This year, I wanted to make the transition towards a healthier lifestyle – I wanted to make better choices when it comes to what I put in and on my body. I recently read some news reports on the concerns with what exactly menstrual pads are made out of. I was appalled to read some of the findings. So I made the switch to cotton pads and decided to share my experience.
Unfortunately, talking about periods is still a little taboo, but if we could have this discussions openly, maybe we wouldn’t have chlorine and pesticides anywhere near our vaginas.
That’s right, you heard me, pesticides and chlorine.
Conventional pads are made out of plastic, and one pad “contains the equivalent of four plastic bags.” Four. Dr. Mercola also mentions that these plastics may contain BPA, BPS, or phthalates, which are known to disrupt embryonic development and are linked to heart disease and cancer. This plastics have been “linked to to endocrine disruption and disease processes associated with heart disease and cancer. Conventional tampons and pads may also contain dioxins, synthetic fibers and petrochemical additives.”
These synthetics can restrict air flow, causing the trapping of heat and dampness, which promotes a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast.
This is why they tell us to wear cotton underwear, ladies. Plastic and synthetic materials do not belong down there.
Not to mention pads have also been known to contain pesticides, fragrances, artificial dyes, polyester, adhesives, polyethylene, polypropylene, and propylene glycol, which are linked to “hormone disruption, cancer, birth defects dryness, and infertility,” as discovered by Andrea Donsky, founder of Naturally Savvy and co-author of Label Lessons: Your Guide to a Healthy Shopping Cart.
You can see why I never want these products near me ever again.
I originally felt uncomfortable making the switch because I was worried about leakage and comfort. I have always used Always pads and am a bit of a brand loyalist, especially when it comes in contact with such a personal area. Always claims to not use chlorine, but they do use polyester and petrolatum and zinc oxide (found in skin care lotions, and I don’t put lotion anywhere near my lady bits), rayon, adhesive similar to “craft glue,” and occasionally fragrance.
Ultimately, besides all the toxins, I personally wanted to limit my plastic usage, and pads are a huge contributor to plastic waste.
1 pad = 4 plastic bags.
28 pads for a typical period (we’ll say 4 for each of the 7 period days), so that’s 28 pads x 4 plastic bags per pads = 112 plastic bags per period.
112 plastic bags per period x 12 periods a year = 1,344 plastic bags a year.
Over a thousand plastic bags per year.
So back to the biodegradable, non-toxic cotton pads. I chose a brand called Rael off of Amazon to give a shot. They claim to be 100 percent organic cotton (no pesticides), fragrance-free, chlorine-free, rayon-free, dye-free, super absorbent and hypoallergenic. They come in different shapes and sizes as well.
I bought the 2-pack (28 pads) for $12.99. Compared to Always, which you can get 56 for under $10, cotton pads can be a bit pricier. But, I decided I can put a bit of extra income to put towards making healthier choices for both my body and the environment.
I immediately noticed a difference.
When using Always pads, I would have slight itching down there. I thought it was just because I had something rubbing against me all day, but it may have just been toxic irritants. I had zero itching with the cotton pads. Plus, ladies, you know how sometimes periods can have a certain … odor? I found with the breathable cotton, there was considerably less smell. I call that a win.
And the pads were actually really comfortable. They look like a typical pad, with wings and everything.
And they didn’t leak. I am on birth control, so my periods tend to be lighter, but even when I had a heavier day, which I guess would be similar to a normal flow, there was no leaking.
I don’t know why I was so hesitant to use them in the first place.
It is advised to wear cotton underwear so air can flow freely and not trap heat or dampness, so it makes sense that pads or menstrual products should be cotton as well. I really recommend shopping around to see what brand and shape is best for you in the cotton pads department. I have never felt so fresh and comfortable during a period before.