The word Tampon comes from the French word ‘Tampion’ and was one of the first groundbreaking period products to size down extensively from a bulky sanitary pad. The acceptance of this product was filled with a lot of hesitation, back in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, when it was launched in European countries.
Even now, a tampon comes with ample doubts and myths for a new menstruator. So let’s cover some common facts about tampon use and bust the popular myths that surround this harmless period product.
1. Do tampons have a shelf life?
Yes, approximately five years. We don’t think about it as much because a tampon lasts us a cycle or two, before it’s time to buy the next one. But as a rule of thumb, do not wear tampons that have a ripped packaging and have been exposed to external elements like moisture, dirt, grime, oily or creamy residue or any chemicals from your cosmetics. We know it’s going to enter the vagina which is a very sensitive area and susceptible to infection.
2. Will it loosen my vagina?
Absolutely not. Here’s a reminder, a vagina has the ability to push a baby out. And then there’s a tampon! Enough said already. Next?
3. For how long can I leave the tampon inside?
Tampons usually come in 3 sizes, Regular, Super and Super Plus. As the name suggests, Regular can be used at the beginning and end of the period cycle, when the flow is mild. Super can be used in between when the flow is more. Super Plus is for those days where the flow is extra heavy. Typically 4-8 hours is the range of wearing your tampon, unless you’re experiencing a heavy flow. This ensures zero risk of TSS and maintains healthy pH levels of your vagina.
4. What about my virginity? Will a tampon hamper it?
No, The only way to lose virginity is through sexual intercourse. Inserting a tampon cannot be counted as a sexual experience.
5. Can I flush it down the toilet?
An absolute 100% NO. It will choke the toilet. Organic cotton tampons also known as biodegradable tampons are made of 100% cotton. Once thrown in water, tampons tend to balloon up and become twice their size. Now imagine the possibilities if you try to flush it down the toilet. Therefore, always remember to dispose off a used tampon in a tissue or a toilet roll, next to your toilet seat.
6. Can I go swimming with a tampon on?
Yes, without any hassle. It will comfortably stay lodged inside your vagina and don’t worry, water won’t enter through your vulva into your vaginal walls and drown the tampon in it. Neither will your blood leak through it into the water. A safe option is to wear a fresh tampon before jumping into the water. That way you know, it won’t be getting close to full and may leak.
7. Are tampons environmentally sustainable?
Biodegradable tampons that are made with 100% organic cotton are sustainable. Tampons that have a thin plastic sheet (similar to the one on a sanitary pad) are non biodegradable. Also, the ones that come with a plastic applicator for easy insertion, generate too much garbage, adding to the landfills. Therefore only invest in a biodegradable tampon, if you are looking for a sustainable option.
8. Do tampons need any external lubrication?
Your period blood is the best and safest lubrication required to insert a tampon.
9. What if the thread breaks and the tampon gets stuck inside?
Tampon strings normally don’t break away from its body. If at all this happens with you, do not panic. Just relax your pelvis and try pushing out the tampon or insert your index finger and thumb and pull out the stuck tampon. It won’t get lost inside your vagina.
10. Do tampons come in different fragrances like sanitary pads?
They do not. Thankfully! And never invest in one either. Such products are loaded with chemicals, to make your vagina smell like a garden of eden. The truth is, a vagina should smell like a vagina, and nothing else.
11. My tampon leaked as soon as I wore it. Why?
The base of the tampon acts as a plug. Stretch it out slightly with the help of the string in. It should resemble a half opened umbrella. Once you insert it vaginally, your chances of leakage will go down considerably.
12. They make an excellent candidate for a First Aid Kit
Say what? That’s right. Think of a nose bleed situation, deep cut or a wound. Tampon to the rescue! Unwrap and gently insert it in the nose, or place it on an injury that is bleeding excessively. It will quickly soak the excessive blood and minimize blood loss.
13. Do not expect them to arouse you
Funny, right? Some people confuse it with an “arousal device.” Umm.. no! Sorry to disappoint you, it won’t get you anywhere or even close to it. A tampon will definitely leave you feeling dry, if not high, you know what I mean.
14. I cannot pee with a tampon inside me
As per a woman’s anatomy, you pee from your urethra and insert the tampon in your vagina. Both the openings are different. Therefore, you should be able to pee freely. About the string, hold it and put it on one side so that it doesn’t get soaked by urine. You don’t want to move around with a soggy thread in your underwear, not only is it unhygienic, it’s just gross! Once done, clean up and let the string hang. You’re good to go.
15. I tried but it doesn’t go beyond half
Firstly, make sure you’re on your period when trying to insert, because the period blood acts as a natural lubricant. Secondly, most of us assume that it has to be inserted right into the vagina, which is not accurate. Try slanting it upwards, almost towards your back.
Lastly, the right position and posture while inserting a tampon is very important. Some people prefer to raise one leg and place it on a shut toilet seat, while others prefer the squat position. Make sure your vaginal muscles are relaxed. Practice a deep inhale and long exhale to loosen any contracted muscles in your vaginal or abdominal area.
The list of myths and doubts surrounding a tampon is endless. No wonder why it hasn’t been an easily acceptable period product for the masses. This article was intended to provide some insight into clarifying and demystifying some of the tampon myths and add some interesting facts about a tampon. Hope it helps!
The article is written by Divya Sethi