July 31, 2012

In Which I Am A Hippie, and 13 Again

Because it's a condom with an elephant. I can't not love this.

Well this is just getting frustrating. (Boys may want to stop reading riiiiiiight now.) While I'm all about conserving resources and being environmentally friendly in every way possible, there are just some things I was OK being wasteful with, and those things center around hygiene. This is especially the case with the so-called "feminine hygiene" products, or tampons and pads. Those use once then throw away goodies felt good: fresh, light and most importantly clean - kind of important during a time that can feel messy and unhygienic. 

And then the body all of a sudden decides that those things aren't going to cut it anymore. Thanks to the dyes and chemicals and handling that consumer products go through, which all end up absorbed in the body, pads and tampons are toxic. They have the unfortunate task of associating themselves with the most sensitive body parts, and when those toxins are absorbed directly inside the body, not just on the surface of the skin, it feels uncomfortable*. And lucky me, all of this just happens to occur during my period, when I'm already not feeling terrific.

I've switched almost every body product I can so that I'm avoiding the majority of the toxins that can be absorbed in the skin (my shampoo, conditioner, lotions, face wash, face scrub, and bar soap are all made without SLS, animal testing and [mostly] parabens) to lessen the negative effects of eczema, but it still rears its ugly head on occasion. This time the culprit was pads. Fortunately my period is incredibly light, so it's really not bad at all, but it's so light it makes wearing tampons uncomfortable for most of the week. I usually stick to light pads or pantiliners because that's all I need. But I guess the plastic (latex), chemical absorbers and other additives got to be too much for my sensitive skin. 

I went to Planned Parenthood hoping they'd have an answer and all the nurse needed was one look. She said lots of women are irritated by pads and confidently and immediately told me to switch to tampons. Do not use pads or pantiliners anymore.

Which has me looking at websites like this and this and wondering how I'm going to deal with a period that is too light for tampons (which can be uncomfortable and a little bit dangerous on light days) and skin that doesn't like pads. I should be the perfect candidate for those washable and reusable pantiliners because I guess I can't wear the disposable ones anymore and I'm already passionate about conservation, but honestly the notion makes me a little weary. This was one of those things, along with paper towels, that I was OK using because of their hygienic benefits, especially considering my attempt at being mindful of the waste both create. Guess I'm taking more and more steps to being a complete hippy...

I used to be so resilient, always thought I had tough organs, especially skin. Apparently that's changed and I have to be very picky about what I put on, and in, my body. The sensitivities (they still feel too slight to be full blown allergies) are piling up and making basic tasks very frustrating. Here's to feeling like a girl again and not knowing what the next month will bring.

*Uncomfortable: A horribly itchy, sometimes painful sensation that lasts for days and makes everything from walking to wearing underwear noticeable and unpleasant.

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