Posts tagged #menstrual cup

RUMPS for a Greener Period

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There are a variety of products available to manage menstruation. Among them are traditional feminine hygiene products from brand names that you likely know including Tampax, Playtex and Always. These are all disposable products and made of questionable materials.

I caution you to be discerning when choosing a menstrual product(s) to manage your monthly flow. The average woman bleeds only about 3 tablespoons of blood each month. I think we can agree that's not a lot and yet we tend to consume disproportionate amounts of product to manage this relatively small inconvenience.  

Traditional pads and tampons can be expensive as you must keep restocking them and end up in landfill sights the world over. Some are made out of nefarious materials that may cause problems considering they are meant for an extremely delicate area of the female body.

Alternatives to these do exist - 

 

                            There are 3 basic varieties of RUMPS: 

 

             Menstrual Sponge

The sponge is a sea fibre that is an all-natural alternative to tampons in that they are inserted into the vagina and soak up the blood. One advantage of a menstrual sponge is that they conform to the individual's body and thus are very comfortable once in place. Each sponge should be thoroughly rinsed and wrung out before insertion and will absorb for about 4 hours when it will needs to be thoroughly rinsed and reinserted or a new one used in its place. The use of sponges is a learning curve (much like tampons) but if you're concerned about environmental waste then this could be the option for you.  The ones shown above are from the seaspongecompany or you can check out what your local health food store carries. 

 

                              Menstrual Cup

A menstrual cup is a little silicone rose shaped cup that once inserted inside it catches the blood and can remain for up to 10 hours before it will need to be emptied, rinsed and reinserted. Our friends and favourite, the DivaCup is widely available and one cup can last for 10 years! Imagine the money you can save! The hassle of running out will no longer be a problem. Sounds like a perfect 10 to me. 

                   Here's a short video that explains how to use a menstrual cup. 

 

 

                ReUsable cloth pads. 

Cloth pads are incredibly comfortable and can be personalized in a infinite variety of fabrics, pattern and sizes. The common cloth pad is made from cotton and is free from harming chemicals that may be found in traditional pads. Using cloth pads is better for the environment (less waste) and your budget as you simply reuse your stock each month. There is more work required if you should you use cloth pads, namely rinsing them in cold water as quickly as you can after changing, and then washing and drying them. They might prove tricky if you have a heavy flow and need to change them often and are never home but a simple ziplock bag in your purse could be all you need to deal with this. You can also custom order them or make your own and change the absorbency potential of them by adding or deleting centre layers. You can buy them from such fabulous small business as Pretty Eco Intimates, Lunapads and GladRags or make your own. Here a link to a sight that offers a tutorial and pattern to do just that. 

So I urge you the next time you're in that aisle of the store -and it tends to be the whole aisle what with the incontinent crowd mingling with the female sanitary items - have a good long browse. Meander through the offerings and read the contents keenly. Try and really see what's available for you instead of unthinkingly stocking up on the usual, or what's on sale. You can make the world and your period environmentally friendlier and isn't that empowering? 

Do You Agree That Feminine Hygiene Products Should NOT be Taxes?

                                                  Image from change.org petition

                                                  Image from change.org petition

Menstruating is hardly a choice and buying products that manage menstruation is certainly a necessity, yet the federal government of Canada charges GST on these products. This has long been a cause for consternation, but now there is something we can do about it. Jill Piebiak has recently launched a Change.org campaign to get the GST on feminine hygiene products eliminated. 

Paying a few extra cents at the drug store may not seem like a lot and perhaps not worth making a big fuss about, but when you figure all the women of menstruating age who must do the same it surely adds up. According to the petition the federal government raises approximately 36 MILLION dollars annually through the tax on tampons, pads, menstrual cups and the like. Furthermore, items such as incontinence pads and even wedding cakes are not charged the GST so it doesn't make sense why necessities for managing menstruation are. Some opponents of this taxation insist that it is in fact discriminatory against women. Removing the taxation of these items will benefit all women and will be especially appreciated by women with low incomes. When you calculate the costs over a lifetime of menstruation (approximately 40 years) this will add up to great savings benefit for all.

There have been previous and ongoing attempts in Australia and Britain to eliminate the taxes on feminine hygiene products, with amusing lines like "There is no womb in society for a tampon tax" , "It's a bleeding disgrace" and "#BloodyOutrage". 

Wouldn't it be marvelous if Canada could be the first country to actually change the system from a grassroots level?  

If you agree that feminine hygiene products are a necessity and should not be taxed, please join me and sign the petition. Better yet, after signing, please circulate the petition amongst your friends and colleagues and get them to sign it too. Together we can make a difference. 

A Menstrual Top 10

When I was a young girl the information I received about menstruation was minimal. My mother didn't have "the talk" with me until it was far too late and the information I received in school covered just the bare necessities. Thankfully, the times are changing but not fast enough. No girl should be ignorant of what is happening to her body and why. With this in mind I have created here a top 10 list of things I think all girls should be taught about periods beyond the biological facts of how and why.

  1. Menstruation is nothing to be ashamed of; it is a natural part of life for all females of reproductive age. If along your journey you have any questions or concerns, do not feel embarrassed to ask an older relative, teacher or healthcare professional. 
  2. A girl's first period (menarche) should be celebrated. If you're family does not honour this special occasion in your life, do so yourself with friends or even alone. Some ideas are hosting a small gathering with friends and serve period inspired food like cranberry juice, red-velvet cupcakes and strawberries. 
  3. Getting your first period doesn't automatically make you a woman. It is a sign that your body is maturing into that of a woman's but it will take many years for this growth cycle to complete (both physically and emotionally). Try not to feel overwhelmed by this new happening in your life...your mind and heart will eventually catch up with your body. 
  4. Mild pain  (bloating, cramping, irritability, headache) during your period is normal; excessive pain is not. For mild pain try easy at-home remedies like a hot water bottle, a pain reliever like ibuprofen and rest and relaxation.  Visit a doctor if you experience debilitating pain that interferes with your normal daily routine.
  5. The birth control pill can be a marvelous medicine for regulating your period (and your doctor may advise it) but be aware of all the potentially harmful side-effects (both short-term and long) before committing to it.
  6. Explore all your menstrual cycle options. Traditional menstrual products like sanitary napkins and tampons do a fine job of absorbing period blood but may contain toxic chemicals. Always read the label, especially on products that sit close to or inside your delicate vaginal region. Organic cotton products are best for your body but may be more expensive. Reusable pads are a healthy and viable alternative. A menstrual cup is also a great option for both your health and that of the environment. Do not feel daunted by the prospect of the intimacy required with your body to use a menstrual cup. It is your body and you should be intimate with it. Some favourite alternative menstrual products are DivaCup , GladRags and Natracare
  7. Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a very real and potentially fatal disease caused by a bacterial toxin. Most cases of TSS are caused by a chemical component found in many tampons which may either be left inside the user too long or which stray fibres remain inside the body after the tampon has been removed. The best way to combat this is to use organic cotton tampons (if using tampons at all) and to change them every 4 hours. More information about TSS can be found here you-are-loved
  8. Be prepared, especially during the first few years of menstruation when your period can be highly erratic and unpredictable while your body is adjusting to this new process. It is ALWAYS wise to have a pad and/or tampon in your backpack or purse just in case you (or a friend) get caught by surprise. 
  9. Menstrual blood isn't gross and can, in fact, be miraculous. Stem cells in menstrual blood are highly proliferative and possess the unique ability to develop into other types of healthy cells including cardiac, neural, bone, fat and cartilage. Banking your menstrual blood can be an investment in your future and can potentially treat stroke, heart and neurodegenerative disease and diabetes. For more information please visit cyro-cell 
  10. Your menstrual cycle is all month long, not just the days you bleed. Become familiar with the ebb and flow of your cycle as it relates to physical and emotional moods. Getting a feby bracelet can assist in this endeavour, as can assorted apps such as MyMonthlyCycles and PinkPad

 

I hope you find this list helpful and informative.

Please let me know if there is anything else you would add.