Why You Should Consider Natural Feminine Hygiene Products

Our menstrual cycles are a fact of life. In our early teens we were taken aside by our moms, aunts, big sisters, teachers or friends. We were told the facts of life and given a box of pads and/or tampons to start our journey into womanhood.

After that, dealing with our cycles month after month eventually became routine. Most of us buy whatever product we were either first introduced to, or whichever one is on sale. Not much thought is given to it, other than, “I hope it doesn’t interfere with my next beach holiday”.

So why consider changing now, especially to an all-natural feminine product? Here are a few good reasons, and a few great product suggestions.

Your Health
Pads and tampons are made from cotton, synthetic rayon, and other synthetic fibers. Cotton has been called “the world’s dirtiest crop.” It’s heavily sprayed with pesticides, and along with pesticide residues, the material these products are made with are bleached with chlorine dioxide, creating dioxin as a byproduct. Add to that anti-bacterial agents, fragrances and many other chemicals, and you get quite a toxic soup that we are exposing our lady parts to on a monthly basis.

These contaminants are carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and allergens. The tissues of the vagina are sensitive, and these chemicals can cause real problems. In fact, in women with irritations in this area, one of the main treatment options is to change to an all-natural product. After that, the problem often resolves with no further treatment.

The Environment
According to The National Women’s Health Network, 12 billion pads and 7 million tampons are dumped into U.S. landfills each year. That’s A LOT of garbage, not to mention to chemicals used in the growing and manufacturing processes.

Cost
The average woman will spend an average of $150 per year on feminine hygiene products. That’s well over $5000 in a lifetime–no small potatoes. Choosing a re-useable option cuts that down considerably.  For example a Diva Cup costs $45 and you can use it for a decade or even longer.

All Natural Options

Disposable, organic pads and tampons

Although this option is not less expensive nor does it solve the environment problem entirely, they are MUCH healthier for your lady bits. The organic, unbleached cotton eliminates the exposure to toxins. Natracare products are available for purchase at The Pantry at StoneTree Clinic.

Diva Cup

This option is awesome for your health, the environment, and your pocket book. The diva cup, or a menstrual cup, is a silicon cup that can be used over and over again. It sits in the vagina and is emptied at regular intervals throughout your cycle. It takes a little getting used to but is absolutely worth the effort. Available for purchase at The Pantry at StoneTree Clinic.

Cloth Pads

This option also hits all three reasons for making the change to all natural products. Just like reusable, cloth baby diapers, you can make or buy reusable cloth menstrual pads.

Sea Sponge

Again, this reusable option is beneficial in all three areas. This absorbent sponge is placed in the vagina like a tampon, removed at regular intervals, cleaned, and re-inserted.

There have been some reports of cases of toxic shock syndrome as a result of using sea sponges because of dirt, grit or bacteria left in the sponge. However, it is important to keep in mind that this can happen from conventional tampons as well.

Drop by The Pantry at StoneTree to see our selection of natural feminine hygiene products!

Get Those Kids Moving!

A new study published in the Frontiers of Physiology in July offers a glimpse into the possible long-term importance of getting our young ones moving.

The study fed a group of baby lab rats a high-fat diet and then separated them into three groups. One group was denied exercise for their whole life, one group was denied exercise until they were adults, and the last group was allowed to exercise from the very beginning.

  • The researchers found that early exercise positively impacted the way the rat’s metabolism responded to the high-fat diet. They were able to transform fat into energy more effectively. This effect lasted for 60 days after the exercise stopped. No big surprise here.
  • But, the interesting part was that early exercise decreased overall inflammation as an adult. Even though the rats still all got fat from a diet that was too calorically rich, they did not seem to have the same negative health effects of a high-fat diet without exercise.

Clearly, kids aren’t rats, and no one is going to run a lifetime study denying humans exercise (although the fact that 1 in 10 kids meets the physical activity guidelines suggest we might be working towards it, sadly.)

But although it might be difficult to know what the long term studies will tell us for sure about humans, while you’re waiting there’s almost zero downside to getting kids moving!

This is one time when it’s probably quite reasonable to compare your kids to rats. 🙂

Lazy: A Manifesto

“Life is too short to be busy.”
Tim Kreider, We Learn Nothing

This essay from author Tim Kreider speaks for itself and is absolutely worth the listen.

Our addiction to “busyness” as a culture does not make our lives better. It keeps us away from the people and things we love. It gives us a sense of purpose that is often purposeless, and keeps as in the dark about what our true art is.

It’s summer holiday time. Book an hour, a day, a week–whatever you can–and revel in your laziness. Rediscover, as the Italians say, dolce far nientethe sweetness of doing nothing.

After all, doing nothing IS doing something!

Enjoy,

The StoneTree Team

Reflux Meds: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Last month, the medical journal BMJ Open published research linking the use of PPI’s, or proton-pump inhibitors, with increased risk of death.

PPI’s are frequently used to treat serious gastrointestinal issues like ulcers, GI bleeds and reflux, and are one of the most commonly used classes of drugs. They’re a powerful tool, but research continues to show that long-term use is a bad idea.

PPI’s are generally meant to be short-term prescriptions, but people often end up taking them for months or years to control symptoms, especially in the US where they’re available over the counter in various forms.

According to the study, however, the longer the drugs are used, the higher the risk of mortality. Past research has also linked this class of drugs to kidney damage, dementia, and bone fractures.

The moral of the story? Take it when you need it and no more!

But My Digestive Issues are Ruining My Life!

GI issues can be extremely challenging to live with. It’s no wonder people turn to whatever works. But there are other solutions for many sufferers. Issues of the gastrointestinal tract are where naturopathic medicine shines, and there are many ways to treat upper GI complaints without prescription medications.

The place to start, of course, is your diet. That may seem obvious, but astonishingly, this is still frequently discounted in conventional medicine. Despite the fact that your entire GI tract exists to deal with food, we seemed determined to not see food as a GI issue. It is.

Here are a few suggestions from the naturopathic toolkit:

  • Food intolerances and inflammatory foods are real culprits here. Get yourself tested, and avoid reactive foods strictly.
  • Avoid coffee, cigarettes, and booze. They all stimulate acid secretion and an inflammatory response. If you are doing these things and also NOT eating, that makes things worse. You are stimulating the digestive tract and not putting anything in it–a double whammy.
  • Cultivate a healthy flora. Probiotics and foods that support healthy flora, like fermented foods, keep the digestive tract working well and help prevent H.pylori and other imbalances of GI bacteria that can cause trouble.
  • Talk to your chiropractor or osteopath. Sometimes the “valve” that keeps the contents of the stomach in the stomach gets stuck open. This can be made worse by sitting too much. An adjustment can get things back in line.
  • Better still, as always, stay active and maintain a healthy weight for your body type.

Digestive issues are among the most challenging to diagnose, and they often mean difficult lifestyle changes, at least in the short term. But compared to the side-effects of long-term PPI use, the sacrifices are small!

To uncover your food intolerances, or get to the root cause of your digestive troubles, book an appointment with one of our Collingwood naturopathic doctors.