1How to break up with your tampons without feeling guilty.
Jan 18, 2016    0 Comments

It’s kind of funny that I’m writing this because I still have an old box of tampons under my bathroom sink from 2011. Seriously.

I should probably throw those out. Because by now I’m sure they look like this:

gross mold

Totally yuck. What's a menstruating person to do?

Check out the wide world of reusable menstrual products. My fave is the menstrual cup, but there are other options out there too like reusable pads.

Reusable menstrual cups aren’t a new concept. Actually, they’ve been around since the 1930s. When I tell this “not-so-well-known” fact to my friends they’re often surprised and more often than not, it’s followed by the phrase, “I wish I had known about these when I was younger.” Me too, but that’s an entirely different blog post.

This post is about how to break up with your tampons without feeling guilty.

First of all, what’s holding you back? The upfront cost of a new menstrual cup may seem pretty steep for a menstrual product. Or does it? A years worth of disposable menstrual products will cost ya around $100 a year. $40 for a menstrual cup, that will last you years. Suddenly the math is clear.

PEOPLE, are you okay with putting something cheap and possibly toxic into your vagina without much of a thought? Didn’t think so. I saw this article in Mother Jones in 2010, and it totally freaked me out.

Plastic applicators present some health concerns, too. Back in 2007, MoJo's Elizabeth Gettelman wrote that "Animal studies have linked phthalates [used in PVC plastics of which some applicators are made] to the same genital abnormalities that are now among the most common birth defects in American baby boys." There's no current evidence that applicators will cause these exact same maladies. But the long-term effects of periodically placing plastic near my nether-regions have yet to be investigated, which is a little worrisome. (Source)

Yikes! And I'm sure we've all heard the murmers of what might actually be in tampon fibers (ie: bleach, dioxins)...

The peeps at Women's Voices For The Earth are totally aware of this issue, and they're not being quiet about it. This is a bit of what they have to say:

While tampons may appear to be relatively simple devices, made with few ingredients, there is a great deal that scientists don’t know about the chemicals they may contain. Most tampons are made from cotton and/or rayon or other pulp fiber. Unfortunately these substances can be contaminated with highly toxic dioxins when bleached with chlorine compounds, as well as pesticides from non-organic cotton. (You can download the whole Women's Voices For The Earth report here.)

menstrual cup and tampon comparison

So, you've decided that you're ready to break up with your tampons. Here are some tips to make the switch a success:

  • Do your research. Not all reusable menstrual products are are created equal. For example, The Lunette menstrual cup is FDA approved and made with 100% medical grade silicone. No sketchy pastics or glitter.
  • Go for it! Once you've found your "goldilocks" menstrual product of choice take some time to get aquainted. You don't have to take it out on a date, but take some time to read the directions. You might just learn something, people!
  • Don't feel like you have to "make the switch" in one cycle. I'm super proud that you've gone this far! Keep in mind, with most reusable menstrual products there may be a learning curve. Once you've mastered that- you're ready to take on the world...or at least your period.
  • Talk about it. There is a lot of discussion on the Internet regarding reusable menstrual products.  The Menstrual Cups Live Journal Page is active and informative. (More tips, tricks and menstrual cup jokes can be found on the Lunette Facebook page!)

Most importantly, we've got to talk about what you should do with all of those disposable pads and tampons that are now hidden in the back of your bathroom cabinet...if say, you switch to a menstrual cup or another menstrual care alternative? Donate. There are lots of menstruating people in various undesirable situations that desperately need clean menstrual care products. Look up shelters in your area, they’ll more than likely be enthusiastic to receive your donation.

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