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Preparing Your Daughter For A Non Toxic Period :: Safe Product Options And Natural Period Relief For Teens

February 24, 2017

Learn why non-toxic period products are safer, and what you can use for natural period relief for your teen.

Preparing Your Daughter For A Non Toxic Period :: Safe Product Options And Natural Period Relief For Teens

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A Note From Renee ::

3 girls. 3 girls! I am a bit embarrassed to admit that I haven’t really given a ton of thought as to how we will handle this season of life! Now that I am emerging from the fog of a {long} season of baby-hood and see my little girls growing up before my eyes, researching safer period options has become important to me.

I asked my fellow Green Moms Network friend who is the expert on non-toxic personal care items, Brittany, from The Pistachio Project, if she would address this important topic with my readers. I know a lot of you are moms with kids – even if you don’t have teens in the house yet, this will help you get ready to walk through this special season of life with your daughter!

Welcome Brittany! We are thrilled to learn more about this important information!


Anytime is the right time to start researching!

My daughters are still a few years away from getting their first period but that hasn’t stopped me from thinking about how they will go about dealing with it. When I was a young girl, the only options I even heard about were disposable pads and tampons. I had no idea that there were more natural ways to deal with my period. Thankfully, I now know all about the natural and non-toxic ways to have a period and I enjoy that time of the month a bit more since making the switch. I want my daughters to have the same natural and toxin free period options when their time comes.

Preparing Your Daughter For A Non Toxic Period :: Safe Product Options And Natural Period Relief For Teens Healthier for Her

We’ve all heard about Toxic Shock Syndrome but disposable tampons and pads actually carry other health concerns as well. Synthetic materials, bleach, fake fragrances, chlorine, pesticides, dioxin and other harmful ingredients are in disposable feminine products! This stuff does indeed enter our bodies and can have a negative impact on us. Take dioxin for instance, it’s a known carcinogen that has been linked to cervical and breast cancer! Why in the world are brands allowing this to be in our feminine products?

Lighter Periods and Less Cramps

This has got to be one of the greatest reasons to switch to non-toxic period products. As a woman, you know that heavier periods and cramps are no joke, so naturally you would want to help your daughter so that she doesn’t have to deal with all that! Using feminine products that do not contain all those toxin ingredients that I mentioned above actually can mean less cramps and lighter periods. It’s pretty amazing!

Saves Money

Ok so perhaps your daughter will not care about this factor, as I’m assuming you are likely to pay for her feminine care products right now. But you will appreciate this! Think about how expensive buying period products for you and a daughter will be (or 3 daughters like I will eventually have to do! Oh my!!!) $120 is what the average woman spends each year on feminine products! I can think of better uses for my money.

Reduces Waste

Hopefully your daughter is already a budding environmentalist, but if not then this is a great place to get her aware of how much waste we create. One woman will use over 10,000 disposable feminine products in her lifetime! Those disposable products aren’t going to be breaking down anytime soon either! All that waste will sit in the landfill for ages and the chemicals will seep into the ground and water that we use.

Much More Fun

Sure, these products are ones that nobody but your daughter are likely to see but girls like to have fun! Having fun feminine products will make this new experience much more enjoyable for your daughter. Forget about boring white pads and tampons! These non-toxic period products come in tons of fun colors and patterns (I’m talking mermaids, leopard print, rainbows, emojis, I even just saw some Star Wars pads!!!)

Preparing Your Daughter For A Non Toxic Period :: Safe Product Options And Natural Period Relief For TeensCloth Pads

These are the reusable alternative to disposable pads/pantyliners. (They are also referred to as Mama Cloth but clearly that won’t fly with your daughter!) Their is a bit of ick factor as yes, you will have to rinse these out and wash them but it’s not all that different from dealing with leaked on panties.

Pros:

  • Super easy to use!
  • Similar to their disposable version.
  • Tons of sizes (super light panty-liners, medium flow, overnight, even thong sizes)
  • Super fun colors and prints!

Cons:

  • They have to be washed.
  • Can’t toss them like you would disposables so your daughter would need to carry a small wet bag with her to store the dirty pads. (I recommend a cute little wet/dry bag so that she can store her clean pads in the dry section and the dirty ones in the wet. Plus all she will need to take to the restroom is her cute bag; no trying to hide a pad in the palm of her hand)
  • Can’t go swimming (just like disposable pads)

I love Pink Lemonade Shop for all their cloth pads! They have so many great colors and prints! (A note from Renee: I use cloth pads if you are curious what I use! If you like to use Amazon, I have found lots of great cloth pad options on there too!)

Want more info on cloth pads? I have a more detailed post on mama cloth and how to make the switch.

Menstrual Cups

These are the reusable alternative to tampons. However, they do not look like tampons! They are cup shaped and actually collect the blood unlike tampons which absorb the blood. Like cloth pads, there is a slight ick factor because your daughter will be getting close and personal with her body.

Pros:

  • Can be worn for 12 hours straight including through the night!
  • Can be worn for swimming, sports, exercise.
  • Non-drying as they do not absorb moisture like tampons.
  • No leaks unlike tampons (so long as the learning curve is mastered)

Cons:

  • Have to dump and rinse the cup so it’s a little icky.
  • Must get very comfortable with anatomy (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).
  • There is a learning curve. Such as learning different folding methods, inserting, and remove menstrual cups.
  • People who do not want their virgin daughters to use tampons would have the same issue with menstrual cups.

There are many different brands for menstrual cups each with their own pros and cons. I love SckoonCup personally but it’s also the only one I’ve tried so far.

Want more info on menstrual cups? I have a more detailed post on menstrual cups on my blog.

Period Panties

These are one of the newest non-toxic period product options! Period panties are quite literally underwear that are extra absorbent. They are like a pad and panty all rolled into one.

Pros:

  • Hold up to 2 tampons worth of blood (depending on panty style).
  • Custom sizing and variety of styles.

Cons:

  • They have to be washed.
  • Must remove pants to remove the underwear so that could be problematic depending on location.
  • Can’t toss them like you would disposables so your daughter would need to carry a small wet bag with her to store the dirty panties. (I recommend a cute little wet/dry bag so that she can store her clean panties in the dry section and the dirty ones in the wet. Plus all she will need to take to the restroom is her cute bag)
  • Can’t go swimming (just like disposable pads)

THINX is the popular brand for period panties! I haven’t tried them yet but they definitely seem like a great option. (A note from Renee: I am very seriously considering trying some Thinx out and they are on my wishlist – I really think they look great!)

Sea Sponges

If nature created a natural tampon, the sea sponge is it. These are actual live (used to be alive?) sponges. They are to be used similarly to a tampon minus an applicator.

Pros:

  • All natural, no man made products at all.
  • Not as scary looking to insert as a menstrual cup.
  • Can be worn for swimming, sports, exercise.
  • Actually contain healthy sea minerals that the body can use.

Cons:

  • Only lasts about a year.
  • Learning curve on how to insert.
  • Only holds one tampon’s worth.
  • Not vegan.
  • Can’t toss them like you would disposables so your daughter would need to carry a small wet bag with her to store the dirty sponges. (I recommend a cute little wet/dry bag so that she can store her clean sponges in the dry section and the dirty ones in the wet. Plus all she will need to take to the restroom is her cute bag)

I’ve not tried sea sponges yet but Jade and Pearl looks like a popular choice. (Edited to add: Please see the comments below for a quick note from a reader on some safety issues regarding sea sponges that was brought to our attention after this was published. This does concern me (Renee), so please keep those comments in mind as you make your choice!)

Preparing Your Daughter For A Non Toxic Period :: Safe Product Options And Natural Period Relief For TeensWhile on the subject of periods, let’s talk about period relief. When I was a teen, I was all about the Tylenol. Now that I’m older and wiser, I prefer not to use drugs unless absolutely necessary. There are lots of great natural options out there and I love using them and I’ll introduce these methods to my daughter when their time comes.

(Note from Renee: It is important to note that extreme PMS symptoms such as extreme cramping can be a red flag to mineral deficiency and hormones being off. I highly encourage a simple hair tissue mineral analysis with my NTP friend, Lydia to figure out your daughter’s unique biochemistry related to her symptoms. Your daughter does not have to live with extreme pain during her period. The items in this section should help with normal cycle symptoms. Coming from personal experience, I can attest to going from really extreme cycle symptoms to not noticing I’m having a period at all through mineral balancing!)

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

Any lady who has gotten her period should be sipping red raspberry leaf tea! This tea is mellow in flavor (reminds me a bit of black tea) and is amazing for uterine health. It can help relieve cramps and other period related issues like PMS. If your daughter isn’t a big tea fan, try brewing an herbal tea blend similar to this nettle infusion – the hibiscus will make it taste better. You could stir in raw honey if you wish too.

Magnesium

Many people deficient in magnesium these days. Proper levels of magnesium helps with cramps. If you or your daughter are dealing with cramps, try increasing the magnesium rich foods, or spray some magnesium oil on your body.

(A note from Renee: I always keep Cell Salt #8 on hand for period pain. I don’t experience cramps anymore since balancing my minerals and recovering from post partim hormone imbalance, as well as taking a slow release magnesium supplement during the month, but when I was in a lot of pain, those cell salts really took the pain down quite a few notches. Cell Salt #8 is a homeopathic that helps the body absorb and use magnesium efficiently.)

Gentle Movement & Rest

Moving and exercising might be the last thing any woman on her period wants to do, but it actually works great for reducing cramps. Even if your daughter only does some light yoga while her period, it can help her feel better.

It is also important for there to be conversation about how she might feel the day or 2 before, and the first day or so of her period. Making your daughter aware that it is normal to feel more tired and need extra rest is important so she doesn’t feel abnormal. Explain to her it is important to listen to her body and get a little extra rest, take a long bath, and care for herself.

Rice Bags

Much like a heating pad, rice bags can provide warmth and comfort for any aches and cramps. I prefer to use rice bags because they are not tied to electricity and they can go where you go. You can also add soothing scents like lavender to rice bags. You can buy rice bags (sometimes referred to as aromatherapy bags) but it only takes minutes to make your own rice bag.

Menstrual Cramp Relief Salve

This cramp relief salve has worked wonders on my cramps if I get them. It’s not too complicated to make and will last at least a year. Make a jar for you and your daughter (it’s also helpful for any type of cramp/ache so others could make use of it too)

I hope this post has been helpful for you. Please use it as a way to talk to your daughter about these options and about how she can have a non-toxic period. Bonus idea: After you’ve talked to your daughter about what she’d like to use, put together a great first period kit for her!

BrittanyThomasBrittany Thomas is the author of The Pistachio Project. A mother to five children, she began her journey of living green and crunchy because she wanted the best for her kids. However, she soon realized that natural living was a benefit to herself as well and now she shares what she’s learning on her blog. You can also find her at Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

 

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10 Comments

  • Reply Gwen Flaherty February 27, 2017 at 3:33 am

    Hi there,

    Having dedicated some time to researching Sea Sponges last year, I cannot pass by without warning you all against the use of Sea Sponges.

    Sea Sponges are a really bad idea because as living creatures they feed on bacteria.

    Harvested samples have been found to contain bacteria, seaweed, sand, shell and even Staphylococcus aureus (the bacteria that causes toxic shock syndrome)!!!

    The FDA have announced that there is one known case of toxic shock syndrome associated with the use of a Sea Sponge, it is thought that there is probably another case also.

    In addition, they can be slightly abrasive and break off when inserted, leaving debris. Plus there is no guarantee that cleaning them under the tap is going to clean the sponge properly, and if you use a detergent or even soap what about the chemicals; SLS, SLES & parabens?

    Medical professionals are warning against using sea sponges.

    Read more: http://metro.co.uk/2016/05/20/why-you-shouldnt-use-sea-sponges-as-a-natural-alternative-to-tampons-5894193/#ixzz4Zs4tg52K

    • Reply Brittany Thomas February 27, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      Hello Gwen,
      Thank you for bringing up those points on sea sponges. For some reason, I didn’t come across the health concerns of sea sponges while I was researching for this topic. I, personally have always thought sea sponges were an odd way to go but they are listed as a green option by so many which is why I included them in this post. I can definitely see the valid reasoning behind the health concerns and I will be tweaking my personal posts to include that warning (I can’t speak for Renee in regards to editing this post) Thank you for bringing this up.

    • Reply Renee Kohley February 27, 2017 at 7:24 pm

      Hi Gwen! I really appreciate your speaking up! Thank you! I had not seen that information in my research either. I have added a quick note to this post to see this comment! Thank you!

  • Reply Megan Stevens February 27, 2017 at 8:39 am

    Such a wonderful post! I have a 15-year-old daughter and can say from experience that we have used many of these tips. We love fabric pads! We love cell salt #8. Looking forward to trying the slow-release mag you link to! We use red raspberry leaf tincture daily. Saving up for period panties. 😉

  • Reply Lindsey Dietz February 27, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    Thank you so much for this! It was just the nudge I needed to order things for my 11yo daughter! We had a lovely chat this evening and then spent about 20 minutes together looking at and discussing products. She chose some cloth pads and a wet bag that she loves. And now, we’re prepared for when the day comes… although I’m hoping it holds off a bit longer. 😉

    • Reply Renee Kohley March 3, 2017 at 12:48 pm

      Oh I love that Lindsey! I’m so glad you got to do this with your daughter – I am hopeful to do the same when the time rolls around!

  • Reply Emily @ Recipes to Nourish March 1, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    This post is so great and such a wonderful resource. I have started getting ready for this as my oldest is quickly approaching that age. I have planned on having a special “kit” for her with several of the above things – like cloth pads (which I love), cell salts, essential oils, etc. I need to look into the slow release magnesium.

  • Reply Jody April 10, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    I love all this! Thank you! Any ideas as to how to handle swimming/beach days? We LOVE the beach and I do not want that to change!

    • Reply Brittany Thomas April 12, 2017 at 12:47 pm

      You’d handle going to the beach just like any other outing. So for menstrual ups, you’d just leave it in (if you need to dump the cup in the bathroom that’s fine but odds are you can just pop it in and you are good for the day) For sponges, you’d just take along clean ones in a wet bag (like I mentioned above) and put any dirty ones into the dirty section of the wet bag. The period panties obviously wouldn’t work for the beach though…. and the pads obviously wouldn’t work if swimming or in a swimsuit.

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