September 28, 2011

Tampons are used to collect menstrual fluid. They are made of either synthetic fibers such as rayon or natural fibers such as cotton. These fibers are manufactured into a compact tubular shape that allows for easy insertion into the vagina. Tampons come in different levels of absorbency. This allows the woman to select the tampon to meet the demands of her menstrual flow. Women should select the lightest absorbency needed to provide effective coverage. If the tampon is difficult to remove or does not need to be changed in 4 hours, it may be too absorbent. If any signs of irritation appear in the vaginal area, consider changing brands or switching to sanitary pads.

Tampon users should be aware of the signs of toxic shock syndrome such as high fever, low blood pressure, and sunburn—like rash, vomiting, and diarrhea. One brand of tampon, Rely tampons, was removed from the market after studies demonstrated that there was an increased risk of toxic shock syndrome associated with their use. This increased risk has not been associated with the use of any other brand of tampon.

See Also: Menstruation, Toxic shock syndrome

Suggested Reading

  • Chin, H. (1997). On call: Obstetrics and gynecology (p. 283). Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders.
  • Scott, J., et al. (1999). Danforth’s obstetrics and gynecology (8th ed., p. 287). Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders



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