Skip to main content
The Risks Associated with Tampons

The Risks of Tampons

Written by: Heralogie Inc.



Time to read 2 min

A Toxic Relationship?

For many menstruating people, tampons are perceived as a charming option they’re married to month after month: promising convenience, discretion, and an easy way to manage their flow. Unfortunately, tampons may not be taking care of us in the way we might have hoped. With all the potential for toxicity, this might be a relationship we want to end…

The Risks of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)

  • What is TSS?: TSS is a life-threatening condition caused by the growth of bacteria, typically E. coli or Staphylococcus aureus, in the uterus.
  • Symptoms: Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. If left untreated, TSS can lead to organ failure, coma, or even death.
  • Risk Factors: Using super-absorbent tampons, leaving tampons in for too long, and having a compromised immune system increase the risk of TSS.

Potentially Harmful chemicals Associated with Tampons

The risk associated with these chemicals is still debated, and more research is needed to fully understand their effects on human health.

  • Dioxins: Tampons made from rayon or cotton may contain dioxins, a group of chemicals that are known to cause cancer and reproductive problems. Dioxins are formed during the bleaching process of these materials.
  • Phthalates: Some tampons may contain phthalates, a group of chemicals used to soften and increase flexibility in plastics. Phthalates have been linked to reproductive issues, hormonal imbalances, and cancer.
  • Pesticides: Tampons may contain pesticides like lindane, which is banned in many countries due to its toxicity.
  • Fragrances: Many tampons contain fragrances, which can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions. Some fragrances have also been linked to respiratory problems and cancer.
  • Adhesives: Some tampons may contain adhesives like polyisobutylene or polyethylene, which can release chemicals like butadiene and styrene, both known to be toxic.
  • Chemical additives: Tampons may also contain chemical additives like sodium benzoate, which has been linked to allergies and skin irritation.

Other Potential Side Effects

  • Allergic Reactions: Some women may experience allergic reactions to the materials used in tampon production, such as cotton or rayon.
  • Vaginal Dryness: The absorbency of tampons can disrupt the natural pH balance of the vagina, leading to dryness and irritation.
  • Increased Risk of Infections: Leaving tampons in for too long or using them with an IUD can increase the risk of infections like bacterial vaginosis or pelvic inflammatory disease.

Healthier Alternatives

  • Cloth Pads: Reusable cloth pads offer a chemical-free alternative for menstruation management.
  • Menstrual Cups: Menstrual cups made from medical-grade silicone are another option for those who prefer a non-invasive solution.
  • Period Panties: Period panties with built-in absorbency can also be a convenient and eco-friendly alternative.

The Risks of Tampons Summarized

While tampons may seem like a convenient solution for menstrual management, it's essential to be aware of the potential risks and side effects associated with their use. By choosing alternative options like cloth pads, menstrual cups, or period panties, you can reduce your exposure to potential harm and prioritize your overall health and well-being. Take control of your menstrual care, say no to toxic relationships and break up with tampons for good!

Related Readings