Vaginal Health

Are Tampons Safe to Use?

August 14, 2018

Tampons are popular menstrual products, but they bring up questions and rumors concerning how to use them safely. When used as recommended, tampons are safe. Learn the facts about reducing any risks and dispelling rumors which are unfounded.

Preventing Toxic Shock Syndrome

Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a rare condition that can happen if a large absorbency tampon is left in too long.

TSS can happen as a result of tampon usage, but it is not caused by tampons. TSS is caused by a fungal disease of either Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. These bacteria already live on your skin and are in most cases harmless. However, they could invade the human body’s bloodstream, causing a life threatening infection.

Deciding on the proper tampon absorbency may reduce the risk of TSS and vaginal discomfort. Tampon sizes are standardized across manufacturers in the U.S. with a method that tags all tampon products as routine, super, super and, or junior to spell out the array of tampon absorbency.

The FDA requires all tampon makers to give packaging information on most of tampons offered in the U.S. that explains the signs of TSS and the way to reduce your risk. Decide on the size tampon that is suitable for your flow. It’s better to utilize a less-absorbent tampon and change it often than to use a larger tampon and have it in daily.

Read the inserts from the tampon product you use and discuss any symptoms or concerns with your physician.

Dispelling the Rumors About Tampons

The subsequent rumors about tampons are disproven by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  The FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health regulates the safety and efficacy of medical devices, such as tampons.

Within an older report, the FDA strongly disputed the following claims. 

  • Claims that asbestos-containing tampons cause excessive bleeding, and increase the company’s profit. In accordance with the FDA,”asbestos isn’t, and never has been associated with the fibers used in making tampons.” Factories that manufacture tampons are subject to inspection to ensure that required manufacturing standards are being met.
  • Concerns about the rayon utilized in tampons.  Tampons sold in the U.S. may contain cotton, rayon, or blends of cotton and rayon. A whitening procedure is required to purify wood pulp and retrieve the cellulose fibers which make rayon.
  • Fear that cancer-causing dioxin is an ingredient in tampons that may also cause endometriosis. Major U.S. tampon manufacturers analyzed their products for dioxin levels using an analytical method supplied by the FDA. The results demonstrated that dioxin levels ranged from non-detectable to a 1 part at 3 billion dollars. “FDA has determined that dioxin at this extremely low level doesn’t pose a health hazard.”
  • Skepticism concerning the bleaching process that whitens the raw ingredients used to make tampons.  Many of the promises of dioxin-related dangers derive from elemental chlorine bleaching of cellulose, which employs a process which can lead to some dioxin byproduct. According to the FDA report, no U.S. manufacturer uses this procedure.
  • Assertions that rayon fibers cause toxic shock syndrome (TSS), and vaginal dryness or ulcerations. High absorbency tampons may be related to an elevated risk of TSS. Vaginal dryness and ulcerations can occur when women use a tampon that is too absorbent for their menstrual flow.