By the Handmaiden
Believe it or not, a survivalist gentleman poster asked me to write about this, and so I shall, blunt and to the point. If you’re squeamish about women’s monthly blood, then don’t bother reading this.
A caveat, I am past the age where I have to worry about my period (THANK YOU LORD!). Been through menopause with the gracious aid of black cohosh and evening primrose oil and wild yam cream. Done with the hot flashes (almost) and all the assorted crazy emotional crap. So, even though I’m past the age, here’s what I think about this recurring event and how to deal with it.
The Memsahhib on Survival Blog has dealt with this topic with characteristic Rawlsian logic and intelligence, with some links to washable pads. Washable pads are a damn good idea.
In the meantime, it goes without saying, store lots of tampons and pads. Lots of them. Besides their usual use, tampons can be a great aid as tinder for fire-starting, I understand. But store as many as you can for as many women are in your group. Tampons are a great convenience, but if you store and use them, do be aware of the symptoms of toxic shock syndrome. I haven’t heard anything about this rare syndrome in a long time, but it pays to be aware of it nonetheless.
Another good idea would be to look into the reusable menstrual cups, called the Diva cup or The Keeper. This device is slipped into the vagina, up against the cervix, and removed and emptied when it is full of blood. If I still needed to use something, this is what I would use. From what I read, these cups can be used up to 10 years. The only problem may be taking them out to empty and replace in a public bathroom--but this won’t be an issue post-TEOTWAWKI.
But sooner or later, women will have to go back to using rags, washing them, reusing them. This is simple common sense, right? For that matter, nearly everything will be reused over and over again. No more disposable world. And that will be a blessing.
As for PMS and the problems of menopause, there are many herbs that can help with the irritability, cramps, bloating and other symptoms. Here is a good article on many of those herbs. For menopause, I found black cohosh and evening primrose oil to be very beneficial. At the time, I didn’t know the plants grew locally or I would have harvested them as they grow right in our valley. I purchased capsules at the local health food store and they worked fine.
Menustruation is a special time for women--problematic and often a curse. I like how women of the ancients and Native Americans handled it by going off alone (or with other women having their periods) to a separate tent or building and living alone for a few days. Think what a blessing that would be--getting away from the aggravations of daily life, a time to relax and enjoy other women’s company without men or children around. It is an idea whose time may come around again.
For those of you who love a good laugh, please read this! It’s hilarious and on topic!