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Always Radiant Infinity Overnight Pads – Mini Review

Always Infinity Radiant Overnight - Box Front

Always Infinity Radiant Overnight – Box Front

Hi Everyone,

A few weeks ago, I got my hands on the new Always Radiant series of pads at Walmart (they were only $2.97!!!). I haven’t had time to write much, but today I do, so I’m making a mini review. You may think, “Why a mini review? Is it in relation to the size of the pad?” … well no, it’s not, hah, but it’s mini because I’ve written an Always Infinity review here before and the pad itself has not changed considerably, therefore it’d be rather repetitive to write on things that haven’t changed… but rather, I’m going to concentrate on some of the stuff that has changed. I will of course have detailed pictures which may overlap with the previous review for your viewing pleasure. On the 3 insides of the box, they even included $5 worth of coupons for future purchase of Radiant-series products!

Always Infinity Radiant Overnight - Box Top

Always Infinity Radiant Overnight – Box Top (Damn those fingerprint smudges!)

Always Infinity has always been a “premium line” of their Always series products. Unless you catch them on a really good deal, they’re pretty hard to match in price when it comes to the number per box versus the traditional bag of Always pads. They haven’t really made the Radiant series anymore “premium” than their original Infinity line so it hasn’t added any additional excitement to the pad…. unless you’re particularly picky with decorations of the pad and box. What I’m happy about is they didn’t do pull a “downsizing” trick like Stayfree did when they went from the normal Stayfree line to the Thermocontrol line. The original Infinity line had 12 overnight sized pads and luckily, the radiant line still continues to have 12.

Always Infinity Radiant Overnight - Box Rear

Always Infinity Radiant Overnight – Box Rear

Here is the description of the pad from Always site for the Infinity Overnight:

Sleep easy with the absorbency of a pad like no other. Always Infinity is made with an incredibly absorbent material called Infinicel, which can hold 10x its weight. Which means it’s absorbent enough for your heavy nights and so thin, you might even forget you’re wearing a pad. Its revolutionary new wings are designed for secure protection and less mess on the sides. The microdots help channel fluid deep into the pad and away from you, helping you feel dry. And the form-fitting channels and soft cover sheet provide comfort and great leakage protection. Rest assured, this pad’s got you covered.

When I first heard the sudden announcement of the Radiant line, menstrual community members as well as myself were really trying to figure out what changes they have/will make to the pad. It seems like there were very few answers and when we did get an “official” answer, it was very lackluster as the changes were all non-performance related changes. For instance, making a prettier box or wrapper doesn’t make the pad any better. The only thing that made it ‘better’ (and not for everyone) was that they have added a light scent to the pad.

Here is the description of the pad from Always site for the new Radiant Infinity Overnight:

Longer than our Radiant Regular pads, NEW – Radiant Overnight Pads help keep your period invisible even while you sleep. Our unique technology allows Radiant Pads to conform to each individual and unique shape and with the premium protection and performance you expect from Always Infinity. With NEW fun,designer packaging and wrapper, Radiant is worthy of your unique stye. Radiant Pads also feature a new backsheet design for an extra feminine touch. And we’ve added a light, clean scent, to help you feel fresh.

Always Infinity Radiant Overnight - Box Left

Always Infinity Radiant Overnight – Box Left

Always Infinity Radiant Overnight - Box Right

Always Infinity Radiant Overnight – Box Right

What is a really awkward thing about the release of the Radiant series is that (SIGH ONCE AGAIN) the US seems to have more products available than Canada. I’m actually not sure who’s “fault” this is, whether it is Health Canada that prevents them from releasing certain products for sale or whether P&G decides not to make a particular product available here in Canada. In the US, there are 3 Radiant pad absorbency available in-line with the original Infinity series, Regular, Heavy, and Overnight. In Canada, for some reason they only offer the Regular and Overnight absorbency. What kind of crap is this? What now, the Canadian population for some reason only floats between either having a light flow or a super heavy flow?

Though I do lament about the fact there hasn’t been any major performance changes to the pad, one of the change is quite inviting (to the nose at least). I always doubt the “necessity” of scenting pads/tampons because of the chemicals used and being in such close contact with sensitive body parts. However, I loved opening the box and the pad to get a very nice orange-like smell. It’s quite pleasing and it does help reduce odour during/after use. Furthermore, when you store it with other things (pads, tampons or otherwise), it makes everything else smell good! I actually happen to store my stash in a musky old cabinet and it has greatly improved the smell of the cabinet 😆 I thought about in the future when I buy these for my girls, I’m going to have to take a “levy” and use it as air freshener!

Always Infinity Radiant Overnight - Pad Length

Always Infinity Radiant Overnight – Pad Length

It does not appear the pad dimensions or overall build has changed. The pad is still incredibly light, giving foreign pads like “Laurier F” a run for its money to build a pad that is even lighter than your typical ultra thins. Since the pad is not symmetrical and has a very unique design, it’s necessary to clearly differentiate the front and rear of the pad via the wings sticker.  The box design does have a shiny, attractive look. Instead of having a “fact and myth” section like the Kotex packaging does, Always has a “Let Your Style Shine” section which has recommendations on using crafts to make a fashion statement.

The back of the box has a new layout with an image of a pair of cute panties and the pad itself. Listed are also the “selling features” of the pad:

+ Made differently so it protects differently.
+ Absorbs 4x more than you may need.
+ Soft, seamless and flexible design to move with you
+ Light, clean scent so you feel fresh

Though I really do like the new scent they added and the pretty design of the box, it’s not enough to “win me over” per se for making it sound like this great new product. So far I haven’t quite seen whether they’re completely transitioning away from the original Infinity line, so we’ll find out in time. I still see both stocked on the shelf, but that may be short-lived if they’re actually phasing it out. Lucky for people who buy it, you’re not being short-changed by any reductions in the equivalent packages by downsizing the number of units per box. The “Radiant” series also extends to the Tampax Pearl line, Pantiliner and Wipes.

I hope you enjoy the scent as much as I did 😛 Unlike when Infinity first unveiled, there’s no need to scramble to your nearest store to buy it, there’s nothing amazingly special unfortunately.

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!

Fulfilling Sexual Needs “On The Rag”

Believe it or not, there are women who still have (or even heightened) sexual needs during their period. I’m a firm believer that as long as you’re in the “mood” for sexual release, your period should not stand in the way. As I’ve mentioned many times, for women who suffer with cramps, orgasms have been a known form of cramp alleviation. Due to the nature of the contractions of vaginal muscles during orgasm, it helps loosen things up and sets off circulation of “happy hormones” which have a long-lasting effect. With my ex, after an orgasm, her cramps would go away for hours before they bothered her again. For many of my non-menstrual community members, many of you may be set off about pleasuring your female partner during her period. There are many non-penetrative or alternative methods to get her off, with some methods, not even requiring you to “get dirty” so to speak. It’s kind of unfair to love her vagina every day of the month other than her period days. You should love it just as much, if not even more, when she’s menstruating!

One of the things I’m told by menstruating women is that most of time, they have no mood to even be thinking about orgasming. Of course, these are all personal choices. However, for those who do have the mood, one of the spoiling factors may be the thought of making a mess. Sex/masturbation on your period won’t exactly cause your period to stop (seems like most people think water-pressure stops your period in the pool), but it’s a great way to treat your body right! I’m sure for many of us who are reading this, we know the wonders of an orgasm, so why not during your period too? Contractions during orgasm also forces menstrual flow from your cervix to come out quicker. Although I hear that it “makes periods shorter” I think I would rather safely say that it helps clean the uterus better but not necessarily whether it would make one’s period shorter. Some women even experience better and stronger orgasms during their period, so who wouldn’t want that?!

Here are some thoughts about “taking care of things yourself” which other women have shared with me that may be of interest:

  • Masturbate in the shower with whatever preferred method, there’s no mess to clean up as it goes all down the drain.
  • Masturbate through your pad/panties for clitoral stimulation – whether by hand or using a toy – the pad will absorb both your flow and vaginal secretions. When you’re done, you can just wrap and toss!
  • If you use sex toys, it can keep your hands clean, but menstrual flow may still end up going down your leg or on the sheets. Make sure you clean your toy thoroughly after use!
  • If you masturbate on a bed or like object, you can use new/old towels, bed spread or anything that will absorb any vaginal or menstrual flow from your “good” sheets/covers.
  • You can masturbate with a tampon in as long as you are not using other objects to penetrate your vagina as that may cause discomfort and pain from forcing the tampon up.
  • Masturbating with your fingers is perfectly acceptable as long as proper hygiene is adhered. Your menstrual flow and menstruating vagina is nothing to be ashamed of at all.
  • If you’re a bit concerned about menstrual flow on your fingers, you can put a condom over the finger(s) which you would insert
  • Using menstrual cups or sponges is similar to the use of a tampon when masturbating. As advantageous as they are, care should be taken not to force the cup or sponge beyond what feels comfortable.
  • Don’t neglect other areas of your body, such as your nipples which may be more sensitive during your period. There are many erogenous zones of the female body such as behind the ears, neck and thighs.

Just before I continue onto the next section, I think some people feel that the “thought” of considering masturbation or sex during one’s period is normal. I’ve read so many forum/question headers that have asked, “Is it normal to masturbate on my period?” – YES, YES it is! Masturbating ON or OFF your period is a healthy thing to do.

So have you ever considered sex on your (or your partner’s) period? If so, many of the hints given above might be a good precursor when considering “sex on the rag”. Let’s take a look at some of the following thoughts that I have concerning sex when the river runs red:

  • Oral and anal sex is an option for those who really don’t enjoy menstrual sex.
  • Mutual masturbation or foreplay can be a lead in to further sex or to enjoy a non-messy night.
  • Use old sheets or covers on top of the bed/couch to prevent stains from menstrual flow, vaginal secretion or ejaculation.
  • Care should be taken to remember to remove menstrual cups, sponges or tampons when penetrative sex is desired.
  • Certain sexual positions may minimize “leakage” of menstrual flow if you’re trying to keep things clean, experiment to find the most desirable one(s).
  • Menstrual flow can act as a lubricant as well, so it might save you some money 😛
  • Dental dams may be used for safe cunnilingus to prevent STD’s or for those who’d rather just not have menstrual flow in their mouths while being able to continue to orally pleasure their partner.
  • If you ejaculate into your partner during her period, she won’t have to worry about taking care of residue semen as it will otherwise leak back onto her pad, tampon or other menstrual product.

Of course after all this is said, don’t forget that safety is paramount. If there’s any discomfort during menstrual sex, it should stop at once. Furthermore, menstrual fluid carries viruses just like other bodily fluids, therefore both partners should be aware of each others health statuses. Furthermore, sex during her period does not mean pregnancy isn’t possible.

While I wouldn’t claim this to be an exhaustive list, it will hopefully pave the way for you and your partner to talk about whether menstrual sex is right for you. If one partner is into it and the other not, perhaps some compromise can be made. If neither partner are interested, then perhaps it gives a future opportunity to explore that avenue. If both partners are interested, then great since you’re probably well on your way already! Masturbation during one’s period can bring a heightened experience of orgasms and sexual interest. It also allows an individual to be in touch with their body and to feel comfortable with the idea of menstruation and masturbation, neither of which need to be exclusive of each other. I can understand that women may experience discomfort, pain or perhaps even lack of libido during their periods and that’s fine. I only hope to share with you my thoughts through experience and through anecdotes from others.

In a more roundabout way, the willingness to masturbate during one’s period may assist them with being more period-positive or at the very least, body-positive! Every menstruator deserves to have their bodies respected and not only cast aside just because a bit of blood is coming out (and seriously, it really is just a bit). Speaking for myself, I can’t deny my love for women (or well, womAn, but “women” in general) in their entirety, so it’d be very unfair to say, “Well I like your vagina only 20 or so days in a month, otherwise I don’t want to go near it!” I know not everyone will agree with that, but everything is worth a try at least once (or at least things which are safe to do so). Menstrual masturbation or menstrual sex can help form even a stronger relationship between you, your body and your partner – and to enhance love for periods and the appreciation of menstruation!

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.”

Periods/Menstruation For The Single Dad

I thought this might be a very useful post, though I have to admit I’m not a parent nor someone who has had to raise a child with no female support. Before embarking on this post, I have done my research as well as talk to fellow single-fathers, including one of my gay male friends who has adopted a young girl. At some point or another, most of these men will have to explain the intricacies of menstruation to their little (but growing) girl. With menarche beginning at an earlier age than ever before, these men will be challenged ever so much with handling their daughter(s) period, particularly when their daughter is too young to even fully grasp the concept. Also, never having periods ourselves, it only makes our job that much harder and not even able to have experienced what periods feel like. Nevertheless, not having the experience, doesn’t mean we still can’t be prepared. Rather than concentrate this post on saying, “What is the wrong action to take” or “How to do it the right way” I hope this entry will provide some tidbits on how I would feel if I were stuck in such a situation. Every person is different so while one method may work for one, others may not. With the age of which girls are starting their periods, it might be hard for us now to rely on schools to provide the education. In our province, the revised Sexual Education curriculum was dropped due to objections from religious groups (don’t even get me started on this), so you’re much better off as a parent (or parents) to provide your own and proper education.

Part of making your own job easier as a father having to talk to your daughter about menstruation is to foster a close enough relationship with her where she feels comfortable talking to you about it. This type of relationship is not something that builds overnight, but something that must start from day one with your child. I understand in situations where a man has suddenly lost his female companion that he would not have thought about having the bear the responsibilities of a single dad, but certainly, why would you not want to build a strong relationship with your own daughter anyways? It is my hope that should I have a daughter(s), that they will not only feel comfortable talking about their bodies and menstrual health with their mom, but also myself. Being a part of their well-being from birth will stress to them that daddy is also available to talk just because we have not experienced the same thing. I understand some people will argue that as a male who has never experienced menstruation, what place would we have to be a part of educating a female on menstruation… but just because you’ve never been shot before, doesn’t mean you don’t know a bullet is painful (that comparison wasn’t meant to denote the relationship between a gunshot wound to menstruation, that was strictly a coincidence).

The next point is about educating yourself. Whether you had a female partner or not at some point in your life, menstruation may still be a very abstract thing for you. With the world of the internet, you no longer had to be like me, hide in the corner of a library and read up on the female body and menstruation and turn red as people walked past me. There are plenty of resource articles (many which are more professionally written than this) on menstruation which you can learn from. Before you can really make your little girl feel comfortable expressing her own worries to you, you must at least know a bit about her body as well! If you show discomfort, it will only convey to her that her body is something to be shameful over and that a natural bodily function like menstruation is not something “normal”. I’m sure that as a single father, there must be at least some sort of female support you may have, friends, family or whatnot who you can turn to for help should you want some anecdotal knowledge. I’m also sure a medical practitioner would also be able to assist should you not be capable of assisting your daughter fully.

Periods aren’t a curse nor something “bad” – and periods happen for a reason. One of the single dads I talked to told me that when his daughter grows up, he’ll try to persuade her into “getting rid of her period” either by surgery or through hormonal control. I was really taken aback by this because it almost seemed like because he didn’t want to deal with his daughter’s period that he wanted to simply make it a non-issue. Something also seemed unusual that he would be making such an important decision on behalf of his daughter, even though it isn’t like she has a disability where she wouldn’t otherwise be able to make an informed decision. Getting rid of menstruation is a very big thing and I think it should be something up to the girl to decide on, unless she’s incapable of doing so. The start of your daughter’s period is something to be happy about, she’s becoming a grown woman and it indeed provides an extra opportunity for father-daughter bonding. Yes, it might come with some pains and tears, but you should always have an open arm and receptive ears for her to come to in time of need. Don’t forget that as uncomfortable as you may be having to do the “period-talk” that it’s only twice as bad for her.

Menstrual education should start young to build comfort and knowledge. I’m not necessarily saying to remove all childhood carefree life, but certainly a slow introduction of reproductive health might help sooth the way to discussing menstruation. In fact, one thing I’d really take advantage of is a “doctor, dad and daughter” talk at a regular visit. With the presence of a medical professional, it will ensure accurate knowledge and it will show that daddy is both learning so that he can teach and be comfortable with menstrual talk. Much of the male disgust behind menstruation stems from generations of misinformation and misunderstanding. Would we rather our future generations live in ignorance or in knowledge?

Parenting is a very difficult thing and though I am not yet a parent, I have already seen many friends and family alike who have sent the fear of parenthood through my spine. One day, I will meet parenthood with both anxiousness and fear, for it is an opportunity to grow, learn and teach all at the same time. I know that teaching children is beyond what I can comprehend right now. In my opinion, I would try to teach my children about sexual education through age-appropriate means (which would vary between child-to-child, some are more knowledge/mature than others). To scare a child into knowing something they’re not prepared for would only cause terror and ruin a carefree childhood. At the same time, not preparing them means they will meet fear face-to-face. Even if I did not go into details about menstruation with my daughter, I would definitely make her aware that should she begin menses, that she should let me or mom know and that ‘bleeding’ from her vagina is not a sign of injury. As with most guys, we consider bleeding to be a source of injury and pain (which is not ALWAYS the case with menstruation), therefore it already makes a “bad association” in our minds. I want to convey to the guys out there that menstruation, while resembling a cut, is nothing even close to it. I actually find that blood from injuries tend to cause more fear and disgust than menstruation does… or rather, I should correct myself and say that I don’t fear or feel disgusted at menstruation at all, but then that’s just me 😆

To be honest, it’s hard to have “sex talk” with your child, let alone something so very intimate such as menstruation. As a single-father, it becomes even harder as a result of the lack of female support. However, know that you are not alone and if you do a simple Google search, there are MANY men out there who are all brave like you to raise a daughter (or even daughters) on your own! Your daughter might even feel embarrassed to talk to you about it, so you must be receptive and at times if you feel she might already have had her period, try to strike up a conversation about it. Your daughter might be more apt to answer “yes I did get my period” than to have to bring the topic up herself.  Of course you don’t want to be the dad that hounds her to see if and when she got her period, but then you also want to ensure the channels of communication are available and that if she’s not going to approach you, that there are telltale signs of menstruation. Unless she’s hiding her disposed feminine hygiene products (including wrappers, applicators, etc), there will usually be some noticeable evidence. If you don’t want to be upfront with your approach of asking her, a simple trip to the supermarket with her could be an opportunity to walk down the feminine hygiene aisle casually and inquire as to whether she needs anything. Sometimes the best conversation is no conversation, if she does need something and she doesn’t look like she’s in the mood to talk, just let her place what she needs in the cart/basket and off you go!

Other than a leak the next embarrassing thing might just be having to purchase your own feminine hygiene supplies. When I asked most of my girls, they sometimes dread buying pads and tampons more than even bleeding through panties! Why? Because at least you can hide leaks, you can’t hide such obvious purchases! For most of my girls, I quelled those fears pretty fast, either with them or without. I have always been around for (well at least most) my girls and I typically will go out and buy their feminine hygiene supplies before/during their period. They were always able to rely on me as an “older brother” or even my bebe lets me buy her stuff for her. With that said, me buying their stuff has actually helped them get over the fear, because hell, if I’m a guy and buying “this stuff” – wouldn’t it be even more natural for a girl to be buying it? Likewise, as a father, buying your daughter’s feminine hygiene products is an essential demonstration to her. First of all, there should be at all times available feminine hygiene supplies in the house AND she needs to know where they are (better yet, even know how to use it). Keeping some in multiple places might be beneficial, in her room, in the bathroom and perhaps in a closet of some sort. Heck, sometimes removing the discreteness of these products in the bathroom help encourage openness. I have been to some of my friends house where they OPENLY have pads or tampons in the bathroom. Depending on how comfortable your daughter is with discussing her menstrual cycle with you, it might even be possible to encourage her to try various brands and types of protection. Again, the internet is a great resource and having some knowledge on these products (such as the differences between pads/tampons/liners, wings/no wings, and proper usage) will truly help her.

Don’t forget, buying feminine hygiene products for your daughter is something to be proud of and that any loving father would do. You’d be surprized how many guys do it and if you actually spend a day in a supermarket, you’re likely to see quite a very occurrences of it. A lot of the time, we just sometimes don’t notice these things and pretend it doesn’t happen, but in reality, I’ve seen many guys buy these items before on their own. The great thing about being a guy and buying feminine hygiene products is that people will never assume it’s for you! So what’s there to be ashamed of right?!

I know I often put a lot of emphasis on disposable products and that’s truly unfair. However, I think certainly disposable pads and tampons are where most women start off anyways. Once your daughter becomes accustomed with taking care of her own body and handling her menstrual cycle, another great option for those who want to penny-pinch is to consider reusable products. Not only do you save a lot of money ($$$), it is also a great way to teach your daughter to become “in-tune” with herself, be eco-friendly and encourage great bodily health. If you’ve never thought of how much you (and your daughter) could really be saving, consider taking a look at this great chart provided by Lunapads (http://lunapads.com/why-switch#cost-savings). In my own opinion, I have found that many women who use reusable products often are much more open-minded about menstruation and female body/health.

For those who live in Canada or the US, you can also consider a great menstrual resource like Bepreparedperiod and particularly their store should you rather be able to purchase pads/tampons for your daughter online or even schedule recurring deliveries. If you or your daughter believes that tampons are going to be part of your menstrual repitroire, ensure that she is aware of the potential dangerous of tampon usage. It is both your responsibilities to ensure that proper usage knowledge is understood, particularly due to the potential of TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome), a deadly viral infection. You can read more about TSS and the realities of it at YouAreLoved. I see many forum posts of girls who ask, “How do I talk to my dad about my period?” so make sure you validate your daughter’s concerns as being valid and that you are always willing to listen. A person cannot know everything, so whether you have to turn to the internet, a friend, family member or even stranger (such as a nurse or doctor), your daughter’s well-being and health should be your top priority. There are times when we must set our own shyness or pride aside for our family!

After finishing this post, I realize that some of the information in here might be pertinent to any father, not just single-dads. Nevertheless, this is hardly the exhaustive resource and all the possible angles I could cover, but then there are only so many hours in a day 😛 Anyone who needs more information, please feel free to comment or send me an IM/Email. I am also available on twitter (though it’s publicly viewable so if discussing menstruation is not comfortable for you, you may not want to contact me through twitter) @ http://twitter.com/MenMenstruation

Thanks for reading and don’t forget that your daughter will thank you and love you forever for which you have done for her!

Woh, What’s MiM Up To? Heads-Up: A Possible Menstrual Cup Review!

So a lot of you might we wondering why there’s a lack of updates lately, well, I gotta tell you with Christmas coming up soon, there’s a lot of work (at work) to be done! For those who didn’t know, I used to actually write most of my posts during (hehe) work. With people beginning to take time off here and there, I have to cover their position or role and thus, I haven’t had too much time to pull up MiM during work. However, another reason why (which is probably more important) is that I’ve been working closely with one of my readers trying to convince her to try a reusable product. A company has graciously offered a product to this reader and I’m hoping she will take up the offer and then I will be able to write a review with her on the product.  I noticed I have quite a few new subscribers as well, so welcome to MiM and this downtime for me will give them some time to catch up on my prior entries. I can’t believe it that as of the end of this year, my blog will actually be TWO YEARS OLD already! When I made my blog, I could not imagine the numbers of hits I’d get, I thought this would be a “personal blog” with some of my own “period thoughts” and really, I didn’t know menstruation was really such a popular topic on the internet. After all, I guess because so many people consider menstruation a “taboo” topic in person, that it’s much more comfortable to talk about it online. Suffice to say, I find this topic as fun to talk about online as I do offline!

So once again, I have not disappeared or have given up my hopes to continue encouraging everyone to be open about menstruation, for those who can answer and for those who wish to ask questions. I am working closely with a sponsor and with one of my girls in hopes that we will be able to coordinate efforts to make a review for a reusable product! Many of my girls are resistant to trying them out and thus, I have a hard time finding reviewers who are willing to write an original review. And yes, after this long, I finally feel I need to give more credit to reusable products like menstrual cups and cloth pads, as they really are the way of the future. With so many things we regularly dispose in the garbage as it is, I should be on the forefront with supporting reusable products so that our future generations may inherit this earth in a usable shape as well and for millenniums to come.

Lunette (Menstrual Cups) Interview with MiM & November 20% Discount

So a short while ago, I was honoured with having an email-interview with Lunette, makers of menstrual cups, washes, wipes and creams for the feminine hygiene market!

Here’s a copy of the interview which can also be found on their site:

Any guys reading this? If so you are in luck because today we’re bringing you a guest interview from the other side of the fence: Prexus Swyftwynd the man behind the blog Men in Menstruation. Prexus started the blog in late 2009 and has been blogging on everything from PMS to menstrual product reviews. In the answers below, Prexus talks about the reactions to his blog, his own and those of his friends (both male and female).

What have you learned since starting the Men in Menstruation blog? Anything unexpected?

I have to shamefully admit that I’ve learned that women can have periods outside of a 30-35 day cycle and still be normal and healthy. I always considered the 30-35 day range to be “normal” because none of my girls or (ex)girlfriends ever fell outside of that range. I always had this assumption in my head that being outside of that range indicated something was wrong and that’s not true. My ex’s period was like clockwork: from the day she ended, I would already know when her next period would be and have chocolates and flowers ready. My current girlfriend also helped me change this assumption; she has almost a 4x day cycle, and it took me a while to get my head around this. I know that in books cycles outside of “average days” can still be normal, but what is read in books sometimes doesn’t sink in until you see it in reality.

Prior to my blog, I also didn’t know there were syndromes such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which make periods (or even throughout the cycle) a living hell. PCOS also affects people of all ages, so it isn’t one of those “old people” problems. Women with PCOS tend to be very open about their periods, perhaps because they’ve spent a lot of time talking to their doctor, family or even friends about it. I’ve had some very in-depth (and I’m always very grateful) discussions with PCOS-women about their periods, with no shame involved in the conversation. While I would absolutely not say I’d want a woman to have PCOS just so she’s open about periods, I’ve definitely seen a trend of openness for those who have it.

Through the blog, I’ve connected with many men and women who are enthusiastic about menstruation. Unfortunately when men get involved in menstruation – from a female point of view – it can either be, “Wow, I’m so glad that guys want to be involved.” to, “Ew, what kind of guy would want to learn about periods? He’s a pervert!” As a single child, I’ve never had an opportunity to learn about periods from a sister, and even from what I learned from my mother, it was a very hush-hush and need-to-know basis type of education. It’s great to see men who are interested in periods. While I know there are men who range from the “just curious” to the fetishist, they should still be respected for their own interest. After all, even the most hardcore fetishist would have taken the time to learn about menstruation, unlike men who shy away from it either through disgust, ignorance or embarrassment. Connecting with women who are PASSIONATE about their period and wanting to change the taboo of menstruation really hits home for me and makes me smile. I admit due to the nature of my blog, many readers (of whom are probably women), don’t speak up, but even if they’re reading my blog and it helps tickle their mind a bit to push for change in this world, then we’re living in a better place!

What do the women in your life think about your blog? How do they react?

Well I only let women who I know REALLY well and who I’d believe to “accept” the blog know about it, so there aren’t many. I’d say there are only about four girls who know me “in person” who also know about the blog, and two of them are my ex’s. The women in my life tend to be very open about their periods with me, and thus, they know about the blog as a result. These girls not only assist me with understanding periods more, but they are also female testers for me. As luck would have it, I am male and thus, lack the physical body parts to test products for my review. With their assistance and my own testing methods, I am can get an accurate understanding of feminine hygiene products to write reviews on them. Often when other bloggers write reviews on products, their opinions usually consist of one individual, themselves. But my reviews reflect the opinions of my helpful women, who have given me feedback on these products, along with my own methods.

The women in my life who know and are involved in my blog love it. They feel as if they can connect to me through feeling a sense of “male security” and with my understanding as a “sister.” I’m not gay nor do I have transsexual tendencies by any means; I just love and appreciate menstruation and the female body. Thus, my girls can easily talk to me about things that most guys would not be able to relate to or even want to converse about. Knowing about my blog also helps them connect with me for topics outside of menstruation. They’re comfortable sharing intimate knowledge with me or doing things that they would feel uncomfortable doing with guys such as shopping for inner-wear. Even when the girls discuss things amongst themselves, they are inclusive of me and take an opportunity to educate me about female things.

I “introduce” my blog to my girls (or rather, the existence of it) through a very smooth method to avoid shock. I will often drop hints that I write articles about menstruation and that I’m essentially pro-period before I even get into the whole point about owning a blog on it. Since these girls are ones who are close to me, such as ex’s and best-friends, they know me well enough to probably deduce that I have some (or lots) of interest in menstruation. The blog is usually more of a, “Oh really?” than a, “OH MY GOD, REALLY?” I’m very careful about who I tell about my blog because it has both menstrual and personal information on it. For the women who do know, they think it’s fantastic and will offer help whenever I need it, whether that’s borrowing them for a week in a month to test products or to answer questions. I have yet to tell someone about my blog who I didn’t trust me deep down, so I’ve never gotten negative reactions from them.

Do many of your guy friends know you blog about menstruation? What’s their take on it?

Only two of my guy friends know about my blog, and both of them really like reading through it to learn about periods. I won’t call myself an “expert” on periods, only someone with perhaps “above average” knowledge on it. Sometimes they come to me with questions I don’t answer on my blog and that also gives me a topic to write about as an entry. They’re more of the “curious” type than the fetishists. As “weird” as they think my blog and interest in periods are, they do see the benefit of having such knowledge. It’s less intimidating for them to learn from a fellow male than if they were to have to speak to a female about it. It’s hard for me to introduce my blog or even any knowledge of menstruation to my guy friends because they’re quite repulsed towards the idea of a bleeding vagina. I always heckle them by asking how they can love vaginas so much, yet the thought of it a week per month can totally put them off from it. It’s like they want to pretend it doesn’t exist, but they only acknowledge it enough to stay away from the red a week every month.

Be sure to check back for the rest of the interview and check out Men in Menstruation on WordPress.

And then part 2 of the interview…

Welcome back to part two of Lunette’s interview with Prexus Swyftwynd, the blogger behind Men in Menstruation. In part one, Prexus talks about the reactions to his blog, his own and those of his friends (both male and female). In this next part, Prexus wraps up his interview with thoughts on menstruation and the market and a little about himself.

Where do you think menstrual products are going in terms of the future of the market? What do you see as the trends?

I certainly think that more and more women will adopt reusable products; however, we have a long way to go before that becomes a “majority” of women. As far as I can see, there will always be some form of “toss and go” conventional product because I don’t think every women is comfortable with emptying their flow at a later point. Perhaps this may be a cultural thing; many of my female Asian friends won’t even give me a chance to encourage them to try these products. It will take years of cultural conversion and education before certain cultures can let go of the taboo of their menstrual flow and menstruation as a whole. If major disposal pad/tampon makers can continue to haunt consumers with “discrete” and “fear” tactics, there will continue to be a demand for such products. Companies will continue to find better “technologies” to enhance pads/tampons. But I can’t imagine companies being able to enhance absorbency and comfort while maintaining a reasonable price-per-use as compared to products such as cups, sponges or cloth pads.

What’s really great about reusable products is that they really encourage women to love their bodies and be in touch with them! Women who use reusable products often are much more open to conversations about menstruation and the female body, over those who use disposable products. By encouraging our younger generations, we can help them adopt reusable products early and remind them that their bodies are a beautiful and worth respecting. Society as a whole still revolves around a lot of “disposable” items in our daily lives, so it’ll take many years before we realize the damage we’re doing to ourselves and the environment. In the next 100 years, disposable pads and tampons will probably still continue to survive, but my hope is that through education, younger women will pick the right product for all women instead of going with the type of product is best for just the individual.

What’s your sense of awareness and interest in menstrual cups in Canada?

I think there is quite a bit of awareness but just not widespread acceptance of the cup. I’ve brought up the “cup” in conversations before with various women, and although they were fully aware of what the product does, they were not very keen on it. I can’t speak on behalf of all women in Canada, but I’d wager there are more women who still use conventional products than have shifted to cups. Because cups are internal products, that poses a second “concern”; for women who don’t use tampons, the thought of adopting a menstrual cup only brings in more fear and sometimes repulsion. I live in a fairly large city, in which we’re quite “connected” with media and internet accessibility, so information on menstrual cups is available and read by my female friends. However, few of them have adopted or even tried such a product. One of my female friends told me outright that she wouldn’t even “begin to imagine using a product like that regularly.” Even my girls, who are regular tampon-users, have no interest in using menstrual cups, since they can withdraw their tampon and just drop it in the toilet – no “maintenance” required.

The cups are also being sold at “organic” retailers here, so with them hanging off display shelves, I think it’s at least creating somewhat of an “education” for the cups. I’ve seen women gathered around such displays before, taking in the information on menstrual cups or other similar products. Most women end up walking away afterwards, but who knows, maybe they just need time to consider switching to a menstrual cup later on! At least they know about cups and even if they don’t make the decision now, they still have the knowledge and may pass it on to others who are willing to make the change!

What are your other interests outside of blogging?

I’m an avid computer gamer, so for several hours a day (I know terrible), I’m either rescuing princesses from towers or blowing heads off zombies, lol! Outside of a computer environment, I absolutely adore spending time with my girlfriend. When I’m not spending time with her, I’m usually spending time with my girls, shopping, doing daily things or just sitting around talking over coffee. I affectionately call them “my girls” as they’re a group of close female friends with whom I have great non-romantic relationships. In this day-and-age, we should remember that males and females can just BE FRIENDS.

I also run my own business outside of my regular day job. In addition to money purposes, I also consider it an interest because I help connect those who are are afraid of computers with modern technology. I enjoy showing people the wonders, particularly seniors who have never been in touch with such widespread technology, to discover all the things they can do and the things available to them. I believe technology has really enhanced my life and hope it may for others too, no matter what age!

After work, I will usually spend 30-60 minutes working out to stay in shape. Like most people, I wish I were more fit but all of it starts with the first step. I’m a big fan of laughter; the thing that I like to do most within the day is talk by voice or text with my friends and share funny moments. Every day of our lives, something funny happens and many people go through their day in a blur, missing moments that should make them laugh or smile. If every day I can just bring a smile or laugh to one of my friends, it makes me feel great. I used to volunteer a lot when I was younger, and I miss it, especially knowing that one “insignificant” person in the world can make some difference. After starting my career just a few years ago, I continue polishing my time management skills, so I can accomplish more within a day without sacrificing sleep time to stay healthy!

Any last thoughts?

I just wanted to thank you for giving me an opportunity to answer these questions. Recently I had some crazy lady tell me that I am a guy that “hates women,” and that has left a poor taste in my mouth. I hope these answers will shed some light on who I am, what this blog represents (or wants to represent, despite sometimes encountering difficulties) and just being period positive. I can’t wait to feature brands like Lunette on my blog, and together we can continue our trek so that future generations can feel positive about their bodies and comfortable with menstruation as a “normal” topic to talk about!

Although I’ve had interviews in the past for private studies and educational research, this has been the first time where my answers have been publicly posted! I was so excited and thrilled to be taken note by a professional business.

Lunette cups are really darn cute because not only are they a great eco-friendly menstrual cup, but also because they come in various colours!

Lunette is also having a 20%-off sale from their Lunette online store. Check out the discount code on their site for it! You can redeem this promotional code on their November SPECIAL post.

Congratulations to Lunette on their BLOG LAUNCH!

Check out their YouTube channel.

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!

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