I came across an interesting topic this morning that I thought I’d share with you, and I’d love to hear your feedback on this one!

It all started while visiting a new blog, and stumbling upon this post. The subject of menstrual pads is not one that is commonly discussed on blogs (let alone in real life!), but I think it’s relevant and worth a good discussion.

This is something that I have been thinking about a bit in the last year or two, although over the course of the past 4 years, I have not had a lot of opportunity to be concerned about this issue (pregnancy, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant, pregnancy, breastfeeding, etc.- I know many of you understand this cycle!). I’m still nursing at night, so it’s not a necessary issue for me yet, but it will be soon and it’s one that I wanted to explore in greater depth.

There are many worthwhile issues to think about when considering switching to a non-disposable option. I would say that the environmental issue of non-biodegradable waste would be my biggest reason for considering the use of something like cloth pads. Next to disposable diapers, disposable pads are one of the items that are filling up our landfills at the greatest speed. Secondly for me would be the health issues. Here is a brief excerpt from a company selling these products (whom I don’t necessarily endorse, but thought this quote was helpful):

The plastic and glue backing on disposable pads greatly reduce air circulation,

        creating a stagnant environment in which some bacteria thrive. This can cause odor 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.

As well, here and also here are some links to information about tampon safety. 

And lastly, I think that reusable pads are worth considering for the cost- just like disposable diapers, this is a cost that can add up quickly, and I love to find new ways to save money wherever possible. When an issue touches on three such important areas (environment, health and budget), you can bet that I will strongly consider making a change in what I am doing!

Just for fun (yes, I know it might be strange to consider researching cloth pads to be fun– I have never claimed to be normal!), here are a few sites that I came upon, offering both cloth pads as well as some alternative products:

Baby Dreams Boutique

Glad Rags

Lunapads

Also be sure to check the original post for a great link to Hillbilly Housewife, for a tutorial for making your own cloth pads.

Now here’s my question- is anybody using any of these products? Would you share with us what you use, why and how you like it? Anybody else considering switching, like me?