April 22, 2016

Are You Using Organic During Your Time Of The Month?

Are You Using Organic Cotton Tampon and Pads During Your Time Of The Month?

If you know me, or have been reading my blog since last year, you know that I tend to talk about women's reproductive health. Hormones, fertility, periods, ovulation - I love it all. Nothing is TMI for me and I reject the notion that talking about periods is taboo or shameful. We need to own it and be able to have conversations with our friends, mums, sisters and colleagues in order to establish healthy, open dialogue and body literacy.

I'm not suggesting that you run and tell Barbara from Sales all about your flow, it's more that I think we should have the option to talk and access support should we need it. Within my close group of girls, we discuss our periods (and other various bodily functions) so openly and unashamedly. I can't imagine not having the kind of friendships where you can text the group chat at midnight to ask if they've ever had that weird thing happen to them too, or the cathartic feeling of suffering mind-numbing cramps and receiving sympathy and encouraging words of "Eat all the chocolate. Do it now!". I want everybody to feel that sense of freedom.

I wasn't always this vocal or self-aware, but I'm the kind of person who will learn everything I can about a subject that interests me and I now consider myself pretty knowledgable about anything period-related. There was a time when I didn't even understand how a menstrual cycle panned out because I'd suppressed mine for 10 years with the contraceptive pill. My decision to come off of the pill in 2014 was a catalyst for my becoming enlightened (try not to snort laugh) in other areas of my life. In a bid to educate myself, I became armed with new-found information about my cycle and periods. I started living more holistically, paying attention to my nutrition, practicing yoga and using more natural beauty products. Almost inevitably, my reading led me on to the subject of sanitary products.

At the time, I didn't know that commercial pads, tampons and liners can contain an array of chemicals, pesticides, dyes, fragrances, bleaches and plastics - probably because this isn't advertised. Convenient, huh? 


Are You Using Organic Cotton Tampon and Pads During Your Time Of The Month?
A selection of organic cotton tampons & pads from Time Of The Month

Our skin is the body's largest and thinnest organ and vaginal skin is even more permeable, making it easier to absorb whatever we put on (or in!) it. Considering that the average woman will use 11,000 tampons in her lifetime (source), that's a lot of exposure to potentially harmful ingredients. Let's also talk about the fact that sanitary pads can contain as much plastic as four carrier bags. WHAT THE WHAT? What good is your Bag For Life if you're ploughing through a multi-pack of Always Ultra each month?

In addition to this, you know the information leaflet that comes with each box of tampons that states you should use the lowest absorbency for your needs - have you ever wondered why? The manmade materials that are commonly used in commercial tampons - such as rayon, viscose, cellulose or wood pulp (don't get me started on wood pulp - it wastes 50% of the tree) - are hiiiiighly absorbent meaning they pose a higher TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) risk (source). Of course, tampons by nature do pose a TSS risk due to the way in which we use them, but used correctly the risk is relatively low. We all know it's super important to change a tampon regularly, wash your hands BEFORE and after and only unwrap it immediately before inserting. We do all know that, right? Using a 100% cotton, organic brand with no chlorine, pesticides or plastics automatically means you're safer.

When it comes to my time of the month, I do actually use 100% organic cotton tampons that are sans toxins. I started using them well over two years ago and I haven't looked back. At the time, I struggled to find an organic cotton tampon brand, but eventually my search led me to my local health food shop. Since then, I've noticed two other brands appear on the bottom shelf of my local Boots - maybe if enough people ditch the commercial brands and try organic, they'll make their way up to eye level. As consumers, we really do have power!

Are You Using Organic Cotton Tampon and Pads During Your Time Of The Month?

So, it can be difficult to find organic tampons wherever you are in the UK (or world), but this is where Time Of The Month (TOTM) comes in. Time Of The Month Organic offers a subscription service via their website and it's so easy to set up! They have a full range of 100% organic cotton products - you can choose from applicator tampons in light to super plus, non-applicator in medium to super plus, day and night pads and panty liners. Whatever your needs - you're covered. TOTM also gets bonus points from me because the packaging is lovely - minimal, sleek and modern - and designed to fit through your letterbox inside their bio-plastic mailing bags.

To start a subscription on the TOTM website, you simply add your chosen product/s to the cart, choose when you want the order to start on the calendar, select your cycle length from the drop down menu, then checkout. It really is that straightforward. Delivery is free when you order two or more products, you'll be billed on the day of despatch and you can make changes or cancel the subscription at a later date - but let's face it, why would you want to? No more last minute expeditions to the chemist on your lunch break while your favourite knickers get ruined. As a side note, you might have to do a bit of maths to determine how many pads or tampons you use during your period, which should be fairly easy: number of pads/tampons used per day x cycle length.

Are You Using Organic Cotton Tampon and Pads During Your Time Of The Month?

I find organic cotton tampons far more superior and comfortable than mainstream/supermarket brands. I have had no problems with the fit or absorbency. In fact, I don't feel 'dry' when my period has finished and they are very easy to remove on lighter days - something that was definitely painful for me in the past when using commercial products (I know that you know what I'm talking about here *cringe*). Organic cotton is also naturally hypoallergenic meaning it's much more compatible with the natural pH of the vagina and there's no nasty fibres left lurking around. Although this is purely anecdotal, I also want to mention that my periods used to last 7 days - they're now always 5 days long. I do have quite bad cramps, but they stop after the first 2 days. I have no proof on what the cause of this is, but it's welcomed!

Time Of The Month's cardboard applicators and tampons are also 100% biodegradable. I personally prefer non-applicator tampons simply because I find applicators 'scratchy' when inserting and also worry about the sustainability of the tubes, on top of the waste generated by using tampons. The more recent popularity of compact plastic applicator tubes is also a real problem. While I understand they make for a smoother application, I think we need to consider where that surplus plastic is going to end up and make more informed choices. These issues basically disappear when using organic, biodegradable brands.

I'm actually not a pad user for various reasons, but I completely understand why people prefer them over tampons. When I opened the boxes for the TOTM day and night pads, I was surprised by how slim they were. They are shaped to contour the body and provide maximum protection from leaking. The liners are super soft and thin - I tested one and I couldn't tell there was anything inside my underwear.  I'm actually going to try the pads on a nighttime and at home when I have my next period to see how I get on with them - I really do think they'll be comfier than the commercial plastic-laden brands I used when I was younger which completely turned me off the idea of ever using pads again.

Are You Using Organic Cotton Tampon and Pads During Your Time Of The Month?

As well as being better from an environmental point of view, all the evidence points towards organic cotton sanitary products being safer, meaning a healthier and happier vagina. Why not make the switch and Be Kinder To Your Vagina?

Have you tried organic cotton tampons or pads? If not, what's stopping you? What issues do you have with commercial brands? As always the comments are open to everyone and I love hearing from you. You can also give me shout on instagram or twitter!


This post was sponsored by Time Of The Month. Learn more about Time Of The Month here. TOTM products are available from totm.com. You can also follow TOTM Organic on Instagram - take a look at #PeriodPioneers!


Follow me on
Follow
SHARE:

11 comments

  1. Alison Stansfield25 April 2016 at 21:57

    Great post, very well written. X

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love this post, I had no idea about all the chemicals used in sanitary towels, definitely an informative read! TOTM looks like a great service too. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the love, Amy! Once you realise, it makes you wonder why on earth you'd bother with the chemical/plastic-laden brands (I do understand that cost can be a factor for some, of course!) x

      Delete
  3. have you considered using a mooncup / luna cup? total game changer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used a Mooncup for 4 periods and I couldn't get on board with it. I made adjustments, read all their troubleshooting tips etc., but it wasn't working out. Maybe I'll revisit in future. It's worth knowing that cups can be difficult for a range of reasons - not just physical.

      Delete
  4. Hayley (Glory Days Hayley!)27 April 2016 at 18:29

    Katie this is great; I've been keeping an eye out for eco friendly period products for a while. Just ordered some from TOTM, what a brilliant service!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome! Thanks Hayley. Hope you get on well with them! X

      Delete
  5. I've never used organic cotton pads or tampons but last June I decided to purchase a silicon cup. It was a long suffered decision. I started to be more aware about the damage that pads can make to the environment. When I firstly discovered it, 3 years ago, I thought it was a disgusting and dirty tool even if people were saying it was the best decision they've ever made. After one year of using it, I think I'll never go back. It costed me €30 and can last 10 years. It's so comfy, you don't even feel it. You can sleep with it (I used to wear pads only at night and sometimes I spotted the sheets) and work out without any leak.

    If I would have known about those cotton pads and tampons before, maybe I would have purchased them :) Also because I developed an allergy to pads and I was using a pharmaceutic pads. Tampons were the only option for me but I felt to dry after the period... We save the planet and do something for ourself too <3

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've personally never used organic pads or tampons but from the sheer fact alone that a commercial sanitary towel containing as much plastic as 4 plastic bags, makes me want to. Since the paying for plastic bags saga, i have been more aware of my carbon foor print and this post has opened my eyes to my time of the month needs. Thankyou!

    Chloe Mary Davis | www.lovefromlucky.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for the amazing tip girl! Just ordered some myself. Love the blog and your Insta, keep it up xx

    ReplyDelete

© cold girl fever | All rights reserved.