​Making periods less painful

I love being a woman. What I don’t love so much is menstruating — or rather, the monthly insult that is added to the injury (so to speak) every cycle. Bleeding may be natural but I’ll tell you what is not: the layers upon layers of packaging and plastic wrap on every individual pad and liner sold in this country. And tampons are only marginally better alternatives. Injecting a wad of cotton, with any number of unknown chemicals and additives, into your body can hardly be classified as healthy.

To cap it off, until recently sanitary supplies were classed as “luxury” items by our federal and provincial governments and were taxed accordingly — as if women had a say in the matter. Thirty years on, I’m still waiting for someone — anyone — to explain the luxury inherent in shedding one’s uterine lining every 28 days or so… According to my very rough calculations, since I started menstruating I’ve spent around $3,150 on pads and tampons, around 8,000 in total — all of which ended up in a landfill somewhere.

The waste is staggering and senseless, and it made me sick. This is not a price we should have to pay. Of all the progress our society has made over the decades, this arena is not one of them. Period pain is real, ladies. Our great grannies used to rip and stuff old rags between their legs. Though the design was bulky and impractical, I have to admit they were onto something.

Fed up with filling a (plastic) bag full of (plastic) pads and wrappers every month, I said enough. Mercifully I stumbled upon the kindred souls at Lunapads. The founders of reusable sanitary ware are a “​shit-disturbing fashion designer​”​ and ​”​business savvy chartered accountant​” from Vancouver, BC. ​These are not your granny’s glad ​rags​.

Lunapads products feature extra absorbent cotton with wicking properties and removable liners. Though I didn’t get on well with the reusable Diva cup loved by so many, I was pleasantly surprised by the classic pads.

As a mildly squeamish type, my chief concern was how would I manage dealing with the washing. Could I deal? While Old Flo visited, I stored used pads and liners in a lidded bucket filled with cold water under my bathroom sink. I later just dumped and rinsed out the bucket in the sink before throwing the pads in the wash. Admittedly wet pads don’t smell like roses, but then again, neither do baby diapers. And I know which I’d rather clean!

The initial outlay was costly (around $75) but the heavy duty pads lasted for YEARS and in the long run, saved me money (to put to a good cause: those PMS-induced chocolate cravings). A small price to pay for peace of mind. The real luxury lay in not seeing that mound of wrappers every month, knowing what I was doing was healthy for my body and my planet.

In the years since I bought my first set, Lunapads have become notably more functional and snazzy — with a line of built-in liner undies (not your granny’s underwear!). Periods may always be painful but at least now they suck for all the right reasons.

Julie Green is a freelance writer, artist, and autism advocate. She lives in Toronto with her husband, son, and bulldog. Learn more at http://www.juliemgreen.ca.


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