Sadly, millions of women and girls absorb high levels of toxins every month thanks to lax manufacturing standards of tampons and sanitary pads. These products are loaded with highly absorbable industrial contaminants — the body takes in more toxins through the vaginal wall than through ingestion.
Manufacturers are not required to list the ingredients used in tampons and sanitary napkins. However, the main material cotton is a crop notorious for genetic engineering and heavy use of pesticides.
Feminine hygiene products also contain synthetic fragrances, bleaches, foams, gels, anti-bacterial agents, and surfactants.
Although the FDA offers recommendations, there are no regulations manufacturers are required to follow regarding the use of toxic chemicals in these products.
Why toxins in tampons are more dangerous
Lack of regulation and oversight means anything goes in manufacturing of feminine hygiene products, including the use of cancer-causing chemicals.
Vaginal tissue is far more permeable than other areas of the body. In fact, it’s so good at absorption that drug companies are looking at ways to deliver drugs vaginally as a way to bypass metabolization.
Because compounds absorbed vaginally do not pass through the liver first, this also means they go into the bloodstream in much higher concentrations than if they were ingested.
Additionally, the thin ridges of the vaginal wall not only provide more surface area to enhance absorption, they also can retain chemicals.
Conventional sanitary pads contain myriad toxic chemicals, plastics and synthetic fibers that sit against the permeable skin of the vulva for days every month.
Toxic chemicals in feminine products
Sadly, most feminine hygiene products are loaded with toxins. This includes not only tampons and pads, but also feminine wipes, washes, douches, sprays, and creams.
These chemicals include dioxins and other bleaching chemicals, pesticide residues, anti-bacterials, unknown fragrances, dyes, spermicides, phthalates, and surfactants (also used in detergents).
Studies show the chemicals used in feminine hygiene products have been linked to cancer, hormone imbalances, reproductive harm, allergic rashes, and asthma.
Douches in particular have been linked to numerous reproductive and health disorders and should be avoided.
Safe alternatives in feminine products
Fortunately, natural alternatives exist, although they are dwarfed in number by the brands with toxins (look online for more options). Go for chemical-free pads and tampons, or consider the menstrual cup or even cloth pads.
For other feminine products such as wipes, washes, sprays, and douches, remember that the body is innately intelligent and functions best with the right support.
Support your vaginal health by minimizing sugars and starchy carbs to prevent the yeast and bacterial infections that drive women to these products.
Taking probiotics can also support vaginal health, and these days you can buy brands geared specifically toward that.
Also, in addition to eating a whole foods diet, rule out a sensitivity to gluten, dairy, or other foods — many women have found food sensitivities causes vaginal itching and inflammation.
Ask my office for more advice.