What’s Really In Your Tampon?

Apparently even the experts don't know.


Tampons have been given a bit of a bad rep as of late. Just last year Laura Wasser, a 24-year old model lost her leg as a result of Toxic Shock Syndrome, while last month English student Emily Pankhurst spent three days in intensive care after leaving hers in for nine days.

Given that they’re fairly invasive (we’re putting them inside our bodies after all) you’d think we’d be well clued up on what ingredients actually make up that little white toiletry – but for the most part, it remains a mystery.

In fact, even the experts are unsure about what goes into a tampon. Speaking to Byrdie, Jordana Kier and Alex Friedman, founders of LOLA, a cotton tampon subscription service say that “The big brands do the bare minimum and rarely disclose the ratio of ingredients in their tampons, which is typically a blend of the artificial fibres rayon and polyester among others.”

After that things get a little shady, they reveal. In fact, when the pair were developing their product and sent some of the big brand-name tampons into the lab for testing they were unable to identify many of the chemicals.

Their guess? The average tampon contains a smorgasbord of artificial fragrances and synthetic absorbents.

The big question though is, should you care? According to Dr Mercola, an American natural health practitioner, yes you should.

Writing on his website he explains that “Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and also the thinnest. Less than 1/10th of an inch separates your body from potential toxins. Worse yet, your skin is highly permeable — especially the skin around your vaginal area, not to mention inside the vagina itself.”

So what should you do if you’re concerned about the potential health risks of using tampons? Thankfully, there are lots of options. Aside from switching to sanitary pads, cotton or organic tampons are also an option, while menstrual cups and leak-proof underwear are also becoming increasingly popular.


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