When it comes to women’s health, the first thing that comes to mind is the menstrual cycle, for obvious reasons. During those 3+ days, a woman’s body undergoes a series of physiological changes that involve different symptoms of variable intensity, in extreme cases including dysmenorrhea or a painful menstrual cycle. Beyond the symptoms, which vary from woman to woman, there is a problem that unites them all: the menstrual flow.
Even in ancient Egypt, the women used to use linen sheets to absorb their annoying discharge. Today, the market has diversified a lot and offers an infinite range of alternatives in line with your taste, your health, and your ethical choices.
It is not always easy to find a remedy that meets all needs in terms of effectiveness, comfort, impact on the environment, and cost. Let’s take a look at the most traditional products.
The classic sanitary napkin remains the most widespread method to control menstrual flow, perhaps out of habit. However, it is known that they can cause irritation due to the synthetic fibres that are often used in their manufacture and for the moisture that remains in contact with the skin. They are also quite expensive from the economic point of view given that a woman can spend around €2500 on sanitary napkins in her life, which is not a small figure. And what about their environmental impact? Some parts of the sanitary napkin, such as the plastic they come in and their adhesive strips, may take more than 200 years to decompose. If you are a committed ecologist, choose an alternative method!
What can we say about tampons? From the point of view of their price and their environmental impact, they are more or less the same as sanitary napkins, but their health implications are a little more complex. Many women fear getting toxic shock syndrome. Nowadays tampons are made of pure cotton fibres or other natural fibres and, therefore, should not cause problems. It is, however, essential to take some precautions, such as washing your hands before inserting, not keeping the tampon in for more than 8 hours, and alternating their use with sanitary napkins.
Ecological Sanitary Napkins
On the market, you can find ecological sanitary napkins that are 100% biodegradable. They cost slightly more than traditional sanitary napkins but retain their practicality while virtually eliminating their impact on the environment. If you are among the convinced environmentalists, you will surely agree that the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.
Washable Sanitary Napkins
These are washable and reusable cotton sanitary napkins. Without a doubt, they are an excellent alternative to reduce the risk of infection as well as for their superiority in terms of hygiene, environmental impact, and cost. It is also true, however, that not everyone has the patience and willingness to wash and remove the stains on their napkins every month.
Few people know that the cup, the best method in terms of hygiene and environmental impact, was invented in 1937 by the actress Leona Chalmers, who for stage reasons could not use the then bulging belts with sanitary napkins. The cup has many points in its favour.
- It is hygienic. You simply have to take small precautions, such as sterilizing it at the beginning and end of the cycle and cleaning it during the cycle, and you will not have any risk of getting an infection.
- It is hypoallergenic. It is composed of silicone (100% medical grade) and TPE (thermoplastic elastomers). It does not contain latex and, unlike sanitary napkins, does not require the use of bleaching agents for production.
- It is economical. A cup costs around 20 euros, but, with proper maintenance can last up to 10 years.
- It is ecological. The impact on the environment is practically nil.
Cons? Some women feel that it is not practical and that those who work outside the home may have difficulty cleaning it in public places, but in reality, everything is less complicated than it seems. You just have to get used to it.
Sponges are valid alternatives to tampons that are natural and reusable. They are usually rinsed in cold water and do not cause irritation. The environmental impact is much lower than that of traditional sanitary towels and their price is also quite low, from 1 to 5 euros.
And here is the latest invention in the field! Thinx is a brand of absorbent panties which will soon be available in the Spanish and Latin American markets. They have created a true revolution in the female world. Thinx are normal cotton underwear that miraculously absorb your menstrual flow. After a day of work, you simply have to put them in the washing machine and then use them again the next day. They are made from natural and organic cotton and have an average lifespan of approximately 10 years.
Now that you have an idea about the various alternative products for your menstrual cycle, here we will give you a selection of useful phrases in case you have to make purchases in the feminine section of the pharmacy.
May I have some paracetamol, please?
I would like some sanitary towels with natural fibres because I am allergic to synthetic fibres.
Can I have a painkiller, please?
I would like to buy a pregnancy test.
I need an antibacterial intimate wash.
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