>> Friday, February 13, 2009
My husband mentioned to me today about a website where you can track days that your female friends, boss, coworkers, etc. are acting grumpy, and it uses that info to try and figure out their "time of the month." I responded, "I need to use that on myself! I can never remember when my time of the month is coming."
Considering I experience this lovely part of being a girl every single month, this change has been a long time coming. I swear I've been planning to switch to something more "natural" ever since I started cloth diapering because it's kind of hypocritical to put cloth on my baby and not on myself, but, well, uh, I'm a procrastinator...and, um, eeeewww!
Have you ever wondered why people are always arguing about cloth versus disposable diapers, but no one ever talks about cloth versus disposable pads. According to Grist, "the average woman will menstruate for about four decades and use an estimated 16,800 sanitary pads or tampons in the process -- that's 250 to 300 pounds of waste." Over forty years, that would look a little something like this:
(Thanks to The Keeper for that great visual image.)
Besides the disposable factor, most feminine products are made of pesticide-drenched cotton and chlorine-bleached rayon, and tampons can cause Toxic Shock Syndrome.
So if you desire a healthier, greener menstrual period, you basically have four options:
- The Good: If you're used to pads, these are exactly the same as conventional pads except that they don't contain chlorine bleach. Natracare pads are also rayon free.
- The Bad: Although less environmentally damaging, these pads don't even make a dent in the feminine product waste. They are also costly.
Organic Cotton Tampons
- The Good: Like the biodegradable pads option, these tampons are identical to conventional tampons so you can seamlessly transition to this more earth-friendly option.
- The Bad: Again, waste is still an issue, and they cost more.
- The Good: These are washable, affordable, and last a long time.
- The Bad: Because these have to be washed, the same arguments could be made here as are made against cloth diapers. Also, any cloth diaper user could tell you that managing cloth is not the easiest thing if you're spending a long time away from home. Plus there's the "eeewww" factor of wearing a bloody pad.
- The Good: These cost about $25-35 and last up to ten years, making them the most affordable with the least amount of waste. They are similar to tampons, but you can wear them up to 12 hours without worrying about TSS and they even hold up well during strenuous physical activity.
- The Bad: There's still the "eeewww" factor, and not to be too graphic here, but they are much more "hands on" then inserting or removing a tampon.
Tips for the Budget Conscious
Although the cost is high upfront, a menstrual cup can last up to ten years, so you end up saving hundreds of dollars over the life of the product.
Where I'm At
For me, it seemed like a no-brainer to go with a menstrual cup, so it was really just a choice between The Keeper/Moon Cup and the Diva Cup. I ultimately picked The Keeper because it was recommended in The Tightwad Gazette and by Umbra Fisk, and also because I thought the packaging sounded better. So far, I've been very happy with it, and that's all I really want to say on a blog read by my mother and brother....