An Ode To The Alternative of a Pad *The Tampon*
My period is late, five days to be exact. As I look at my unstained undies I begin to pray, pray that my period would rear it’s ugly head in the next hour, making promises to be a better person and volunteer more. Yes, my periods late, FIVE DAYS LATE! So many things are running through my mind none of them are 1. I am a woman and my menstrual cycle is part of my womanhood OR the more obvious 2. I’M PREGNANT, which is what most women think when our lovely friend doesn’t show up. No, I’m praying for my period to start and end by Sunday because I’m getting baptized and as funny as it would be to see baptism water bloody, that was not part of my plan.
As a long time pad wearer, I begin to think about my options A. Join the movement and wear the menstrual cup, it leaks 0.5 times less than the pad and tampons or B. The Tampon, which I can wear for at least four hours maximum 8 but I may risk getting Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS); but scientist recently developed a TSS vaccine that provides immunity from the infection for up to 5 years. so I should be okay. TAMPON IT IS!
After what seemed like an eternity, I find the holy grail of tampons but then a weird thought pops into my head. When was the last time I wore a tampon and how long has this tampon been in this box? The last time I wore a tampon, Obama wasn't even President yet, but it's not open so it should be safe, wait, Do Tampon's Expire?
Technically, no because tampons are made from rayon (think of it as the cooler version of cotton) or synthetic material, this material also reduces the risk of TSS. But that doesn't mean the tampon is all safe and dandy. Back in 2012, Danielle Parr of Texas, found mold in her Kotex tampon after it accidentally popped out of the applicator. Even though Kotex claimed that this was an isolated incident and they'd have to run some more test, they guaranteed that tampons don't expire. So to be on the safe side, just make sure there's no mold especially if you store your tampon in a heated area. But there are also other risk factors in using tampons especially if it's been more than a year, for example, pesticides; Because the cotton or materials used in most tampons are from cotton fields they may be carriers of pesticides. For example, non-organic cotton in pads and tampons have soaked up at least some of the more than 55 million pounds of pesticides (PDF) sprayed on cotton fields in the US each year that occasionally make it into our surface water. Another downside, the risk of contracting a vaginal infection like a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), because the tampon gives way for bacteria to invade the vaginal area.
Fun Fact: RepHresh, a manufacturer of feminine health products and tools has created RePhresh Brilliant, a pH tampon that reduces reduces your pH level to normal during menstruation and prevents yeast infection during menstruation.
So the question is: Do I risk it all and wear the tampon or not? I could buy a new tampon box but I don't wear tampons and I can't donate an open box. I could also check the tampon for mold and risk the chance of TSS. I think I'll take my chances and buy a box of tampons, probably organic (to be on the safe side).