Walk down a “feminine products” aisle in any drug store and you will almost always see shelf after shelf of the same two things: tampons and pads. Tampons with applicators, without applicators, with perfume; pads, with or without wings, plastic sticky mini-diapers that smell like chemicals, or worse, perfume. These two products have probably been a staple of your life at least once a month for a while now, and if you’re like most of the women I know, you don’t like them very much.
Tampons can be uncomfortable and can leak, and if you try to avoid leaks by using a more absorbent one then you risk having to pull an abrasive tampon out of a dry vagina – it’s not only terribly uncomfortable but can put you at increased risk of infection and disease. Tampons, especially super-absorbent tampons, can absorb too much fluid, drying out the vagina and increasing the possibility of micro-tears upon removal or insertion of the next tampon. These tears can provide a window for the bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus, which is commonly present on our skin and can get pushed into the vagina during tampon insertion, to get into our system causing Toxic Shock Syndrome. TSS is “a severe disease that involves fever, shock, and problems with the function of several body organs…[it] may be deadly in up to 50% of cases.”
Pads are not any fun either; they feel diaper-like and crinkle and irritate delicate skin that was not meant to have wet plastic rubbing against it. Not to mention that environmentally, disposable tampons and pads are a disaster waiting to happen. So much extra waste for landfills! So what’s a girl to do? The good news is there are a lot of other options about there that are easier to use, more comfortable, environmentally friendly, and cheaper.