What feminine hygiene products do you use? And do you know what’s in them? Why does it matter? Suzie Welsh, RN, MSN, founder of health and lifestyle company, BINTO, which specializes in period, fertility, and menopause support, shares her expertise.
The average woman ovulates 400 times during her lifetime. With the average flow, that culminates in around 9,200 tampons. But have you ever thought about what you’re putting into your body during that time of the month? Did you know that conventional tampons may affect your fertility? Fortunately, there are alternatives.
The vagina is the most absorbent part of the female body – even more than the mouth and skin. As a mucous membrane, the vagina cleans itself of harmful microorganisms through absorption. Every time a tampon is inserted into the vagina, the body absorbs its ingredients.
Shockingly, the FDA does not require companies to disclose the ingredients found in feminine hygiene products. That leaves room for questionable ingredients and hidden offenders.
The specific ingredients that go into tampons may vary from brand to brand. But all tampons include cotton. Additionally, tampons may include plastic or cardboard applicators.
The ingredients seem simple, right? Yet, these two components may contain harmful chemicals.
- Dioxins, or 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, are a chemical found in environmental pollutants, food, and some tampons. This chemical only makes up a small part of the cotton part of tampons. But, continuous exposure and absorption of dioxins can be harmful. Dioxins are a carcinogenic chemical, meaning it’s been linked to cancer. It’s detected in tampons due to the process of converting the cotton into rayon.
- Phthalates are a chemical found in many artificial fragrances, including scented tampons. An endocrine disrupter, Phthalates may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects.
- BPA Plastic Applicators. Tampons applicators often contain bisphenol-A (BPA) plastic. BPA is a type of synthetic estrogen that has been voluntarily removed from many consumer products as use may impact hormone levels. One study out of The University of San Francisco found that women who have a high exposure to BPA have decreased fertility rates and in some cases decreased egg quality.
Here’s the low-down. Although we need more research on the long term damage of synthetic chemical-filled period products, what we do know is that exposure to these toxins is not beneficial to our body and our fertility.
In order to prevent these effects, switch to a tampon brand that lists its ingredients. Look for organic, chemical-free, bleach-free feminine hygiene products and avoid accumulating synthetic chemicals you don’t need interfering with your natural reproductive system.
Suzie Welsh, RN MSN, is a women’s health nurse and founder of BINTO, a women’s health lifestyle company on a mission to redesign the way women get products to support their monthly health – from period support to fertility to menopause. Learn more at www.mybinto.com.