Have you ever wondered how often you menstruate in your life? The answer: Up to 500 times! In total, you use about 10,000 to 17,000 tampons and sanitary towels. Have you ever thought about the health and ecological effects of this amount of hygiene products? No? Then you belong to the majority of all women. 9 out of 10 women do not even know what ingredients are in their tampons*.
This was also the case for Heide Peuckert from Hamburg. At least until a memorable holiday in Mexico, when her American acquaintance said that she didn’t use tampons because they were contaminated with harmful substances such as pesticides and chlorine. That made Peuckert think consciously for the first time about what kind of “foreign bodies” a woman actually lets herself get so close to every month.
The 7 most common causes of vaginal itching What is my tampon made of? This question is usually not answered in the package insert. © Yulia Grigoryeva / Shutterstock.com
“Back in Germany, I found out that here, too, tampons do not have to be labelled. That made me really angry!”, says Heide, “ Everything we eat or smear on our skin must be excellent. tampons that we insert into one of the most sensitive parts of our body, not .”
Period slips as an alternative to tampons, bandages and co. Organic tampons like those from MyLily are available in different sizes like normal tampons © MyLily
Her consequence: She developed an organic tampon made of 100 percent certified organic cotton and founded a start-up called MyLily. Like other organic tampon manufacturers, e.g. Organyc, Mylily stands for particularly high-quality and sustainable hygiene products without fragrances or additives. Like conventional products, the bio tampons are also available in different strengths.
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Are tampons made of organic cotton better from a medical point of view?
I suppose so. However, it must also be said that tampons are generally of better quality today than they were 12 years ago. “In 2007, the Ökotest Foundation examined 16 tampons, all of which were indeed contaminated and detected formaldehyde and pesticides or organohalogen compounds,” says Dr. Doris Scharrel, Vice President of the Professional Association of Gynaecologists from Kronshagen. Organohalogen compounds can cause allergies. They occur when raw materials are bleached with chlorine.
In 2017, Doris Scharrel collaborated with Ökotest on a new tampon test. The result: “Of the 15 tampon brands tested, including 3 organic brands, only one brand was found to contain questionable ingredients”, says Dr. Scharrel. The mark “very good” was awarded 14 times, only in “U by Camelia Tampons Normal” were organohalogen compounds detected.
Because of possible halogen-organic compounds, nobody needs to use the somewhat more expensive bio tampons. There are, however, other health reasons to switch to Bio-Tampons.
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Do you know which materials you let get so close to your most sensitive part of the body every month? © Yuriy Maksymiv / Shutterstock.com
Why can Bio-Tampons be better for me than normal ones?
“The majority of conventional tampons and sanitary pads are made of a cellulose-plastic mixture,” says Bettina Steinbrugger from the platform erdbeerwoche for sustainable feminine hygiene, “The problem is even greater with sanitary pads than with tampons. These usually contain a core of polyacrylate or superabsorbents and are often provided with artificial fragrances to which women with sensitive skin react with irritation.
The environment also suffers from hygiene articles with plastic additives. Steinbrugger: “Due to the plastic components, such a product needs several hundred years to decompose. In contrast, organic tampons such as those from MyLily or Organyc are made of 100 percent organic cotton and are completely biodegradable.
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Do bio-tampons reduce the risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS )?
I guess so. To explain: TSS is caused by staphylococcus and streptococcus. These germs colonise human skin and mucous membranes in small quantities, including those in the vagina. As a rule, your immune system can keep them well in check. During menstruation, however, tiny injuries can allow germs to enter the bloodstream, multiply and release toxins.
A study by the New York Medical Center demonstrated in laboratory tests that the risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS ) when using tampons made of pure organic cotton is lower for tampons from conventional cultivation. But Dr. Scharrel warns regarding TSS also generally from panic-mongering: “This only happens in extremely rare cases. If you change your tampons regularly every 6 to a maximum of 8 hours, you don’t have to TSS whether a woman is using regular or organic tampons.”
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Do Bio-Tampons avoid irritation in the genital area?
In many cases, yes. Studies have also been carried out for this, the most recent one by the Italian Minerva Ginecologica Society. For this, 200 women with recurring skin irritations in the intimate area received conventional bandages with a high proportion of synthetic materials for their menstruation. For the menstruation that followed, they received only bandages made of pure organic cotton.
The comparison of skin irritations after each period clearly showed that bandages made of organic cotton are the better choice for women with a tendency to skin irritation. Symptoms such as itching and burning in the genital area only improved after the test subjects switched to organic sanitary pads during their period.
The fact that especially women who tend to have sensitive skin like to use organic tampons is also confirmed by a survey of the platform “strawberry week”. “37% of the women participating in a study had less irritation in the genital area after switching to sustainable monthly hygiene such as Bio-Tampons than before”, says Steinbrugger.
6 reasons for the menstrual cup Irritations in the vaginal mucosa can be caused by the composition of the tampon. © Ecosy / Shutterstock.com
Are bio tampons more expensive than conventional tampons?
Yes, they are. Conventional tampons cost between 0.03 cents per piece (e.g. facelle from Rossmann) and 0.08 cents (above mentioned Pro Comfort Normal), organic products on the other hand cost between 0.19 cents (Masmi Organic Care) and 0.25 cents (MyLily and Organyc Tampons Regular).
This is partly due to the fact that large corporations hold 75 percent of the market share on the German market and can therefore produce at lower prices, but also to the higher quality materials. For example, the producers of organic tampons guarantee that the cotton they use has been produced entirely without the use of chemicals and pesticides – in contrast, the manufacturers of “normal” tampons do not do this.
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Because of possible pollutant contamination, no woman today has to switch to bio tampons. However, if you are prone to irritation in the genital area, tampons and bandages made of 100 percent organic cotton could be a good alternative. From an environmental and fair trade point of view, organic products are clearly preferable anyway!
* Source: Mylily