Last month not only brought about daylight savings and the first day of spring, but it also held promise for drawing awareness to menstrual health initiatives many of us may not know about.
International Women’s Week nestled itself into early March – campuses, organizations and news media outlets led the way in campaigning for a better life and future for women and girls everywhere. I do want to give an honourable mention to endocenter.org and their campaign of raising awareness about the effects of endometriosis and the influence it has on women’s lives. I want to encourage you check out their website and consider wearing a yellow ribbon next year to draw awareness around the reality of this widespread disease.
Following International Women’s Week, the Kotex moldy tampon scandal was definitely a wake up call for women, and tampon manufacturers. While Kotex is working to ensure this never happens again, it is scary to think that the things we dare put into our vaginas could have mold on them. While mold “has been found to be a common environmental species that carries no health risk” (according to Kotex) the effects of mold on the vagina are still yet to be determined. And, regardless of whether or not you find mold in your tampon, the infectious nature of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) continues to have life-threatening side effects. The organization YourAreLoved, an organization whose founder lost her daughter to tampon-related TSS in 2010, is advocating for a renewed awareness around TSS, tampon use, and women’s right to health and well-being.
If you haven’t yet, consider using a sustainable menstrual product like The DivaCup or Lunapads. Yes, they take a bit of getting used to but, compared to the alternatives of mold, disease, concealment and chemicals, I’d say it’s worth the change in lifestyle.
Whether it be mold, rayon or dioxin, these are substances and microbes that do not belong in a woman’s vagina!
A final March menstrual item I want to talk about is the new moon on March 22nd, 2012 that left some to wonder if the age-old tales of syncing your cycles to the moon’s phases is possible. Cycle Harmony wrote a fascinating article on how this can be done and what to look for when tracking your cycle with the moon. While I find some of the “strategies” to be a bit bizarre, I see value in trying to connect the natural rhythm of your cycle, with the cycle of the moon. I myself follow the moon phases on my menstrual mobile App PinkPad and have found them to be quite insightful. Just by looking up in the sky at night, I know what I’ll be feeling the following day. I am able to prepare for the next few days, in terms of eating habits and sleeping patterns and have learned more about my cycle then I did with just simply charting my symptoms.
While we are already nearing the end of April, there is still lots we can learn from March. As a tribute to Earth Day, we can each take a serious pause and ask ourselves whether the menstrual products, views and routines we use and carry out are good for our planet, and also, are they good for us?
It is one thing to expose ourselves to the chemicals, discomfort and danger of disposable pads and tampons, but passing these onto younger generations, our sisters, daughters and friends, as well as tossing them into our environment are really not something we have a right to do – it is a choice we are consciously making.
Empowerment starts in us, and my hope is that we will see that what we do as women when menstruating, does, and is impacting our health, the earth and those around us. The only questions left to ask is: “what choice are you going to make?”