a woman will use as many as 16800 pieces of disposable pads in her lifetime on average.

For this reason, we can say that there are numerous reasons not to spend money on disposable menstrual pads as they are expensive, contribute wastes in the society, and are considered to have some potential health risks.

So whether what you are in search of is a cheaper, healthier, or eco-friendly alternative to disposable menstrual pads, below are seven fantastic reasons why you should opt for the reusable menstrual pads instead.

1. You will reduce your menstrual cramps, infections, and skin rashes

If you experience intense discomfort and pain during your menstrual period and you are making use of disposable menstrual pads, consider switching to alternatives such as cloth pads, 100% organic cotton menstrual products or menstrual cups.

Another problem with disposable pads is that they also use plastics, which prevent adequate airflow to the vagina and can encourage eczema and painful rash.

Disposable pads are also made with synthetic fibers such as rayon which are very absorbent, but will still dry up all the moisture in your vagina, making it more likely for you to experience severe pain and serious infections — especially if you are putting on one of those pads for hours, a whole day, or an entire week.

Some women have testified that once they switched to reusable pads, they no longer experienced severe cramping and discomfort – this is a tremendous menstrual miracle.

2. Reusable options are much healthier for you

Disposable pads are typically made with a combination of cotton, plastics, synthetic fibers, as well as wood pulp.

It is known that the conventionally produced cotton is likely the most toxic plant grown on the planet, using a whole 20% of the world’s herbicides and pesticides.

These materials are not naturally pure white, so they are bleached with chlorine dioxide, which creates harmful, polluting, and bio-accumulative byproducts such as dioxin, which does not only infect and damage the environment but also stay in our bodies for many years.

When you add the other synthetic chemicals as well as artificial fragrance, what you will get is a recipe for side effects such as gynecological and reproductive disorders like endometriosis, allergic reactions, and hormone disruption.

3. You will save loads of money

If the health reasons as mentioned earlier do not hold water to you, maybe you might find the numbers more convincing.  No doubt, reusable menstrual pads have a higher initial cost, but you can also attest to the fact that they last much longer.

If you take proper care of your reusable pads, they can last you for many years (The reusable cloth napkins that my mum has are about six years old and still look good and reliable), when you compare the lifespan of reusable pads to the disposable ones, that come with a lifespan of just a few hours before it is thrown away, leaving you with no choice but to buy more and more of pads – with all of them ending up as waste products.

If you can do the math: let’s assume that a woman has her menstruation for 40 years, and has to buy a pack of the disposable pad for $8  every other month, it finally adds up to $1,920 in her lifetime. If this same lady has to use a pack of a pad each month, that is a total of $3,840.

A six-pieces set of reusable sanitary pads for the same time, at an estimated financial implication of $80, replaced every half-decade, adds up to only $640. If you choose to opt for a reasonable $40 silicone menstrual cup, you may be amazed that you save even more money.

4. You will help save the environment.

Switching to reusable sanitary pads is an excellent example of how the seemingly small changes and personal choices can turn out to make a tremendous positive impact on the environment.

It has been estimated that almost 20 billion (billion!) sanitary pads and tampons get discarded per annum in North America alone. Disposable sanitary pads are made from plastics in a will take several centuries to decompose finally.

The manufacturing process of these disposable sanitary pads also pollutes our air, waterways, and animal habitats. A seemingly simple switch from disposable to reusable, hygienic pads can make a massive difference.

5. You will support independent companies and artisanal makers.

If you are getting tired of handing your hard-earned money over to those big, faceless corporations that most likely do not have the best interests of customers in mind, you can check out the companies that specialize in offering safer and healthier alternatives such as: Lunapads, SckoonGladRagsThe KeeperDivacupMooncup, not to mention the variety of hand-made reusable sanitary pad options on the marketplace sites such as Etsy (just run a quick search for “cloth pads”).

6. It’s sanitary, doesn’t leak and more comfortable to clean than you think.

When we talk about reusable menstrual pads as an option, one is unavoidably faced with questions like: “is it clean or healthy?” and “will it absorb my flow well?” Many menstrual cloth pads make use of a removable center liner for some extra absorption, as well as a waterproof lining sewed inside to prevent stains.

Reusable sanitary pads maybe a little bit bulkier, but you can agree that an occasional bulk is a lot better than a lifetime of medical problems. With proper maintenance, the reusable menstrual pads are just like the disposable sanitary pads.

For reusable sanitary pads made of cloth, most people recommend that they are soaked overnight in water (you have the option of adding hydrogen peroxide or tea tree oil to sanitize them further) and dump them in the wash for an excellent hot water cycle. If you would instead use menstrual cups, it’s even easier to clean.

7. Honestly, it’s pretty. And it is empowering

Yes, some of us are used to disposable menstrual pads. Still, now you can forget those bleached white synthetic products — the reusable sanitary pads are bursting with lovely colors, patterns, and even unique designs that you can choose from.

I do not know what science may have to say about it, but admittedly lovely bright colors can help boost your mood and alleviate any premenstrual syndrome to some extent.

We would also do remember that the non-disposable sanitary pads are nothing new as women have been recorded to use sea sponges and rags for centuries.

There is a  “culture of concealment” that surrounds menstruation, and it has long influenced women to become ashamed about their bodies, and that shame goes further to makes us docile, unquestioning customers of products that are neither healthy for us, nor our environment.

So even though we might not want to start a discussion on the apparent gender politics that remains hidden behind the modern-day menstrual industry (which makes us see a natural process as dirty or filthy), it still comes down to the fact that the shame is about our minds and bodies — and living past them is our choices to make.

Are reusable menstrual pads safe?

reusable menstrual pads

Yes, they are. Reusable menstrual pads are known to be well-tolerated and just perfect for women and girls of all ages. But never use a sea sponge for this purpose. Ever.

Numerous studies around the globe are looking at providing young girls and women with cheap reusable menstrual pads explicitly designed for menstruation in areas where these women have only limited access to the different products for menstrual hygiene.

The material used in making reusable menstrual pads is the same or very similar to the materials used for making cloth diapers. These reusable menstrual cloths are cheap and safe to use, and many women are starting to like them.

Nevertheless, the most prominent medical risk with any product designed for menstrual use that sits against your vulva is the issue of low absorbency. If the sanitary pad or cloth is wet, it will begin to irritate the user’s skin.

Contrary to popular belief, Irritation from the soft material itself can happen, but that isn’t a common occurrence. If you now use a reusable sanitary pad and you do not experience wetness and do not feel irritated, then your reusable pad is likely just fine.

Women used sea sponges in the past, but they should never be used now. I know you most likely have never thought of this, but it is crucial that I mention it, primarily as many online articles are known to suggest sea sponge is a viable option.

Sea sponges contain lots of dirt and debris (besides, they filter the ocean to keep things cleans there), so when you use sea sponges, you put your self at risk for an infection.

Sea sponges will also introduce vast volumes of air into your vagina, and this is a primary step in the start of the toxic-shock syndrome (T.S.S.). Toxic shock syndrome is a rare condition that shows up when a toxin produced by bacteria present in the vagina enters into the bloodstream and causes a strange illness.

With the advanced options of low absorbency tampons and reusable menstrual cups, there has been a reduction in the risk of menstrual-related T.S.S. to approximately 1 case per 100,000 women per year.

I hope that you found this article useful. Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

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This article is for informational/educational purposes only. Healthtian does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, read more.

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