SHTF Survival: Women’s Health

 Typically, in a post SHTF situation, sanitation conditions are going to be at a minimum (at the very least).  Therefore, a woman’s personal hygiene is essential to her health and should be considered a priority.   When sanitary conditions are not up to par, there is an increase of diseases such as cholera, typhoid and diphtheria.  Typically, women and children are the most affected by poor sanitation conditions.  Taking proper precautions and stocking up on sanitary items will help eliminate most issues regarding poor sanitation.

Tampons to the Rescue!

Did you know that tampons and sanitary napkins can be used for medical care?  Due to their high absorbent nature, both items make good wound care dressings.  In fact, the U.S. Army Medics have been using both items in combat situations. Luckily, since pads and tampons are considered a paper item, they have an indefinite shelf life, thus making them a good prepping investment.  Remember to store sanitary items in a dry spot away from direct sunlight, heat and humidity.

Getting caught without a pad or tampon while on your period is not way to survive (or even get by) in an emergency situation.  A great way to be prepared for a disaster is to make a personalized woman’s sanitation kit that will fit your monthly needs.  Some items you can include are:

  • Midol or pain reliever
  • Disposable pads or tampons
  • Disposable towelettes or toilet paper
  • Soap 
  • Disinfectant gel
  • Trash bag
  • Instant and reusable heating pad

Personal Hygiene Makes a Difference

 A basic understanding of proper sanitation for women are necessary to ensure that diseases and illness do not occur.  Taking time to clean yourself daily will help reduce the growth of bacteria, infections and diseases.

  • Cleansing – Using mild soap, completely clean the genital area.  Clean the genital area every day, and more frequently during menstruation and after intercourse.
  • Menstruation – Change any sanitation item at least every 2-4 hours.  And keep the area clean.  Remember to wash your hands frequently as well.

Disposal of Feminine Sanitation Items

It is important to properly dispose of sanitary napkins, as they contain bodily fluids that could pose a health hazard to others. Methods of disposal may differ according to where you are are and what you have available.  However, tampons and feminine napkins do not decompose quickly.  Therefore, the best way to dispose of used feminine napkins tampons is to burn them.  The fire must be very hot in order to thoroughly destroy the used items.  Incinerate any pads or tampons, as well as any paper items used to clean your self with (disposable towelettes, toilet paper, etc).

As many of us are already aware, feminine napkins and tampons are quite costly, and take up a lot of space in the storage closet.  However, as convenient as they are to have around, there are some alternative and less costly ways to deal with our visitor. 

Alternatives to Disposable Sanitary Items

  • Diva Cup – The diva cup is a sanitary and efficient way to go without the typical pad or tampon.  In fact, according to the website, this product is made from top quality, health care grade silicone, which is 100% latex-free, plastic-free, BPA-free and odorless. Consequently, due to it’s non-absorbent nature, it does not disrupt one’s natural vaginal environment.  This is also very cost efficient, as well.  A women typically spends $150-$200 a year on sanitary needs.  Making the diva cup’s $30 cost point a cost effective alternative.  
  • Cloth Sanitary Napkins – Another cost efficient way to maintain good sanitary means is with cloth menstrual napkins.  Cloth sanitary napkins can be made from soft fabrics such as flannel or soft cotton, or can be sewn from worn fabrics.  The cloth sanitary napkins can be cleaned after each use and put away for the next month’s use.  Typically, a 3 pack set of cloth pads can be bought online at store sites such as Amazon for around $25, but inserts must also be bought for around $10.  Or, if you are handy with the sewing machine, make your own.   Click here to view sewing instructions.

If you choose to use any of the alternative methods, remember to thoroughly clean them for future use.

Sanitation is an often overlooked area of preparedness, and very well could be one of the most important components to survival.  Maintaining proper sanitation during an emergency situation will ensure that you, as well as those around you will stay healthy.

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published January 13th, 2011
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  • Interesting blog, not like the others!
    shtf sanitation is a very interesting subject to learn about!

  • Roberta

     I first heard of the Diva Cup summer of 2010,and bought one. At the time the only place I found the info was from a Canadian store which only sold “green” products. I paid $30+ US dollars for it since there’s a difference in currency exchange between the 2 countries. With shipping included,it topped about $40 US dollars. A bit pricey,but it’s apart of my “go bag/bug out bag”. Since I purchased mine,they can be found at a number of online retailers to include:Vitacost,ihealthtree,iherb,Lucky Vitamin,etc. and they cost considerably less money. Better to have one of these things when the price of sanitary items escalates rather than be without. They do come in two sizes: (a) for those who’ve borne a child/children and over age 30+ and (b) those who don’t fall in either of the first two scenarios i.e. not sexually active,virgins.etc. I didn’t buy the Diva Wash at $8.00+ dollars,but plan to have at least one bottle purchased soon just in case another cleaner wouldn’t work too well in an area so sensitive to harsh cleansers. Just for others consideration,since tampons and pads are made of cotton,the price of cotton keeps going up;therefore,the Diva Cup will surely pay for itself in the short run and be a wise investment.

  • Roberta

     Another great item to mention is the Go Girl. It’s the female equivalent of a male urinal without the urine collection portion. It’s made of silicone which fits up to a female’s perineum. There’s a spout attached to the silicone base. The whole thing reminds you of a funnel except the straight portion is angled either forward or backwards from the person who’s standing vertically. This is to keep the urine from being directed straight down while one is urinating. The direction the spout faces depends on which way you turn the angle while using the device. These can be bought directly from the Go Girl website,or for less than what they sell it for,it can be bought at Wouldn’t hurt to own more than one,since they are discretely packaged. No one would even know what the device is unless you share with them. This device allows you to completely empty your bladder without sitting or squatting while urinating. Love mine!

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