Period-proof panties, vaginal steaming and menstrual cups. When it comes to natural care for your yoni, the market has gotten pretty overwhelming. Here are a few thoughts on why naturally caring for your yoni is essential when it comes to self-care.
I love my period (yes, you heard that right – I actually love it). It is a time of the month I slow down, journal more and reconnect to myself. It’s a time I make sure to kick my self care routines up a notch. But beyond that, it’s also about the products I use to care for both my body and the environment. So, I thought it was about time to sit down and get real in my latest post on what I use, why I use it and what works – naturally.
Where do we start with taking care of our yoni in the gentle, most natural way? With our moon time (aka menstruation, aka period, aka…).
If it were up to me, I would say ditch the tampons altogether (unless of course you are planning on going swimming today). Here’s the thing, tampons increase your cramping, and hide the quality of your moon blood. Why does this matter? It means you’re farther removed from your menstrual health and understanding of your body, and possibly farther away from self-acceptance. Getting a good understanding of your cycle isn’t just about your physical health, it can also help you connect to yourself in a more accepting way. Physiologically there is the fact that the body is trying to release the blood, keeping it clotted up in the vagina with a wad of cotton is not good for your health. Hence, TSS.
But if you’re really not ready to release the disposable pads and tampons, make sure your tampons are organic cotton. Cotton agriculture is hugely damaging to our ecosystem – it is considered “the world’s dirtiest crop.” However, the reasons extended far beyond the ecosystem of the planet, it is also about your internal ecosystem. Tampons go through a chemical bleaching process, which produces a carcinogenic byproduct – dioxin. Most tampon and pads, are made from a blend of bleached cotton and/or synthetic products, such as rayon, viscose and plastic – and that is where you get into trouble with TSS and chemical absorption. Further – it is estimated that approximately 20 billion pads, tampons and applicators are being sent to North American landfills annually – and these products require hundreds of years to biodegrade!
Menstrual Cups: What’s the Story?
Then, there is the menstrual cup. I would place cups as a second step above the tampons, as they are inserted, but allow you to see: the quality of your blood and how much you are losing each day. Both of which are great clues towards understanding your hormonal and menstrual health.
The first time using a cup can be a little tricky, but don’t give up! My cup is by Lunette. Lunette is my second run around with a cup, and I love her for when I can’t avoid activity on my heavier flow days – for example if I’m at work, or having to teach a yoga class that day.
What’s great about the cup is: they’re environmentally friendly (you reuse it for many, many moons), you actually get to see how much blood you’re losing a month – and know your body better, you avoid TSS, you can go for up to 12 hours without changing (depending on your flow) and you lesson your chemical load.
You can shop Lunette in 2 sizes (one for pre-child birth and one for post) on their site here.
Period-Proof Panties: What’s the story?
Period proof panties? Well, not quite “proof.” I love mine, but as backup for my cup on heavy flow days. On my mid-light flow days, I will just wear my “period panties,” and on those days, they’re perfect. There are also thongs that are great for replacing panty liners on your first signs of spotting and your last few days of blood.
These are my favourite for sleeping, since I don’t like wearing the cup to bed. I wear the high waisted styles, which tend to hold up to 2 tampons worth throughout the night. Except on extremely heavy bleed days (where I’ll double up with a re-usable pad), I can get by with just my “period panties”.
Mine are from the company THINX, which are quite “classy” and simple. They look like regular underwear and are even a little bit “sexy” (for period panties, anyways). Dear Kate is another brand which has more colours and varieties from which to choose.
Washable Fabric Pads
Much like the period-proof panties, cloth pads offer similar benefits – but with addition you don’t need to change the entire panty when it is saturated. These are Lunapads, and are comprised of 2 parts: (1) an absorbent, leak-resistant Pad Base with wings that fasten around your underwear and (2) a removable Insert. Inserts are made of absorbent fleece that you can change throughout the day.
Again, they can last up to five years, so you’re doing great things for the planet in reusing them, but you also get a better understanding of what is going on in your body when you can see what is actually happening. I cannot recommend this enough.
Ok, so that’s the practicals, but what about the care? For my moon cycle, I am all about essential oils, epsom salt baths and hot water bottles.
Essential Oils for the Menstrual Cycle: My Favourites from doTERRA
Essential oils are part of my “essential kit” when it comes to my moon time. I am all about finding natural ways to relieve discomfort of cramps and mellow out my mood. I use exclusively doTERRA essential oils because of their purity and high quality (I also love that I receive 25% off retail value by signing up with them – you can too here).
Here are my top picks of essential oils you should have in your Moon Time Care Kit.
My number one essential oil for moon time is Clary Sage. It is an effective pain relief when that pain is being caused by cramping of your womb muscles. It helps to soothe them, and a 2014 study showed that simply inhaling Clary Sage dramatically decreases the body’s cortisol (stress hormone). I use it by rubbing it (with a carrier oil such as coconut oil) directly on my abdomen when I am having cramps. You can also add some drops to an Epsom salt bath to increase relaxation effect that comes with the magnesium hit.
Lavender can be used for almost anything. I love it for acne and spots that are due to hormones – by dabbing a small amount on the spots (usually around my chin) I can soothe them naturally. Further, lavender is a great aromatherapy aid as it calms the mind and body. I love to also add this into a Epsom salt bath, or diffuse it when I’m trying to catch some deeper Z’s.
One of my favourite essential oils period, is Ylang Ylang. I even wear it as a perfume. However, it serves double duty when it comes to its aromatherapy benefits which help to lower the heart rate and provide an overall sense of relaxation – if I’m feeling unruly or moody, diffusing Ylang Ylang is perfect. It’s also an aphrodisiac essential oil, and is good for hormone balancing by helping to lower the body’s stress levels. Lower stress = a more optimal functioning of the reproductive system.
Thyme is unique as this essential oil has been shown to balance progesterone levels — potentially delaying the effects of menopause. That means it can also support your hormone levels giving you a little more energy on those days you must get up but don’t feel like it. As a result, I should note: if you have estrogen dominance, avoid the use of thyme.
Why I love this roller ball is that it has many of the top essential oils that I love for my moon time, in one convenient little rollerball. I roll it directly on my abdoment and my pressure points including wrists and behind my ears. The key notes in here: Lavender Flower, Ylang Ylang Flower, and Clary Sage Flower.
If you want to purchase doTERRA essentail oils for 25% off retail? Simply sign up here to become a Whole Sale Customer. Or, read more here about how you can make doTERRA a bigger part of your lifestyle.
In my next post, I’ll talk a bit more on why naturally caring for your yoni is essential. In the mean time, find some space for self love during your next period and practice some serious self-care. Happy bleeding, beauty!