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There are many myths about tampons that scare new users, especially younger users. What are these myths, and can we bust them?
Hmm…should I try tampons this time? No, I won’t, they are unsafe and scary. Wait! Why would they be sold if they were not safe and user friendly? Are these a few questions that popped up in your head when you spot tampons on the shelves?
A survey reveals that approximately 95% of female population in India are not aware of tampon and how is it used.
You need a pad or a tampon to soak up your menstrual blood. For decades, pads have been a convenient and popular choice but there are ‘tampons’ that offer more carefree protection. Pads are worn externally and tampons are worn internally and its internal application has stirred up some ‘myths’. Let us burst these myths together. Start using them right when you start menstruating.
How much do you know about a tampon?
Tampon is a feminine product, which is a small finger-like and absorbent plug worn inside the vagina to soak menstrual blood. They are generally made of cotton and rayon, that enables them to expand on soaking blood.
The word tampon is derived from a medieval French word ‘tampion’, which means a plug or stopper. For several thousand years women have been using tampons – the oldest printed document dates back to the fifteenth century when Egyptian women used wool tampons. Paper tampons and hapuu (furry part of a native fern) has been reportedly used by women in Japan and Hawaii. Simultaneously, grasses, mosses and other plants are still used by women in parts of Asia.
So here are a few myths about tampons that need to be busted and put to rest.
Truth – Hymen is an elastic tissue which is extremely flexible, which is not necessarily harmed by using the tampon. There is fallacy on loss of virginity on use of tampon, which many associate with breaking of hymen and that is not true. Hymen can break while exercising, cycling, horse-back riding, stretching, etc. Surprisingly many women are born without hymen. Also, an intact hymen is not necessarily a proof of your virginity.
Truth – Relax, a tampon is too big to get through your cervix and also the vaginal walls hold them in place. Nothing can ever get lost in the vagina and the least of all a tampon since it has a string that hangs outside when you insert the tampon, and can be pulled out easily. They are safe. Your vaginal walls are also there, holding your tampon into place.
Truth – There is no scientific evidence that suggests that tampons can cause cancer or contain any cancerous agent. Some companies have clarified that their product DOES NOT contain asbestos. Scientifically they are safe to be used. Be assured.
TSS is real and fatal and one should be well aware of it. Toxic shock syndrome is caused by toxins produced by a bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus and can have life-threatening complications. TSS occurs when your tampon is left in for too long. It is very rare and with an incidence rate of approximately 1 in 2,407,079 or 0.00% or 112 people in USA. You should be fine as long as you change your tampons regularly, every 4-8 hours. It is a simple hygienic practice to regularly change tampons.
Truth – For the first few times, it will be slightly uncomfortable but then aren’t sanitary pads uncomfortable? The uneasiness caused by wetness, rashes, and indistinct odour cannot beat the carefree and dry feel that tampons offer. It is a quick process when you understand the trick of sliding the tampon in. Ideally you should not feel the tampon if it is rightly placed.
Truth – It simply does not since it expands due to absorbing blood, it sits tightly once inserted. When you feel slightly heavy in your uterus/lower abdomen, it is time to change the tampon.
Truth – On studying the anatomy of the vulval area (down below area) of a female, there are three separate openings – urethra, vagina, and anus, from the front to the back. The tampon goes into the vagina; an opening between urethra and anus. You certainly will have to move the string while peeing.
Truth – One of the best things that tampons offer is that they let you enjoy water activities and do not float out of your body. You might want to change the tampon after a swim depending upon the flow. Many professional swimmers use tampons.
There is no ‘right time’ to use a tampon, you can use it when you start menstruating.
The tampon that offers best absorbency will also be the most comfortable. It is significant to choose the right absorbency tampon depending on the flow. It is advisable to start with a lower absorbency tampon initially and if it is saturated within an hour or two, use a higher absorbency one. A tampon should be easily removable, if stuck or dry then you need to use a lighter absorbency. Hence it is of utmost importance to know your flow.
Tampons offer invisible and carefree protection in shorts, tight skirt, in shower, while playing sports and water activities in your period.
Tampons are small and can be carried easily in your pocket!
It is important to wash hands well before inserting a tampon and change within 4-8 hours – maintaining proper hygiene is the key to comfort and to avoid the dreaded toxic shock syndrome.
Always speak to your GP if you have any problems and clear your doubts.
Do not judge it based on myths and rumours; use it, experience it and decide.
Image source: tampons for periods by Shutterstock.
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