By Amy Sedgwick
Revised: February 29, 2016 (see bottom of post for updates)
One of my fabulously awesome Fertility Management Secrets clients, (we'll call her Zooey), recently made a discovery that shocked us both. She is allergic to one of the chemicals (probably formaldehyde) used in the processing of toilet paper!
While uncovering allergies and sensitivities has been part of both my personal and professional fertility awareness journey since the beginning, toilet paper was certainly a new one on me.
Since I began to teach the Justisse Method to women six years ago, I have helped clients to uncover allergies and sensitivities to everything from gluten to condoms to lube and menstrual products. Now I know that toilet paper needs to be added to the list of possible offenders when it comes to unusual vaginal discharge, itching, bleeding, or pain.
Zooey had been struggling with vaginal and vulva irritation for years, with no success in finding an accurate diagnosis or treatment.
She frequently worried that she had a yeast infection or STI that was going untreated. After a few months of charting together she began noticing that her symptoms seemed to be exacerbated by certain types of toilet paper – working at an office where they used one-ply recycled toilet paper for example.
After lots of discussion just before the holidays, Zooey and I decided it might be a good idea for her to try going toilet paper-free for a week to see what happened. Obviously this raised important hygiene questions as to an effective alternative. Zooey opted for a combination of a portable bidet and some cloth wipes.
Sure enough, Zooey’s symptoms cleared up almost immediately. Nearly a year and a half of pain, itching and confusion gone!
Zooey’s story highlights my all-time favourite thing about teaching women the Justisse Method: it gives women the knowledge and tools they need to become their own best expert on their bodies. While health professionals of all kinds are an indispensable aspect of our health care routine, ultimately learning to decipher the language of our bodies is the most important skill we can put in our toolkit to ensure a lifetime of health and wellbeing.
Since writing this post three years ago, we've become big fans of toilet paper alternatives - especially ones that spare the environment. The 2Lip is a portable bidet made by a Mother-Daughter team that can be used for cleaning both the vagina and the anus. We also use reusable organic cotton toilet paper. You can find lots of makers on Etsy, including this shop where we purchased ours.
One of the reasons we love the Justisse Method is that it can be used as a health monitoring tool to discover issues like Zooey's. Period tracking apps can offer similar benefits if you know how to use them to your full advantage. Check out our guide below for tips!
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Kim & Amy Sedgwick love to discuss sex, periods, and all the other things we’re not supposed to talk about. The co-founders of Red Tent Sisters and ecosex.ca, they’ve been featured in every major Canadian news outlet and have become a trusted resource for women seeking natural (effective!) birth control, a more joyful sex life, and an empowered journey to motherhood.