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Breaking the Taboo!

A rather taboo area of discussion is that of feminine hygiene products (tampons and pads), yet it is a discussion that needs to take place for the sack of roughly 1/3 of the population. Why?! Because feminine hygiene products are loaded with toxic chemicals that are wreaking havoc on women’s health!

We are seeing a rise in women’s hormonal conditions, particularly things like endometriosis, PCOS, infertility, cysts and dysmenorrhea, and a large reason is that our world is bombarded by xenoestrogerns and toxins!

Some might wonder why feminine hygiene products could possibly be an area of concern, but remember that our skin is our largest and thinnest organ and is highly permeable, especially the skin in and around the vaginal area.

Anything and everything that we put on our skin will be absorbed straight into our bloodstream and will accumulate due to the lack of enzymes available to break these toxins down! Tampons go directly into this delicate area and sanitary pads are in constant contact.

To think, on average, a woman will have 450 periods in her lifetime and will use over 16,000 tampons as well as sanitary pads. That’s a lot of harmful toxins being exposed to an incredibly delicate area of the female body, its most definitely an area that deserves discussion.

An alarming fact is that we still don’t even know all of the toxins in these items and companies don’t have to label what they use in them, as they are referred to as “medical devices”.

One ingredient we all know that is in feminine hygiene productsis plastic! In fact, conventional sanitary pads can contain the equivalent of about four plastic bags! We all know how toxic and harmful to health plastic is, being an endocrine disruptor, disrupting embryonic development, linked to heart disease and cancer.

Phthalate are another ingredient commonly found in tampons, used to give them the smooth finish, are known to dysregulate gene expression, and lead to multiple organ damage.

Odour neutralisers and fragrances are also used, which are all toxic and hazardous to women’s health.

Bleach is often used to give tampons and pads that ultra-white colour, this bleach can create the toxin dioxin, which accumulates in our fatty tissues, leading to abnormal tissue growth in the abdomen and reproductive organs, immune system suppression, hormonal and endocrine system disruption.

Another issues with tampons are that the restrict the natural “flow” of the period and trap heat and dampness, they have been linked to hormonal conditions like dysmenorrhea and endometriosis, as well as the potential for creating an ideal environment for bacteria and yeast to grow and even spread into the blood stream.

Now we have started the conversation it’s important to note that, thankfully we have many safe alternatives to these toxic loaded endocrine disturbing feminine hygiene items and as I often say “knowledge is power”. So, empower yourself and make the switch.

Here are a few alternatives –

- Menstrual cups–A menstrual cup is a bell-shaped reusable cup that is placed inside the vaginal cavity and when fitted securely, will collect, rather than absorb, the menstrual fluid. It is often made from medical grade silicon. I have used “Diva-cup” before and found it to be a great alternative.

- Organic sanitary pads– made with organic cotton (still and environmental issue). I love the brand “TOM”.

- Menstrual underwear– my favourite of the choices and something that I have recently started to use and it has revolutionised my period! Absolutely love them! I love and recommend the brand “Modibodi”.

So, protect your feminine area and embrace the natural safe alternatives to free yourself from those nasty chemicals.

In health and happiness

Sarah Emily Herbalist

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