For women of childbearing age, menstrual cramps, altered mood, back pain, and menstrual flow are something they have to contend with every month.
Having a good sanitary product to use can help make this time a bit more bearable.
One of the preferred options over the decades has been tampons. These are, however, not without complications and health risks.
What are Tampons?
Tampons are designed to be inserted inside the vagina, with or without an applicator. Once in play, they then absorb one’s menstrual flow.
These are classified as medical devices in some countries and are meant to be used once then discarded.
This differs from some sanitary items. Some of the best menstrual underwear, for example, can be used several times, which is considered to be more cost-effective and less damaging to the environment.
While tampons should be safe for the most part, they carry a level of risk to users.
Here are some dangers of using tampons.
By being classified as medical devices, manufacturers don’t need to disclose many compounds or ingredients used in their manufacture.
While smaller brands entering the market might undertake to disclose all components used, bigger brands might not.
This means that it’s possible to purchase a brand with components you might be allergic to.
The vagina has yeast, bacteria, and other microorganisms that help keep it healthy and its ecosystem well-balanced.
The right PH levels keep bad bacteria at bay which allows the vagina to self-clean. This is why douches and soaps are unnecessary in vagina hygiene. PH and good bacteria can adequately manage this even when you are on your period.
The insertion of a foreign object such as a tampon can interfere with this balance. Keep in mind that tampons will absorb all moisture and wetness in the vagina indiscriminately.
This can cause a misbalance in fluids. This can lead to irritability, overgrowth of bad bacteria, and infections.
TSS is a potentially life-threatening condition believed to come from certain bacteria. These include streptococcus pyogenes and staphylococcus aureus.
TSS has been associated with menstruating women, especially those using tampons. While the underlying mechanism is not clear, it’s believed that a fluid-soaked tampon inside the body can lead to an overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina.
While super—absorbent tampons might offer more convenience, they also escalate the risk for TSS.
To prevent TSS, it’s advised to use clean hands, change every four hours, and consider alternating with external items such as pads and menstruation underwear.
As convenient as tampons can be, they can be harmful with incorrect usage or for people with allergies to certain compounds.