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Menstrual protection: a closer look at the green alternatives!

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The subject of this article is something that affects half of humanity, every month! Yet there is still so much taboo around it... That subject is periods. And we should all be asking ourselves a very simple question: why, in 2020, are periods still taboo?!

It's a fact: we don't talk much about menstruation. Let's be honest: there are quite a lot of women who find it a difficult subject to discuss. There are so many euphemisms and slang terms used for periods, such as "that time of the month", "code red", or "having the painters in". These are just a few examples; there are dozens, if not hundreds, more! That's a big indicator of how uncomfortable people feel about addressing the subject openly. And there are lots of explanations for this.

We'd like to tell you a little about the history of menstruation. We'd also like to tell you about eco-friendly period products, which are not only better for your body, but also for your wallet. Every month, most women will use disposable pads and tampons when they have their period – and yet many of these women would like to change their habits and start using products that are safer for their body and kinder to the planet. We'll be telling you all about two types of eco-friendly period products. But first, let's delve into the history of menstruation!

Periods in the past

Historically speaking, periods have played a role in establishing a patriarchal society. Because women bled, they were considered "impure". A clear difference was made between the "noble" blood of men, resulting from wounds incurred in battle or while hunting, and the "dirty" blood of women. In 16th century France, the word "catimini" was used for periods. It comes from the Greek word katamênia, meaning "each month". The expression "en catimini" now means discreetly, secretly, not in public. It's not difficult to see the link with behaviour around menstruation!

In the past, periods were also seen as a sign of non-procreation. French sociologist Aurélia Mardon showed that all young women saw the onset of their period as something to be ashamed of and disgusted by.

Consequently, periods have become something that people don't talk about. And if they don't talk about them, it must be because they're not interested in the subject. Right? Wrong! But this may explain why, for so long, there has been so little done to look for alternatives to disposable menstrual products – despite all the controversy surrounding the chemicals and materials used in their manufacture.

The pursuit of better period products!

Beyond the potential health risks associated with menstrual products, there is, of course, the environmental cost of single-use, disposable period products. The website Planetscope provides some shocking figures.

The average woman uses between 10,000 and 15,000 sanitary products during her lifetime.

Panier pique nique zéro déchet

On a global scale, that adds up to 45 billion items of waste per year! And let's not forget that it takes over 500 years for pads to break down! But the good news is that change is coming, and attitudes are changing. Alternatives to toxic, polluting, regular period products are being developed in France and around the world.

At Lamazuna, we offer two eco-friendly alternatives that are safer for your body and the planet: the menstrual cup and washable menstrual pads.

The menstrual cup: an increasingly popular alternative

What exactly is a menstrual cup?

No doubt you've already heard of menstrual cups. But how much do you really know about them? This form of menstrual protection is used instead of standard period products, such as pads or tampons. It looks like a small, rounded funnel, and usually has a stem at the end. You can hold onto this stem to help you remove it more easily. A menstrual cup sits inside the vagina and collects period blood, without absorbing it. If you don't already use one and you'd like to start, you don't have to look very far! The Lamazuna menstrual cup is just a click away!

Easier to use than you might think

Maybe you'd really like to try a menstrual cup, but you're a bit scared about using it? That's perfectly normal! But don't worry: the hardest thing isn't learning how to use it, but changing your habits!

To help you on your way, follow these simple instructions in three steps.

Step 1: Sterilize. Before using your cup, immerse it in boiling water for 10 minutes. Then you can be sure that it's perfectly clean!

Step 2: Insert your cup. For this step, the most important thing is to find the position that works best for you. Fold the cup then, with your legs apart, gently insert it into your vagina, with the stem at the bottom. You can twist it gently a few times until you feel comfortable. Then, slowly release the cup so that it unfolds. To check that the cup has opened completely, run your finger around it. We recommend emptying your menstrual cup every six hours (maximum), but don't worry, it can still be worn overnight!

Step 3: Remove your cup. Make sure your hands are clean, pull slightly on the stem, pinch the base of the cup to release the suction, then remove it gently. Empty your cup, rinse it with tap water, then put it back in again. It's as simple as that!

Cup Lamazuna
Cup Lamazuna

The menstrual cup: good for you, for the planet, and for your wallet!

There are lots of advantages to using a menstrual cup! First of all, it respects your body. You won't be exposing your body to all the toxic substances that can be found in tampons and pads. The Lamazuna menstrual cup is made from 100% medical-grade platinum silicone. You can also say goodbye to vaginal dryness as, unlike a tampon, a cup collects menstrual fluid, rather than absorbing it.

Menstrual cups are also eco-affordable, as they last for about 10 years! After three cycles, a cup has paid for itself! Plus, it doesn't take up much space, so you can travel light, rather than taking a bundle of pads or tampons with you when you go away. Do you remember having your period on holiday – and having to take all those period products with you? Now those problems are a thing of the past! You only need one small cup for your entire holiday!

Finally, a menstrual cup is zero waste! OK, you do have to throw it away after 10 years, but that's a LOT less waste than you'd generate with regular period products, so the environmental impact is considerably lower! The Lamazuna menstrual cup is free of latex, phthalates and bleaching agents. Plus it comes in a GOTS-certified organic cotton pouch!

If you'd rather not use a menstrual cup but would like to find another green alternative, read on! They do exist and they're just as eco-friendly!

Serviettes hygiéniques Plim

Washable menstrual pads: a good compromise

A reusable sanitary pad: what's that?

Have you heard of washable menstrual pads? A few months ago, we proudly announced the launch of our collaboration with French brand PLiM, which stands for "Protections Lavables Intimes Menstruelles" (washable menstrual protection). This pioneering brand has been reinventing period products since 2009! All its sanitary pads are made from GOTS-certified organic cotton, ethically produced, eco-friendly, designed to ensure excellent performance, and printed in bright, cheerful colours. Plus they're 100% made in France.

Using and caring for washable pads

The effectiveness of PLiM's pads comes from an exclusive technology, which is based on a combination of three layers. These eco-friendly pads are made from organic cotton and feel both comfortable and discreet.

The upper layer (the part that touches the skin) is made from very soft, hypoallergenic organic cotton, which is gentle on the fragile skin of the intimate area. Because the pads don't contain any harmful chemical substances, they're ideal for sensitive skin, and help to prevent allergic reactions, fungal infections and irritations.

Within the pad is the core, again made from organic cotton, which draws away wetness along the length of the pad. It prevents leakage at the sides and directs flow towards the impermeable bottom layer. The core has been specially woven to give it a fine, tight weave, which makes it highly absorbent.

As for the bottom layer, it includes a breathable, anti-leakage membrane that ensures it is completely impermeable. It keeps moisture away from the skin, lets it breathe, and ensures it stays clean. It also prevents odours, allergies, fungal infections, bacteria build-up and itching.

Serviette hygiénique plim

Looking after these pads is incredibly easy: just hand or machine wash at 40°C with the rest of your laundry. They should last for about five years! That means you can use them over and over again, and you won't be producing waste or pollution!

For impeccably clean pads, we recommend soaking them in cold water first. Do not use hot water, as this will actually set blood stains.


Three good reasons to switch to washable sanitary pads

The first big, obvious reason is because they're eco-friendly! Just like a menstrual cup, washable menstrual pads can be used over and over again, making them an excellent zero-waste option.

Secondly, they're gentle on the environment and on your body. So you don't have to worry about any controversial toxic substances, which can be found in many standard feminine care products. Instead, you're using soft, hypoallergenic, organic cotton. This will also help you to avoid allergic reactions, fungal infections, and other unpleasant side effects!

Last but not least, a washable menstrual pad is as practical as it is discreet. You position it just as you would a regular pad, but there's no sticky strip to hold it in place. Instead, there's a system of press studs (you might know them better as snap fasteners), which enables you to adapt them to different types of underwear. So whether you're wearing hipster or bikini briefs, you'll still be able to wear them!

Period product preferences

Different solutions for different women

When it comes to periods and period products, we tend to talk about preferences, because all women are different – and yet we all have similar doubts and concerns.

"Can you make sure I haven't stained my clothing?", "I feel reassured when I wear a maxi pad at night, and even in the day", "Since giving birth, I can't stand tampons anymore", "I'll use a tampon and pad during the day, then I don't have anything to worry about. What about you?", "I feel like I'm wearing a nappy!" If any of these comments sound familiar to you, don't worry. You are perfectly normal!

Your body belongs to you. So it's up to you to choose the menstrual protection that you feel most comfortable with, that's best for your body, and which respects your body too.

What do women worry about most when they have their period?

- Absorbency. Will your period product be able to absorb all your flow?

- Leakage. Is it leakproof?

- Ease of use. Can it be changed quickly during a five-minute break?

- Comfort. Will it (and you) feel damp or uncomfortable?

- Quality. Will it smell unpleasant?

- Respect for your body. Does it contain any potentially harmful substances?

Cup et serviette hygiénique Plim

Our tips to help you feel secure and comfortable during your period

Throughout your period – whether it lasts three, four, five or six days – you need to use some form of menstrual protection. It's quite normal for every woman to have her own individual preferences, which may, of course, evolve over time. For example, a change in lifestyle or convictions, or even giving birth, could prompt a woman to change period products.

There are now lots of different products available to keep you clean and dry throughout the duration of your period, while respecting your body and protecting the planet. The best advice we can give you is to listen to yourself and your body, and then you'll make the right choice.

In conclusion

cup lamazuna
cup lavable
coupe menstruelle lamazuna
coupe menstruelle

In conclusion

All women are different when it comes to periods and menstrual protection. And while it may have been difficult to find eco-friendly period products in the past, it certainly isn't anymore!

Another advantage of eco-friendly menstrual products is that they aren't any more expensive than the regular ones. In fact, you'll save money! Whether you opt for a menstrual cup or washable pads, both of these solutions are – as we say at Lamazuna – eco-affordable!

Yes, they may cost more at first, but because they last so long, they've soon paid for themselves, and after that they cost you nothing! They offer women another way to reduce their waste, while knowing they have all the protection they need. You just have to choose the reusable solution that works best for you. The choice is growing! So what are you waiting for?

PS: If you'd like to see what our customers have to say about our menstrual cup and washable menstrual pads, you can read the reviews on our website!