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Goodbye Pads & Tampons – Hello Menstrual Cup!

You’ll find this title picture very amusing after you read the entry… (or at least if you know what’s in the theme of the picture)

So yesterday I participated in a grand celebration of a one-year anniversary of Bepreparedperiod tweet chats! It was a fantastic party, again, reminding us that the menstrual cycle is a perfectly natural bodily process and we should not be ashamed to speak about it. It’s also important that both guys and girls have equal opportunity to be educated through books and dialogue. During the tweet chat, I mentioned the excitement of introducing a menstrual cup to one of my girls which @bpreparedperiod suggested I blog on. What a wonderful idea, it totally didn’t cross my mind to write about it! It only happened less than a week ago so it’s still fresh on to my mind on how it happened!

So pretty much the highlight of this entry is that I managed to convince one of my girls to try a menstrual cup, although it was definitely an interesting method… one I would not recommend you employing unless you really know the person is comfortable with it and can take a hardy joke. Last weekend, I was over at her house and recently, I had purchased a menstrual cup from a nearby “green” store. It was in the trunk so I thought, “Hey, why not try to persuade —- to give it a shot?” As with most of my girls, the idea of reusable menstrual products do not sit well, particularly when it comes to the question of, “How do I clean it?” Unfortunately the second I have to say “dump and wash it” or “throw it in the laundry” I get that exasperated look already. I may be a person who likes to poke and prod here and there to see if they’ll change their minds, but I never force… after all, menstrual products are all personal preference and I hate the idea that one is “superior” to another – each has its own merits.

My friend just got her period the day before, so it was a perfect opportunity for me to give her a prod to try out the product. I know she’s weary of it, but she’s also one of my girls who is the type to be persuaded with a wee bit of pressure. We were about to head out to shop, so she went into her room to change. I snuck upstairs to her bathroom and took the basket where she keeps her pads and tampons. I emptied out the pads/tampons into my laptop bag temporarily because that’d be the last place she would assume I’d hide them! I brought the basket back into her bathroom and in place of the 20 some-odd products she had in it initially, I replaced it with one item – a menstrual cup.

Heck, I could be an Olympian assassin being able to pull that off without her noticing my movements and within record time! I see all this running and exercising of mine is paying off 😆 I ran back downstairs and sat on the couch and waiting to hear her reaction from upstairs. I could hear her room door opening and she trotted toward the bathroom, likely to change herself before we left the house. I could hear her screaming my name and I burst out laughing. I’m sure some of my readers will consider this a cruel act, however, I know her well enough to not cause any hard feelings and in the event she really asked for pads or tampons back, I wouldn’t withhold them from her. I expected her to come rushing down and scrounging for her products back, but to my surprize, she didn’t. She called me upstairs and asked me to help her (through the door) to figure out how to use it. Now obviously I don’t have a vagina and have never inserted a menstrual cup in my life, but I guess conceptually I know it as well as I could. I talked her through it and she managed to get it in after about 15 minutes (or at least what FELT like 15) of fiddling with it and came out smiling.

She did ask for a pad to put on just-in-case the cup leaked since it is her first time using one, so I just gave everything back to her. I asked her if it felt anything like using a tampon and she said, “Not at all – feels even better and more reassuring.” I was really pleased that she took an opportunity to try it out and whether she continues using it, she at least gave herself the exposure to reusable menstrual products. A few hours into shopping, she was worried it would start to spill as it was day 2 for her and she doesn’t exactly flow on the light side either. She asked me to wait outside the “family” washroom for her just in case she ran into some major trouble. It took her some extra time (compared to when she uses conventional pads/tampons), but I heard the toilet flush so I assumed everything was ok. She emerged, smiled and told me everything was fine and that the cup wasn’t even close to full. She even happily touted that she doubted any pad/tampon she used could’ve withstood so many hours without leaking when she’s this heavy! She was so pleased with the cup that she even told me she ditched the pad because she felt secure enough.

She did mention that at first, when she had to rinse out the cup it was rather disturbing to see how much menstrual flow there was because she’s never seen the true amount of flow whenever it was absorbed into disposable pads or tampons. She also had to be quite careful upon removing the cup as to not spill the entire content all over the place. Understandably, there are all concerns that many of my other disposable-loving girls have. I always like to give opportunities for my girls try new products, disposables and reusables. I will never force the issue, though it can be quite fun and amusing (person-dependent) to pull something like this off and end up with a great reward. Now I have one more of my girls who has at least tried using a cup and that may perhaps create a path for her to try other reusable products like cloth pads.

While writing this entry, I exchanged a few text messages with her to see if she had any additional thoughts. She doubts that she will adopt the menstrual cup as a permanent replacement of her menstrual hygiene options, but definitely will be replacing her tampon-use overnight as it prevents the worry of TSS risk when sleeping beyond 8 hours. The cup will also be more convenient at home to use, though that doesn’t necessarily mean she won’t use it outside of the house either… however, using disposables can sometimes prove to be a convenience. On her VERY heavy days, pairing the cup with a pad backup would buy her a lot of time in between changing if needed or would give her a peace-of-mind to sleep in. Finally, she can immensely cut down purchases of pads/tampons since she has an extra option to rotate with and generate less trash every month.

I hope you found as much joy through this entry as I did with my little joke – which turned out great. I have to reiterate that this is not something everyone should try, unless you know your ‘target’ well. Though it sounded like I did this in the heat-of-the-moment, there was a lot of contemplation and consideration before pulling this off. Remember that you should never force menstrual hygiene options on someone, but encouraging and providing options through a friendly and helpful manner will bring you a better response. You can never understand another person’s needs, comfort level and feelings, so you should ensure not to press the matter beyond what is reasonable between the two of you! 🙂

Menstruation Through The Eyes of a Typical Male

This weekend, I had the opportunity to get in touch with many of my guy friends. Oddly enough, most of my girls live close to me and it’s only on holidays where I get to see my closer male friends who come back into town. Though we keep in-touch over messaging and phone, it still doesn’t replace that face-to-face contact. More to this, is that I wanted to run some things over discreetly with them, such that I also needed to be able to see their facial reactions and gauge changes in body posture and voice intonation. Now suffice to say, it’s not like I’m some psychology expert, but anyone who communicates regularly with people know that being able to see those factors enhances our ability to detect and sense otherwise undetectable things through other forms of communication.

Yay, I'm part of the 0.5% - lol!

This weekend, having 4 days off (today’s the last day, BOO) – my goal was to collect some ideas from the guy’s about their perceptions of menstruation, or rather, perhaps demystify some of the things guys think or say about menstruation or surrounding topics. Mind you, this isn’t a collection of every “view” of menstruation of all males, but only through contact with a few of my guy friends who “dared” to speak to me about such subjects. To be honest, when I gave them feedback on their statements, it was probably more detail than they were ever hoping for. However, having an opportunity for open dialogue is the start to end the taboo on menstruation, for males and females. If we can’t talk about it, then menstrual negativity is going to perpetuate for years to come. The following is a few of the dialogues I had between my various friends.

The Guys:

“Girls use tampons on their period”

Yes and no. Yes, some girls DO use tampons for their periods. However, ‘tampon’ is not an interchangeable word and only describes one, of the many forms of feminine hygiene products. A tampon is usually a cylindrical piece of cotton or other synthetic materials which is inserted into the vagina to absorb menstrual flow. Other notable menstrual protection include disposable pads, cloth pads, menstrual cups, sea sponges, etc. Furthermore, there ARE also women who enjoy free-bleeding and as long as that works with their lifestyle and is considerate of sanitation to those around them, then that’s great!

The Guys:

“She’s angry, it must be that-time-of-month”

I have to say, that’s a pretty nasty statement to make and if you’ve tried that with a less-than-humoured girl, it might result in some kicks to the nuts. Though there are times that PMS may lead to irritability, anger or emotional state changes in a woman, it does not mean her period is around the corner. I believe in 2 things regarding this. 1) Women should not be able to use their period/PMS as an excuse for inappropriate behaviour, 2) Men should not use periods/PMS as a means of attacking a woman’s behaviour. With that said, there have been many articles written by men that essentially says, “PMS is not a valid excuse” and since that would otherwise ruin my point that it’s not coming from the viewpoint of a woman – you can reference an article written by a lady here concerning the topic: PMS is no excuse for acting like a bitch – we should recognize that hormonal fluctuations during a menstrual cycle may be a factor of sharply changing behaviour, but not allow it to justify disrespect. Hell, even if it really is PMS or menstrual temper I can almost guarantee you’d be better off not to point it out, unless you can do it in fashion without throwing oil in the fire.

The Guys:

“The only time that I like knowing she got her period is when I’m worried she’s pregnant”

Well, the sigh of relief may be for both parties I suppose in this case. Menstruation however, is something to love and appreciate. Though I know some of my girls have waited in angst for their period to arrive when they had some “oopsies” – as guys, we should consider that normal menstrual cycle means our partner’s body is functioning well (most of the time). What’s better than your loved ones being healthy? Also, while periods are known to wreak havoc, there are also women out there who experienced heightened libidos are really want their sex! Which leads me onto the next point…

The Guys:

“I hate when her period comes! Means no sex for a week”

Menstrual sex is a personal choice and between the involved participants. Not all girls reject sex during her period. In fact, there are many couples who enjoy menstrual sex. Menstrual sex can be pretty cool, think of all the free lube! As long as you are practicing safe-sex or your partner is healthy, menstrual sex doesn’t pose any significant risks. For those who may be less adventurous with penetrative sex, oral sex or just some sensual time together can just be as fulfilling. After all, they didn’t make sex toys for no reason 😛

The Guys:

“I’m always afraid she’s hurt”

It took me a while figuring this one out because I thought he was talking about cramps. But it turns out that for us guys, we associate “bleeding” (or blood) with pain or injury. True enough, if any part of my body began to bleed, I’d probably freak out. Menstruation though is a normal biological function, so “bleeding” for women isn’t necessarily a sign of injury or pain. Sexual stimulation in/around her vagina during this time isn’t going to hurt her unless she has other complexities. Even if she’s feeling some pain from cramps, a good ol’ orgasm can actually wisp that away pretty quickly!

The Guys:

“Menstrual blood is dangerous”

Menstrual blood is only as dangerous as normal blood contact would be. An otherwise healthy individual without transmittable diseases would not have any major dangers. However, certainly menstrual flow that is expelled from the body is still considered bio-hazardous and may contain bacteria or other forms of germs, but it probably won’t kill you or anything if you come in regular contact with it. If the blood is dried, that’s even a lesser concern as exposure to open air for a period of time already cause major bacterial forms to die. If you’re in a monogamous and know thoroughly the healthiness of your partner, the likelihood of dying in a fiery car crash is probably much higher than a deadly illness arriving from sexual contact from menstrual flow.

The Guys:

“I love being able to ejaculate in my girlfriend when she’s on her period because it’s safe”

I had to ask him what he meant by “safe” – he meant that he’s safe from getting his girlfriend knocked up. I had to break it to him that while conceiving while menstruating is low, it’s also not impossible as conceiving during menstruation has been known to happen. It is quite possible for sperm to stay alive within an optimal environment within the vagina, meaning that pregnancy can occur just before/after active menstruation. Also bleeding may potentially be mistaken as full out menses which may mean fertilization is still possible. If conceiving a child isn’t in your line of responsibilities at the moment (or never), then practicing safe-sex at ANY time is necessary.

The Guys:

“I don’t get it. How can she lose so much blood regularly without dying?”

With the number of pads and tampons that are used and the way they appear when they’re saturated, it may appear there’s a lot of blood loss. The reality is that the amount of menstrual flow per period is not that great (sans medical conditions). At an “upper estimate” of 9 tbsp of menstrual flow per period, it’s not exactly cause for concern of massive blood loss. According to my very quick research, the body begins to have adverse medical reaction at 15% of total blood loss. Given that the human body contains about 5 litres of blood, 9 tbsp is about 0.133 litres of blood – or about 2.66% per period. What is necessary to note is that during menstruation, “flow” that is lost is not entirely composed of blood alone. Barring any medical conditions, a normal menstrual cycle isn’t going to drain your girlfriend’s blood supply low!

The Guys:

“Does she have to change her tampon every time she pees?”

Nope, not unless she wants to or needs to. The urethra and vagina are two different holes (I’d be impressed if you could get your penis in her urethra) and furthermore, most girls usually will hold/tuck the string while peeing to avoid it getting wet. Others just simply let nature take its course and then using some toilet paper to mop up the tampon string dry in case it gets wet. Some girls just don’t care at all, because that’s what underwear is for anyway! It’s like magic to guys, but just with a bit of a tug, a girl can check whether her tampon needs to be changed. If it comes out easily, then it’s all saturated and needs to be changed. If there is resistance, then the tampon is still usable, with the exception that her: 1) period is over, 2) she wants to change products, or 3) her tampon has been in for/nearing 8 hours.

The Guys:

“She doesn’t talk to me about her period”

Let’s face it, most guys don’t really want to hear about girls periods, so therefore, girls have been programmed not to divulge anything about it. Right from Wikipedia sources, “Studies have shown nearly all girls in the USA believe that girls should not talk about menstruation with boys, and more than one-third of the girls did not believe that it was appropriate to discuss menstruation with their fathers. The basis of many conduct norms and communication about menstruation in western industrial societies is the belief that menstruation should remain hidden.” That’s not to say I’ve never met girls who’ve approached the topic of menstruation with me openly (without knowledge of my interest), but in general, I really have to be the one to broach on the topic and show that I’m “accepting” to converse about it before they come comfortable with speaking about it. Unless the girl is particularly open with her bodily functions or that the relationship has progressed to an intimate level, it’s likely you will have to be proactive and show her that she can speak to you about such ‘private’ matters. It might not even be that she doesn’t want you to know, but that menstruation is generally regarded with shame and is indecent to talk about, particularly with a male. If you two ever plan on moving forward with a successful relationship, talking about menstruation is probably to least of challenges.

The Guys:

“I’m so grossed out by periods”

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. Honestly, I find semen much more repulsive if anything. The menstrual cycle and the female anatomy is so beautiful. I can only hope to educate you about menstruation to help you change your mind about it, but I’m not going to try to turn a stone into gold.

The Guys:

“Why does she like to ask me to buy her pads/tampons?”

I don’t think most girls “like” asking you to buy it, in fact, most do it only when they really need to, like when they’re clumped over on the couch. Because pads/tampons are very personal choices, most women like to shop for it themselves. However, there are also guys I know who get it as part of their grocery list, but I don’t it’s a really ‘unique’ thing. She has every right to ask you if you guys are involved in a committed relationship and if she has ever bought anything for you in your life, then she can expect you to buy this for her. As long as she equips you with enough information to buy it, it should be fair game. For some women, it can be used as a ‘test’ to see if you’re man enough to do it or they don’t really think anything of it. You’re out getting those apples anyway, why not a box of tampons or a pack of pads?

The Guys:

“It’s amazing, how does she even keep track of how often to change or when it gets full?”

With pads it’s fairly simple, because a visual inspection will allow a girl to know whether her pad is getting full or not. Also, as pads get saturated, the pad will usually become heavier and there may be a damp feeling. With tampons, as I explained above, usually a quick “tug test” will already reveal whether changing is required. For most girls though, it’s just a matter of timed washroom breaks to do a check-up. Some girls may change ahead of time if they’re planning travel which does not give them accessibility to washrooms. I know with most of my girls, they opt to change later when they’re at home as they can get to a washroom any time. However, if they’re heading for a several hour road trip they change before they leave the house or double-up protection. Despite a girl being an expert on her body and diligent on her feminine hygiene needs, leaks may sometimes still happen and that’s ok. It’s like sneezing. Try as you might, but doesn’t stop it from coming out!

The Guys:

“Girls can’t swim on their periods”

Whether the girl ‘can’ swim is subjective on her own skill, not whether she has her period or not. However, if you’re talking about methods to control menstrual flow, they can opt to use internal forms of feminine hygiene, as pads would be out of the question. Feminine products worn within the vagina will offer a chance for the girl to swim while maintaining hygiene for herself and other swimmers. If a girl knows how to swim and doesn’t have debilitating menstrual pains, swimming is great exercise which may help alleviate cramps and maintain a healthy body overall. I do know however, that Traditional Chinese Medicine [TCM] usually frowns upon swimming while menstruating (because the body is considered ‘weak’ during that time).

The Guys:

“Girls get their period every 28 days”

This is something I admit that I was pretty ignorant about until I started learning about menstruation from female experiences and stories. To me, the “books” tell you that menstrual cycles are 28 days in length, however, that is not true for many women as bodies aren’t clockworks. Many of the girls I’ve dated before just happened to have a fairly regular cycle every month, but even tracking with bebe for the past 2 years I’ve known her, I can say for sure almost every month she has a different monthly cycle. While she’s perfectly healthy, it does come down to the fact that women do not always have exact 28-day cycles, but rather, vary between 21-35 days and whether or not a woman falls within a 28-day cycle doesn’t necessarily represent overall health. Because I happened to date girls who fell in the 26-29 day ranges, it was awkward for me to start tracking bebe’s to find that hers was much longer (lucky her, unlucky me… LOL). I know a few of my girls don’t really track at all and tell me they just “feel it” when it’s about to come! That’s really cool 🙂

The Guys:

“The washroom stinks when she’s on her period”

I suppose it’s something you really need to bring up with her. Dried menstrual flow does have an odour but is not easily detectable. I know girls who use “open” trash bins who visibly have wrapped tampons and pads in it and the smell is hardly obvious. Unless the girl has very rancid menstrual flow odour, it should not be very strong and only detectable if you plan on sticking your nose in the trash. What makes menstrual flow smell is actually when it comes in contact with open air and begins to fester bacteria. When the bacteria is trying living/decomposing the menstrual flow and pad, that is what emits the stench, not so much the actual flow itself. Proper sanitary practices should already be sufficient to stem the smell. I’ve been to my girl’s house before who hadn’t emptied the trash for 3 weeks and she had pads piled to the top and still the air was pretty clean. I’d broach lightly on the topic with her since it’s rather insulting to be told her menstrual flow smells, but rather, talk about maintaining welcoming environment for guests who use the bathroom as a softer approach.

 

It has definitely been a while since I’ve had the time to write this much! Hope this helps shed some light on what your typical (which I’m not) guys think about periods. I’m glad they offered me an opportunity to trade what I know about menstruation for their personal growth and also that I could share it with the world-at-large here. It’ll also help the girls see things through our eyes and that sometimes we just don’t know any better. Furthermore, I grew up in a conservative family meaning menstruation wasn’t talked about much. Lucky for me I didn’t run into a bunch of misinformation communicated to me from my peers, but certainly I can see why it happens when boys aren’t educated properly about menstruation. They begin to pick up things from their friends and see/hear negativity about periods from other sources. Best to teach them at an age-appropriate level so they develop respect for the female anatomy and a beautiful & natural bodily process!

 

A Moldy Kotex Security Tampon? No Problem!

Yes… it is exactly what you think it is (well, probably at least)

Today, an article posted up by a lady seems to be spreading like wildfire throughout the menstrual-interest communities. I’ve seen it posted up in at least 6 menstrual-related sites and uncountable tweets/retweets in my twitter feed.

Since I don’t know the blog owner, I’m not going to risk reposting and running into copyright issues, so if you’re interested in knowing the full story by her, please read it here:

http://www.parrforthecourse.com/2012/03/tale-of-moldy-tampon.html

Apparently, the blog owner was about to use a Kotex Security tampon and by chance, she discovered that the tampon had formed mold when accidentally popped the tampon out of the applicator. Given that applicator-tampon users know that the tampon usually goes from inside the applicator directly in the vagina, one would have never seen the mold on the tampon until removal or maybe never if it had been covered by menstrual flow or dropped right into the toilet bowl/wrapped in toilet paper. Now I’m not saying that this type of stuff doesn’t happen with any tampon or to other brands, but certainly when it is publicized like this, it sure as hell gets attention. If you read through some of the comments on the blog entry, you’ll see quite a few individuals who recommended going to awareness groups and the media about this!

If you’re not aware of what effects mold has on humans, here’s a snippet from Wikipedia:

Molds are ubiquitous in nature, and mold spores are a common component of household and workplace dust. However, when mold spores are present in large quantities, they can present a health hazard to humans, potentially causing allergic reactions and respiratory problems.

Some molds also produce mycotoxins that can pose serious health risks to humans and animals. Studies claim that exposure to high levels of mycotoxins can lead to neurological problems and in some cases death. Prolonged exposure, e.g. daily workplace exposure, may be particularly harmful.

Suffice to say, in my opinion, even though I recognize nothing in this world is “really clean” – knowing that the Kotex representative made this sound like a common occurrence really makes me think whether I ought to try even harder to pull my girls off from using tampons – or at the very least – use non-applicator tampons such as O.B. where at least you can get a visual inspection of the tampon before putting it in! I know people who follow my blog know me to be pretty pro-pad, but seriously speaking, at least if mold was forming on a pad, it’d be something you’d notice before it touches sensitive female parts.

I’ve seen saturated tampons, pads, sponges, menstrual cups, cloth pads, etc. and it doesn’t even trigger a reaction from me – but when this picture caught my eyes, I could feel my gag reflexes already. I know this doesn’t exactly affect me in the way it affects tampon-using women, but I don’t think I can ever see tampons the same after seeing this. I know within the menstrual community, it seems like there have been talk of people giving up Kotex-brand tampons, not just the “Security” line of them. Whether or not this will have a severe financial impact is one thing, but a customer lost, whether one or many is less revenue.

Times like these, it makes me really glad bebe doesn’t use tampons. I know I’ll usually leave a few in her drawers just-in-case she ever decides to try or really needs them for something like swimming – but I think I ought to start pulling them out and maybe just gift her a menstrual cup instead! Hell, I think the last tampons I dropped for her were U by Kotex tampons. I’m not saying those particular tampons would encounter the same issue (and yes, I do realize that EVERY product in this world has a chance for ‘defects’ or ‘unforeseen contamination’ but I just can’t accept that risk of her potentially sticking something like that into her vagina and NOT KNOWING. It’s kind of like when you use conventional tampons, you know there is a risk of TSS. Knowing and continuing to use them means you implicitly accept the risk. However, I don’t think it passes through the mind of women that they could potentially be injecting a molded wad of cotton in themselves!

What I can say for sure is that there ARE safer alternatives out there such as menstrual cups and cloth pads which can not only help reduce the likelihood of mold forming (with proper cleaning and storage of course), but a host of other healthy and environmentally-friendly benefits!

I was just about to send a comment response to the blog owner’s entry, but it seems like she has turned comments off for that particular thread.  I wonder if Kimberly-Clark representatives (or lawyers rolleyes) caught up with her or perhaps that she just wanted to bring closure to the issue. Nevertheless, I know some people will definitely scrutinize whether they want to continue using Kotex tampons (of any line/series) or tampons all together! I’m definitely going to have a talk with my girls whenever I can get a hold of all of them. Their health is important to me and I’ll have to definitely let my bebe know about this craziness should she ever go down the road of considering tampons! I definitely think I ought to start getting her some non-applicator tampons so she can at least get a visual surface inspection on the damn things!

I seriously hope that they will be, “diligently reviewing our manufacturing process to ensure this problem does not recur.” as they’ve promised, rather than giving that as a canned and politically-correct response. My stash is empty of Kotex products (just by coincidence) now and I think it’s going to take a while before I can get over this. Customer confidence is hard to gain, but easy to lose. Suffice to say, I’m not saying their whole business will collapse or anything because loyal customers, will be loyal customers… and who knows, maybe this incident is just blown out of proportion, but unfortunately with the world of the internet, “news” can travel quite fast… particularly BAD news. But what I do know is I wouldn’t mind investing in emptying out Kotex products from my girls’ cabinets and restocking them with stuff of other brands. Better yet, I can prod some of my girls a bit more to return to the good ol’ world of pads or even try shifting them onto reusables! Maybe in a couple months I’ll look into Kotex products again, but for the time being, it’s going to be pretty hard to get my girls or I back on their brand for a while!

Saving Money & Investing: The Menstrual Way!

So with how unstable the world economy is right now, I figured I’d touch on the topic of saving money and investing. Now of course, what does this have to do with menstruation? Well after all, I try to keep things on-topic so of course it has to do with menstruation! I regularly talk to men and women about menstruation, particularly relating to feminine hygiene products. Why though, do I touch on this topic so often? It’s because menstruation costs money, seriously! If you’re a disposable products user (or once was), you’ll know exactly how much your period is costing you every month, every year. Now I understand that the world runs off businesses and things cost money, so I’m not going to say that feminine hygiene companies and manufactures are evil, but what is evil, is that in countries like mine (Canada), feminine hygiene products not only cost money, but the government taxes you on basic hygienic needs. Suffice to say, it’s not realistic for feminine hygiene products to be free, but the government already gets a double-dipping just because your menstruate (or buy the product). Suffice to say, I often hear my girls talk about their lack of money and that they’ll cut back on this-and-that, but rarely do I hear them consider their spending on feminine hygiene needs.

As someone who menstruates or purchases feminine hygiene products, the Canadian government feels that you should be penalized – or – at the very least, that they deserve an additional cut on your feminine hygiene supplies. How does the government get a nice double-cut of your products? Simple. First, the company which sells you your products has their revenues taxed. Second, as a consumer of feminine hygiene products, we also pay an additional 5% which also goes to the government. It’s of course fair for the government to tax companies (and individuals) for income earned, because after all, that’s what keeps the country up and going… however, they also earn an additional 5% because you happen to menstruate or use such supplies. As of 2009, it is said that the federal government of Canada penalizes women by an estimated $69 million per year¹!

Ok, so enough about our government since we’re not the only country who has such taxes for feminine hygiene supplies, but rest-assured, menstruating costs you money! So in a year of doubtful economy recovery and rising costs-of-living, feminine hygiene products should be the least of one’s concerns! So how can we alleviate such concerns? Let’s consider individuals such as students who work off limited resources (unless your family happens to be very wealthy) or low-class households who have small budgets, cost of feminine hygiene supplies add up very quickly. I’ll use one of my friends as an example:

She is a student and her tuition is already paid for by her parents. The only thing her parents expect of her is to maintain enough money to: 1) Pay for her living expenses, 2) personal/entertainment spending, and, 3) basic needs. She works part time and every week she earns about $200 gross, so don’t forget about income tax and general deductions. Assuming she is lucky enough to have that same schedule throughout the month, her approximate income is $800 over 4 weeks. Without going into the details of “sales”, let’s assume every period you spend about $6 approximately 20 pads or tampons. Of course this varies per person based on flow and also let’s not discount that dollar amount only applies to “active” menstruating times… many women also use pantiliners throughout their cycle which may really bump those figures upward. In a year, that’s $72. Wow, that $6 sure doesn’t look like a large chunk of $800 right? $400 goes to rent and that’s very basic ($400 left). $100 goes to utilities not covered by the rent ($300 left). $150 goes to groceries ($150 left). $70 goes to transportation ($80 left). Let’s not even get into things like movies, bars, clothing, haircuts or whatnot, so she has approximate $80 left in a month of “other” spending. So in a month 7.5% of her “left over” money needs to be spent on her pads and tampons. I removed the taxation aspect of her pay since individuals who make under the exemption in Canada doesn’t need to pay any taxes. All of a sudden, her cost of disposable products is a considerable amount.

So what can one do to help alleviate the cost? Well certainly “free bleeding” is an option for those with extremely light periods but is probably not the case for most women. I’m sure quite a few of you know I’m leading up to the idea of reusable menstrual products. Cloth pads, menstrual cups, sea sponges and the likes all are a great form of cutting costs from where it hurts (no pun intended). I have lightly touched on the topics of reusable products in the past and there is a world full of amazing sites on these products that can be accessed via Google, so you’re welcome to reference it. No doubt, reusable products have an initial “high-cost” impact, as such products can range from $40 to $150 (for full ‘period’ set of products), which may account for a year or two of purchasing conventional disposable products. Nevertheless, most of these reusable products lasts 4-5 years, therefore it’s a “long-term” investment. What I should point out is that unlike menstrual cups which usually require some form of manufacturing, it’s possible to make your own cloth pads with some material and know-how. Menstrual cups tend to be quickest “recovery” of invested money with short of a year worth of feminine hygiene supplies.

I suppose the question may come up about the cost of extra water spent on the cleaning of these products. I haven’t had any experience with sea sponges, so let’s put that aside for now. However, in the case of menstrual cups and cloth pads, the “additional cost” (if any) is miniscule. For cloth pads, unless they’re heavily saturated, cloth pads can be thrown in with regularly laundry. Some people opt to pre-rince them or use stain remover, but that’s strictly a personal choice or “as needed” based on the degree of pad saturation. Menstrual cups are even easier to clean since it’s a matter of “dump and wash” – although to enhance the sterility of the cup, it is usually recommended to do a boiling-water submersion to prepare it for the next period. All this doesn’t equate to a lot of additional water used.

As I mentioned before, some women like to use pantiliners all-cycle round, which makes cloth pantiliners even more attractive! Buying a weeks worth of cloth liners (or if you decide to make them) will keep you protected and can go in the weekly laundry anyway. For the women who feel that they’d feel more comfortable using reusable products only at home, that is still a great idea! There probably are women out there who use reusables at home and disposables outside. Feminine hygiene options are a personal choice of course, so you do what you feel is best and most relaxing. If I menstruated, I think I’d also do the same, although I really really like the idea of cloth pads! I also give the thumbs up for cups since they’re to only product that can provide you with a “one unit, many uses” product such that, you can carry it in your purse and not have to carry 3-4 pads or tampons for just-in-case, but being able to use that cup over and over again during a day! Can you see how this is more than just a cost-effective option?

Now that we’ve spent so much time on highlighting the cost savings of reusable products, let’s consider the investment part of this. What are you investing in when it comes to using reusable feminine hygiene products? Not only money, but in your health and the environment, something that you simply cannot attach a price tag too! In fact, wouldn’t almost everyone agree that your health is of utmost importance? Reusable feminine hygiene options are a beautiful way to keep trash out of the landfill and if only people took the time to think about how many pads and tampons are disposed of daily which is making a huge impact on pollution. Your ‘typical’ companies also manufacturer pads and tampons that will likely not degrade for ages. Think about what you want to leave the next generation, because 500 years from now, those who have inherited the earth from us will still be digging up your used pads and tampons … or well, at least walking and living on top of them!

I understand that it’s easier to spend $6 a bit at a time rather than a hundred dollars up front. I also understand some people are under financial constraints and putting that kind of money down initially may not be possible. However, if there’s anything next to survival needs that I’d invest in if I menstruated, it would be in either cloth pads or a menstrual cup! Over time, I’m saving myself tons of money and also investing in my own health, keeping chemically-treated and synthetic products away from my body. Also, there’s a reason why cotton panties are popular, because it’s comfortable, natural, allows your body to ‘breathe’ and as a result, healthy. Likewise, many cloth pads are made of cotton and other non-chemically treated absorbent materials. What are two important factors of any feminine hygiene product? Comfort and Absorbency! Cloth pads and menstrual cups have just that, at a fraction (over time) of the cost and is a great way to investing in future generations and that of your very own body! You may also find yourself surprizingly becoming more open about your body and menstruation when you open your mind and adopt reusable products. I have found that some of the most open-minded women I talk to about their bodies and periods tend to be ones who are use such products. Of course it may be because they were receptive enough to try these products in the first place, but you may find yourself suddenly becoming period-positive which is what I hope ALL men and women achieve!

The next time your “visitor” drops by, consider making the switch to a healthier, eco-friendly and more period-positive you!

Eco-Clean Laundry Ball – A Better Way to Clean Cloth Pads

Hi Everyone!

I just wanted to wrap up this year with a nice, eco-friendly post. As someone who has spent a lot of time promoting disposable feminine hygiene products, in 2012, I hope to be able to provide more information on menstrual cups, cloth pads and the likes to my readers. To start, I would like to re-post an entry written by Be Prepared Period. I felt this post was particularly worth posting because I had just finished some discussions with my girls about converting to cloth pads and one of their greatest concern was cleaning of used pads. To many, the idea of cleaning cloth pads might be a bit icky, especially if you’re accustomed to being able to wrap/roll & toss.

After seeing this post, I spread the information to my girls, telling them that they have a new method of cleaning their cloth pads with minimal effort on their part. I know that looking at your own menstrual flow, especially all spread over a cloth pad might not be a beautiful sight (though I stand by the fact that menstrual flow is a beautiful part of the female body), the Eco-Clean Laundry Ball serves as a great tool to cleaning cloth pads AND the rest of your laundry!

Suffice to say, with most organic and environmentally friendly solutions, the initial costs tend to be higher than conventional products. For instance, organic menstrual hygiene products, including reusable and disposable products, all tend to cost more than your everyday disposables. However, in time, not only do most people save money, but more importantly ensure good health for their body. I’m sure almost all of us would agree that our health is of utmost importance and by using organic products, you are one step closer in making healthier options for yourself and your loved-ones.

I hope you will enjoy this post as much as I have and thank you to http://bepreparedperiod.com for their permission for me to re-post this article which they have written. For the purpose of this post, the contest information has been removed to not interfere with their rules & regulations and the fact the contest is already expired.

A Better Way to Clean Cloth Pads

Finding healthier products for one’s body and the environment is a growing trend. As more and more people better understand the effects that many traditional products have on their health and the environment better options are being sought after.

One specific type of product that has been increasingly popular is cloth menstrual pads, such as Lunapads. Lunapads and products alike are a great reusable menstrual option that allows women to save money (after the initial investment), be eco-friendly, all while choosing a healthy alternative to disposable pads and tampons.

Mini Pantyliner Open & Snapped

Choosing this reusable option (or considering the change) leaves many with questions like, “How do I go about cleaning reusable cloth pads?” We realize this can be a big change for those making the switch from disposable feminine hygiene products.

While we are not familiar with every brand of cloth pads, we can tell you that Lunapads can be washed by hand or machine in any temperature with regular detergent and can be air or machine dried. That said, we have a question for you. Picture this…you are excited to try out your cute, new, organic cloth pads, you’ve gone through your cycle and it is now time to wash them. You put them in the wash and now what do you do? Do you add a chemical detergent? Doesn’t that seem wrong? You’ve spent the extra money to put a healthier, organic fiber next to your skin and now you are going to wash them with what?? Detergent? Did you know that this once organic cloth pad will absorb the detergent and hold it next to your skin? If only there was a better option… (an option you AND your septic could LOVE)

Here’s the exciting news…there is one!!! About 9 months ago we were lucky enough to meet Jean Cox with H2O at Home, a company that continues to think outside the box creating environmentally friendly and chemical-free products. Their vision is to introduce their unique products and to spread the idea that YOU can preserve the environment WITHOUT making compromises to your household. While we could go on and on about the many awesome products they offer, we plan to share with you one (okay..maybe 2 or 3) special products that can help you with your laundry.Laundry Ball and Net

The first product, the Eco-Clean Laundry Ball, was what first attracted us to H2O at Home. This nifty little ball allows you to wash your personal items and clothes with little or no laundry soap. That’s right! This laundry ball allows you to wash your personal items with LITTLE OR NO LAUNDRY SOAP!!! Knowing how many skeptics are out there, it’s hard to imagine using little or NO soap, but we are here to tell you, “It works GREAT with no soap!” We’ve been using it for about 6 months and absolutely LOVE it!

Many ask, “How on earth can my laundry get clean with NO SOAP!?!?” The simple but maybe not so simple answer is, it works by increasing the pH level of the water to that of classic detergents. Inside the Laundry Ball, friction from ceramic pearls reinforce the cleansing properties of water, softens fabrics, protects against oxidation, eliminates mold and germs and preserves colors. It really is pretty amazing! Many moms that have children in cloth diapers are turning to this option of cleaning as they become aware of the dangers of using laundry soap. Now think, if this ball can clean poopy/soiled diapers, imagine how well it will work on your cloth pads or other laundered items! With no chemicals, this product is perfect for those with allergies or sensitivities.

Netepur SoapAs mentioned above, the Eco-Clean Laundry Ball is not the only wonderful product out there by H2O at Home. Another question or challenge you may have is, “How do I remove stains, is there a more natural option for that too?” And the answer is yes; there are actually a couple options. H2O at Home also offers a product called, Netepur Soap. This natural textile soap is perfect for pre-treating stubborn stains. In addition to blood, Netepur Soap will remove grease, grass, food and even red wine. Plus it is 100% biodegradable! And speaking of biodegradable, Ruby’s Red Wash is another wonderful option. It was specifically designed for menstrual stains, and is made from live bacterial cultures.

And if it wasn’t great enough that H2O at Home has these terrific alternatives to cleaning without chemicals they also have a personal line of products including a Feminine Wash (Many women do not think of using a separate soap for this, nor do they understand you are not supposed to use regular soap in this area). H2O at Home’s Feminine Wash is an extremely gentle cleanser that balances and protects your most sensitive areas. It is made of an intricate blend of organic geranium, calendula, cornflower, and aloe that calms and soothes skin irritations. It is also pH balanced making it safe for daily use, and is ECOCERT and COSMEBIO certified.

So what do you think? Are you as excited about these cleaning alternatives as we are? Do you have questions? Let us know your thoughts! Please feel free to comment below.

(Just an FYI, as you may be wondering…this post is not a paid post. Our intentions are only to share with you healthier and eco-friendly alternatives based on our own personal reviews.)

For more information on the Eco-Clean Laundry Ball, “Click Here” or for information on more products by H2O at Home visit Jean’s website. You can also check out her holiday specials “here.”

Kimberly-Clark Recalls Kotex Natural Balance* Security® Unscented Tampons Regular Absorbency in United States

Please see the post made by You ARE Loved @ http://you-are-loved.org/918/kotex-tampon-recall/ – credits to them for passing this information to me via twitter. This is important information and thus, something I felt a need to post up on its own entry.

Since I don’t really have any information more than what’s provided from the media, please read below for an important notice IF you, a) Use Kotex Natural Balance Security Tampons and b) purchased these tampons in/from United States.

Kimberly-Clark announced a product recall of a limited number of its Kotex Natural Balance* Security® Unscented Tampons Regular Absorbency distributed to specific stores in the United States.

This recall is limited to two product SKUs (carton codes), 15063 (18 count) and 15068 (36 count). The tampons were manufactured with a raw material contaminated with a bacterium, Enterobacter sakazakii, which may cause health risks, including vaginal infections, urinary tract infections (UTIs), pelvic inflammatory disease or infections that can be life-threatening.  Women with serious existing illnesses, cancer or immune-compromised conditions, such as HIV, are at increased risk.  There is limited evidence of transfer between individuals with this bacterium.

Kotex Natural Balance* Security® Unscented Tampons Regular Absorbency Affected Lot Numbers:

Product SKU numbers 15063 and 15068 are the last five digits of the product’s barcode and can be found on the bottom of the package. Specific lot numbers can be found inside the red box located on the bottom of the package.

Kimberly-Clark Kotex Natural Balance* Security® Regular Unscented Tampons
Carton Lot Number Carton Count SKU
AC129321X 18 Count 15063
AC129325X 36 Count 15068
AC129421X 18 Count 15063
AC129425X 36 Count 15068
AC129521X 18 Count 15063
AC129525X 36 Count 15068
AC129621X 18 Count 15063
AC129625X 36 Count 15068
AC129721X 18 Count 15063
AC129725X 36 Count 15068
AC129821X 18 Count 15063
AC129825X 36 Count 15068
AC129921X 18 Count 15063
AC129925X 36 Count 15068

Consumers should contact a physician immediately if they have used the impacted Kotex Natural Balance* Security® Unscented Tampons Regular Absorbency product and experience unusual vaginal discharge, rash, fever, headache, vomiting or abdominal pains, particularly if they are HIV positive, have AIDS, cancer, an existing serious illness or may be pregnant.

The full recall information may be found here. I urge that should you use these tampons and live in an affected area to take extra care to reference the lot number with the ones shown above. It’s for your own safety and health! If you’re a male and know that your partner or family uses these, please let them know of this potentially life-threatening information. If you’re unsure whether a loved-one uses this product, don’t be shy to provide them with the information anyways as embarrassment or awkwardness doesn’t kill, but dangerous bacteria DOES!

Kotex Natural Balance – Replacing Original Lineup LIVE!

So as we expected based on the packaging wording, Kotex has now replaced the entire “original” line with the Kotex Natural Balance pads. As I indicated in a previous blog entry, Kotex’s change actually hit the shelves before the changes were fully made to their site. I suppose this was to incite hype and posts-of-speculation, akin to what they did with the U by Kotex series by “leaking” some information out. Certainly it caused confusion amongst many women when they reached the shelves to find their “usual” product missing. Their site now shows that they’re confirming the disappearance of their original line (other than what’s left in store stocks) which actually affects even their Kotex Security (Tampon) line. So now Kotex has two lines of products here in Canada, their “regular” Natural Balance series and their “premium” U by Kotex series. The changes are shown prominently on their site now, with changes to their “drops” rating using GREEN absorbency symbols and changes to their “features” which include: Soft on your skin, Keeps you comfy and pH aligned

 

Kotex Natural Balance - Site Changes

Kotex Natural Balance - Site Changes

Because the above picture needed to be shrunk to fit to this column, you will need to click on the picture thumbnail to get a better view. The good thing is that unlike when Stayfree moved from their original line to their Thermocontrol line is that Kotex decided that the Natural Balance pads are a full replacement of their original line and thus, it didn’t affect their offerings of wing, no wing and tampon choices. The LONG maxi still retains a non-winged version only for some odd reason – who knows why. Also, the replacement of the original line of pads and tampons ALSO include pantiliners.

Kotex Natural Balance - Tampons!

I think the “made in cotton” feature will be particularly nice for their tampons and I’m glad they thought about NOT including aloe in the tampon (as far as I know based on the marketing information) as that gets put up the vagina and would be introducing something foreign up there (besides the tampon itself). It’s also nice to know that they’re not adding artificial fragrances to the tampon, as I still can’t wrap my head about why someone would want a SCENTED tampon when it doesn’t really get smelly since it won’t contact with air until removal and disposal. Vaginas smell like vagina – not pretty roses.

I suppose I am really happy they decided to change their normal line and without hindrance to consumers in terms of not raising the cost or making “comfort” and “security” a PREMIUM thing. These changes are indeed body-positive with the inclusion of Aloe, vitamin-infusion and pH alignment (being very important for the prevention of vaginal infections or irritation). The aloe makes a great difference for prolonged pad-wear, even after saturation. Now with “prettying up” pads and tampons in mind, I see now they’re concentrating on making a better product without an increased cost to us!

Scented Products – Pads, Tampons, Liners, Wipes & Sprays. Why?

So now it sucks that I have to point out this brand in particular, but, it’s right-on-topic with what I want to speak about. Being an avid fan of periods, perhaps I may not be as bothered by the idea of menstrual fluid, the sight, smell or even presence of it – but others may be, whether male or female. I can understand the fear that some girls may be self-conscious about their own smell or might even feel disgusted about their own smell that they would consider using scented products. This doesn’t just have to do with scented tampons or pads, but there is also quite a market out there of women who feel that they need to “feel fresh” by using things like vaginal wipes or sprays. My question is, “is it really necessary?”

Yes, our body does not emanate the most beautiful smells. Even those who use fragrance soaps and perfume – let’s face it, WE do not naturally smell good, we are only masking our own natural body smell. Suffice to say, it doesn’t mean we should discard hygiene and let ourselves smell like crap, but our body, especially our sensitive areas like our pubic region don’t need to smell like flower petals. Furthermore, we all know that these scents are just chemicals, so why on earth would we even consider putting chemicals near our private areas? If you don’t wash your face regularly with acid, then you probably wouldn’t want to stuff a scented tampon in your vagina. Sure, the chemicals in those aren’t as harsh as acid, but the bottom line is… that they’re still chemicals.

For many women who still continue to use conventional feminine hygiene products, disposable pads and tampons – they’re already subjecting themselves to many foreign materials and using scented products is just like adding salt to a wound. I’ve managed to persuade most of my girls who uses scented products to stay away from them or for ones who are self-conscious to only use scented products when they feel that their period smell may be exposed easily. We all like to smell good, I’m not sure how many people on this world enjoy smelling bad if they had a choice, but scented feminine hygiene products aren’t the way to go. Honestly, even a pad or tampon that has been worn to the maximum and leaking, menstrual fluid smell would still be minimal. As a female, ask yourself, how many people would even be close to your vagina? Unless you work in the sex industry or as a stripper, would there be that many people close enough to your vagina where they’d be able to smell you? It’d be perhaps, your partner or at least someone whom you are comfortable enough to be so intimately close to – so is covering up the smell that important?

 

 

Let’s consider scented tampons for a moment. A tampon goes inside the vagina and stays there until it’s withdrawn and then thrown away. Please feel free to justify the reasoning of why a scented tampon is necessary because once you pull it out, it goes right into the garbage or down the toilet. Would the smell of menstrual flow for the 2 seconds prior to disposal be so bad where it’d be necessary to have a scented product? Also, I’ve seen my fair share of scented products and really, even the most scented product isn’t enough to completely mask the smell of the menstrual fluid. Don’t believe me? If you have the guts, try it yourself. Scented pads are pretty bad because the pad is already rubbing against your pubic region the whole day and with tampons, it’s sitting inside your body for up to 8 hours a day, times the number of tampons you use per day. We may enjoy the idea of our outer regions smelling good and thus, we use heavily scented soaps or feminine wipes, but why does the inside of the vagina need to smell good? Douching has been a long-standing practice, especially for some cultures or backgrounds – but did you know that douching should be something that’s done only on the recommendation of a doctor? Douching can be bad for the vagina because it may upset the delicate pH balance of the vagina.

As I mentioned, I don’t know of too many of my girls who use scented products so for those who do or have used them, for what reason do you prefer scented products? I know some products don’t come with a choice, for instance, Stayfree pads used to have both scented and unscented versions – but not anymore as the all come slightly scented. I can understand if you’ve used a certain product for so long where you don’t feel persuaded to change products, but for those who are using a product such as Playtex tampons where they do have scented and unscented products – why would you opt to use the scented, especially knowing that it truly is unnecessary (or unless you have reasons to deem it necessary)? This is not meant to entice an argument or to say that those who uses scented products as “wrong” – but rather, let us discuss the pros and cons and weigh them as to whether using scented products is a sound idea.

For the women who use liners on a daily basis to stay fresh, then perhaps I can under that manufactures want to add scent to it to encourage the idea that a good smell is the way you stay fresh. You can’t stay fresh just by relying on a scented pantiliner, but also with proper hygiene and changing of underwear on a regular or daily basis. I understand that some women get discharge regularly or have to deal with overactive vaginal lubrication, which sometimes doesn’t have the most pleasent smell or causes that “damp” feeling against your vagina, but yet, isn’t that the point of underwear? Underwear was meant to provide us with a buffer between our bodily fluids and the rest of the world. I looked up the “purpose of underwear” and one important point that came up is that underwear is to “support and protect your genital“. With that said, a bit of gunk on your underwear isn’t going to cause major issues unless you have a very heavy discharge or soaking issue, then, I can see the necessity of wearing a pantiliner regularly.

The vagina, just like any part of our body requires “breathing space” and using a pantiliner every day prevents that. Pantiliners, as part of a pre-menstrual and post-menstrual application is reasonable, but every day is almost excessive. Beyond the consideration of having your vagina stuffed up by products, also consider wearing underwear that’s more air permeable. Wearing breathable articles of clothing may make you think that just exposes your “smell” more, but by improving the OVERALL HEALTH of your pubic area, you are helping it, not hindering it.

Remember the reasons why you chose scented products in the first place, review it and see if it still really makes sense to stick with them! If you want to smell good, consider all your other healthier options.

Swimming/Water Activities on Your Period

Menstruating and swimming tends to be one of those inquisitive topics that I get from some of my male readers. I suppose given that many men are oblivious to the differences of a “pad” and a “tampon” – it would not be a surprize to have them ponder how exactly does a woman on her period, swim (or maybe I should say, swim without menstruating everywhere)? Indeed, when it comes to a girl’s period and swimming, almost one exclusive thing comes to mind – a tampon. Nevertheless, there are other options and maybe this will give both boys and girls, a different way to look at water-activities during a period.

I think it goes without saying, that using a pad while fully submersed underwater isn’t going to be a very reliable form of protection. That’s not to say it will be “useless” – but it won’t work the way it was intended to work. Because a pad is like a sponge, it will absorb any liquid, including the water – whether it be in a pool or open-waters. If you’re planning to have your lower-body fully submerged in water at any time during your water activities, I would highly suggest an internal form of protection, such as a menstrual sponge, cup or tampon.

Now of course, if your water activities do not involve lower-body submersion, it’s quite possible to use a pad for your menstrual protection needs. For those who wear a swimsuit, you can optionally wear underwear or an underwear-like article underneath your suit (i.e underneath your bikini bottoms or swim-shorts) to secure your pad onto and of course, you’d want to choose a colour which wouldn’t show through your outer-material. There’s nothing wrong with this per se, but some might consider it a bit of fashion faux pas. Because a swimsuit tends to be a closer fit to the body, you may want to use thin pads to avoid any bulging unless that is not a concern for you. Depending on how revealing your crotch-area is on your particular swimsuit, it may also be good to avoid winged pads. My own personal thought before talking to a few of my friends is that when I think of  “beach” and “period” – it automatically makes me assume a tampon is involved. However, in places like Japan or even most Asian territories – because tampons aren’t the ‘common’ method of menstrual protection – many girls learn to make do with pads and modifying their water activities. It is quite common for a girl to wear a pad under a swimsuit and just make sure she wades thigh-deep into water at most, to prevent the pad from properly absorbing her menstrual flow rather than water. The more common alternative then, would just be to skip the swimsuit, stay in some shorts and wear your pads as per normal.

I know there’s a lot of talk about whether your period “stops” or not in the water. While I understand the concept of water pressure in play here, your period does not stop in the water and just to make my point firmer, your period (a biological function) doesn’t “cease” just because you are in water. Do you stop feeling the need to go pee or poop on a full bladder when you’re in the water? No – so neither does your period. Some people who think their period stops might either have a light enough period where the blood might not necessarily show or that there’s enough water/polluted colour not to notice (such as in open-waters). A girl with a heavy-flow and not using proper protection will likely not last long in a swimming pool before someone begins to notice. Mind you, you could always “free bleed” in open-waters and people may not notice, but it really has to do with your own conscience and whether you feel it’s hygienically correct for your menstrual flow to be floating around in water that everyone else is enjoying themselves in. If you’re in your own pool, then hell, do whatever you feel like. I should make mention that conventional pad materials aren’t very friendly with drainage systems, so using a pad in the water and allowing it to “fall apart” might cause issues in common pool drain/water systems.

I know that when it comes to swimming (full-body submersion) that it really is a pain-point for girls who don’t use internal protection. One of my girls was an avid swimmer and was pursuing her lifeguard certificate. However, in her mid-teenage years, she reached menarche and at the time she didn’t use tampons, she gave up much of her training and potential career/certification due to her period being an impediment in her being able to attend courses and required training. Pads are still a very large part of Asia and Asian culture, so it’s not unusual for an Asian girl to decline water activities when she’s on her period or will only do some knee-deep wading and water-splashing. Even if they don’t want to use tampons (fully in their rights), I give them extra kudos for being a good sport and still attending beach/water-related outings. Many girls have also found interesting way of using pads and actually submerging their lower body in the water, so you can always try. However, there are always potentially embarrassing consequences when your pad gives out and everything that was “locked” comes leaking out or when your pad fully soaks up water instead of your flow and your period & clots just leave a trail on the water surface.

On an anecdotal note, I have swam with a friend who’s period started unexpectedly while she was racing me and I can verify the whole concept of whether the water pressure is enough to keep the flow in the vagina – it doesn’t. Your period was meant to be expelled from the vagina and while underwater, gravity still exists. I know it can be quite hard for a girl who really wants to attend submersion water activities and having her period, this is just one of those instances where I have to say, “suck it up buttercup” because there’s not many options when it comes to dealing with an active flow while under water without some kind of surgical assistance or internal menstrual protection. Anyone who’s read this blog for a while will know I’m not a big fan of tampons, but sure enough, tampons were invented for a reason and one of them, being a great form of menstrual protection for water-sports! If you’re lucky enough to own your own pool facilities, I suppose you could freely bleed in it – although I’m not sure if it’d be that easy to be swimming with others with that happening.

So to shorten the entire post down, how to deal with swimming and your period?

  • Use an internal form of protection (tampons, sea sponges, cups, etc.)
  • Don’t swim
  • Swim without protection (not recommend for public areas)

In closing, I’d like to add that swimming is a great activity to carry out while on your period if you can do it. Exercise is essential to maintaining good health, but also has great effects on alleviating period-related pains such as cramps or discomfort. If you’re not under so much pain that you’re ready to keel over, then some moderate exercise during your period will get your mind away from the pain, help you get your body in shape and not coop yourself up in the house!

Rarity: Women Who Love Their Period?

Having spoken to many women before, I have to admit that it is a rarity to hear them say that they actually enjoy having their period. Certainly, women do have their fair share of inconveniences and pains, so I’m not surprized that some, if any, would be excited over their monthly visitor. There are of course those very lucky women who have little discomfort or inconvenience when they get their periods. For instance, one of my god-sis is quite fortunate to be one of them, with a very light menstrual flow and a short period, usually only 2-3 days per cycle. Her pad and tampon consumption is very low and her period has never once debilitated her enough from carrying on her normal lifestyle. There is beauty in menstruation, because not only does it signify the beauty of the female body maturing, but also giving ladies the responsibility of taking care of your personal hygiene by bringing the proper amount of product(s) with you! Maybe that’s why, women are much better at taking care of their bodies (and even in general) than men are capable of 😛

There are however, women who I spoken to who suffer from PCOS, period-related anemia and even sometimes just bad cramps/heavy flow that it severely disrupts their lifestyle, preventing them from attending class, going to work or even something as simple as going out for a walk. One experience I had personally was that one of my ex’s had such a bad period that she didn’t even want to go to the mall with me, in fears that she would need to change her feminine hygiene product urgently that she didn’t even want to endure the car ride or the possibility of not being close enough to a washroom and prevent a leak. Just like anything in life, there will always be women on either ends of extremes. I’m glad my bebe has a fairly normal menstrual experience, although it’s a bit longer than I would usually expect, as usually her cycle is into the 40-ish day ranges.

To put it into words, women have just learned to cope with their periods, but not necessarily embrace it. I cannot say I even know half of the feeling of what women go through during their periods and nor am I a psychologist, so I cannot say how easy/hard it would be to truly ‘love’ ones period. As a period-lover, I also can’t imagine not loving periods, despite the pains involved, so I may not be the person who can accurate describe how to help others change their mentality towards their own (or other females) period. Suffice to say, with women commonly in the workforce, many of them are forced to cope with their period at work, even if they may be highly affected by discomfort, pain or hygienic inconveniences. I wish from the bottom of my heart that every woman can have a pleasant and comfortable period, but unfortunately that dream for me is unlikely to come true. I know girls who have passed out from the pain of their period or have to use both an overnight pad and ultra tampon just to avoid leakage.

A few of my girls do enjoy their period, but not so much the menstruating factor, but more of the fact it gives them an opportunity to test new products, including ones which I suggest or recommend. I’ve had a few female readers send me complimenting emails on how they look forward to their period because they have been inspired to try new products every period as a result of reading my blog. One of my regular reader also tells me she looks forward to her period every month as she enjoys trying a variety of pads and tampons. Both of us amusingly, stock up excessively on the number of products, haha. We both wish there was a way to quickly go through all the products, that way, we can move on and try something new!

This blog exists not only to encourage men to learn and embrace menstruation, but also in hopes that the ladies will enjoy having their period and see it as an opportunity each time it comes along. I understand it’s hard for those who suffer from menstruation or menstrual-related disorders to view their period in the same way, but we can only make the best of each period! I know I’ve accomplished quite a bit with this blog and continue to hope I can touch the lives of my readers, because I’ve receive much positive feedback on how the blog has allowed them to view menstruation from a whole other angle. Persuasion is indeed a hard thing, particularly because it’s hard for me to put myself in place of a female who has experienced what periods feel like, including the “negativity” that surrounds periods. I had a lengthy discussion with a friend the other day about her period and it was tough for me to try to convince her that her period is a great part of her life. Unfortunately she suffers from some pretty wacky stuff with her period, so it’s hard for me to persuade her to enjoy her period in any way. On the bright side, I’ve got her to try a new product that she never tried before, so I’m trying to open up the doors for her to feel more comfortable with her period and get something positive out of it.

Do you or do you know women in your life who enjoy their period or perhaps even learned to love it?

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