It is not uncommon to come across people who have an aversion to math, and equally common to come across people with an aversion to human anatomy and physiology. I used to have an aversion to math but I’ve overcome it by looking at it in the same way I look at the human body. I don’t have to have all the answers locked up in my head like I used to think was necessary. All I need to do is know HOW to find the answers. The art of problem solving – that’s how the education system should have introduced math, and everything else for that matter. It’s the same for anatomy and physiology; it’s not necessary to know all the anatomical names (albeit helpful) to understand anatomy, but rather, knowing where to look to find the information. More fun, less stress.
If you have been reading my blog for a while you know that I love how the human body works – (in its entirety), I value taking care of the environment and practice personal responsibility for my actions.
I will preface this post with a readers’ discretion, in the case you are uncomfortable with the natural functions of the body…or math. Though there will be no quiz at the end, I will talk a bit about some staggering numbers that if we all do our part, those numbers can get smaller and more manageable.
Typically, men are forewarned about this subject to guard themselves should they prefer to make a quick retreat, but there are equally many menstruating people who would rather not discuss this monthly, biological function. You may have been taught to hide your monthly flow, or in contrast, openly discuss it with anyone, or to dismiss it entirely as if it didn’t even exist so as to not miss a beat.
Check out this funny video of men explaining periods. Stick around and read this post because it’s full of links to some really great information which highlight the health risks and the environmental waste involved with disposable feminine hygiene products. Besides, there’s a chance to win a twenty-five dollar gift certificate!
There has been a lot of buzz of late attempting to demystify the menstrual cycle from parody commercials, that first moon party video by HelloFlo to finally, putting to rest the battle over the tax on feminine hygiene products – The tax has been lifted across Canada!
Here’s the math part:
Each month the global population of menstruating people will require on average four to seven days worth of feminine hygiene products. Lunapads estimates that:
“…approximately 20 billion pads, tampons and applicators are being sent to North American landfills annually. On an individual level, each of the approximately 73 million menstruating people in North America will throw away 16,000 disposable pads or tampons in their lifetime.”  Your turn, to pull out your calculator and number crunch what that means on a global scale…Yikes!
It’s pretty clear where I’m going with what we can do to shrink those numbers – change to reusable, you can even make your own if you’re crafty. Let’s also consider for a moment exactly what most of those products are made from, and how those products react to the user and finally how those products will be disposed?
Out of sight, out of mind.
“…Use once and throw away…”
So what exactly is in these products? Read this short article by Titania Kumeh who explains it all in a very short piece for Mother Jones. And because of what these products are made from, women risk their health in a variety of ways from the plastics, viscose rayon, chlorinated and pesticide treated materials. Though the number of cases of toxic shock syndrome has gone down since the 1980’s, it still affects women today. California resident and model, Lauren Wasser barely survived the effects of toxic shock syndrome and lost her leg due to the bacterial infection in 2012. You can read her story here.
There are, however, companies who make organic products with our health and environment in mind, such as Natracare, Seventh Generation and Maxim.
What ever did women do before the advent of the commercially-made disposable menstrual products so readily available today? Read the History of Menstruation.
In general women used reusable cloths. Today, we benefit from a reusable silicone Diva Cup and reusable cotton and organic cotton menstrual pads as well as leakproof underwear or “Lunapanties with absorbency options to fit your flow.” And Lunapads has thought of everything – how to deal with quick changes on the go with their cute wet/dry bags by Planet Wise.
We can shrink the number of used feminine hygiene products going to landfill by switching over to reusable products.
I’m always switching things up: how I exercise my body, what I eat, trying my best at eliminating plastic waste and contributing as little as possible to landfill. As a result of switching over to Lunapads exclusively, and because I swim regularly, I have had to change my training schedule. For the last while, I’ve given up swimming during menstruation, which is about four days every three weeks or so. I’ve decided that I can do other activities during that time, like walking, which is one of the best forms of activity; Katy Bowman has a lot to say on this. Believe me, I know that not everyone can even contemplate this…I’ve been athletic my entire life and I can’t remember EVER letting my period stop me from doing any sport. I guess the difference now, is that my perspective has changed and having my period is a blessing as opposed to the ‘curse’ I grew up hearing about.
“Nothing’s going to stop me!” “Just Do It” “Push Through”…all for what exactly?
Taking these steps towards a healthier monthly cycle has introduced me to some amazing practitioners like Barbara Loomis, Rosita Arvigo and Renée Warner who practice the Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy, which “helps to restore the body to its natural balance by correcting the position of organs that have shifted and restrict the flow of blood, lymph, nerve and chi energy.”
In the last year I switched over to Lunapads for both health and environmental reasons. I’ve also become a Lunapads Ambassador, which means I’ve got a box of unused samples to show around (wanna host a Lunapads party?) and can let you know when there are promotional coupon codes for you to try the products for the first time, to stock up on new patterns or give away as gifts.
For a little immediate incentive, enter my $25 gift certificate giveaway. I’ve got one gift certificate valued at $25. Redeemable at the Lunapads online store until July 1st, 2016. How to enter? Leave comments or likes via social media – you know the drill. Make sure to include @ or # youasamachine so that I get notification and can enter your name into the draw. Enter as often as you like. More social media activity means more entries for you.
Contest closes August 1, 2015.
One lucky winner’s name will be randomly selected on August 1, 2015.
UPDATE: Aug. 2, 2015 Congratulations to Elaine Miller @GussieGrips
UPDATE #2: September 1, 2015
After one month and many failed attempts at contacting Elaine Miller to claim her prize my son has pulled another name from the hat. The prize goes to:
Anne-Marie Bonneau @ZeroWasteChef
In the meantime, here’s a gift for everyone…for yourself or to share with someone else 🙂
Related Articles:  Lunapads: Environment, The Midwife Is In, Why Switch? Sustainable Cycles, Let’s Talk About It! Eco Femme, What’s Really In That Tampon?, Novel Idea: What if We Actually Researched Whether Menstrual Products Are Safe to Use?, Menstrupedia Comic, 5 Things I do That Were Once Considered Normal
Disclaimer: I am not selling these products and am not trying to persuade anyone else to sell these products. I am a Lunapads Ambassador, which means that I can share product information with you and in exchange should you decide to make a purchase on-line and include my Ambassador Code #515021 at check-out, I will receive a small percentage of each referral. Thanks!
Also, the views expressed in this article are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Lunapads or other companies mentioned.
I didn’t read this, but I noticed you have a cartoon by Bill Watterson at the top with no names, no links, no permission. That goes with all your other images here, too.
It’s just as important to take care of CREATIVITY and ARTIST PAYMENT as it is the human body, don’t you think?
Thanks Donna for your comment and remarks. I will be sure to make the correction, certainly not my intention to not show credit. Thanks again.
I love that video. Not quite as much as the men wear high heels video, but it’s a close second. 🙂 I’ve already made the switch over to a menstrual cup, but reusable pads are wonderful for very light days or for those few days beforehand when you’re not sure when your period will start. I can’t speak for anyone else, obviously, but I feel like my period has gotten a lot lighter since I stopped using disposables.
Haven’t seen the video with the high heels but I did see some guys dancing in high heels, and they were phenomenal! I too have noticed that my flow has changes dramatically since stopped using disposables! Good luck on the draw! Thanks for the comment.
Great article. I have been planning to switch soon anyway. Especially enjoyed that video lol.
Awesome! Good luck on the draw!
Earlier I read about these Lunapads in a recent GoodTimes magazine. It mentioned a savvy woman in Vancouver…wonder if you were that Ambassador. Will check out the website to request a sample. I will return to your site as I’m interested in checking out what worked for women in the past….and the video for men explaining a woman’s period. I guess the general population figures what’s new is better (but not necessarily as you’ve pointed out). Thanks for looking out for our best interest health and happiness.
That’s neat that you read about it before. Good luck on the draw. By the way Lunapads is so generous that they have a Money Saving Tips page. Check it out here!
Love this article! We need to change our perspectives on the menstrual cycle. It’s not something to be hated or feared- it’s amazing! Also, shout out to the book ‘Taking Charge of Your Fertility’!
Thanks Tarah and for the book referral 🙂
I’m definitely entering!! Is it for pads only, or can I get a cup instead? Will they ship to South Africa?
Excellent Ms.Muse! As far as I know the gift certificate can be used for anything on their online shop. And yes, what started as a Canadian company has blossomed into international. Here’s a link to read about the founders and all their social mission: Local Washable Pad Donations to organizations serving low-income individuals and globally Lunapads supports the manufacture of low-cost washable pads for girls in East Africa through their One4Her program.
Mon dieu! These are horrifying numbers–and math my was favorite subject 😉 When I tell the odd person about my homemade cloth pads (it doesn’t come up a lot), if they react with horror, I sometimes ask them what they think women used to do! We’re so accustomed to going out and buying consumer products, which have been designed to fulfill our manufactured needs, that we rarely stop to think about what we’re doing. Thanks for shedding light on all of this.
Thanks for your comment ZWC. Your in the draw. Not sure if you noticed but I put a link to the article in which you mention making your own. Here’s the link for anyone who may have missed it: “5 Things I Do that Were Once Considered Normal”
I did see that. Thank you!