Yes, this is about periods. Leave now if that disgusts you.
I’ve been having periods for some time now. I can’t really remember not having them. As I’ve got older, they’ve actually become less terrible and although I endure a brain crushing headache for 12 hours once a month, I don’t suffer like many others.
On top of the monthly delivery of physical and emotional distress, women are also subjected to the treat of shopping for the occasion. I recently saw an advert for a company trying to cash in on this by sending you your period paraphernalia in a pretty pink box each month. Like a Graze box, but, erm, not. I instantly guffawed at this totally unnecessary gimmick. But it did get me thinking about the sanitary products I buy.
Until that point I had never thought about periods in relation to consumerism. Like most women I pretend periods don’t exist and then robotically deal with them when they arrive. And sanitary products are just a necessity. I’m aware that there are a variety of brands, but I’ve just stuck to the ones my mum recommended to me over half my lifetime ago. When I began to read a bit about it I started to uncover the many many issues with the household named brands of tampon and sanitary towels. They’re packed full of chemicals for a start. I don’t know about you but on the whole I’m pretty choosy about what goes near my vagina. It suddenly occurred to me that I was regularly subjecting this delicate area to potential harm. Vaginal walls (sorry folks) are extremely sensitive and absorbent. High numbers of chemicals in close proximity must surely be a bad thing.
And then there’s my current favourite topic – waste. These products are made from plastic, come wrapped in plastic and some even have plastic applicators. Most do not biodegrade even slightly. When you think about the scale on which they are being used the mind boggles.
So I went in search of alternatives. I intend to try out a menstrual cup (don’t get too excited now!) soon, but for now I thought it would be a good idea to look for a straight product swap. And I found one. Behold – NATRACARE!
Why are they better?
The pads are totally plastic free, perfume free and chlorine free – hurrah! They are pretty much exactly the same as any other pad but without all the blue (WHY?) swirly designs. They fit well and last the same amount of time. The tampons (I went for applicator free) are literally exactly the same as any other tampon. Except they are 100% cotton, perfume free and chlorine free. All Natracare products are all made from renewable, natural materials and are also approved by the Soil Association as organic! Oh and both are comparable in price to Always, Lil-lets and Tampax.
Is there a downside?
The tampons are wrapped in a bit of plastic, which is a shame. I’m sure it’s some kind of hygiene thing though. The other downside is that they are not necessarily easy to come by. I got mine from Southville Deli on North Street. Unfortunately I haven’t spotted them in supermarkets yet. You can buy them from a range of places on line though, including ethical superstore and natural collection. Cost wise, they are more expensive than supermarket brands.
My mind is made up on this one and I’m definitely switching to Natracare long term. To me the benefits far outweigh the negatives. I’m very keen to protect the earth and my erogenous zones and Natracare helps me do both.