With thousands of teenagers and women of all ages using hundreds of tampons a year as their menstrual sanitation method of choice (which could include you!), I ask, are they even safe? Or which ones are safest and what’s the safest way to use them?
The 2 main concerns with tampons are that they are typically bleached with chemicals that are harmful to the delicate lining of our vaginas and the life-threatening condition of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) that they cause.
TSS is an illness caused by specific rare bacteria which enter the bloodstream, overwhelm the immune system and cause severe symptoms of high fever vomiting, diarrhoea, a sunburn-like rash, bloodshot eyes, confusion and peeling of the skin on the palms and soles of the feet, along with major organs in the body shutting down, normally 3 including the liver and kidneys.
The common bacteria staphylococcus aureus is thought to enter the woman’s body by tiny cuts and ulcerations on the vaginal wall, that the tampons cause as they get pulled out, put in and left in the vagina.
The high or super absorbent ones are most dangerous as in some cases, they expand so much that they literally stick to the vaginal wall, so when they are removed, a layer of the vaginal wall is pulled off with it.
Due to how severely the immune system and internal organs are affected by it, it is life-threatening and 3% of women who get TSS die from it.
It also doesn’t matter if you’ve been using tampons for years with no reactions, you can still be at risk of the infection.
If you are menstruating, using tampons and develop these symptoms, there is no natural treatment to my knowledge that you can help yourself with. This is an emergency situation and you need to medical attention straight away.
Take the tampon out and get yourself to the nearest hospital.
If you get proper treatment, you can get well normally in 2-3 weeks depending on the extent of the infection.
Now, if none of that has put you off using them, here’s how to make using them safer
Avoid super absorbent tampons.
Alternate between tampons and pads during your period.
Never leave them in overnight.
Change them every 3-4 hours.
Avoid the use of plastic applicators whose sharp edges can scratch the vagina.
If your vagina is dry, don’t use them.
Make sure your hands a very clean when you take them out and insert a new one
Don’t use them between periods as they will dry out your vagina
Use 100% cotton tampons instead of those made with synthetics materials containing chemical dyes
The last point is very important, please make sure to ALWAYS use unbleached 100% organic cotton tampons.
The bleached ones contain the chemicals that many people have heard about called “dioxins” which are carcinogenic, as well as the chemicals found in the plastic wrappings, plastic applicators are glossy cardboard applicators that come in contact with the vaginal wall and the herbicides, pesticides and fertilisers that will still be in the cotton if it’s not organic, which will all come in contact with your vaginal wall frequently.
The vaginal wall is a very absorbent area of the body so you have to be very careful what makes prolonged or regular contact with it.
Take care and stay healthy!
The Naturally You Coach