Some people might think that women have a tough time of it, toilet-wise. These people would be correct. Imagine forgetting to pop tampons in your bag, public toilets with no sanitary bins or no toilet paper, you've run out of maternity pads, there's a massive queue for the loo at Countryfile, or worse: having a white trouser-suit nightmare.
This is just a soupçon of the things women have to plan for regularly. And men can be affected by toilet-related issues too. Bladder weakness and prostate issues mean we see lots of older men requiring incontinence pads. And don't forget our youngest patients who might be struggling with childhood incontinence and bedwetting.
Standard sanitary wear contains plastic, which of course helps stop those little leaks. They have to be thrown away after one use (usually a few hours). I was recently shocked to read that 41% of women flush tampons down the toilet. No no no no! They have to go in the bin. And can you hear the landfill-siren going berserk?
But there is another way! Whilst each pack of old-style sanitary pads contains the same plastic as four carrier bags (90% of every pad and then there's a packaging as well), some newer eco-friendly pads are made of cotton and come in a joyous cardboard box. Have a look at Natracare (below). Just fold them up and pop in your hand-made up-cycled case to prevent embarrassment when you drop your handbag in front of a handsome celebrity crush (this does happen).
Women spend about 65 days of the year on a period. And for our young teens already battling puberty and school exams, periods can be hugely stressful and embarrassing. Well WUKA have developed period pants as an alternative to pads/tampons. Nice. Check out their website below. And of course there's a famous Mooncup which has been around since the 1930s.
No longer must we (cue the patriotic music) buy single-use, throw-away items; there are plenty of reusable and plastic-free options. Here's a taster:
Upsey Daisy - washable pull-ups for boys and girls.
Giggle Knickers - washable incontinence pants. I just like the name really.
Cottons comforts - zero-plastic single-use pads.
Confitex - washable racy lacy incontinence knickers.
Pjama - washable period pants and pyjama bottoms for kids and adults.
WUKA - washable period pants. No rustling or worrying about a pad moving around.
Mooncup - reusable plastic-free insertable period catcher thingy. Many other similar brands too.
Natracare - plastic-free pads and tampons (find these in Boots and supermarkets across York).
...and if you object to ordering online/delivery for carbon-footprint reasons, why not pop into town? Luckily many York stores stock these fabulous items. In fact as you read this, your dedicated blog writer is probably scouring the city for local stockists (unless she's hard at work seeing patients. Which I do do sometimes, often really). Try these places for starters: Boots, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Alligator, Bishy Weigh, and Tulliver's.
Christmas list sorted, no?