An average American woman uses 16,000 tampons in her lifetime. Thus, tampons have grown to be something in every lady’s life. Tampons can be a live saver for any lady suffering from their monthly visitor. Being neat and thin they are the perfect choice for on-the-go women.
However, with so many other menstrual hygiene options available in the market, young women are reanalyzing tampon usage. With the news about the presence of chemicals and contamination in tampons circulating around the users, tampons popularity has started to diminish.
Nevertheless, even after getting to know about the ill effects and health risks connected with tampons, many American women are still not ready to let go of their year-old sanitary hygiene product. But, women need to be aware of the correct usage of tampons in order to avoid the risks associated with it.
Whether you are a person who currently uses tampons or you are someone who wants to start using them, you really need to know as much as possible about tampons. So we have brought together 20 real rules about tampons that every girl should be aware of.
20 Lowest Absorbency Work The Best
When spending our lives in the busiest century, we hardly get enough time to take care of ourselves, especially during periods. Thus, most of the women end up using higher absorbency tampons. Higher absorbency tampons are appropriate especially when you are a person with heavy periods. Though there are risks associated with tampons, higher levels of risks are associated with higher absorbency tampons.
A panel of medical scientists had already warned women of these risks. Though the panel mentioned that the diseases linked with all types of tampons were similar and of equal fatality, they also didn’t restrain from warning women of the higher risks of toxic shock syndrome associated with higher absorbency tampons. It is imperative when using higher absorbency tampons that every woman tends to restrain from changing their tampons regularly.
Again, when using higher absorbency tampons if the menstrual flow isn’t sufficient, the tampon may absorb the moisture, eventually leading to damages to your wall. Thus, it better to use the lowest absorbency possible. Nonetheless, if the tampon leaks within 1-2 hours then it is better to shift to the next highest absorbency. However, it is best to stay away from “supers” and “regulars” as soon as possible.
19 Toxic Shock Syndrome – Is It A Myth?
Right from the 1980s, Toxic Shock Syndrome has been a name that was commonly associated with tampons. Apparently, this fatal disease is caused by bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus that is found to grow in most of the women’s body. The disease affects menstruating women and the first sign of response begins with an instant drop in the blood pressure which leads to the organs being stripped of oxygen and eventually leads to their non-functionality. Malfunctioning organs ultimately results in the death of the affected person.
People of the public, especially women first became aware of the disease in the late 1970s when several young women passed away due to the usage of higher absorbing tampons. The tampons were later removed from the market due to the side effects that were associated with them.
Symptoms of toxic shock syndrome mainly include a sudden high fever, accompanied by vomiting, fainting, dizziness and the appearance of sunburn-like rashes. If you are someone who has been using tampons for long and if your menstruation is accompanied by high fever and vomiting, it is important that you get medical assistance right away. And make sure that you remove the tampon right away even before the doctor reaches you.
18 While Swimming And Showering Too?
Before the invention of tampons, enjoying a dip at the beach, or swimming laps would have been nearly impossible for women during their period. Unlike, pads and panty liners, tampons don’t prevent women from enjoying their favorite leisure time activities while menstruating.
Swimming can be every woman’s favorite hobby during the sweltering heat of summer. However, if you go swimming wearing a pad, it will obviously get wet and stop absorbing the menstrual blood. But, with the tampons in, this will never be a problem as the tampons would absorb the menstrual flow internally. To be on the safer side, make sure that the string is tucked securely into your bikini bottom when taking a stroll around the beach due to aesthetic reasons. Or else you will have to face a heavily embarrassing situation.
Moreover, tampons make a great option for every menstruating woman because they don’t have to worry about taking it off when urinating or even while taking a shower. Tampons are placed inside, thus it is resistant to any bowel movements and efficiently absorb all the menstrual blood before it comes out. Other than tampons, menstrual cups do provide the same convenience and as an added bonus they are reusable.
17 The Presence Of Asbestos And Dioxin In Tampons
At one point of time, emails were being sent out to people stating that tampons contain asbestos. The email stated that tampon manufacturers included asbestos in tampons so as to make women bleed more. If you have received a similar email or if you have heard of it somewhere, it is time that you know the real reason and facts behind the information. The email, in short, wanted to make three main claims. The first one being the use of asbestos in tampons, the second was the presence on dioxins in them and the third was the process of manufacturing tampons from rayon that causes the disease - toxic shock syndrome.
However, the US Food and Drug Administration did a thorough research on the claims made and informed the people of the public that they haven’t received any evidence of asbestos being used in manufacturing tampons. Again, they announced that the traditional bleaching methods used while making tampons were what caused the presence of dioxins in tampons. The methods are longer in existence today and so is the presence of dioxin in tampons.
Rayon and cotton are brought together when making higher absorbency tampons due to the absorbing power of rayon. And thus, it could be thought of as the presence of rayon that causes Toxic Shock Syndrome in women.
16 Cleanliness Is Important
Do you wash your hands before inserting a tampon?
Well, we use an applicator to insert the tampon so why should we wash our hands? This must be the question that you would want to pose in reply to the question asked above.
Cleanliness is an important aspect of every person’s life, especially when you are a lady. We know how devastating it is to fight a disease lurking in our personal parts. And when the disease is fatal like cancer and tumors, you would want to stay away from them as far as possible.
Human hands are home to at least hundreds of bacteria. No, I don’t want you to get OCD now. But I would surely want you to wash your hands before you use them to insert a tampon. Cleaning your hands or washing them lowers the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome – the fatal disease that could eventually lead to death.
Whether you were taking a nap on the couch or playing Legos with your children, you definitely ought to wash your hands and clean them before removing or inserting a tampon.
15 Not More Than 4 – 8 Hours
If you are a newbie who has just stepped foot into the world of tampons or even if you are not, you should probably be concerned about the duration that a tampon can healthily remain inside.
If you have ever noticed the label on the tampon box, it would have probably told you that you should never wear a tampon for more than four to eight hours. This is mentioned due to certain safety reasons. In fact, if you turn your back to this particular instruction, then you are setting yourself up to face Toxic Shock Syndrome.
Nonetheless, if you are using the lowest absorbency tampon while having a heavy menstrual flow, then you would probably have to change the tampons every two to three hours. Changing tampons this frequently can result in serious damages to your wall and it can be quite painful alongside the menstrual cramps.
When the flow is normal, the tampon can stay in for as long as three to six hours which is considered a standard duration for changing the tampons.
14 The Right Age To Start Using Them
If you have just started menstruating then it might prove quite overwhelming when deciding which menstrual hygiene product to go for. Tampons are globally considered safe and comfortable. Thus, when coping up with the new changes that your body brings along tampon can prove to be a better option. And there is no age bar stating when a girl should start or stop using tampons.
If you are old enough to menstruate then you are old enough to try using tampons. However, the choice again differs from person to person. While some may find it comfortable to use sanitary napkins, others may find solace in tampons.
Another fear that restrains women from using tampons is the myth of losing virginity. Hymen actually can break during many other sporting activities like horseback riding, and there are even women born without a hymen. Thus, the hymen is never a factor that determines a woman’s virginity and even if you are virgin you could use tampons with much ease.
Again, first-time users are afraid of using tampons due to the pain associated with them. In reality, tampons aren’t painful. They are placed past the muscle, and once they are placed right in the position you won’t feel any pain.
13 Not In Anticipation Of Aunt Flow
Unlike the sanitary napkins that we use, tampons shouldn’t be used in anticipation of bleeding. Apparently, blood is not the only fluid that comes out. Your lady parts also secrete colorless moisture and the one thing that should be kept in mind is that tampons are made to absorb menstrual fluid and not secretions.
Tampons work on the basic principle of working only in the presence of adequate moisture to expand and fit correctly. So if you inert one in anticipation of bleeding, it is probably not going to work properly and may even lead to infections. Thus, tampons should be used only when you are menstruating or to be specific, only when you are heavily menstruating.
So what should we you use when you have an excessive amount of secretions?
In order to absorb the usual secretions or discharge, the normal sanitary towels or panty liners should be used. However, if the amounts of secretions are excessively high to be considered normal, you should probably fix an appointment with your gynecologist as they may be a symptom of any underlying diseases or infections.
12 Ingredients That Makes A Tampon
When that time of the month hits, ladies are usually in a rush to find whatever tampons they can lay their hands on. We rarely take a look at what goes into manufacturing the tampons that we put inside. And it is unfortunate that there isn’t enough care put into the personal care products that every lady uses and there isn’t much regulation about the ingredients that could be used to manufacture a tampon or a pad.
No matter what goes into your tampon, but you should always check the ingredients list to make sure that none of the ingredients like Rayon, and non-organic cotton are labelled on the boxes.
Rayon is one of the most common ingredients that go into making a tampon and it is highly associated with Toxic Shock Syndrome too. While many of the synthetic ingredients used in tampons were removed from the market, rayon still finds a way to stay in.
Non-organic cotton is genetically engineered to be resistant to herbicides and pesticides. This, in turn, means that there would be a higher amount of herbicides and pesticides sprayed on the cotton. No matter how long the cotton is processed, the residues of these chemicals still stay intact. Hence, it best to use tampons made out of organic cotton rather than the non-organic one.
11 Organic Unscented Tampons
If you remember the biology classes that you had attended in your high school years, and then you would probably remember your teacher telling you that everybody part maintains an optimum pH for it to work efficiently. This is the same in case of your lady parts too. And in addition to the optimum pH, your vagina is home to a great lot of good bacteria too.
So when you insert a scented tampon, it basically changes the pH level and kills off all those good bacteria replacing them with the harmful ones which overgrow leading to bacterial vaginosis. This bacterial infection is accompanied by another not so great symptom which makes for bad odors.
If you still want to try one of the scented tampons to get rid of the natural smell, listen to Dr. Drai. Dr. Drai states that scented tampons throw off your pH balance and replaces the natural smell with a bad smell. Thus, scented tampons do exactly the opposite of what you are using them for. Dr. Drai continues her statement saying that if you use a scented tampon and experience any negative reaction, it is better to discontinue using it and sees if the irritation wears off in 24 hours. If not, make a run to the doctor.
10 The Anti-Tampon Conference
We might have heard or read of many conferences regarding political or environmental problems in the past. But have you ever heard of the anti-tampon conference?
Tampons are still the top selling menstrual hygiene product for American women; however, it is amazing to note that tampons weren’t actually made keeping a woman’s body in mind. The item was first used for field dressing in WWI. It was in 1933 that Earl Haas took a patent for tampons and made the product the way it looks today. However, not everyone fell in love with tampons.
In the 1990s, people raised voice against manufacturing tampons that contains carcinogen like substance called Dioxin which was found mainly in bleached rayon. Again, in 1999, young activists started referred to as the Student Environmental Action Coalition began a campaign called the “Dioxin out of tampons” campaign. Similarly, in 2000 James Madison University conducted the first Anti-tampon conference. The feminist conference focused on woman empowerment, activism, and radical change. It aimed at making everyone more powerful by imparting education, inspiration, and networking.
9 The Different Versions Of Tampon Applicators
Tampon applicators have evolved since its advent and it had been around millennia since tampons have first made their appearance. However, one of the bizarre tampon applicators that could be ever thought of was invented or used in 1879. The applicator or the tampon tube as referred to by Dr. Aveling was a complex applicator that included a mini unsilvered glass vaginal speculum attached to a wooden rod.
In the recent years, reusable and recyclable tampon applicators came into existence. The reusable tampon applicator is made of plastic but it can be definitely reused. It is designed to be used with organic and chemical-free tampons. However, the applicator is made of plastic draws concerns about it being harmful to the environment.
Activists raised their voice against plastic tampon applicators and the ways in which they pollute the ocean, contaminating the shellfish that could make a great meal. Nonetheless, giving up the plastic tampon applicator is hard. And there are companies who are trying to come up with environmental friendly tampon applicators made from a plastic used in medical products called Mediprene. The new version they are working on offers comfort and comes as a one-size-fits-all product.
8 Donating Tampons To The One In Need
Every woman who menstruates would have at least once in their life experienced the feeling when you realize that you have used the last tampon. Imagine if this happens every day. There are almost millions of women in this world who suffer from the lack of basic sanitary hygiene products. And to be frank, that feeling is worse than anything you have experienced in your life.
Estimates show that about 24.6 million people can’t afford to buy menstrual products in the US alone, and across the globe, the number rises to about 100 million. The worst effects of the lack of menstrual products are that many young children have to drop or stop attending the school. Now having a period shouldn’t cost a female child her education.
Though this happens in the very world that we live, it is hard to hear enough about this problem. This is mainly due to the period stigma that our society puts forward. Menstruation isn’t just a female problem and it is not just theirs to worry about. This is the very reason why organizations donating tampons and other menstrual products came into existence. Freedom4Girls, Conscious Period are few of the organizations dedicated to menstrual health.
7 No Tampons After Giving Birth
An important question about tampons that every pregnant lady would want to ask is whether tampons could be used after you have had a baby. Though there is nothing wrong with using tampons after giving birth, experts say that it is best to keep a safe distance from them for at least a couple of months.
Bleeding after giving birth can be really heavy. You haven’t had your periods for over nine months and finally when it is here after you give birth; it ought to flow like there isn’t another day. Nonetheless, women are usually sore after giving birth and they tend to be much gentler than before. The cervix after parturition doesn’t go back to normal within an instant. Thus, pain and soreness can last for about a month after the delivery.
To top it off, a woman’s body and immune system become much weaker and thus the risk of infections are higher. Now, when you insert a tampon right after your delivery, the infections can spread faster. Medical experts recommend using sanitary pads for at least a month after delivery rather than sticking a cylinder of cotton in.
6 A Tampon That Fell Out Of The Wrapper
Though we have been using tampons for long, and though the boxes of tampons come with an instruction guide, an average woman doesn’t know all the information that they need to know about tampons. Tampons don’t cost much, but if you are that person who uses a tampon made out of organic cotton, then it might cost a bit higher than the usual one. And this might be the reason why we don’t throw away a tampon that has got even the smallest tear in the wrapper.
Tampons are usually stored under the sink or in our handbags while traveling. And the one fact that women aren’t aware of is that tampons are meant to be kept away from water or dampness. Humidity can damage the tampons. Thus, the mini cabinet between the toilet and sink is not the best option when it comes to storing tampons.
Furthermore, there are millions of bacteria lurking around us. Even the slightest tear in the wrapper can damage the tampon and make it unsuitable to use, especially when it is kept in the darkest corners of your handbag or cabinet. The wrapper is meant to protect the tampon from the germs flying around, and if it is ripped then the tampon can potentially infect you.
5 When A Tampon Get Stuck
Can a tampon get lost inside your body?
This doesn’t usually happen unless and until you are a careless person. The main reason that leads to a tampon getting lost inside the body is forgetting to take it out at the end of your period. The tampon gets lost in your abdomen when you insert another tampon accidently without removing the previous one.
The only ways to prevent this misfortune from happening is to change the tampons at regular intervals. You can even set up an alarm so as to not forget though this may seem to be quite annoying. Make sure that you have removed the old tampon out before inserting a new one. In case of doubt, your GP can do a quick test to be on the safer side.
Even after trying your best to do everything for the tampon to not get lost and then if it still does, don’t fret and rush to your gynecologist. The gynecologist can remove the tampon, fortunately, though the risk of developing Toxic Shock Syndrome is much more severe in cases like this.
4 No Sleeping With The Tampon In
Unlike pads, tampons can’t be left in while you are sleeping. Though there is nothing wrong with sleeping with the tampon, experts’ advice not to practice this if you are planning for a long-lie-in. As mentioned earlier, tampons should regularly be removed at intervals of around 4 to 8 hours. If you are planning to take a quick nap and you change the tampon right before you go to bed and right after you wake up, then it might seem okay to use a tampon while sleeping.
However, if you are planning to sleep in for eight hours or longer after a day of exhaustion then tampons aren’t to be used. Pads can be a lifesaver at times like this. However, the risks of leakage while sleeping with the pad on are higher and could mess up your bed sheets. Thus, if you still want to sleep with the tampon then you could try waking up in the middle of the night to change your tampon. Set an alarm at after four hours or so and get up as soon as the alarm rings no hitting the snooze or sleeping for a little longer.
3 Period Equity For Menstrual Equity
Don’t mistake Period Equity for the terms that you have studied in history or political classes. Period Equity is the nation’s first law and policy organization formed to fight against menstrual equity. The organization aims at making menstrual products safe, affordable, and available to all the women in need.
So, what is the big deal with menstrual equity?
We all know that half of the population in the world menstruates. Still, menstrual products aren’t tax-exempt and affordable for every person in need to buy. Furthermore, most of the manufacturers see it as just another product to gain profit and manufacture menstrual products using chemicals and raw materials of poor quality. Period Equity works to rectify these issues and make periods safe for every woman who faces it.
The organization demands the menstrual products to be safe both for your body and the environment. This, in turn, means that the products should be dioxin and pesticide free. They even want the manufacturers to disclose all the materials that they use to manufacture menstrual products. The organization also takes in the donation of pads, tampons, and cups and serves them to the ones in need.
2 Heavy Flow Vs. Light Flow
If you have already read the previous entries in this article, then you would have already noticed how many times the article had talked of heavy, normal, and light menstrual flow. So what are all these? And how do you know if you have heavy or light menstrual flow?
The type of bleeding varies from one woman to the other and depends on the hormone levels. If you find clots along with heavy menstruation flow, it may be a cause of any underlying diseases even. If you menstrual fluid soaks through the daytime sanitary pad within an hour or so then you are having a heavy menstrual flow. This maybe be due to underlying reasons such as the thickening of the uterine lining which is actually a disease called menorrhagia. Menorrhagia is mainly caused due to hormonal imbalance.
The low flow might be due to the reduced functioning of ovaries. In a healthy person, it is normally stress that reduces the functioning of ovaries. Therefore, when having a light flow, try to relieve your stress as much as possible and follow a healthy diet. And obviously, don’t forget to grab enough sleep. After all, sleep is the best medicine to cure all illness.
1 Tampon Goes Into Space
When women first started flying to space the main concern of the authorities where if their menstrual cycle would affect their working capability. Spaceflight is already so stressful, and when period cramps and an overflow of hormones accompany them, it could end up being a total disaster.
However, the 1978 astronaut class brought in 35 new members among which six were women. Nonetheless, the questions still lingered around whether a woman would bleed the same in space as on Earth. The world is still not aware of who was the woman to first bleed in space, but someone proved that a woman would menstruate the same in space as on Earth.
In 1983, NASA prepared Sally Ride for her first spaceflight and asked her whether they should put 100 tampons in her personal kit or more. The engineers stated that they wanted Sally to be safe and didn’t want her to die in the space. Sally replied saying that just 50 would do for a one week mission. And finally, in the same year, Sally rode to space with her tampons being the first woman to bring tampons to space.
References: hellogiggles.com, steadyhealth.com, cosmopolitan.com, menstruation.com.au, wikihow.com, wellandgood.com, goodhousekeeping.com, bustle.com, bustle.com, periodequity.org, sofyclub.com, popsci.com