Is there such a thing as being allergic to your monthly period? Yes.
Some women complain of vaginal itchiness, rashes and redness of the vaginal area during the time of menstruation.
The most logical explanation is not really an allergy to the menstrual blood but actually allergy to the sanitary napkin.
Most commercially available sanitary pads use a chemical called methyldibromo glutaronitrile. It is a known industrial preservative. It is used in many other beauty and hygiene products.
Methyldibromo glutaronitrile is the top 9 allergy-causing chemical known to affect humans.
Other products which use this allergen are:
baby wipes/moist toilet paper
liquid soaps/shower gels
other skin care products
This chemical has not been banned from use because it neither causes cancer nor any other life-threatening diseases. The best option is just to avoid the use of the above mentioned products if you are proven to be allergic to it.
As for the need to use a sanitary pad every month, there are other alternatives worth trying:
- The good, old reliable pasador. Although it is not commercially-available, a homemade version can be created from sewing a cloth diaper into an elongated, narrow pad. This can be used during your monthly “visits”. It is hypoallergenic, economical, reusable plus it is environmentally-friendly.
- You may try the tampon. These are available only in some supermarkets and drugstores, usually in communities with a significant population of expats. Since the tampon is inserted inside the vaginal canal, this may be of benefit if the sensitive area is only the external vulva. But if your vaginal mucosa is also sensitive to methyldibromo glutaronitrile, then using the tampon might cause a completely different nightmare. Imagine being itchy in that part of the body which is impossible to scratch!
- A new and eco-friendly alternative is the menstrual cup. It is also known by their brand names like Moon Cup or Diva Cup. It is a soft, elastic, silicone plastic cup which is washable and reusable. With proper care and hygiene, it may reused for as long as 5 years. Similar to the tapon, the soft cup is inserted into the vaginal canal and removed, washed and reinserted every 6-8 hours depending on how strong the menstrual flow is. It is not yet available in the local market but it may be ordered online. Prices vary from $5.00 to $30.00 depending on the different brands and manufacturers.
- The fourth and final option is to skip menstruation altogethter. This can be done with the aid of your doctor. You may stop of decrease menstrual flow by taking medications to lessen the bleeding. Some drugs make the blood flow so little that napkins and pads are no longer necessary.
As usual, my advice is to consult your health care provider for the best advice regarding your burning questions…and I mean, burning!