We know a lot about the biological aspect of our period, and what's happening inside our body, but how much do we really know about the products that are helping us?
Yes, I'm talking about tampons. It's generally seen as a taboo topic in conversation, but why should it be? Tampons are used my millions of women all over the world, and it's time we educated ourselves.
1. No, you can't flush them.
Raise your hand if you've flushed a tampon before. If you're not raising your hand, you're flat-out lying to me. Every woman who has used a tampon just flushed it down the toilet, which seems like the best way to get rid of them.
And I guess that's true, flushing is simple. But while tampons may stop your flow, they can also stop the flow of septic pipes. Too many tampons flushed down the toilet can clog it, causing more harm than good.
The best way to dispose of a used tampon is by throwing it in the garbage or one of those disposals you see in public bathrooms.
2. Scented tampons make things worse.
First off, why are scented tampons a thing? Who are you trying to impress?
Second, scented tampons aren't great for your vagina. The chemicals they use to add the scent kill the bad bacteria your vagina needs to stay clean and healthy. They can also cause yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis.
No thank you.
3. You go through a lot of tampons.
It's estimated that the average American woman will use 16,000 tampons in her lifetime. With about 36 tampons in a box, at $7 a box, you'll be spending upwards of $3,000 on tampons in your life.
Plus, to make things worse, tampons have a "luxury" tax added to them because apparently it's a gift to women every month to shove cotton into their body. Who knew?
4.You shouldn't sleep with one.
Taking a nap with a tampon in isn't the end of the world, but if you plan on sleeping for more than eight hours, maybe use a pad instead.
You shouldn't be leaving a tampon in for more than eight hours because it can lead to infection and toxic shock syndrome, neither of which are pleasant.
If you are going to sleep with a tampon in, either make sure you change it immediately after you wake up, or get up to change it in the middle of the night.
5. Not all tampons are the same.
Sounds basic right? But you'd be surprised how many people don't realize that the kind of tampon you use is important.
You should always aim for the lowest absorbency possible, which I realize sounds counter intuitive, but it makes tampons easier to remove and causes less discomfort during your period.
The idea of pulling a dry piece of cotton out of any part of your body is unpleasant, but more so in your sensitive area. Doing some research (and a little trial and error) to find out what style, brand, and size of tampon works best for you could seriously change your life.
6. Tampons can expire.
Have you ever bought a box of tampons because they were on sale, then forgotten that you bought them and the next cycle you're out buying more tampons? Me too.
That spare box in your medicine cabinet might look brand new, but if it's been sitting there for longer than five years, just throw it out. Tampons all have expiry dates on their boxes, and you would do well to follow them.
Old tampons can grow mold and bacteria, and if I have to explain to you why you don't want to use a moldy tampon, then I think you have bigger issues.
7. You can't "lose" a tampon.
In gym class there was always a girl who would talk about her mom's friend's sister's cousin who somehow lost a tampon in their vagina and could never find it again. We all believed her and were TERRIFIED to use one ever again.
But here's the thing, that can't actually happen. Your vaginal canal is not a subway line through a black hole. There are walls and a tampon can't just get lost in there. They can, however, get stuck.
Sometimes the string gets lodged somewhere it shouldn't and the tampon is harder to reach, but some patience will ultimately solve the problem.
8. They can be used for other things.
Tampons are really just cotton on a string. If you ever get a nosebleed or some other type of bleeding wound, and you happen to have a tampon in your purse, then use it to stop the bleeding!
A lot of survivalists also stock up on tampons, as they make great fire starters and water filters.