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Mom Whose Heavy Periods Were Once Mistaken For A Miscarriage Says Reusable Pads Have Changed Her Life

Mom Whose Heavy Periods Were Once Mistaken For A Miscarriage Says Reusable Pads Have Changed Her Life
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A young mom whose periods were so heavy that they were once mistaken for a miscarriage told how her life has been changed – by reusable pads.

Stay-at-home mom Hannah Rose, 27, spent years dealing with irregular, painful periods, sometimes bleeding for weeks at a time and, on one occasion, passing clots so large that doctors initially thought she could be miscarrying.

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Then, she read some testimonials from women saying how switching to reusable sanitary products had changed their lives – and, at the end of 2018, ditched her disposable towels in favor of eco-friendly reusable pads.

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Extolling their virtues, Hannah, of Teesside in north east England, who is mom to Eleanor, three, said she has never looked back, adding: "I couldn't wait for my period, so I could try out the reusable pads.

"Before, I'd be in so much pain I'd have to skip things like nights out, and my cycle was really irregular – but now, I'll get minor discomfort for a couple of hours on the first day, then be fine. My period is shorter too.

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"I have been surprised by the attitude of some women to this, with people saying it's gross. Well, I think it's gross to have your used, disposable sanitary products festering in a landfill for years."

Previously, Hannah, whose fiancé Adam Lister, 27, is a painter, struggled with painful and irregular periods – eventually going to the doctor last year after bleeding for weeks on end.

She recalled: "It was still really heavy, with the clots so large that the doctor actually told me to take a pregnancy test, fearing I could be having a miscarriage.

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"At that point, I had the contraceptive implant in, so didn't think that could be possible. Still, I went to an urgent care centre and took a test. I wasn't pregnant, nor miscarrying – that was just how bad my period was."

Deciding to stop all hormonal contraception immediately, Hannah had her implant removed, which she said soon helped regulate her cycle, although her periods remained heavy and painful.

Then, in November 2018, she spotted a post in a moms' Facebook group about a company having a Black Friday sale on reusable pads.

Having previously read several testimonials from women swearing by their benefits, she decided to take advantage of the deal – snapping up two sets, meaning she had 12 pads, for $40.

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She said: "I know there is a degree of privilege involved in that and that I'm lucky to be able to afford that much in one go.
"I'm not saying all women have to pay what I did, but you can always build up your collection over time. Plus, they can be bought cheaper. I've seen sets for around $8.

"When I was using disposable products, I used sanitary towels and I'd go through three to four packs of ultra-sized pads with wings per cycle. That would add up to at least $6, not to mention the extra cost of painkillers."
She added: "With reusable pads, though, you make one payment and that's it. Long term, it will save me money."
After making the switch, Hannah claims the benefits were almost immediate, believing the absence of chemicals and plastic in her reusable pads are responsible for the change.

According to Chemicals In Our Life (COIL), a consumer site run by the European Chemicals Agency, the safety of some feminine hygiene products has been under discussion, after two national authorities have found small concentrations of hazardous chemicals in them.

It says most of the substances, which included some pesticides that are banned in the EU, were not intentionally added, but likely to have come instead from either raw materials becoming contaminated, or as by-products during processes like bleaching.
Last year, health non-profit Women's Voices for the Earth released independent product testing results that found undisclosed toxic chemicals in some brands of tampons.

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Among the toxins found were rayon, and a carcinogen – methylene chloride – commonly found in paint stripper.
"It's insane to me the amount of chemicals that we're putting near a really sensitive, intimate area of our bodies," said Hannah.

Adding that Friends of the Earth have claimed that traditional sanitary towels may contain up to 90 per cent plastic, she continued: "Switching to reusable pads hasn't just had hygiene and health benefits, but environmental benefits too. I want a better world for my daughter, and I think it's horrendous how long these plastic products will be festering away for, long after we've used them.

"When I tell people what I use, some have even said they'd prefer to stick with disposable products and throw away anything stained, which I find shocking. How can it be preferable to throw away something perfectly good, that just needs a wash? It seems so bad for the planet."

Now, with her cycle much lighter, Hannah finds a pack of 12 pads will get her through her five day period, with her washing and reusing them as she goes.

Typically, she will rinse them in water before putting them in the washing machine, as with any other laundry, and also carries a small Ziploc resealable bag with her, should she ever need to change when she is out and about.

"That's another thing people have taken issue with – putting the pads in the washing machine," she said. "But surely that is what a washing machine is for? It kills germs and your clothes come out clean."

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She continued: "I'm sure kids traipse in far worse stuff when they come in all covered in mud.

"I honestly don't have to think about periods now. I know I'll never be caught short, as I will always have my stash of pads, and they certainly don't smell or anything like that."

By speaking out, Hannah hopes to also encourage women to be more open about their own periods, fearing there is still a sense of stigma around the topic.

She added: "You do have to wonder what sort of education around periods people have had, or what opinions have been passed down to them growing up, when they see a period as something to be ashamed of.

"Of course, Eleanor is still young so I have kept everything age appropriate, but I try to be as open as I can and explain what they are, so she doesn't grow up thinking it all needs to be kept hush hush."

Hannah is now so confident about the reusable pads that she is not even fazed by the fact she should be menstruating on her wedding day this August.

She continued: "Before, I'd have been dreading it. I'd have been terrified of leaking on my dress, or being in too much pain to enjoy the day. But now I know I won't have to give it a second thought.

"I do get the odd person not understanding why I do this, but most people have been really receptive, and a couple of ladies I've spoken to have even made the switch themselves. My advice would be rather than have a pre-conceived idea, why not give it a go for yourself?"

Sophia Ferguson, MD and Designer at Tickle Tots, who create reusable nappies, said: "Disposable sanitary pads can contain up to 90% plastic, along with a cocktail of chemicals and perfumes, which is then disposed of in landfill where they degrade over a very long period of time."

Sophia added: "By switching to reusable sanitary pads, it not only benefits the environment but also our health by removing exposure to elements which could be found in disposable sanitary items."

However, not all experts agree with Hannah's claims. Registered medical doctor Sarah Brewer commented: "The length, heaviness, discomfort and other features of a period are determined by hormone balance and physiological factors within the body.

"There is no evidence, or indeed any plausible mechanism to support claims that using particular external sanitary wear can affect your periods. Any changes noticed will be coincidental only."