WHAT THE HECK ARE CLOTH MENSTRUAL PADS!?
So, most of us grew up with disposable feminine hygiene products. It seemed that the only option was to go to the store and purchase what was available there: Plastic-backed, bleached out, white cotton disposables, sometimes with a funky perfume. Not only did the cost of buying them month after month quickly add up, but they could be very uncomfortable to wear for a lot of women (“sticking” to the pad, infections, chafing, itchiness, rashes, smells, etc). So after suffering all day with a piece of uncomfortable plastic against your most sensitive parts, where does it go? To the landfill!! Where ONE pad will take an average of 500-800 years to decompose! The average North American woman will use 12,000 to 16,000 disposable pads, tampons, and pantyliners in her lifetime.
So we’ve got monthly costs, your health and comfort being effected, and the environment to worry about. Now what? Well this is where cloth pads come in! Cloth menstrual pads are reusable alternatives to disposable pads! Cloth pads are made from layers of absorbent fabrics (such as cotton or hemp) which are worn while you are menstruating, for post-birth bleeding or any other situation where it is necessary to absorb the flow of blood from the vagina, or to protect underwear from regular discharge of vaginal fluids. After they’re used, they are washed, dried and then reused.
Okay, but what makes them so special?
Great question!!! My first and foremost reason:
THEY’RE COMFORTABLE AS HECK!!!!!!!!!!
Seriously, for years I dreaded my period. I would have major anxiety anticipating the week of itchiness, that awful, wet, “gloopy” feeling you’d get when you’d be sitting down and just bleeding all over this plastic nonsense, the plastic wrappers making all kinds of noise in the public bathroom where, let’s be real, you were already pretty self conscious enough, and the chafing! LORD ALMIGHTY THE CHAFING!!!
When I and many women wear cloth pads, it feels so comfortable! Most of us totally forget we were wearing them in the first place!!! Can you imagine being that unaware of your period? Think of all the things you could do!
THEY’RE BETTER FOR YOUR BODY!!!!!!!!
Disposable pads have a ton of chemicals in them. Your biggest organ is your skin and your skin absorbs these chemicals and they go straight to your blood stream. Some of the most popular and mainstream disposable pad brands contain dioxins, synthetic fibers and petrochemical additives, along with plasticizing chemicals like BPA and BPS which are known to disrupt embryonic development and are linked to heart disease and cancer. Besides crude oil plastics, disposable pads can also contain a ton of other potentially hazardous ingredients, such as odor neutralizers and fragrances. Did you know that In fact, according to research, each disposable pad contains the equivalent of about four plastic bags!? Synthetics and plastic also restrict the free flow of air and can trap heat and dampness, potentially contributing to the growth of yeast and bacteria in your vaginal area. So if you experience a lot of yeast infections or UTI’s, this may be what has been contributing to that! Bacteria growth is also why you get that “smell” with your menstrual blood during the week of your period.
Cloth pads are simply just pieces of cloth that form a pad. No different than your own underwear. They’re much so much more breathable, which makes it hard for yeast and bacteria to grow! Because of their breathability, they also won’t stink p your bathroom! Switching to cloth menstrual pads means that YOU are in charge of how clean and safe your products are.
YOUR BUDGET WALLET WILL THANK YOU!!!!
While it seems like a small monthly expense, over your lifetime youʼll be spending thousands of ￼dollars on pads and tampons that just end up in the trash. While all of our bodies are different, statistics show the average woman will bleed from the age of 11 to approximately the age of 51, which means roughly 40 years of pads and tampons. Say your pads/tampons are about $6- $10 a month, we’ll go with $8.50 for our math, but think of the brand YOU normally buy.
Disposable Pads: $8.50 per box every month x 12 months (1 year) = $102.00 a year
$102.00 a year x 40 years = $4,080.00
That’s $4080.00 the average woman will pay in her life for something that comes naturally to her whether she likes it or not. While cloth pads require to be purchased as well, typically what a woman can expect to spend for a week’s worth of reusable cloth pads can be in the estimated range of $160-$300, and those cloth pads should last anywhere from 5 years+ depending how you care for them.
Cloth pads can be purchased online or in some cases, at your local natural food/supply/parenting stores. They are sold by big companies or by “Work At Home Mom’s” (WAHM’s) like myself! Something I highly encourage everyone to do is to try different brands and absorbencies until you find what works for your body. There are so many different shapes and sizes and patterns of cloth menstrual pads, the world is your pickle!
At the end of the day, deciding what kind of menstrual protection to use is a personal choice. If cloth pads sound like something you would like to try, I highly encourage you to purchase one and decide how you like them in comparison. You may be very surprised at how different you will view your period and how empowered you may feel 🙂