As you're probably aware, if you're a MTHFR, you have a compromised ability to flush toxins out of your body. The degree of this hindrance will depend on whether you have the C677T or A1298C variant and whether you're heterozygous (one copy) or homozygous (two copies). The less toxins you burden your system with, the better your methylation processes will function, and the healthier you will be. Of course there is more to it than this, but minimizing toxins is a big piece of the MTHFR healing puzzle. While diet is an extremely important component of a minimally toxic lifestyle, there are many other factors to consider. An often overlooked, yet critical consideration is feminine hygiene and the products you use.
Traditionally manufactured feminine pads and tampons are coated with dangerous chemicals that can hinder your healing. Mainstream manufacturers of feminine hygiene pads and tampons will claim that the amount of dangerous chemicals in their products (such as toluene, xylene, chlorine bleach, and aluminum) are negligibly harmful to the human body. While it's true that the average person may be able to flush the small amount of these dangerous toxins from their bodies without too much of a problem, someone with the MTHFR mutation does not have this average ability. A buildup of these toxins have been connected to hormonal disruption, fertility problems, and even cancer. While both feminine pads and tampons pose a risk for toxic buildup, the more invasive nature of tampons make them even more dangerous.
Leaving a tampon inserted for too many hours, especially the high absorbency kind, can cause toxic shock syndrome (TSS), a potentially fatal condition. TSS is what happens when an overgrowth of staph bacteria in the vagina release fatal toxins. This can be the result of an unnatural change of microbiology caused by overuse of invasive menstrual products. Reusable menstrual cups have come on the scene as a more environmentally-friendly alternative. However, menstrual cups have also been connected to TSS (although to a lesser degree) due to the same problem of messing with the vagina's microbiome. I know there are a lot of varying opinions on the use of menstrual cups (some of which are recommended to be inserted for 24 hours at a time). I'm not saying that they can't be used at all, but I personally do not believe that such prolonged and chronic use is healthy, natural, or wise. So what's a MTHFR to do?
Below are some of my tips to consider:
Try to stick with organic feminine pads as much as possible while on your period
Reusable cloth feminine pads are another non-toxic option
Save the tampons for special events and make sure they're organic
My personal recommendation is to save menstrual cups for special occasions as well and give your body a break when possible
So basically, I recommend letting things flow (pun intended) naturally whenever possible with organic or reusable cloth feminine pads. When that's not possible, then opt for a non-toxic tampon, menstrual cup, or other similar device. I don't believe that menstrual cups or organic tampons are necessarily dangerous when used sparingly, but I also don't recommend making them a chronic and prolonged part of your monthly regimen.
Have you made any changes to your monthly feminine hygiene habits since finding out you're a MTHFR? Tell us about it!