Reflection on one of the most taboo subjects on the planet… I’ve named the rules!
Taboo why? Well, because it is a natural process that has existed since the night of time, experienced every month by half the world’s population, and there is minimal talk about it. It’s something hidden that can sometimes seem dirty (wrongly). For once, we’re going to talk about it just by addressing a subject that is close to my heart because it particularly affects all women at this time of life: why use washable sanitary towels?
But why wear washable sanitary towels (when disposables fit me so well, and I use them for years, there is THE question)? It’s the debate about who’s for or against this reusable menstrual protection.
While this idea may surprise at first, all those who use them are conquered (and I first). At Eco and Me, we are convinced that classic slips don’t just have advantages. In this article, we would like to share a little “philosophy” around reusable and washable towels and, more generally, rules.
Here are 3 good reasons to use them:
Obviously, one of the most obvious strengths is to stop creating waste for the planet since towels are reusable and have an extremely long lifespan. The waste produced by the women’s menstrual cycle is in kilograms of around 100 to 150 kg in a lifetime for every woman!
So, of course, this impressive amount has to be put into perspective compared to other waste, but we, the zero waste motivated, try to grapple wherever we can.
Well, tell you that it is quite easy to reduce this 150 kg of waste to almost nothing, which is not the only advantage.
The economic side
Every month we renew our stock of tampons or disposable towels without really asking questions since they are necessities.
But at the end of the year, and during our fertile life, how much does it cost to have one’s period?
There are no official figures in France, and you will understand, this varies according to the amount of blood lost, the period of amenorrhea (pregnancy, breastfeeding, illness, continuous pill), underwear and stained clothing, type of protection, purchases of painkillers, gynecological care and alternative medicines (osteopathy, acupuncture), in short!
In the United Kingdom, the issue of cost was more publicized, and a British study in 2022 even published the astonishing figure of 23,000 euros (at the time equivalent to 18,500 pounds): cost of rules in a woman’s life.
An article from Le Monde magazine gives a quick overview of the various studies, and a small calculator is proposed to make your own personal calculation. Overall what is important to remember is that the cost of a woman’s period, throughout her fertile life, can vary between 3000 euros (or about 80 euros/year) and perhaps more than 20,000 euros (about 500 euros/year)!
The cost of a washable sanitary towel ranges from 8 to 15 euros on average for quality protection. You should expect to have between 5 (great minimum) and 10 to have enough during the cycle and not wash them every night. For about 100 euros, you will be quiet and protected for 5 to 8 years (average lifespan of a periodic towel).
Why use washable sanitary towels? Well because it’s better for your health:
You may have heard of TBS or Toxic Shock Syndrome?
This disease, which has been re-emerging since the 2000s, is thought to be developed by wearing tampons, and the consequences can be severe. After the shock report of France 5: Tampon, our intimate enemy broadcast in 2022, we French woke up totally dazed by the documentary’s revelations.
Stamps have entered our lives without question. No CE marking to control their composition; we trust blindly. However, tests on several major brands revealed the presence of toxic substances in the body.
Besides, preventing blood from flowing along the walls of the vagina is, in fact, unnatural. The vagina is covered with a mucous membrane (a mixture of bacteria better known as vaginal flora) that protects it from infections, and the blood of the period would participate in a good “maintenance” or “cleansing” of the mucous membrane. Nature is well made.
Disposable sanitary pads/protections are also of questionable composition. Nor are they subject to any regulation. So we don’t know their exact composition. Some even have perfume when you open the plastic packaging! The industry masters the art of scaring us from smelling bad (from the vagina) to make us buy all kinds of products that can be harmful to health: wipes, intimate soap, deodorants, tampons and disposable towels!
To go back to the wearing of tampons, I think there is a more subtle disadvantage: Forgetting that we have our rules. So then you’re going to think I’m crazy… But I don’t think this way of perceiving our rules is consistent with what millions of years of homo sapiens evolution have put in place. During our periods, the woman’s body learns that it will not harbour life, and it is quite a hormonal upheaval. We are different: more sensitive, we can feel vulnerable, we can be sad, the list of symptoms is very long, and you know it! All of this is perfectly normal. There is nothing healthy about wanting to bury these feelings and forget a tampon in your vagina all day (this has already happened to us).
Rules are the ideal time to take care of yourself and pamper yourself. Let’s stop forgetting tampons in our vaginas, go to work and always smile even when we want to cry; let’s accept our moods and desires; let’s be more attentive to our body.
In the 28min report on Youtube, it is explained that some women wear little or no protection during menstruation simply because they hold them back. What? How?
Well, you’ve probably noticed, when you go to the bathroom during your period, you often lose blood in the toilet. It is the relaxation of the perineum as we relieve ourselves that has this effect. When you maintain your perineum, you can block the flow. I like to think that the cavewoman was in perfect control of her perineum. Maybe they didn’t have enough to change every day and sat down to expel some blood throughout the day! This exercise of the perineum is also essential because this extraordinary muscle is the one that pushes the baby to life or the one that holds all the organs of the gyneco sphere: bladder, uterus, ovary, etc.
Nowadays, some women discover their perineum during birth preparation and learn to muscle it in post-natal rehabilitation. We have completely abandoned this poor and important muscle. So I’m not saying that holding your period all day is within everyone’s reach (I tried, and it was a beautiful cat!) But with training, we see progress growing every month! This helps to feel more connected to your body and to know it better. Here I propose a new paradigm of rules: Have your rules in full consciousness!
So, we regenerate our vaginal mucosa, we muscle our perineum (if we want), and above all, we stay tuned to his body!
What about the washable towels in all this? Well, they are made of health-friendly materials, absorb blood perfectly while keeping us dry, and they motivate us to drop blood in the toilet since we take the game not to get too dirty!
Washable protections and “having your period in full consciousness” is a bit of an ideal combo: you pollute less and use more natural methods to take care of yourself during these few days.
A whole philosophy, isn’t it?
Like me, if you too want to switch to washable protections, you will find some very pretty on the site.
Have you ever moved on to periodic washable protections? Are you afraid to take the plunge? What have washable periodic towels changed in your habits?