About 11 years ago, I was introduced to healthy living. I was so excited to make these changes in my life, but I was also completely stunned by the amount of change that was necessary to adhere to this new lifestyle. As I embarked on this path of healthy living, it seemed like I learned something new on a daily basis. My education started with understanding the importance of a healthy nervous system, then nutrition, then identifying toxic chemicals in cleaning supplies, and from there the floodgates opened.
One of the most shocking things I discovered in my research was the dangerous ingredients lurking in feminine care products. I had absolutely no idea how toxic the majority of these products are and how much harm they are capable of inflicting in the bodies of women. Toxic chemicals that can be found in feminine care products include phthalates, dioxins, mercury, glyphosate, rayon, and synthetic fragrances, which are all capable of wreaking havoc in our bodies in various ways, such as “increased risk of breast cancer, reproductive problems, asthma, and allergic reactions.” (1,3)
Our skin is the largest organ in our bodies, and it’s also extremely porous, so it makes sense that we should exercise caution when choosing products that will be applied directly to our skin. (2) Different areas of our bodies are more permeable than others, and the skin that makes up our genitalia area is one of the most absorbent of all.
In a study published by the American Journal of Public Health showed “an absorption rate of 100% for underarms and genitalia.” (2) This becomes extremely dangerous when feminine care products, like tampons, pads, etc., are contaminated with chemicals and come into direct contact with genitalia, “because this area is filled with blood vessels and lymphatic vessels…primed to deliver whatever it encounters to the entire body through the circulatory system.” (3)
Following my discovery of the level of toxicity found in most feminine care products sold the public, I threw out everything I had, and now I approach this area of my body with as much as care and adherence to healthy living as I do all other areas of my body. This means seeking out honest brands that disclose all product ingredients, avoiding scented products, and eliminating all Hall of Shame products from my home. (1)
Natural Alternatives? There are so many! I started with switching to organic products such as Seventh Generation tampons and liners. My next move was to a diva cup. It always takes some trial and error to see what works for you and your body!
While it is impossible to protect our bodies from every harmful substance we might come into contact with, why would we not protect our bodies from those we can? By intentionally choosing products that we know are safe, we are not only protecting ourselves but also those around us by refusing to contribute to brands that offer toxic products. This simple choice may create ripples effects, leading to a long overdue change in the feminine care industry and a brighter, healthier future for all women.
In gratitude and good health,
Dr. Monica Smith