Health

Happy period, happy planet

Organic cotton cloth pads from Eco Femme, Auroville. Edoardo Grassi, Special Arrangement   | Photo Credit: Photographer:EdoardoGrassi

Apart from everything else that is going on, women have to deal with their monthly cycles. It wouldn’t be so bad if it were just left to us, because most of the problems around these days stem from the reactions that we receive from people around.

As if that weren’t an issue in itself, we have now come to realise that commercial/conventional pads contain everything from dioxins to Chlorine bleach, dyes, artificial fragrances, even parabens, latex or formaldehyde.

Nobody today needs to be told that these are harmful, often carcinogenic chemicals. And then of course, since they are reportedly made of 90 per cent plastic (a simple Google search will yield these details), they are not biodegradable and contribute a significant amount to landfills at nearly 1,30,000 tonnes every year. Combined with improper disposal, they make quite a mess. Fortunately, the world is now beginning to come up with solutions to tackle these issues. If you want to have a safe, hygienic, happy and eco-friendly period (who doesn’t?), here are the options:

Using a plant-fibre based, safe, biodegradable sanitary pad

As of now, it has come to notice that there are a few, namely two, brands offering such napkins. They are Heyday (visit heydaycare.com) and Carmesi (mycarmesi.com). While Heyday, which began retailing out of Delhi is now accessible online for those living in other cities, claims to offer full coverage with super absorption, wings and plant-based waterproof backing; a breathing top sheet that is soft and allows air flow to the vaginal area (which is crucial at this time); antibacterial properties because the raw materials made with corn and bamboo fibre have natural sterilisation effects; be safe and healthy with no chemicals, plastics, perfumes, bleaches, latex and toxins; be biodegradable, the pad and its cover start decomposing six months after disposal. Carmesi, a more high-end product, offers similar features, except that it comes with a more tangible disposal cover and offers gifting options. While Heyday offers fluff XL or ultra thin XL options, Carmesi offers size options in regular and XL and both brands offer subscription plans. Heyday is the more reasonably priced of the two and is affordable with just a pinch. Carmesi, being a more premium product is more expensive. Both retail via their websites.

Using a menstrual cup

Over the past few years, there has been much talk in the media about the benefits of menstrual cups.

These are flexible cups, made of either rubber or silicone, that collect menstrual blood rather than absorb it. They need to be changed less often, depending on the flow and rinsed before reuse. Naturally, since they are not for single-use, they cost less. They even last years, though they may still be disposable and so result in less waste. They are said to preserve the ph balance and the beneficial bacteria in the vaginal area.

Supposedly, women who use them say they don’t feel anything when it is in place. However, it does take practice for women who have never used a tampon to learn to use a menstrual cup.

Lately, studies have surfaced on the possible higher risks of women using menstrual cups, contracting Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). This is a possibly fatal condition that is associated with the use of tampons. To prevent possible risks, doctors recommend changing the menstrual cup after every use and sterilising the used cup using solution or boiling water, although the same studies have pointed out that may not really help. Menstrual cups are available at most major pharmacies and online, including on Amazon. Costs vary depending on the material, size and quality. It is best to consult a doctor before making the switch to menstrual cups

Cloth Pads

Cloth pads date back to the times of our grandmothers, who of course had no other choice. Today, however, cloth pads have been redesigned to imitiate the comfort of disposable pads (they come with wings too) and are made to be absorbent. They can be used almost in the same way that disposable pads are used. They often come with disposal bags so they can be carried back for rewash. They are not associated with risks of TSS, which is caused by a usually harmless bacteria found in the body. They, obviously, do not contribute to landfills, and are low on investment in comparison with disposable pads. It all depends on what you find comfortable. It is better to buy cloth pads made of organic cotton since these contain no pesticides. Cloth pads are also widely available online on Amazon. Prices vary depending on the quantity or material. Just remember, don't shy away from drying them in the sun. Spread the message.


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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 10:09:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/happy-period-happy-planet/article23657871.ece

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