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Ever Heard of an Eco-Friendly Period?

I started my period at the mere age of 9 when I was still in the 4th grade. Needless to say, getting your first period is scary, but to get it at such a young age debilitated me. At the time I was living in India, where health classes are scarce and people very rarely talk about your menstrual cycle. It’s just something you have to teach yourself once you get it. I remember looking over pages of web searches and trying to find out, “Is this normal?” At the time, pads were the only thing anyone around me had ever used. All my mother could give me was a cotton pad that made me feel highly uncomfortable. I was at an age where I couldn’t really share this with my friends because no one else had gotten it and I would feel like the odd one out. There were days when I just didn’t want to come out of my room and skipped many days of school. After moving to the states, I decided to do whatever I could to educate myself on what was happening. Turns out I had iron deficiency anemia which led me to bleed twice as heavily as anyone else. I went through 4 pads a day and didn’t know what to — it was turning into a nightmare. Around the age of 14, I discovered tampons, even though the fear of Toxic Shock Syndrome resided in my family — I wanted to stop hiding in my room and live my life instead. Tampons were definitely a lot easier to deal with, especially because they gave me a sense of comfort. They weren’t leakproof, but I was never scared that I would leak and not know it. After a couple of years, I saw just how much plastic was being wasted in every tampon packaging. The plastic, the cardboard, the cotton. Was all of this really necessary? 

In 2015, I began to research just how much waste was emitted due to products such as pads and tampons. The results shocked me! An individual goes through approximately 11,000 disposable pads and/or tampons in a lifetime. If you multiply that number by everyone on this planet that gets his or her period, that clearly equals a substantial amount of waste. Tampons and pads rely on cotton which takes six pints of water to grow and the ones that use non-organic cotton are saturated with pesticides. Most pads contain polyethylene plastic (the adhesive that’s used to make the pad stick to your underwear,) which is an environmentally harmful pollutant. And most tampons contain chemicals such as dioxin, chlorine, and rayon. After researching quite a bit, I decided to switch to menstrual cups. If not for my health, perhaps for the environment’s sake. I know one person isn’t going to make the most difference, but at least switching to eco-friendly menstrual products means I won’t contribute to overflowing the landfills with period products. They are so much better for the body because tampons dry out the vaginal canal and disrupt your natural pH. But, since the DivaCup collects flow (rather than absorbing it,) it maintains the natural environment. So I switched to the DivaCup.

menstrual cup
Photo by Inciclo from Unsplash

They are redefining what period care looks like and are empowering people to choose a better product for their bodies and for the planet. After spending almost half my life searching for a better, more comfortable, and environmentally friendly alternative to tampons and pads, I found it in the DivaCup. I know a lot of you might be thinking the same things that I was when I tried it for the first time. It can be a little uncomfortable at first, but practice makes perfect! The silicone is very comfortable and bendable and the  biggest selling points for me were that it provided up to 12 hours of protection and is great for heavy flows like mine! They are made with 100% medical-grade silicone in their production facility in Canada. There is no latex, dyes, rubber, plastic, or BPA! The DivaCup community is a judgmental-free zone where women pick each other up, care for their bodies, and most importantly give back to the environment by choosing the sustainable option! I am so happy to have joined this community where I never feel guilty or uncomfortable about my period! 

Sasha is a Computer Science major, and a psychology and an entrepreneurship minor at the University of Utah. She is an avid activist for women in STEM, and serves as a STEM Ambassador for the Governor's office. This year she has pledged to be involved in the most clubs possible, and make the most out of her quarantine. She loves to read, sing, dance, workout, try makeup looks, experiment with skincare products, and most of all write poetry!
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