Menstrual hygiene: What are tampons, and why you should not use the super-absorbent variety

Many people prefer tampons to sanitary pads, because they find it more convenient and comfortable, without having to deal with rashes that accompany pads, especially when they are worn for a long period of time.

What are tampons?

For those who are curious about what tampons really are and how they work, Dr Tanaya, aka Dr Cuterus, has an interesting explanation. She took to Instagram to share in a video that a tampon is a cylindrical object that goes inside the vagina to absorb all of the menstrual blood.

It can be pulled out with the help of a string that is attached to it.

She demonstrated in the video how the menstrual blood collects in the uterus and is passed into the vaginal canal, after which it comes out of the vagina. The way a tampon works is that it can be inserted into the vagina and made to collect all the blood, much like a menstrual cup.

Things to keep in mind while using a tampon

Do you prefer tampons to sanitary pads? (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

“Please do not use the super-absorbent ones; they are linked with a deadly infection called ‘toxic shock syndrome‘,” the doctor warned.

Healthline defines toxic shock syndrome (TSS) as a “rare but serious medical condition caused by a bacterial infection”. It can be caused when the “bacterium Staphylococcus aureus gets into the bloodstream and produces toxins”. Symptoms may appear suddenly, and in most cases, may include: sudden fever, headache, low blood pressure, muscle ache, confusion, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, among others.

Dr Tanaya added that it is imperative to change a tampon every 6-8 hours.

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