Thursday, July 3, 2014

Natural, Sensual Menstruation...or Ways to Make Menstruation SLIGHTLY better

Every human being is connected to mothers, sisters, women friends, or daughters ect. If you are not a woman... you are dealing with one in some form. Menstruation, simply put, SHOULD be an earthy, creative, and sensual  part of the calendar but for some it is tougher than others (see my label PMDD on the side for more in that regard.) As in any other area of life, marketing has cashed in and told women what is 'appropriate' and 'convenient' for them to use during this time. Despite the serious health risks involved, women continue to use the products unaware of the disservice (not to mention strong odours) that they are adding to their bodies. But there is hope. With a bit of education, awareness, and yes, POSITIVE facts about menstruation the dangerous cycle can be turned into a beautiful cycle once again or at least more comfortable...

As a woman, I am personally insulted by the way mainstream media wants us to cover up traces of womanhood yet expose the ones that are deemed worthy.  Keep the breasts ~ Hide the 'show' of a fertile body. Dispose of our 'garbage' ~ Reap the sensual benefits. We are more empowered and educated than marketers portray. This is nothing to be embarrassed of. Similar to birth mentality, education, natural awareness and support can create life- long, beautiful, raw experiences for women. The fact is, despite that menstruation can bring pain, exhaustion and vulnerability to women, it also brings raw appeal in some cases.

In environments of natural lighting, the moon controls a women's cycle. That fact alone points to the beauty and mystery of the woman's body. The moon also controls the world's water bodies. This varies from calm to destructive- depending on the process. The same is true for menstruation. Menstruation can be sexy, or at least at times, it can be somewhat more comfortable. I would have never said that before switching to healthier alternatives. Simply put, it feels like underwear and not yucky plastic. Depending on the heaviness of your flow, and if you need a heavier pad, it will feel like padded underwear but STILL underwear!

 After 3 - 6 months of my body adjusting and cleansing I actually felt slightly more empowered during my time. The first time I wore my gorgeous bamboo cotton design I knew I would never go back. The pad was supple, comfy and matched my underwear. They even have thong sizes available! I felt in tune with my body. As I rinsed out the pads for the wash, I was not disgusted at all. (I have a blood phobia, so I thought this would be a big deal. It took a bit to get used to.) Sometimes, I don't feel like rinsing, but on those days I throw the pads in a metal canister filled with cold tea tree oil water (3 drops) or vinegar until the next day. My bathroom smells like essential oils and my garbage is left without that fishy smell. By the way, the fish smell is from the chemicals in disposable tampons and pads. Once your body de-detoxifies you will not have that odour ever again.

Menstruation should be, at the very least, a beautiful time to relax. There is a book called 'The Red Tent' ( by Anita Diamant) that I would highly recommend. Also the book "The Orgasmic Birth" is a book that changed my birthing experiences forever. My third child had a wonderful birth compared to my first. These books changed my perception on birth and menstruation. 

In ancient times when women cycled around the moon they would go to the 'red tent' to live out the menstruation. The ladies were waited on by the younger gals as they just relaxed and chatted about life. This gave them a huge respite every month from their duties. Women in those days did a lot of the hard labour so this time was a welcome change. Their monthly visits brought them together as a community. I believe that this time of month is a break from all the demands put on women today. It is empowering to embrace the fact that we are strong, capable women who allow ourselves to indulge and rest. We allow our body to 'make show' of our potential capabilities in birth and life. Our life blood helps run this world. I don't see men shushing sperm talks. This is even bigger. 

Although menstruation has it's definite downsides, it also has some aspects worth celebrating. It should be a time to rest and relax...to stop pushing ourselves to perfection. It should be a time of embracing our messiness. Menstruation teaches that what feeds life also causes pain.  It is also a time when women can be more verbal or emotional. I feel this is important as often women do not allow themselves to anger or boundaries. Some of the best necessary endings in my life happened when I was menstruating and was more brave to express.

My husband was actually the progressive one who pushed me to try this alternative. I was having a horrid time with my cycle, experiencing extreme cramps that required prescription medication and I felt ugly. I am happy to report that SOME of that that has changed. Instead of yucky packaging clogging up the bathroom drawers I have two bags full of clean adorable cloth options. I feel cute, fresh and healthy. However, natural therapies, massage and learning about PMDD and Endo management were the other parts of the puzzle to making my pain more bearable. I stopped the prescriptions and due to Endo I am still in extreme pain for three days, so I still need natural therapies and I still suffer. I can't go out. I do not plan anything on my crucial three days and I tend to be bed ridden...but I still try to hold a healthier perspective and having cute pads helps or at least the pads are "perspective reminders" for me.

There are two main alternatives to disposable pads. The Diva Cup ( Link here) and organic cloth reusable pads. Both are healthy, safe, and comfortable. Both make a better world and a better YOU. I promise after 3- 6 months you will smell better, the bathroom will feel cleaner, and you will be more in tune with your body, empowered, healthier, and even experience less cramping from the toxic cleanse. Because of the way blood staying in your body can cause toxic build up the cloth pads are the better option overall. However, the Diva cup is handy for swimming ect. In this article I am going to focus more on reusable pads. There are many makers of these and I have found a few companies on Etsy to be the best. (I did a trial of 7 different companies. The ones that are organic or have a bamboo liner with flannel are the best choices. Bamboo is a natural disinfectant. Don't order velour !) The Epicerma Mother Moon Pads Link Here (Now under the name Green Betty Organics)  is excellent for medium to heavy flows or overnight. The pads are elegant with pearl buttons and snazzy colours. (Top picture) Randumosity on Etsy is also  excellent for light to medium flow and have cute options to choose from. Site Naturally Hip has cute thong pads,  light days and wet bags for convenient travel. The best thing about being a woman is the prerogative to have a little fun...AND these ARE Fun!

***
A few facts on disposable (AKA plastic) pads and tampons taken with permission from: http://verticalchallenge.org/goddessmoons 

"For Your Health-The plastic and glue backing on disposable pads greatly reduce air circulation, creating a stagnant environment in which some bacteria thrive. This can cause odour and exacerbate any pre-existing vaginal irritation. This plastic sheeting also causes perspiration, sometimes rashes and other irritations, and can leave you more susceptible to yeast infections. Many women report allergic reactions to disposable pads, most likely caused by bleaching residues.
Low levels of dioxin have been found in almost every major brand of tampon (except 100% organic cotton). Dioxin is a known carcinogen and has been linked to cervical cancer, breast cancer, endometriosis, and immune system suppression. There is much scientific debate as to whether there is such a thing as a “safe level” of dioxin exposure. For more information on dioxin, please see the Dioxin Fact Sheet, prepared by the scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).
Most women are aware of the risks of Toxic Shock Syndrome with prolonged tampon use. What many women do not know is that the bacteria that causes TSS is naturally occurring in menstrual blood. When the flow of menstruation is cut off and held in the body, this bacteria has the opportunity to proliferate to toxic levels. TSS can cause serious physical impairment and even death.
“WE’LL ABSORB THE WORRY” -- Rely tampon ad
Approximately 35% of the fluids absorbed by a tampon are not menstrual blood, but natural body fluids produced to moisturize and cleanse the vagina. Tampon use can also increase the propensity for yeast infections.
“Our only interest is in protecting you.” -- Tampax ad, 1972

Final Note-After WWI, Kotex marketed the first disposable menstrual products. They were hailed as sophisticated and liberating, and were priced out of the reach of the average woman. They were marketed much like as baby formula, playing on the negative social attitudes of the time, towards women’s bodies. The disposable menstrual products industry used this fear and ignorance of women’s sexuality to propel their products into the mainstream. Women were assured that they could effectively “disguise” the fact that they were menstruating if they used disposable products, and could neatly “dispose” of the “waste”, leaving no trace that the shameful act had occured.
Hundreds of millions of dollars have since been invested by the disposable pad and tampon companies to try to perpetuate the misconception that menstruation is dirty and must be kept well concealed.
“Never take your purse to the john” -- Tampax television ad aimed at teenage girls, 2000.
 None of the major tampon or pad manufacturers have ever offered a safe, environmentally sound menstrual product. Why? Simply put, there’s a bigger profit in selling you disposable products that you’ll have to purchase again and again and again, at ever increasing prices.
“Your shame is their gain!” -- Goddess Moons, 2001"
 
* If you have any questions about switching sanitary products, care of, or additional issues please feel free to email me.




 

Post addition ( used with permission) from http://verticalchallenge.org/goddessmoons:

*"Our Environment- It has been estimated that women use approximately 11,000-13,000 menstrual pads or tampons each, during their menstruating years. Most of us are aware of the environmental disaster created by disposable diapers, yet the problem with menstrual products is far greater! Disposable pads, panty liners, and incontinence garments are almost exclusively made from wood products. This wood often comes from ancient old growth forests, which are NOT a renewable resource. When old growth forests are clear cut for pulping, entire ecosystems are wiped out, only to be replaced by a tree farms. In the processing of this wood pulp, thousands of tonnes of sludge and harsh contaminates such as chlorine dioxide are released into our waterways, causing untold damage to wildlife and human health!
"Every major brand of tampons is made of a cotton/ rayon blend. In the bleaching process, organochlorines are formed such as dioxin, which is often released into ground water. Almost every single menstrual pad and incontinence garment has a plastic backing and a layer of adhesive, both of which will last for generations to come in our landfills. Many also contain additional chemicals to enhance their absorbency. Tampons often come with a plastic , or plastic coated wood fibre applicator. These applicators not only have a long life, but they also get to do a bit of travelling! Both tampons and their applicators do not decompose in sewage treatment systems like other organic wastes. They often cause these systems to get clogged, and end up released into the ocean still intact. Sewage treatment systems that rely on chemical means only, leave tampons and their applicators virtually unaffected. Thousands of tampon applicators wash up on coastal beaches every day.
For Your Pocket Book $-Disposable pads and tampons: If the average woman uses 11,000- 13,000 pads or tampons, then 550 - 650 boxes of 20 at an average of $4.00 US/ $6.00 Cnd. per box, equals a grand total of $2,400.00-$2,600.00 US/ $3,300.00-$3,900.00 Cnd.!! Now that’s not including panty liners! Goddess Moons: With a life span of about 10 years, if you spend $33.50 US/ $50 Cnd. Per starter kit three times, you get a grand total of $100 US/ $150 Cnd. Now if you want to live like a real Goddess, and not have to do laundry at all during your moon time (because you’re too busy doing inner work), you could purchase two starter kits, three times in your life for a total of $200 US/ $300 Cnd."

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey thanks for the info! I have always wondered about what disposables are doing to our bodies and have always suffered from terrible cramps! I like tampons cause pads are so freakin uncomfortable..but those moonpads look like they would be comfortable and feel just like your underwear?? do they for the most part? Thinking about trying some!~ Michelle

Sadie said...

ust wanted to point out that w/ anything, there are quality pads and crappy pads. After I had Levi I got a few really nice bamboo velour w/ fleece backing that I absolutely love, but then when I was preparing for pp bleeding w/ N, I bought some inexpensive ones from etsy that had a hidden PUL layer inside, and those layers have bunched up terribly, and I can still use them, but they definitely aren't great for pp or heavy flow days anymore. Look up the seller's reviews before buying, and don't skimp!

Kmarie Audrey said...

Michelle: If you love tampons maybe try the Diva Cup instead. It's a great alternative once you get used to it!:) They do feel like underwear...

Sadie: You are right...I did not list the crappy ones I tried out on this post. Def look up seller's reviews! I adore Epicerma's heavy flow kit listed above...these pads last years so worth the price...:)

S said...

I have heard and read about diva cups and alternative sanitary pads. I want to share with you my own experience-In our country, rural women still use homemade pads made from cotton clothes ( cut and made from from saree- an Indian garment ) during periods and they wash them and reuse later. In my childhood, when I first started having periods, I also used them. My mom showed me how to use them but after I shifted to the city to study in College/University, the administration banned hanging and drying of homemade cloth pads. Since then I shifted to using commercial ones. My mom however, had always used homemade cloth sanitary pads till menopause. She was a working woman unlike me and she used to travel long distances in bumpy roads in buses using those homemade pads.

Kmarie Audrey said...

S: Thanks S..you bring up a valid point...in the excellent book Half the Sky it speaks of how many of the world's women population do not have rights to good products for menstruation, have to miss lots of school or do not have safe bathrooms during this vulnerable time. There are lots of pad making workshops in my area that send the pads to Africa or such....a very great idea...it is too bad that the administration banned the hanging of pads as they do not realize that the sun helps disinfect and they are taking away their own countries future by having more women exposed to sanitary menstruation health risks. How sad and unfortunate!

namaluc said...

Thanks so much for this post. I have shared it in the page I collaborate, Moon Inside You. And also one of the images. Please visit Monthlies and watch online or download the movie, I think you will love it. Again thanks so much for your words! I will come back!! :) Nati
http://www.monthliesmovie.com/v1/en/
https://www.facebook.com/menstruacion

Kmarie Audrey said...

I will have to check those links out soon...thanks:)