The Multi-Billion Dollar Menstrual Industry Deserves Disruption
I cried when I first started my period. I was far from ready to give up that simplistic naiveté that came with childhood and exchange it with the host of menstrual-related issues that would soon ensue.
I grew up in a household of three women. The relentless cramps and reproductive-related symptoms that both my mother and sister experienced monthly would now become my reality as well.
The silver lining was our shared empathy that meant we spoke freely and openly about our issues. We brought each other heating pads, tea, chocolate, held each other’s hair back when the nausea was overwhelming, and gave each other space as well as forgiveness when our sharp-tongued PMS said what we shouldn’t have.
Finding Balance & Treatment
The real issue, however, was that we accepted our experiences as normal. I was in my 20’s when my monthly symptoms grew so bad that they interfered with my work, relationships, and daily activity all too regularly.
I was examined regularly by doctors and on birth control long before I needing a contraceptive. I was given hormones, pain killers, and told about the necessary menstrual products I would begin using. But doctors never really discussed what was actually happening in my body, on a deeper level, or how to restore balance naturally.
I finally began to question the experts and do my own research. Between the luxury tax on menstrual products and the unregulated and undisclosed ingredient lists of these products, my research revealed far too many issues related to menstrual health.
Here’s What Every Woman Needs To Know
The business of menstrual products is a 3-billion-dollar a year, highly unmonitored, unregulated industry that does not require full transparency of ingredients to be labeled, nor do companies have to include chemicals used in the processing of these ingredients. Much of this is due to the fact that most menstrual products and tampons are actually considered medical products.
Why should we be concerned with the menstrual product industry?
The vagina is the most permeable organ in a woman’s body, absorbing 10-80% more than when exposed to the same toxins orally. Most menstrual products contain ingredients and chemicals that are known allergens, carcinogens, reproductive toxins, and endocrine disruptors, including artificial fibers, pesticide residues, bleaching agents and artificial fragrances.
People who menstruate use approximately 11,000 tampons in their lifetime, and reproductive related issues are on the rise. We have looked to trusted health experts to ease our doubts, when we should first trust our own instincts and reflect on how these products have affected our own health. Each of us is different and therefore will display symptoms differently. Part of the growing discussion on women’s health needs to be talking opening and freely about our experiences.
It has been nearly 100 years since woman fought for the right to vote, the tampon was invented, and women joined the workforce. While there is undoubtedly movement and headway as women are uniting worldly, more than ever and on multiple levels, I am still confounded of the fact that we still need to break the ice, demand these discussions, and question answers at all.
Cross cultures, cross generations, and genders, there is a gap and a grave silence when it comes to menstrual health that we need to shatter.
Getting Educated & Choosing Safer Products
Below is a list of upgraded, redesigned, and redefined menstrual products Many are reporting easier and less painful periods, restored hormone levels, and even shorter, lighter flows by simply switching to these purer products that use organic and natural materials.
Products | Organic tampons & pads delivered to your door.
Mission | LOLA’s founders set out to create an organic tampon and a brand that was completely transparent with customers about the ingredients in its products. Since launch, LOLA has also donated 100,000 menstrual products to low-income people across the U.S.
Products | Organic tampons with PBA-free compact plastic applicator, delivered via subscription.
Mission | Cora’s team believes “that time of the month” should never be a source of shame, harm or uncertainty. (Also: excessively pink packaging.) And it should never keep someone from getting an education. For every month’s supply of Cora you receive the company gives a month’s supply of sustainable pads to a girl in a developing country so she can do anything during her period.
3. Jade Pearl Sea Sponge Tampons
Products | All-natural sea sponge tampons, soft, & durable.
Mission | Jade & Pearl creates natural personal care products that are reusable, recyclable and sustainable. Their sea sponges tampons are free of chemicals, bleach, chlorine, fragrance, dyes or synthetic materials.
4. Diva Cup
Products | Reusable menstrual cups
Mission | Diva Cup is committed to offering a sustainable, easy-to-use, cost-effective and eco-friendly menstrual product to conventional options. Our innovative products of The DivaCup and DivaWash are empowering, while also changing the face of menstrual experiences around the world. All products are chemical-free, follow national standards in Canada, the United States, Australia and other countries, and they are not tested on animals.
5. Moon Cup
Products | Silicone, reusable menstrual cups
Mission | Mooncup creates soft, medical-grade silicone menstrual cups designed by women as a convenient, safe and eco-friendly alternative to tampons and pads. They aim to make the experience of periods more positive, healthy and eco-friendly.
6. Glad Rags
Products | Reusable cloth pads and menstrual cups
Mission | Glad Rags’ mission is to provide high quality, sustainable products and positively transform the experience of menstruation. The are a registered B Corp and a proud to partner with UnTabooed, to bring reusable products to menstruators in the U.S.
Chem Fatale Report: Potential Health Effects of Toxic Chemicals in Menstrual Products