So you watch what you eat. You move your body regularly. You know how to cure yourself of most common ailments with herbs. You wrap your head when you know the energy might be funny. You mind the company you keep. You smudge most mornings. You drink plenty of water, and every now and then, you’ll even spring for a jug that’s alkaline. You never waste the pot likka. And you always, always represent for the culture.
Basically, you’re one of those Black Naturalista, Sacred Woman, heal the people, community rooted, spiritually aligned, ancestor loving, Earth Warrior, Queen Goddess type sistahs, and you own this holistic health game.
So why are you still dipping your yoni in a chemical bath each month?
What’s in Your “Pocketbook”?: Known Chemicals in Conventional Feminine Products
If you’re still using regular disposable pads and/or tampons, that’s pretty much what it comes down to: a chemical bath. Need more specifics? Here are some of the substances that we know are in most conventional pads or tampons:
- Plasticizing chemicals (e.g. BPA and BPS): Known to disrupt embryonic development. Linked to heart disease and cancer.
- Phthalates: Known to disregulate gene expression.
- Synthetic materials: Restrict flow of air, leading to more yeast and bacterial vaginosis (BV) infections.
- Fragrances: Disrupt vaginal pH.
- Chlorine bleach: Disrupts vaginal pH. Can create toxic dioxin, which may lead to abnormal tissue growth in the abdomen and reproductive organs, abnormal cell growth throughout the body, weakened immune functioning, and unhealthy changes in hormones/endocrine system.
- Rayon and Viscose: Increase risk for Toxic Shock Syndrome.
- And many other chemicals and chemical by-products
Freaked out yet? Here’s another not-so-fun tidbit: that list only includes the materials that we know are in most feminine products. The companies are not required to disclose everything they use. Not sure about you, but if the stuff above is what we already are aware of, it kind of makes me wonder, “What the hell are they hiding?”
Doesn’t look like we’ll know anytime soon. Since pads and tampons are classified as “medical devices,” companies can legally keep this information from the public. We also won’t be able to get any clear stats on the health risks from use of conventional feminine products. In 2003, House Representative Carolyn Maloney introduced legislation that would have required this research be conducted for the good of the public. It didn’t pass. (Because… capitalism.)
Listen. All I wanna say is that
And they most definitely don’t care about our yonis.
But women like us… we do. And to paraphrase Mama Maya, when we know better, we do better.
Luckily, there are other options.
Cloth Pads: A Healthy Solution for the Natural Goddess
Cloth pads are my new favorite. I started using them not so long ago, when I realized how terrible I felt after several months of using only conventional pads. (I have used a menstrual cup and disposable pads interchangeably for years, but stopped using the cup regularly about 7 or 8 months ago. Nothing was wrong, I just stopped feeling like putting something inside me when my body was trying to release. I know y’all get it. I do still like having my cup as an option, though, and a post on that is soon to come.)
Using only regular pads, I found that I was dryer, itchier, and just generally less comfortable during and after my monthly flow. I had heard about cloth pads before, and was never quite convinced that they could get the job done. But by a few months ago, my discomfort had begun to outweigh my skepticism. I ordered my first cotton and bamboo pads online and
Not only do my cloth pads work, they are actually MORE absorbent than the conventional pads I’ve been using all these years! They’re also extremely comfortable, discreet (I thought they would be bulky – not so), and stationary. (I also assumed that, without any adhesive, they might migrate… kind of like when you have to improvise with a wad of toilet paper and it ends up on your backside. Fortunately I was wrong about that, too!) And cleaning them – the part that made me hesitate the most – turned out to be really simple.
And that’s definitely not all there is to it.
Here are a few more benefits of using cloth pads instead of conventional disposables.
6 Reasons We Should All Switch to Cloth Pads
- Natural fibers (most are made of cotton and/or bamboo) let the yoni breathe, making it easier to maintain a healthy vaginal ecology and pH balance. (This means they can help eliminate, or at least decrease the frequency and intensity of post-menstrual yeast and BV infections.)
- Less chemicals being absorbed into your yoni, womb, and blood stream. (Less chance for long-term reproductive and health issues.)
- More economical. With proper care, most cloth pads can be used for 3 – 5 years. (You pay more on the front end, but can save HUNDREDS of dollars since you no longer have to buy packs of disposables each month.)
- Many women experience less bleeding and shorter menses when using cloth pads regularly. (This is probably also due to the lack of harmful chemicals.)
- Increases awareness of and connection to your blood, yoni, and womb. (Instead of wrapping it up and throwing it away, you’ll have to deal with exactly what is coming out of you and why. You’ll be more likely to notice changes as they occur, which is important for monitoring your health.)
- Better for the Earth. (This is our only home, y’all. Even if that holds zero spiritual significance for you, the practical implications are obvious. If we really intend to heal ourselves, our families, and our communities, we need a healthy Earth. We have to stop filling landfills with unnecessary waste, and that includes disposable pads and tampons.)
Ready to Try Cloth Pads for Yourself?
Yaaaaaaassssss Goddess! Let’s do this!
First things first, know that you have options. The cloth pad game has changed dramatically in the past few years. They are available from a few major brands (including GladRags and LunaPads), as well as a plethora of independent sellers. If you want to try them out for a deal, check out the bargain on BLK33. (Full disclosure, this is The Body Temple’s sister site, so if you buy from there, it’ll help me out a bit!)
If you sew, you might even be able to make your own.
Either way, I hope you make the switch and love it! Once you try cloth pads for yourself, report back to The Body Temple community and let us know about your experience!