Are pads and tampons unhealthy?
There are a lot of scare stories going around about whether it is safe to use tampons and pads. Knowing the truth about what is in them and how they can affect your body will help you to make the choice about the best approach for your period. Tampons and pads certainly have their place and are perfect for some women - but are they the best choice for our health?
What are they made of?
Almost all standard tampons and pads are made from bleached rayon, cotton and plastics. They are also found to contain pesticide residue, various chemicals and even glues. Pesticide is found in 85% of the World’s cotton - so chances are it is in your tampon or pad too. These products are usually thought to be safe when used on products that are close to normal skin - but your vagina is especially absorbent...
Whatsmore, in recent weeks, research was released by the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research that suggested that cleaning with bleach could lead to lung problems and we are all aware that we should not let it touch our skin. Bleach - not really something you want close to your nether regions!
So why does this matter?
Well, for some women this exposure to pesticides, plastics and the like can lead to rashes and worse. Some of these ingredients are considered to be carcinogens and most have not been studied for use in products such as pads and tampons and are relatively unregulated. Also, testing isn’t mandatory, and neither is disclosure on the ingredients used. So even if you know you are allergic to a certain ingredient - it really is hard to find out if it is present in your tampon or pad.
Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)
This is an infection that can be caused by tampon use and can come on very quickly and is sometimes fatal. It is caused by the staphylococcus or streptococcus bacteria getting into the body after being introduced either by the tampon itself or during insertion. Usually, this is harmless, but in the vagina the skin is absorbent and the bacteria can be introduced further into the body. When caught early this is almost always treatable.
What can you do?
Using alternative menstrual devices such as the Tulip Cup or our reusable menstrual cloth pads made from unbleached materials are a great start. The high grade silicon of the Tulip Cup or other menstrual cups does not degrade inside the body like a tampon might and it can be left in place all day without risking infection or TSS.
Using pads and tampons is entirely your own choice and most women suffer no ill effects. But it is possible to avoid the hidden potential effects of these products - so why not?