Get Rid Of Period Pains – Why I Ditched Disposable Sanitary Products

By Lace / January 3, 2018
period pain


Let me guess, you’re fed up of period cramps. You’ve tried the usual remedies to get rid of period pains like paracetamol and hot water bottles with little or no success. Now it’s time to try something a little outside of the box and I have just the thing. My own search led me to a surprising yet effective solution to beat period pain and I want to share with you. In this post, we’ll look at what disposable sanitary products are made of and associated health risks which may well be contributing to period pain. You’ll see exactly why I ditched them too. I’ll also introduce you to  Cloth Menstrual Products (CSP) – don’t cringe – and how using CSP could reduce or perhaps even eliminate period pain for good. If that’s piqued your interest and you are ready for a happier period and willing to try something new – read on – because this post is likely to benefit you.

Struggling With The Monthly Bleed – My Story

Toxic menstrual products

My periods started at the tender age of 10. This was my gateway to disposable pads.  Ultra thick pads that served only to make me conscious of how my ass looked in public. They were sweaty, noisy and uncomfortable, I hated them and the cramping was a killer. No one talked periods and with only a ropey dial-up Internet connection I was left wondering. I spent my teenage years bedridden once a month crippled with pain. If this was what being a grown-up was about I wanted it to stop!

Hot water bottles made my period pain worse and paracetamol only served to mask the pain rather than address the problem (and I wouldn’t touch it now as I don’t do pharmaceuticals). Doctors recommended other drugs and performed an ultrasound with no remarkable results. Heck, I even switched to tampons. At least my paranoia about my chunky butt was relieved. 

Unfortunately, the switch from disposable pads to tampons did nothing to decrease my period pain status. Tampons made me feel sick and physically cramp up on removal. Does anyone else experience that?  Desperate for some relief I switched back to pads – thin ones this time the pain reverted back to its usual level of ouch. At 17, I resigned myself to just having to deal with it and decided to quietly await menopause. Life sucked.

What’s in disposable pads and tampons anyway?

Let it be known; there is no good in these products only bad and ugly. Disposal sanitary products contain some utterly shocking ingredients (organic varieties are better). They are a cocktail of toxic chemicals that would excite a chemist but probably wouldn’t be described as safe to put in on or on your vagina. Yet these products are often the only options we’re taught about.  Absolutely criminal in my opinion. 

Toxins in sanitary products

You’ll know from my soap nuts post I’ve talked about the skin being our largest organ. Our first defense against infection and bacteria. The skin around the vagina is thin, it’s sensitive and an opening to inside the body. Whatever we put on our skin has direct access to the bloodstream, this is true of what we put on our cooch too. With that in mind, let’s take a look at common ingredients in disposable pads and tampons.

Synthetic Fibers – Rayon and Viscose

A highly absorbent synthetic fibre. When used in tampons these fibres have the potential to attach to the vaginal wall long after a tampon is removed increasing the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome. TSS is said to be rare when it does occur it’s not s joke. TSS is considered a medical emergency and can be fatal if not treated fast. Do you know the symptoms? I’ve noted them below according to the NHS.

Signs/Symptoms of TSS:

  • Flu-like symptoms – headaches, sore throat, chills, muscle aches
  • Sudden High Fever
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Whites of eyes, lips and tongue turning bright red
  • Sunburn-like rash
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness/fainting
  • Drowsiness
  • Breathing difficulties

You may have Toxic Shock Syndrome if you experience these symptoms while using tampons and should call emergency services immediately.


Dioxin is a byproduct of rayon manufacturing process. Although exposure to dioxin through sanitary products may have reduced since changing bleaching methods in the late 1990s it’s not gone and there is no safe level of exposure. Dioxin is known a known carcinogen.


Synthetic fragrance can be found in the scented range of sanitary products for ‘freshness’ which is just not needed. To stay fresh regularly change your sanitary wear and wash, simple, no chemical assistance required. Fragrance is a combination of toxic chemicals often linked to hormone disruption and reproductive harm. The shocking part is fragrance companies are under no obligation to disclose their ingredients under the guise of them being ‘trade secrets’.

Uncover the fragrance industry’s trade secrets here!

Plastics and plasticising chemicals

Crude oil plastics happen to be the main ingredient in most disposable menstrual products, hardly synonymous with vagina friendliness. In fact, many of these plastics and chemicals have been linked to health problems including hormone disruption, heart disease, cancer and reproductive harm including fetal damage. Then they go off to landfill and leach toxins leech into the environment.

Non-organic cotton

The majority of sanitary products are made from synthetic fibres and when they do contain cotton its non-organic, coated in pesticides cotton. Therefore the vagina is exposed to pesticide residues. Again, this ends up in landfill poisoning the environment and wildlife too. Not cool.

Do you have to artificially lube up to enjoy your sex life? It could be disposable sanitary products contributing to or even causing the problem.

*** Check out this video: Burning disposable sanitary pads: organic vs a non-organic **

The organic pad burns cleanly while the non-organic one gives off thick black smoke like a chemical fire. This speaks volumes about the ingredients of non-organic sanitary pads.

That pretty much sums up why I will never ever go back to disposable sanitary products knowing what I do now. The ingredients concern me with health risks too great to make them a viable option for me. If your thoughts are now scrambling for safer options, fear not! I’ll not leave you hanging without some suggestions.

Safer Alternatives and The Pain-Free Period

When it comes to safer alternatives here  are a few options:

OK, don’t freak out at the thought of reusable sanitary products. We wash and wear knickers another day and this really isn’t any different. Want to know the best part? My periods are now pain-free.

My cup has been a blessing and getting used to it was simple enough. Not only are cups (and cloth pads) safer than their disposable counterparts but I’ve seen a 100% reduction in my period pain. I kid you not, since switching to a menstrual cup (I use Mooncup if you’re interested), my periods are pain-free. Sometimes I add cloth into the mix too with the same positive impact.

Perhaps I’m just lucky? After group discussions and hearing other women’s experiences with CSP reducing period pain it turns out I’m not alone. There are plenty women using CSP and many find their period pain is significantly reduced since switching. Although using CSP may not be a solution to every woman’s period pain, the firsthand testimonies are encouraging. Either way, you’ll significantly reduce exposure to toxins from disposables by switching to reusable, surely that can only be a good thing.

Frugal tip!

CSP can potentially save a tidy sum over its lifetime and waste is practically zero!


Savvy with a sewing machine? Try your hand at making your own pads!

Get Rid Of Period Pains – Try switching to reusable

Since ditching disposable sanitary products my period pains are quite literally non-existent. No more curling up into a ball wishing my life away eager for menopause. Gone is that sweatiness and discomfort. Periods are good now.  Why for the love of Pete didn’t anyone tell me that disposables weren’t the only option years ago?! I wish I knew then what I know now.  That’s why I’m sharing it with you because using CSP has the potential to get rid of period pains with the added bonus of being better for your health.

cloth pads

Inform and educate your daughters about reusable sanitary products, give them the opportunity to choose and make an informed decision about managing their periods. They needn’t be a pain.

Over the course of CSP’s lifetime, you could save hundreds if not thousands of pounds and you’ll not be filling landfills with menstrual waste either. Eco-warrior points again! Honestly, if you’ve not tried them yet and you are looking for a happier period I’d highly recommend switching to cloth or a cup.

In the meantime, what do you think of reusable menstrual products? Do you have experience using cloth or cups? Perhaps you have a question about CSP or menstrual cups let me know below.

Stay blessed.



About the author


Wife, mother and natural health and wellness enthusiast. When I'm not dabbling in natural stuff, I like to eat brie with onion chutney and mull over a good "coincidence" theory. Cooking up a nutritious storm, books with real pages and being barefoot are a few of my favourite things.

  • Jacqueline says:

    Hi Lace,
    Thanks for this informative post!
    I never knew you could buy environmentally friendly sanitary pads. I’m a freak when it comes to environmental products – cleaning products, hair products, skin cream, you name it, I’m looking for natural ingredients in anything I purchase.

    Even though I don’t suffer from period pains – aren’t I lucky 🙂 – I do bleed heavily. With the ‘heavy bleed’ synthetic pads I currently use, I can change anything up to 5 times a day.
    With the organic pads do they absorb better than the synthetic ones or are they about the same?
    I suppose what I’m asking is do they come in different types like, normal, medium and heavy.


    • Lace says:

      Hey Jackie! Sounds like we’ve a lot in common seeking out the natural alternatives. Ditching the chemicals is so much better for us.

      You’ll find plenty of natural alternatives here to help you along. I’d love to hear your favourite alternatives or what you’d most like help with next?

      Im answer to your question, yes organic disposables and cloth come in different absorbancies, light through to postpartum heavies. Although I don’t think they necessarily absorb more. Which leads me to my next point:

      Switching to cloth (possibly organic disposables too) you may find your flow becomes lighter (I suspect the absence of chemicals influences this). I for one as well as many others I’ve spoken with have lighter flows after the switch to cloth.

      I hope that helps. If you do try them I’d love to hear how you get on.

      • Jacqueline says:

        Great. Thanks for your reply Lace.
        That’s interesting. If it can help my flow to become lighter, that’s an added bonus!

        For my natural remedies, I use baking soda, mixed with lemon for cleaning in and around the bathroom and kitchen using a steamer; for personal hygiene, I’ve purchased items from the mypure website.

        I look for paraben free hair products and use grapeseed oil as a body oil


        • Lace says:

          Hey Jackie,

          Yes it’s a great bonus, one I’m chuffed to experience myself.

          Ah good ol baking soda, I’m fond of that and lemons too! I’m new to mypure though, I’ll check them out. Sounds to me you’re on to a winner with those natural solutions. I avoid parabens too, they’re on my ‘nope’ list.

          Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

          All the best,


  • Crystal says:

    Nice post! Definitely something to think about before my next period. I’ve struggled with severe period pain in the past, so the cup looks like something I need to try!

  • Blanka says:

    Wow! This is a great and very informative article, I have learned a lot from it. Even though I prefer organic products and always check labels for cotton when buying clothes, I have never thought about period products this way. Thank you for sharing this valuable information on the content of these products, it made me think about alternatives immediately.

    • Lace says:

      Sounds like you’re on the right track there Blanka. Organic cotton clothing – lovely stuff! Using that same scrutiny with menstrual products will serve you well. I’m really pleased you took something useful away from reading this post.

  • Luna says:

    I am in awe! I cannot believe that we used those pads and they could be bad for us. I used reusable pads as a young lady but as soon as I was not answering to my mom anymore I switched to sanitary pads.
    I can understand organic stuff and will share the information with my daughter.

    Do you think living a healthy lifestyle will help with period pains?

    • Lace says:

      Ah so you have experience of cloth pads? Did you find a different when you switched to disposables?

      A healthy lifestyle can enhance everyone’s life I believe, period pains and all. Making informed choices about what we put in and on our bodies is a vital step towards that.

      Really pleased you’ll share with you daughter, that’s how we make change 🙂

  • paul says:

    I made my wife read your article, it has made her think more about the products she always buys, just because she has too !
    Thanks for the advice & keep up the good work.

    • Lace says:

      Hi Paul,

      It’s fantastic to hear from you, a husband who has shared this post with his wife. That’s exactly what is needed. Sharing of ideas and knowledge.

      I hope your wife comes over to the reusable or organic side soon!

  • Vesna says:

    Hello Lace,

    Thank you so much for this great article and info! There was so much to learn. Probably, I am just lucky not having any pain or other problems while using synthetic products. However, there are too many women having this problem, trying desperately to find a solution… Knowing all these facts and solutions, you can help yourself, your daughter, friend or cousin…..

    Beside getting read of pain, it’s always better (read: healthier) to use organic products than a synthetic one.

    Thanks again.
    Best regards

    • Lace says:

      Hi Vesna,

      Great to hear you enjoyed this post, do share with all the ladies in your circles.

      Although you’re lucky enough not to suffer period pains it’s still worth switching to organic or reusable sanitary products to avoid the toxins within non organic products. It’d be great to hear your experiences if you decide to switch.

      Bright blessings.

  • Penelope says:

    I had no idea that our vaginal skin was more permeable and subject to irritation from things like non-organic cotton (and bleach, and all the crap that goes into conventional sanitary products).

    What do you recommend more, the cup or the cloth pads? Can you include a picture of a menstrual cup so we can see what it looks like? thanks!

    • Lace says:

      Hm, that’s a tough one but I’m going to go with the cup. I’ll be doing a review soon and more in depth discussion on both, so watch out for that.

      Photos are coming I promise, I’m just having a slight delay in obtaining them. In the meantime, if you follow the link to mooncup in the post you’ll see one there.

      Hope that helps.

  • Sarah says:

    Wow great article and every girl should read this. I even didn’t knew before the information you have shared about sanitary pads. Oh my God that’s is really something we should all think about. This article should be read by every woman and I am going to share this with everyone. Huge thanks to you for sharing this with us.

    • Lace says:

      You’re welcome Sarah, I agree that every woman should know what’s in disposable sanitary products and be aware of alternatives enabling informed decisions.

      Please do share far and wide and together we’ll change the world one disposable sanitary product at a time!

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