Okay hunties, we all know what tampons are, obviously. But sometimes, just knowing what a product is isn’t enough.
Sure, you know your favorite brand and how your flow “ebbs and flows” during your period. Because of this, you also know you need a variety of different size tampons, but there’s so much more to know.
What are the risks involved with tampons? How long is it really safe to leave one in for? How does tampon usage affect the world around you? And why the heck are they so expensive?
Hang on to your hats, hunties! Because here we go! We’re going to dive deep into the history, risks, and availability of tampons in this article, and tell you everything you need to know when making decisions about what to use when it’s your time of the month.
The History of Tampons
The history of feminine hygiene products made in the home is long and varied. There are written sources dating back thousands of years about how women have been making tampons out of everything from papyrus in ancient Egypt to wool in Rome. WOW!
But, if you look at products sold by feminine hygiene companies, the history becomes a lot shorter than you might expect. Companies were too afraid of reminding people that menstruation happens, and didn’t start marketing feminine hygiene products until the 1900s! Holy moly! Women went for thousands of years having to make do with household products or other natural absorbents until then.
Tampons themselves weren’t even sold until the 1930s. Can you believe it? And trust me hunties, tampons were a big deal! They gave women a lot more physical freedom than a pad or pantyliner did since they’re made to be inserted fully into the Vibe.
Tampons allowed for swimming and other sports involving a lot of flexibility. With a tampon, women didn’t need to worry about the pad moving around and letting some of the blood leak out. Not to mention it made traveling a lot easier. No more filling a whole suitcase with bulky pads and liners. Tampons were truly a life-changing product!
There are actually two types of tampons: applicator tampons, which come with a plastic or cardboard applicator tube, and digital tampons, which are inserted with your finger. They expand in slightly different ways, with the applicator ones stretching in length and the digital ones in diameter, but they achieve the same effect.
So, if tampons are so great, there’s nothing to worry about right? Well, not necessarily, hunties. Everyone’s body is different, so when using tampons, there are some risks to consider.
Toxic Shock Syndrome
Hunties, we’ve all heard the phrase before and instinctively moved to protect our Vibes. The whispered, terrible Toxic Shock Syndrome, or TSS is not something you want to experience.
In the past, TSS was what people used to scare women away from using tampons, but it is a legitimately bad disease caused by a buildup of bacteria that can result in some pretty terrible things, including death. TSS is pretty rare and can actually be caused by things other than tampons, but they are a considerable factor.
The good news is that, with tampons, it’s easy to avoid TSS, and it shouldn’t be a limiting factor when considering their use. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released recommendations about tampon use in order to minimize the risk. Besides following the manufacturer’s instructions on the box about insertion, the FDA advises to:
- Always use the lowest absorbency you can get away with
- Change your tampon at least every 6-8 hours
- Alternate between tampons and pads if possible
- Don’t use tampons overnight
By regularly changing your tampon and not leaving it in for too long, you reduce the risk of TSS greatly. TSS is caused by bacteria building up in your Vibe, so always remember to keep track of how long you’ve been wearing a tampon. Set a reminder on your phone if you need to!
You’d think that feminine hygiene products would be cheap and easily accessible, seeing as how over half of the world’s population needs them to survive daily life. But sadly, you’d be wrong!
Many essential feminine hygiene products are considered luxury items and aren’t easy to come by at all. For many women around the world, these items, meant to manage normal healthy bodily functions, are too expensive or just not available!
Women with periods spend hundreds of dollars on feminine hygiene and, for many, that is money they simply shouldn’t have to spend. What’s known as the “tampon tax” or the “pink tax” is unfortunately still all too common. Many states in the U.S. have passed laws to eliminate or reduce the tax on feminine products, but there’s still a long way to go.
Outside of the U.S., many places still hold on to more conservative and traditional beliefs about women and their periods. Some cultures place a large emphasis on an intact hymen and discourage tampon use since it can disturb or tear the hymen with use. In places where not only tampons, but all types of feminine hygiene products aren’t widely available, women turn to toilet paper, tissues, rags, and other types of cloth.
Unfortunately, these options may not always be sanitary, and we believe in giving women choices to empower them!
Waste Created by Tampons
We’ve only got one world to live in, hunties, so we should take care of it and make the best of it! And in a lot of countries, they just don’t have the proper disposal methods to get rid of used tampons.
Not to mention, a lot of women don’t know that flushing your tampon down the toilet is actually worse for the environment than putting it in the garbage. It’s true! Think about it - there are a lot of us hunties, and we go through an enormous number of tampons. All of those can negatively impact the sewage plants because most tampons aren’t biodegradable.
It’s actually more “green conscious” to use reusable pads, menstrual sponges, absorbent underwear, or a menstrual cup. These are all products which can be washed after use and used again during your period, as well as many periods in the future. The key is keeping them sterile and sanitary.
Anything you can reuse will be better for the environment because you won’t be constantly throwing away new packaging and used products.
Alternatives to Tampons
If all of this has you rethinking your use of tampons, don’t worry! Tampons are safe and effective, but they aren’t for everyone. Luckily, there are plenty of other types of products on the market that also work to keep you clean during those pesky periods.
In most stores with a feminine hygiene aisle you’ll also see products like:
- Menstrual cups
- Sanitary pads
- Menstrual discs (similar to a cup but flexible like a bag and can hold more liquid)
- Menstrual sponges (similar to a tampon)
- Period underwear (washable, super absorbent undies)
These can all be used instead of tampons. Menstrual cups have the advantage that they don’t need to be changed as often, only every 10-12 hours. Period underwear means you don’t have to worry about putting anything down there. Menstrual discs have become popular because they sit deeper inside the vagina than a cup or tampon. That means you can still have sex while the disc is inside, without worrying about the blood or dislodging anything.
If you do use tampons, thoroughly wash your intimate area to prevent any unwanted or unsanitary build up. Make sure to do your research on whatever product you end up choosing, looking into both its environmental effects and composition.
It’s no secret among us that tampons are game-changers, and we love them! So, just know your tampon safety, and you’ll be in the clear.
Remember, your Vibe is precious, so learn all you can and treat it the way it deserves to be treated!