Women today are conscious of the need to restrict their contact with synthetic materials, skin irritants and unnecessary chemicals, but perhaps because of the more personal nature of the topic, many women use dyed and bleached cotton tampons and pads without being fully aware of the risk they are exposing themselves to. While many of us are making very positive changes to combat the negative impact our buying decisions have on the environment, the majority of us are still uneducated when it comes to understanding the impact of using non-organic sanitary products.

The two biggest culprits proven to cause health problems in non-organic tampons are rayon and dioxin. Rayon is commonly chlorine-bleached, and is a highly absorbent fibre. Did you know that common brands of tampons are made mostly from rayon?

Dioxin, a toxic carcinogen, is a by-product of all chlorine bleaching and leaves detectable residuals in any product that has been bleached with any type of chlorine bleach.

Published scientific reports have shown evidence that even low levels of dioxins may be linked to cancer, endometriosis and immune system suppression. Considering a woman may use as many as 11 000 tampons in her lifetime, she may be subjecting herself to additional dioxin exposure.

It’s not just the ingredients used in the tampons that are of concern, but also fibre loss from the use of synthetic tampons.

In my practice I see women every day who are not aware of the chemicals that are in our sanitary products. We are oblivious to them and we go on using them month-in and month-out.

Women often do not link these chemicals to unpleasant side-effects like:

• The slight fever and headache they get during their period due to the tampons or pads they are using
• The itchy skin they feel during menstruation
• White discharge
• Searing heat or pain

These are just the immediate effects of the chemically laden products of today. More serious, long-term effects include:

• Endometriosis
• Reduced testosterone
• Thyroid problems
• Various cancers i.e. cervical cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer
• Hormonal imbalances
• Immune system disorders
• Infertility and birth defects

These side-effects happen because the vagina is like a sieve – whatever is in there goes right into the blood circulation.

As you can see, all of the above symptoms could be affecting your chances of falling pregnant.

So what are our options for safe sanitary products?

There are two fantastic products on the market: the Mooncup and Natracare sanitary products.