Most third world countries especially the ones nestled in South Asia suffer from a massive epidemic of ignorance. The word sex is a taboo and so are those that branch out from it including menstruation, reproduction, or basic human morphology & anatomy. It is absolutely shocking when a 21st century woman has to work up courage to ask her friends about what she needs to do on her wedding night! The Essential Health Chronicles strives to erase that ignorance – it’s not bliss, but stupidity when you don’t know your own body.
Menstruation is a biological phenomenon that occurs in almost all female species of mammals. While animals have their own way of managing this phenomenon, we use something to soak up the blood during the three to five days of the cycle. There are two choices that serve the purpose.
The Uncomfortable Option called Pads
One is quite obvious from the numerous TVCs that run across channels every fifteen minutes – Sanitary Napkins. These are long rectangular (generically) items made of absorbent materials that can be attached to the underwear. They have wings, grooves, and varying designs to serve comfort and prevent leakage. Materials used to make pads or sanitary napkins vary across brands. The size and thickness also vary for days that you have heavy or light periods. Pads need to be changed every 3 to 4 hours to prevent buildup of odor or infection. Do not flush them down a toilet, as they can easily clog the drain and cause a mess. Use a trashcan and make sure you wrap it up before tossing it in.
Despite the many benefits, pads can be quite a nuisance.
- They smell! Walking into a room and letting people know that you have your period is the last thing you want.
- They could cause rashes, infections, and even cervical disorders if not changed constantly.
- They can show through your pants making it quite obvious to everyone that you are menstruating, even if you have PMS under control.
- They also slide sideways and feel quite uncomfortable.
- There’s trouble if you want to pull it out and take it to the loo to change ‘coz they cannot be easily concealed in your palm.
The Miraculous Alternative called Tampons
What most women that this article aims to target don’t know is that there is another alternative at the drug store, which can fight the above demerits. Tampons are one of the most commonly used materials to absorb menstrual blood. These are long cylindrical chalk-like objects created from highly-compressed absorbent materials that can be inserted into the vagina. Sometimes they come with applicators that help to put them in place or they can be inserted in with your fingers. Tampons have a string attached to the bottom that help you pull them out easily for disposal.
Besides being easy to use, tampons solve the problem of discomfort with pads. There is not worry about leakage, and since the blood doesn’t flow out, there is no odor. They can be easily concealed in your palm when you want to change, and can also be flushed down the toilet. They also come in different variants for your heavy and light flow days.
The usual questions that badger your minds would include:
- Will I lose my virginity if I use tampons?
You lose your virginity when you have sex, not when you use a tampon.
- What if it gets lost in me?
It will never get lost in you. The string will run from the bottom of the tampon leading out of the vaginal canal. You can always pull it out.
- Will it hurt?
It doesn’t hurt a bit. In fact, if properly placed, you shouldn’t feel like you are wearing it. Push it as far in as possible with your fingers and make sure you feel comfortable when you walk or sit.
- What is TSS?
TSS or Toxic Shock Syndrome is the only risk that comes with tampons. It is extremely rare. Using a single tampon for a very long time can result in the growth of bacteria that release toxins and cause a major illness. If you experience high fever, rash, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue or muscle ache constantly while wearing tampons, remove immediately and visit the emergency room.
- How often do I change the tampons?
Like pads, you have to change your tampons once every 4-6 hours regardless of your flow.
Tampons are great alternatives for women who often travel, swim, or find trouble with any kind of pad. Brands like Bella or OB are available at most drugstores, supermarkets, and cosmetic stores like Health & Glow or newU. Visit your gynecologist for more guidance and information. If you have any questions, write to us in the comments below.