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A Conscious Choice That Can Improve Women's Health

Isn’t it funny how we spend so much of our “free” time and energy on researching and navigating the complex world of conscious consumption—both in terms of our food supply chain and the products we use?

We have become so savvy that no hidden GMO, corn syrup, or nasty food coloring can enter our homes or our bodies...we mostly know where our food comes from and how it’s been produced.

As conscious consumers, we established our own personal parameters on food sourcing and consumption and then started to go deeper, learning about cosmetics, clothing, and household products. Considering how harmful many types of conventional products can be to our health and the health of those we love, it is no surprise how quickly this information proliferated and we were able to learn everything there is to know about chlorine, ammonia, lye and microbeads—those little plastic balls that reside in conventional toothpaste and face cleaners.

Most of us walk around feeling liberated and empowered by the everyday choices we make—we spend extra on organic produce, we buy hormone-free meat, antibiotic-free eggs, we only use natural body care, we avoid cleaning products with bleach and ammonia, and although this may seem like the perfect solution to ensure great health and overall benefits, something just doesn’t quite add up.

Most female consumers, regardless of how aware and conscious they are, are doing the most damage to their bodies and the environment, month after month, by using disposable chemical-laden period products. Yes, I am talking about pads and tampons. I hear it all the time, “but tampons are made out of cotton...” Not quite.

The pad and tampon companies are not required by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to list the ingredients of their products. Most tampons today are made using rayon. Basically, your tampon is made from an industrial wood pulp by-product, which also happens to be a major water and air pollutant.

Now, let’s get this straight—if your tampon is not made from wood pulp by-product, it is most likely made from GMO cotton, or a combination of the two, sometimes in addition to viscose rayon to increase absorbency.

Up until 2014, 96% of all cotton grown in the U.S. was genetically modified1. YES, 96%! If you ever worry about not finding that NON-GMO label on your corn tortillas, stop and think for a second. You have been avoiding eating GMO products like the plague, yet chances are that you are inserting them month after month into your most absorbent and sensitive body area—your vagina.

Aside from the GMO part, U.S. cotton these days is sprayed with Diuron, a highly toxic and carcinogenic herbicide that has been linked to infertility and birth defects2. To further the case against using tampons, the process of making them so clean and bright involves the use of chlorine dioxide, which bleaches them while producing trace amounts of a toxin called dioxin, now known to cause reproductive and developmental impairment.

Conventional pads are not much better. A single pad contains the equivalent of four plastic bags—an oil plastic byproduct that restricts the flow of air and can trap heat and dampness in your vaginal area. Yeast and bacterial troubles have been on the rise and one of the most obvious reasons is the use of chemical-laden pads and tampons.

So where does that leave us? There is a superior product you may have never heard of that is shaping the future of menstrual care—the LENA Menstrual Cup. A staggering 90% of all first-time LENA users never go back to pads and tampons. One major plus of reusable products is that they address a major downfall of disposables: 20 billion pads, tampons, and their applicators that end up in American landfills. Organic or not, the number is shocking and it is up to you and me to stop this madness.

Menstrual cups have been around for as long as tampons have—since the 1930s—yet only in the last decade have they started to gain mass popularity. The rise of a conscious consumer who cares for their health and the well-being of the planet means that there must be a better product choice for their period. Menstrual cups come with an array of benefits and make the user forget they are on their period for up to 12 hours; yes, that’s 12 hours with each use.

Menstrual cups have so many benefits, both for you and for the environment, but here are the main ones:

They are comfortable and convenient. Inserted like a tampon, a menstrual cup collects your blood without absorbing your natural moisture. That itchiness and sweating associated with tampons simply does not exist with cups. Once inserted and positioned correctly, a menstrual cup molds to your shape and moves with you, regardless of what physical activities you are engaged in.

Hypoallergenic silicone versus rayon and GMO cotton. A menstrual cup made from a reputable company like LENA is made of certified U.S.-sourced and tested medical grade silicone and dyes— the same kind that the healthcare industry uses in short-term implantable devices. The silicone has been tested to prove bio-compatibility with the body, and better yet, a good quality medical silicone is hypoallergenic and free of BPA, dioxins, bleaches, and latex.

Cups save you money, and the planet. You only need one menstrual cup, as it can be reused for years to come. No packaging, plastic applicators, or smelly tampons need to end up in our oceans and landfills. Menstrual cups come in a convenient cotton pouch so you can carry it with you and use it month after month.

That “period” smell is actually the “tampon/pad” smell. Your blood does not smell, unless it comes into contact with the air. Since your cup collects your blood in your body, there is no air contact and yes, no smell, even after 12 hours of use.

Dance, run, swim and yes, sleep with your cup. You can wear your cup for up to 12 consecutive hours and do just about anything wearing it, even sleeping.

Something that we all learned from spending hours inspecting food labels and going the extra mile to source organic and conscious products is that we have a choice, and when it comes to our intimate health, this choice can have a massive effect on our health and the well-being of our planet. Join all the women who say they will never go back to chemical-laden pads and tampons and choose to have a better period with LENA.

1. Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S. (2016). Economic Research Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

2. Ferrucio, B., Franchi, C.A., Boldrin, N.F., de Oliveira, M.L., de Camargo, J.L.. (2010). Evaluation of diuron (3-[3,4-dichlorophenyl]-1,1-dimethyl urea) in a two-stage mouse skin carcinogenesis assay. Toxicologic Pathology, 38(5), 756-764.


Vili Petrova, Founder and CEO of LENA, is shaping the future of menstrual care by normalizing menstruation and ensuring that all people, regardless of their background, have access to safe, conscious and healthy period products.

Join the menstrual dialogue and learn more about period health and wellbeing at the LENA Blog:

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