A tampon is generally a small plug or mass of absorbent material
usually made of cotton or rayon or a mixture of the two which is
inserted into any body cavity or wound to absorb bodily fluid.
In this article, you will
find a brief presentation of the most important facts about its use.
It is interesting to note their use date as early as
2500BC in Egypt where the early types were made of papyrus( some sort of paper
made of grass). Hippocrates, considered the father of medicine, wrote
about the Greeks usaging it in about 5BC. Crude materials like
paper, vegetable fibers, grass, cotton and others were used.
The modern brand was invented Dr. Earle Haas in 1926 in the US.
Types And Designs
Tampons(pronounced: tam-ponz) are generally cylindrical in shape to fit
the contours of the vagina. They are designed to be inserted into the
vagina to absorb menstrual blood in contrast to the menstrual pad which
is applied outside of the vagina.
They are considered medical devices and therefore are regulated just
Some key features are as follows
- Fabricating material. Generally made of 100% cotton, rayon or a mixture of both.
Rayon is a kind of fabric made from cellulose. Each is s
individually wrapped within its package.
This describes their ability to absorb menstrual blood.
Though they all outwardly look similar, they differ in the amount of
blood they can absorb. See below for the different absorbency ratings.
- The cord. There is generally have a cord attached to the part closer to the
exterior to facilitate removal. You will not have to search for it
within the vagina but just pull the cord.
- Applicators. This
is a device made like a syringe to facilitate insertion into the vagina,
just like the contents of a syringe is pushed out by advancing the
plunger. Many women prefer using applicators for obvious
reasons-the ease of use. Applicators can be made of plastic or
cardboard. The plastic type is slides better and so costs a little more.
- Digital Types.These are made without applicators. The fingers are used as the applicator in this case.
This is an important property of the tampon and depends on the
material it is made from. The absorbency ratings are a measure of the
amount of blood that each can absorb, measured in grams(g). Within the vagina, it absorbs blood,swells or increases in size
either by becoming longer( like Tampax and
Natracare) or thicker by increasing in its diameter( digital tampons
like OB or Lil-Lets).
is important to choose the right rating for proper absorption and to minimize the risk of toxic shock syndrome.
Since they are
considered medical devices, they are tightly regulated and specified
absorbency ratings exist for each country.These ratings are consistent
across the different manufacturers in each country. The ratings for the
US and the UK are given below
In the US
- Junior absorbency: 6 grams and under. They may be used in the last days of the periods when the flow is light.
- Regular absorbency: 6 to 9 grams. This is the best fit for most women in most of the days of their periods.
- Super absorbency: 9 to 12 grams. This may be used in the first 1 or 2 days on menses when the flow may be high.
- Super Plus absorbency 12 to 15 grams. Women who suffer from heavy periods may have to use this.
- Ultra absorbency 15–18 grams.
This is really huge and most women might never use this, even those
with heavy bleeding. Maybe in some few cases of really severe bleeding,
they mey be used.
In the UK. Just some slight terminology differences
- Lite/Lites/Light (light flow) 6 g and under
- Regular/Normal (light to medium flow) 6–9 g
- Super (medium to heavy flow) 9–12 g
- Super Plus (heavy flow) 12–15 g
- Super Plus Extra (very heavy flow) 15–18 g
This might be challenging and even frightening especially
to young girls. However, the skills are simple and can be easily
learned. Once the appropriate technique is learned, practice alone is
what is required to perfect it.
Well, this is one of those extremely embarrassing situation. However, it still remains a common
albeit unforgettable scenario for many women. Common reasons for this
may include forgetfulness or a broken string. You can always try to
remove it at home and see your doctor whenever needed.
A major concern is development of the toxic shock syndrome.
Return From Tampon To Menstruation Home