Trouble with Tampons

Walk down a “feminine products” aisle in any drug store and you will almost always see shelf after shelf of the same two things: tampons and pads. Tampons with applicators, without applicators, with perfume; pads, with or without wings, plastic sticky mini-diapers that smell like chemicals, or worse, perfume. These two products have probably been a staple of your life at least once a month for a while now, and if you’re like most of the women I know, you don’t like them very much.

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The Trouble with Tampons

Tampons can be uncomfortable and can leak, and if you try to avoid leaks by using a more absorbent one then you risk having to pull an abrasive tampon out of a dry vagina – it’s not only terribly uncomfortable but can put you at increased risk of infection and disease. Tampons, especially super-absorbent tampons, can absorb too much fluid, drying out the vagina and increasing the possibility of micro-tears upon removal or insertion of the next tampon. These tears can provide a window for the bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus, which is commonly present on our skin and can get pushed into the vagina during tampon insertion, to get into our system causing Toxic Shock Syndrome.

What else can you use?

Reusable Menstrual Cups
A reusable, bell-shaped menstrual cup that is worn internally and sits low in the vaginal canal, collecting rather than absorbing your menstrual flow. Menstrual cups have existed since the 1930s when women were searching for an alternative to the choices of the time. Yet, its breakthrough into the feminine hygiene industry is much more recent.
Reusable Cloth Pads
Similar to the ones you buy in the store, reusable cloth pads are made of a soft material, usually cotton or flannel, rather than plastic. They come with a pad with wings that snap around the gusset (the part between your legs) of your underwear, and a liner that you either slip inside the pad or place on top of the pad depending on the brand. The liners, made of terry cloth, are the part that actually absorb your blood flow. You change them about as often as you would a regular maxi-pad, every 2-6 hours as needed. The manufacturers also make panty liner and overnight versions. The pads themselves can last about 5 years.

 

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