In most cases, when women go vegan, we think about changing what we eat. Then we turn our attention to makeup and clothes.
But have you given any thought to making that “time of the month” more health-conscious and environmentally-friendly?
What’s so bad about regular period products?
According to the website Healthy Women, the average woman uses about 10,000 sanitary products in her lifetime. Products that end up in our landfills or as trash in our water system, hurting sea animals and wildlife in the process.
In addition to damaging the environment, the chemicals in most commercial products have the potential to cause serious health problems to women. Our skin is our largest organ and also the thinnest, which means that toxins found in most commercial sanitary products can easily permeate the skin in and around the vagina.
In Huff Post article, Women Beware: Most Feminine Hygiene Products Contain Toxic Ingredients, Dr. Mercola highlights how “conventional sanitary pads can contain [chemicals to] the equivalent of about four plastic bags”!! Furthermore, the clean white look of commercial sanitary products usually comes from the use of chlorine bleach.
4 Healthy, vegan and eco-friendly solutions for your period
Luckily there has never before been so many products in the market for safe, nontoxic, and environmentally friendly period products. Below I discuss some of my favorite vegan and eco-friendly period products and my experiences with a few of them.
1. No Chemicals, Cotton Pads and Tampons
If you are looking to limit your contact to toxins, the easiest switch is to change to a natural all cotton product such as Veeda. Veeda carries a line of 100% cotton pads, liners and tampons that contain no chemicals, synthetics or dyes. Their liners and tampons are sold in a recyclable cardboard box and their pads are wrapped in Biofilm, a biodegradable wrap that breaks down in 6-12 months. Just be aware that if you use applicators with your tampons, Veeda’s are made of plastic, albeit BPA-free and with an offset program to minimize the environmental impact.
Other perks to this brand are that the price is comparable to commercial brands, they offer free shipping to anywhere in the US, and they are stocked in well-known and accessible commercial stores. Veeda sent me some products to try and, as a long time commercial tampon and pad user, I have to say I was most impressed that they did not irritate my skin like other brands. Since they are 100% cotton, they felt more comfortable than commercial products, had a comparable absorption level, and the adhesive on the pads kept them in place better than other all-natural brands I have tried.
2. Reusable Cotton Pads
Reusable pads are pads you wash, dry, and reuse. Companies such as Glad Rags offer organic cotton pads that are also free from irritating synthetics and chemical gels. These pads come as a set of three pieces (a holder and two inserts) in various patterns and colors which you can customize to suit your needs depending on how heavy your period is. And since you wash and reuse the pads instead of throwing them away you not only save money, but you also tremendously reduce your impact on the environment one month at a time.
The price point may initially seem expensive, but the longer you use them the more economical they become. I didn’t manage to get comfortable using these outside the home. Although I am very comfortable with my period, carrying the used clothes pads during the day until I come home from work did not appeal to me at all. What I did love however was that these felt as comfortable as wearing plain underwear, and, since these are washable, I never have to worry about being out of pads when “Aunt Flow” comes to town.
3. Menstrual Cups
Perhaps the product that causes most apprehension is the menstrual cup – but you needn’t worry. Menstrual cup is a silicon cup that you insert in and position in the lower part of your vagina, just past your pelvic bone. You can wear it up to 12 hours while it collects and holds your menstrual blood, then you just remove, empty, wash and re-insert.
Menstrual cups are growing in popularity with brand names such as Lunette, Iris Cup, Moon Cup and Diva Cup popping up online and in stores. Lunette, whose cup sells in over 40 countries, sent me a model 2 size to try. With two sizes available (model 1 for women with light to moderate flow, are younger, or have not experienced intercourse; and model 2 for a normal or heavier flow and for those who have given birth vaginally) you can choose which best suits your needs.
What I liked best about the cup was that I could insert it in the morning, wear it all day (without even feeling it was there) then empty it when I got home in the evening. There is minimal waste since the only thing that you’re disposing is your blood, which is great for the environment. The only advice I offer is that it may take you some time to learn to insert and remove the cup properly. Be patient, make sure you are using the size cup that’s right for you, and in the meantime wear a backup liner in case of leaks.
A menstrual cup can cost between $15 to $40, depending on the website of purchase and the brand. For the cheaper prices purchase via Amazon and remember, one cup can last years, so treat it as an investment!
4. Period Panties
Although I wasn’t able to get my hands on one to try, I must give an honorable mention to Thinx. Thinx are literally period panties! According to the brand, these panties can be worn alone and keep you feeling clean and dry with some styles absorbing up to two tampons’ worth of menstrual blood. You can also wear them as a backup.
Just be aware that this new product is high demand. As I am writing this sentence they were backordered one month, so it might take you a while to get your hands on a pair.
Want to enter for your chance to win some of these green period products? Join us on The Vegan Woman’s Facebook group for more details!
Think green period
Women will have their period every month for about 30 years of their lives. That is a lot of waste in our landfills and water, toxins in our body and money out of our pockets. These companies are a few of many who are looking to make our periods more healthy, eco-friendly and cost-effective. Support these brands and make your period friendly for us all!