Why use cloth pads? If youʼre reading this, you probably already have an idea of why cloth is better than conventional disposable menstrual products. In case youʼre not aware of all the benefits, hereʼs a quick run-down:
Disposable tampons carry a risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). TSS is caused by usually harmless bacteria found on our skin or in parts of our bodies. If the bacteria enters the bloodstream through a cut or tear, they release a toxin.
Tampons may create a more ideal opportunity for the growth of these bacteria, and can dry out the vaginal canal by absorbing its natural moisture, which can lead to minute tears that may increase the chance of TSS. Toxic Shock Syndrome is real and can be fatal. Knowing the facts about TSS could save your life!
While pads have never been linked to TSS, conventional disposable pads contain all kinds of chemicals — and manufacturers are not required to list these ingredients on their packaging! These ingredients range from wood pulp and adhesives to artificial fragrance and chemical gels. Not the type of stuff you want next to one of the most sensitive parts of your body!
In early 2012, a blogger discovered mold on an unused tampon from a mainstream tampon company. While the company stated that the mold carried no health risk to consumers, who wants to use a moldy tampon from a company that doesnʼt seem to care that its product was tainted? Switching to reusable menstrual products means that YOU are in charge of how clean your products are.
The average women will use 12,000 to 16,000 disposable pads, tampons, and pantyliners in her lifetime. Thatʼs a lot of waste in our landfills! Not to mention the manufacturing, packaging, and transportation waste of getting these products from the factory to you.
Sad but true: the most common trash items found on North American beaches are plastic tampon applicators. Using something once is not enough! Our society has gone from relying on high quality reusable products to cheap disposables. When you choose to reuse anything from dishes to towels, youʼre helping make a cultural shift that values quality over wastefulness.
Twelve thousand disposables add up! 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.
Although cloth pads are an initial investment, they pay off over time: many women report saving over $500 in just a few years. I like to use the analogy of ceramic dishes. Buying paper plates would certainly seem cheaper, but everyone agrees that investing in dishes youʼll use for years is the smarter choice! Plus, youʼll get greater enjoyment from your nice dishes.
Cloth pads are exactly the same.
Disposables: $10/month x 12 months = $120/year
Cloth Pads: $150 one-time cost
Compare: $600 for 5 years or $150 for 5-10 years
Before I switched to cloth pads, I had no idea that the chafing, irritation, and soreness I felt each month were due to disposable pads and tampons. I thought it was a normal part of menstruating!
Taking care of your body feels good, and so does eliminating plastic and chemicals from your period routine. Cloth is more breathable than disposable pads, wonʼt over-dry like a tampon can, and many women report relief from vaginal infections after making the switch. And youʼll never again experience an adhesive pad wing sticking to your leg. Whatʼs not to love?
The Bottom Line
Deciding what kind of menstrual protection to use is a personal choice. Think about the products you use now and why. Was it because your mother or sister used them? Or because they were the first ones you tried? Most importantly, are they working for you?
Choosing your form of protection based on what you value is an important part of self- care. As women, we often ignore our own health — to our detriment! Making conscious decisions about the way we treat our bodies is a powerful message to our daughters, sisters, and ourselves.
This article is provided by Tracy Puhl, the founder of GladRags.