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As consumers, we use a lot of products in and on our bodies. And we trust that the manufacturers and consumer protection agencies have done their due diligence to ascertain that these products are safe.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. Today, we will discuss Female Hygiene/Sanitary products, also called Feminine Care products. These include Pads and Tampons or other items used in the intimate genital areas.

Firstly, let us understand that these areas of the body are highly vascular. This means the Vulva, Vaginal and Cervical areas are very rich in blood vessels, lymphatic vessel and thin mucous membranes. Thus, any item that contacts these areas will be rapidly absorbed (or enter) into your body, and your blood stream will circulate it all over your body. Thus, we must be very protective and selective and knowledgeable of what goes into these areas.

Whether it is the body fluids of a sexual partner which containsSperm/Semen, bacteria, viruses, fungus (yeast),chemicals from his/her blood (yama-yama), or the chemical ingredients of Tampons, Pads, Douches, Vaginal washes etc. They are all absorbed into your blood, your body and your organs. Chemicals in sanitary products include; Chlorine, Furans, Dioxin, Rubber, Plastics,Parabens, Phthalates,

Industrial gums, Adhesivesetc., etc. Many are known to be Cancer causing (carcinogenic), and many are known endocrine disruptors, which cause hormone imbalance by mimicking estrogen (Xenoestrogen). Most of these products are imported into Nigeria. Due to laws in their countries of manufacture, like the USA, they are classifi ed such that the ingredients can be omitted.

SYMPTOMS:

Do you have any of these Symptoms in the Vulva or vaginal area
• Itching
• Rash
• Irritation
• Burning
• Allergic reaction
• Raw looking
• Redness

OTHER PROBLEMS

These chemicals cause when they disrupt your hormones include
• Unusual menses
• Heavy menses
• No menses
• Painful menses
• Infertility
• Ovarian Cysts
• PCOS – Poly Cystic Ovarian
Syndrome
• Cancer

The following chart is from,Women’s voices for the Earth (http://www.womensvoices.org/)

Potential Health Hazards Associated with Feminine Care Products

Tampons: Hazardous ingredients may include dioxins and furans (from the chlorine bleaching process), pesticide residues and unknown fragrance chemicals. Exposure concerns include cancer, reproductive harm, endocrine disruption, and allergic rash.

Pads: Hazardous ingredients may include dioxins and furans, pesticide residues, unknown fragrance chemicals, and adhesive chemicals such as methyldibromo glutaronitrile. Exposure concerns include cancer, reproductive harm, and endocrine disruption. Studies link pad use to allergic rash.

Feminine Wipes: Hazardous ingredients may include Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, parabens, quaternium-15, DMDM Hydantoin and unknown fragrance chemicals. Exposure concerns include cancer and endocrine disruption. Studies link wipe use to allergic rash.

Feminine Wash: Hazardous ingredients may include unknown fragrance chemicals, parabens, Methylchloroisothiazolinone,

Methylisothiazolinone, DMDM Hydantoin, D&C Red No.33, Ext D&C Violet #2, and FD&C Yellow #5. Exposure concerns include endocrine disruption, allergic rash, and asthma.

Douche: Hazardous ingredients may include unknown fragrance chemicals and the spermicide Octoxynol-9. Studies link douche use to bacterial vaginosis, pelvic infl ammatory disease, cervical cancer, low-birth weight, preterm birth, HIV transmission, sexually transmitted diseases, ectopic pregnancy, chronic yeast infections, and infertility.

Feminine deodorant (sprays, powders and suppositories): Hazardous ingredients may include unknown fragrance chemicals, parabens, and Benzethonium Chloride. Exposure concerns include reproductive harm, endocrine disruption and allergic rash.

Feminine anti-itch creams: Hazardous ingredients may include unknown fragrance chemicals, parabens, Methylisothiazolinone and an active ingredient, benzocaine, a mild anesthetic. Exposure concerns include endocrine disruption, allergic rash, and unresolved itch. American Public Health Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) specifi cally recommend against intravaginal cleaning (douching) as it is both medically unnecessary and associated with adverse health outcomes such as increased bacterial infections.

In addition, ACOG recommends against the use of fragranced tampons and pads, as well as feminine sprays and powders, to help prevent or clear up vulva disorders. Many of these chemicals are toxins that sequester in the body, especially in fatty tissue, and linger in the body for many years.

Slowly with further accumulation they over-burden your body’s detoxification systems, especially the liver. They slowly weaken your Immune system and make you prone to diseases, including and especially the dreaded Cancer and Autoimmune disorders. Also, many of the chemicals cause increase in “Cellular Oxidative Stress”, leading to rapid aging of your skin and your internal organs.The Vagina has an innate intricate system of self-cleansing designed by our creator. These chemicals also interfere with this natural process.

TIPS ON SELECTING HEALTHIER FEMININE CARE PRODUCTS:

So what are we to do and what advise do we share with our Mothers, Sisters, and Daughters.
Read the label.
a. As a general rule if there is no ingredient listed,..…reconsider.
b. If the ingredients are chemicals and very difficult to pronounce,…… reconsider
c. Recycled,……reconsider
d. Perfumes and fragrances,……. reconsider
e. Polymer,…….reconsider
f. Super absorbent gels,…….reconsider
g. Rayon, Vicose,……. reconsider
h. Creped cellulose, reconsider
i. Unscented,…. means chemicals added to cover odour of other chemicals… reconsider
j. Synthetics and plastic. They also restrict the free fl ow of air and can trap heat and dampness, potentially promoting the growth of yeast and bacteria in your vaginal area,…………reconsider.

There are certain key words to look for in search of healthier options:

1. Chlorine-free Free of this toxic chemical and its byproducts, such as Dioxin

2. Organic Free of chemicals like fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, chemical perfumes, color additives and GMO (genetically modified organism)

3. Synthetic-free Free of man-made, chemically synthesized products

4. Wood pulp fl uff free Free of many chemicals used in the fl uff processing

5. Fragrance-free or Perfume-free Free of chemicals added to give nice aroma, or added to hide odour of other chemicals

6. 100% Cotton.

7. Non-GMO Free of genetically modified cotton (BT-Cotton from India and USA) and other genetically modified components. The GMO materials weaken your immune system.

8. Anion Anion content in the pad makes the pad an antibacteria sanitary pad that helps prevent bacteria multiplication, eliminates odour and promotes comfort during menstrual period.

I have walked through pharmacies recently to see what is on the shelf. I have talked to pharmacist and doctors, and most are unaware of the concerns raised in the article. So be cautious to whom you go for advice.

Read more online; see the detail of the Women’s Voices of the Earth report and other reputable health and wellness sources. As a pharmacist and medical doctor, and radio program host, people ask me bluntly, what do I recommend, what does my spouse use, and where can they get it. While I cannot vouch for every brand that meets the healthier criteria, here are action steps to help;

ACTION STEPS:

1. If you have any of the above symptoms, Visit your doctor.
2. Read the label on the products
3. Use the list above to screen toxic products from healthier products
4. Purchase healthier choices
5. Detox: Detoxify your body regularly to remove chemicalsout of your body that have accumulated from prior use of unhealthy feminine products.
6. Stop douching and using vaginal sprays and powders.
7. Enlighten and educate our Sisters and Mothers and Daughters.

Image credit: GreenCleaningMagazine


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