Can today’s sophisticated feminine hygiene products contribute to increased rates of infertility?

Over the centuries,women have used a variety of feminine hygiene products from soften papyrus in ancient Egypt, through cotton and cotton cloth to widely advertised now-a-days sophisticated high absorbency tampons and pads.  A typical TV commercial about these products would show a gorgeous woman dressed in white going to dance during the heaviest day of her period and the commercial would be something like “feel safe, maximum protection”. The least problem in such an advertisement would be that hardly we dress in white tight pants and go dancing during the heaviest day of our periods. However that’s not the problem. The problem is that such a commercial does not list the materials these maximum absorbency, maximum protection tampons are made from neither do they explain the risks associated with inserting these products into our bodies.

Are you aware that most of today’s feminine hygiene products are not made any more from natural cotton but mostly from rayon, viscose and cellulose? Are these  materials safe for us or present a potential danger for our health and fertility? We wear these synthetic fibers so intimately right on our skin.

The skin is the largest and the most absorbent organ in the human body. Any substance placed on the skin may be able to pass right through it, straight into our bloodstream. The vaginal tissue is an extremely absorbent area. Although the manufacturers of feminine hygiene products would state that traces of dioxin found in these products would not cause any potential health danger, there is no existing data proving that these products are harmless in a long term use. An average woman uses over 15 000 tampons and pads during her life. Just consider the repeated contact of these products with the skin and the vaginal tissue on a monthly basis over a woman’s reproductive years. Studies show that dioxin even in low or trace levels may be linked to abnormal tissue growth in the abdomen and reproductive organs, immune system suppression, hormonal and endocrine system disruption. Synthetics and plastic restrict the free flow of air and blood circulation in women’s pelvic area, alter the normal homeostasis of the pelvic floor muscles and can promote growth of yeast and bacteria. Hence, it is my opinion that even a small possibility of trace levels of dioxin may be a concern, especially if one tries to conceive.

Although there is no conclusive scientific data, if you are suffering from unexplained infertility and are trying to conceive, you might consider the following:

  1. Chose natural organic cotton feminine hygiene products instead of synthetic. They can be found in most of the health food stores. Although more expensive and less absorbent, they have been proven over the centuries and  do not have any adverse effects on our health and fertility.
  2. Definite preference should be given to sanitary pads versus tampons. One of the causes of infertility according to Traditional Chinese Medicine stasis of blood in the pelvis. While the woman is menstruating, there should be no obstacle for the blood to flow down. The use of tampons prevents this and can impede conception.
  3. To optimize the blood circulation in the pelvis, avoid wearing tight pants and underwear. Chose natural fibers to be worn close to the skin, such as cotton and silk.
  4. Consult a physiotherapist who specializes in pelvic floor health to assess the muscles in your pelvic floor.
  5. Acupuncture, moxibustion, gua sha and other Traditional Chinese Medicine techniques to improve the flow of blood and Qi in the lower jao (pelvic area), can be extremely helpful.
  6. Last but not least: holistic nutrition and medicinal fertility herbs can be a much better, natural and cheaper alternative to In vitro insemination.