Seven months later, I am finally writing this post on why I switched to using reusable sanitary pads. I got so many questions on this topic. So, every time I sat to write a post, I got overwhelmed. I tried to answer every question I was asked, for that reason, this post is longer than any post I have ever written. So I thought I’d break it into two parts. Part one will focus on the main reasons for making the switch. Part two will be all about me answering some of the main questions I received from many of you and also sharing my experience. My goal for this post is to hopefully give my unbiased opinion on why I made this switch and why it’s important to me to stay as knowledgeable and reasonable as possible.
If you’re like most women (or even men) the title of this post probably turned you off a bit. I totally understand that. I’m however hoping that you can at least commit to reading these two posts in their entirety. I want to share my experience switching to reusable sanitary pads; why I switched and whether or not I will continue using them. I will answer some of the most asked questions in this post.
I was that girl who’d sigh and be absolutely disgusted by the thought of reusing sanitary pads. How the heck I supposed to wash off blood from a pad and place it back up my hoohaa? Yikes! Oh, how life happens to us! The fact that I’m even writing this is shocking to me because I am never one to talk about feminine issues in public- not for nothing, just not in my comfort zone. But Life has a way of challenging us. I guess you can say, I am growing into my own woman now. eh!
Anyways, this issue of reusable sanitary pads is one that shook so many people. The minute I posted it on my Instagram back in February, it went off. I’m pretty sure it’s one of my top 3 most engaging posts. I was going to just write about my decision to switch to using reusable sanitary pads in a typical blog post style. However, I think it’ll be most useful to answer questions. I went through the photo posted on Instagram and pretty much picked out all the questions. So instead, this post will be almost like a Q & A. I did have some people who actually use reusable pads. Many people also use menstrual cups and love it.
Years later, I started using organic pads, they were okay but absorbency wasn’t that impressive. I am quite light, so to have leakages with organic pads was a no for me. That was when I started reading about reusable pads in 2017.
Reasons Why I switched to using Reusable Sanitary pads
1. Health concerns
It has always bothered me that we do not know what is really in our sanitary pads. I started questioning my use of disposable sanitary pads back in 2013 when I first tried to look up ingredients in our sanitary pads but found none. After much researching, I learned that the FDA doesn’t require pad manufacturers to disclose ingredients in these products. It bothered me.
As much as there are many things we do not know, here’s what we do know about the ingredients in sanitary pads:
- They contain bleached cotton
- The pieces of cotton used aren’t organic except in the case of organic sanitary pads
- They also contain chemicals that allow for adhesion
- They most likely contain fragrances
- There may be Pesticide residue. (Toxic pesticides are used routinely in cotton fields)
- They contain some synthetic fibers (could potentially emit some absorbable toxins)
- And more…
The vagina and vulva are lined with epithelial cells and mucous membranes. This mucous membrane allows the vagina to absorb substances more rapidly than other body parts. One major issue that many women experience is Toxic Shock Syndrom (TSS) which is a rare life-threatening disease often linked to the use of tampons.
As for pads, even though there hasn’t been any peer-reviewed journal on the degree of absorption (if at all any), I feel the need to prevent what I can until trusted studies have been conducted.
2. Environmental Impact
The second biggest issue for me was the ecological impact of using disposable sanitary pads. The environmental impact of using disposable sanitary pads is one that I could no longer ignore. Many of you who read my blog already know that being eco-friendly is important to me. I have committed to being more eco-friendly and made some eco-friendly swaps in that regard. The more I learn about the state of our planet, the more environmentally conscious I become. It’s just a case of compassion towards the planet for me and also understanding “If you know better, you do better”.
It is estimated that in North America alone (US & Canada) almost 20 billion sanitary pads are dumped into our landfills annually. The typical sanitary pad contains plastic, wood cellulose and silicon paper and many more. These components are non-biodegradable. Pads also contain some plastic layers that act as stain protectors; they also come in wrapped plastics. These plastic layers and wraps do not decompose and are hard to recycle. If you use tampons, also consider just how much tampons you use per cycle multiplied by your life cycles. That’s how much tampon applicator (plastic) ends up in a landfill per person.
With using reusable sanitary pads, you are able to use the same batch of pads over and over every month for a good 5-0 years. Reusable pads are made with biodegradable and sustainable materials. These materials include bamboo fiber, organic cotton, and hemp fiber.
Cost of disposable pads is not really an issue for me. I have never struggled with not being able to afford sanitary pads. I am including this here as I know it is a struggle for some women. One a number of occasions I have read tweets from women complaining about the cost of menstruation in some parts of the world. Sanitary pads are expensive. Depending on your flow thus the length of pads and absorbency the price can range from $5.99 – $15.99. A woman spends on average $5600 on sanitary pads in her lifetime. Using reusable pads can save you more than 90%. I spent about $60 on the reusable pads I currently own. I will most likely use those pads for the next 5 years or more.
- A Question for Women’s Health
- The Ecological Impact of Using disposable sanitary pads
- Plastic-free feminine hygiene
- Why Switch? By Luna Pads
So there you have it. My main reasons for using reusable sanitary pads. In the next post, I’ll answer some questions and share my experience so far.