In the last year, I have had a full on battle going on with my health. The bottom has fallen off my life, and once again I have found myself re-building and re-assessing what it may be like from now on. I have lost many of the things that I thought defined me and found myself putting things back together in a way that really makes sense, in a way I don’t think they did before.
Before all of this transpired – I was a clean eater, who ‘desperately’ wanted to be a vegan full-time (although I was only managing it around 90% of the time, despite being able eat a clean and vegan diet at the retreat centre where I worked)! My career had been in recovery, and I had stopped using drugs, drinking and smoking, but I was vaping – still feeling as though I NEEDED the nicotine – 3 years after I had quit smoking. And I was training in counselling, but still needed to work through some my own issues around accepting love. I meditated daily, and felt fully aware of my ‘short comings’ – but it took my illness to pull my finger out of my arse and really face them.
In the last year, I have gone as ‘clean’ as can be (although I would have already said I was doing okay before!) and it has changed so much for me, I want to share it.
Going clean has meant ditching synthetic hormones for me too: as my illness was preceded by a frightening, gradual onset, anaphylactic shock – brought on by a contraceptive injection.
I had used progesterone-based contraceptives for around 14 years (since my periods started), because having a period always meant sickness, fainting, dizziness, fatigue and gut wrenching pain for me too. Ironically, these are all of the symptoms of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) – that I have now been diagnosed with.
Anyway – as a young adult, after trying several different pain killers and the combination pill – my GP suggested that I stopped my monthly cycle with the depo injection. This worked well for many years. And, although I was warned about the dangers of using the injection for long periods of time, when I tried to come off it I experienced light-headedness and pain, so severe that I collapsed out of the bath and was given gas and air. So I continued with the only thing that allowed me to function!
Until March 2017, when I had that terrifying reaction.
Having had difficulties with my monthly cycle in the past, I dreaded the return shark week and what it would mean for my freshly diagnosed POTS.
My periods returned after 8 months, and brought a POTS flare, complete with vomiting and hormonal tears. Unfortunately, my first period was also proceeded by a vulval biopsy and episode of recurrent thrush (something that I had had on and off since the withdrawal from the progesterone). So everything was aggravated, including me.
I begun researching what I could do, started having accupunture for hormone balance and investing in menstrual cups and reuseable cloth pads (as well as a job lot of raspberry leaf tea, raw chocolate and aromatherapy oils). Next time I would be ready.
I didn’t know where to start with the pads. I knew that ethically they were a must and medically they could be expected to help clear up or at least ease my symptoms. But not what to buy. I searched online for hours and I was so pleasantly surprised! I thought I was going to be paying out so much money and that it would be for something that I didn’t really want.
But the designs I found from independent sellers, like One Cheeky Bee and Nooby Noo (now the only providers I buy from) got me excited for my next period and improved the relationship I have with my natural cycle, as well as with my body, too. These pads are bloody beautiful! I feel like it is a complete treat to buy myself new ones, and I show them off to my partner as soon as they arrive. Their sellers are understanding and helpful everytime – clearly loving what they do – and ready to give you a personal service and unique experience. Oh and I have not had a single bout of thrush, despite more surgeries.
My general advice would be to switch as soon as possible. I can not imagine ever going back to using disposables.
More switching tips:
- Buy a couple of different sizes, shapes and absorbencies for your first time: you can measure from the pads/liners that you currently use and customise from there. There is soooo much more choice of size, shape and absorbency!
- Get a wet bag too: The cloths can be folded, making them just as compact as disposables. I use a wet bag, to take out a clean pad with me, and put my used pad in if need to.
- Put your used pads straight into a zip lock bag: rinsing them first if you wish. Then you can empty your bag straight into the wash. Most pads also come with washing instructions, but it really isn’t much more complicated than that.
- Use the little spoonie discounts below: Me, Vee and Nadine have got together to provide you with discounts to get you started. This is because it is something we are all passionate about. Not because of any financial gain. This post is not sponsored!
“I started making pads for my 10yr old who totally feared coming on her period. Something so natural and normal frightened her to death. Bleeding from her private parts. She had no idea. The U.K. has a shocking period taboo which I’m trying to change with my tween fun prints and shapes. My little girl has matching undies to her pads and is excited to start wearing them. She know why she has periods and how to deal with them. From here Nooby Noo was born. So have been sewing forever teehee. But my heart was stolen because these pads make people happy and excited, and completely free to talk about their own experiences. Suddenly it’s not such a taboo. I’ve had the most amazing conversations with the loveliest people. And I feel like I’ve made a difference environmentally and personally.” ~ Nadine
Discount code for 10% off at Nadine’s shop, ‘Nooby Noo’: LITTLESPOON10
“I came across CSP actually three or four years before I made the switch – and switching was even out of desperation rather than necessity. But, I learned a lesson! The difference for me from the get-go was that I was comfortable. This is still the justification I will use today if I am asked why I switched to cloth. Who doesn’t love to be comfortable? They can be made to suit so many different needs of the user; some ladies need a narrower pad, some wider, longer or shorter. The variations are endless! I absolutely love knowing that something I make helps other women – other than that, there is a community of people that use cloth (and make cloth) that are so kind and caring and I am proud to be a part of that!” ~ Vee
Discount code for 10% off at Vee’s shop, ‘One Cheeky Bee’: LITTLESPOON10
Please contact me with any questions you may have about switching to cloth and/or cups. I will be doing a Q&A on Instagram and will update this post in the future – so your questions could be helpful to others too.