How to chart your cycle

The technological revolution has woke up to the fact that almost half the population are, will or have been menstruating at some point. There are apps which help you track your mood, apps which help you understand your fertility and ones which help you manage your birth control. If you haven’t had time to read it yet, here is the link to my blog on the science, art and wonder of charting your menstrual cycle.

Did you know there was a whole world of alternative menstrual products out there? From the moon cup to cloth pads, it is beginning easier and easier to choose menstrual products which promise to take care of your body, wallet and the earth. Let’s look at why it is essential that menstruators need to understand the impact we have each time we use a sanitary product.

Save Our Seas

First, the environment. Synthetic tampons and sanitary towels generate more than 200,000 tonnes of waste per year, most of which end up at sea. The average UK woman throws away 124-150kg of pads and tampons during her lifetime and over every kilometre of beach, over 30 items of discarded sanitary protection was found (stats from book, Yoni Shakti by Uma Dinsmore-Tuli).

According to The Guardian, the average woman uses roughly 11,000 tampons in her lifetime. The time it takes for a tampon or pad to degrade in a landfill is centuries longer than the lifespan of the woman who used it, particularly when wrapped in a plastic wrapper or bag. In addition, the process of manufacturing these products – turning wood pulp into soft, cotton-like fibres – is both resource- and chemical-intensive.

Not only this, but these products are not even good for us. They often contain toxic chemicals including plastic - find out more about that by watching this short video video (less than 2 minutes).

Perhaps even worse than the plastic issue is the fact that we don’t even know exactly what chemicals are in tampons and sanitary towels, because major companies are no obliged to disclose that information to us, so we don’t even know what chemicals we are putting inside our vagina (which by the way is some of the most permeable tissue in our body).

The buck stops here

So just why is the sanitary protection industry in this state? Why aren’t Tampax and the rest of the ‘big boys’ making changes? Well, sanitary protection is big bucks - combined annual sales of products reach almost £350 billion - and brand loyalty starts young, with companies like Tampax often going into schools to ‘teach’ young women about menstruation (and creating loyal customers at the same time).

It could be easy to get disheartened by these facts and stats, but I am here to share with you the choices that you always have. I know the thought of cloth pads might make you cringe, or that life without tampons seem unimaginable.

My Know Your Flow course begins to explore and examine just why we feel this way, and open ourselves up to the possibility of changing some of the mindsets we may have about blood, periods and everything that goes along with that. Find details on the course here.

Let’s open up right now. What menstrual products are you using at the moment? How do you feel about switching to a cloth pad or Moon Cup? Are you ready to make a switch? Have you already switched? How do you feel about the whole subject? Let’s have a blood conversation!