Caring About Your Pelvic Health is Good for the Environment

Caring About Your Pelvic Health is Good for the Environment

Dedication to living a more sustainable life can start from unexpected places. Like pelvic health!

Here’s why: Incontinence is expensive. And expense means resources.

It’s expensive for our nation:

According to the Journal of Obstetrics

“Five percent of incontinent people were assumed to have been diagnosed and treated.

  • Almost 20 million people are affected by urinary incontinence. The estimated annual cost of urinary incontinence is $12.4 billion for women. $3.8 billion for men
  • $10.8 billion is the estimated cost for 19 million incontinent people living normally. $5.5 billion for the 0.8 million living in nursing homes.
  • The cost per year for each institutionalized person was $3,687. Compared with $552 for each community-dwelling person with incontinence.
  • Among people with incontinence, the average cost of hygiene products is about $1,470 higher than the average person.

The short version- it’s expensive.

I'm going to break down raw, average costs. Some people’s insurances may cover these things. But with deductibles and copays  higher and higher every day, I figured it’d be more realistic to break things down this way:

Estimates are based on US data and dollars

Cost of a primary care or obstetrician visit:


Cost of traditional physical therapy:


(150x 5 visits. Most people need an average of 5 appointments with a PT).

Absorbent pads and hygiene products:

Depending on the severity of incontinence, anywhere from $20-$200 a month.

Think about the cost of what you pay for diapers now for 1-4 years. Then expand that for 22.54+ years. This study says the cost of incontinence starts ramping up when women reach 56 years old. The average lifespan for women in the US 78.54 (that’s where the 22.54 years comes from.)

Think about the gas and carbon imprint it takes to acquire these things

Pads, diapers, and hygiene products are mostly plastic-based supplies. These are manufactured and delivered to your local convenience store. Tampons were first used in the United States in the 1930s. More than 70% of American women now use them. They are manufactured all over the world.

Think about the time and gas money to get to various doctor appointments.

Additional water use 

Flushed from commodes and toilet paper. I don’t even know how to calculate that!

More loads of laundry 

That’s more water, soap, and electricity.

One of the primary reasons women get placed in nursing homes is incontinence. 

The national average monthly cost of a nursing home is $7,756 or anywhere from $93,000-$105,000 a year.

Menstruation yields about 11,000 tampons in a single lifetime. 

There are 166.7 million women in just the United States alone. Then that’s (1.8 x 10)12 tampons into the landfill. The cotton part of tampons takes at least 6 months to biodegrade. and In the meantime, they often clog waterways and harm wildlife.

According to the EPA, diapers account for 1.5% of landfill contributions. 

Adult diapers are 3 times more present in landfills than children’s diapers. 17.5 million tons of garbage are adult diapers, making it the third-largest consumer item in U.S. landfills.

Harmful Chemicals 

Disposable diapers have plenty of chemicals in them that adversely affect the environment. Here are just a few:

Tributyltin (TBT)

A biocide is used to prevent the growth of bacteria. It’s poisonous to marine life as well as humans. It damages fertility, unborn children, and our organs. TBT can be fatal if inhaled and doesn’t degrade. TBT remains in our ecosystem and is entering our food chain.


A group of persistent organic pollutants. The bleaching process used on diaper material creates dioxins as a by-product. They’re carcinogenic and linked to long-term health problems. Dioxins are highly toxic, according to the EPA.

Sodium polyacrylate

The absorbent stuff. Menstrual pads with this compound have been linked to cases of toxic shock syndrome.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Like toluene, xylene, ethylbenzene, and dipentene. They’re used to produce dyes, polymers, and adhesives. When exposed to heat, they quickly release into the air.

So How Do You Combat All This?

Be proactive!

  • Avoid pregnancy-related complications by speaking with a pelvic health therapist preventatively.
  • Check out the Train4Birth course. It teaches you how to manage the pressure in your abdomen. And how to avoid overstraining your pelvic floor. This is beneficial for women who are pregnant, postpartum, or neither! And simply experiencing urinary incontinence.

In the 1940s, Dr. Arnold Kegel was the first doctor in history (yes, it’s shocking that it took that long!) to systematically research the female pelvic floor anatomy concerning inconvenience and how to prevent it.

He conducted an 18-year study. He researched the pelvic floor, in a movement we now call by his last name, the Kegel. Amazingly, he found that women who had anywhere from mild to moderate incontinence who performed daily pelvic floor muscle activation were able to “cure” their incontinence. It has a 93% success rate! That’s why performing Kegels is still considered a gold standard method.

When done properly it’s effective!

Here are some of the best environmentally friendly women’s health products:


It’s a one-time cost. It’s silicone, and, once you get used to inserting it, pretty comfortable. You can swim with one in. To keep it clean, you boil for 2-3 minutes. It's fascinating to learn how much your period will cost you over a lifetime.

Reusable Pads

Here’s a link to some reviews.

The Squatty Potty.

This little under-the-commode stool puts your anorectal angle in the correct place. Essentially, you aren't trying to go number two with a kinked colon. Think about how the pressure builds up in a water hose). The repetitive pressure over time can contribute to constipation, prolapse, and incontinence.

Adult Cloth Diapers

Read more about the 7 best adult cloth diaper options. 


Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or thoughts! 


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