#Health & Fitness
Everything You Need to Know (But Were Too Embarrassed to Ask) About Organic Tampons
by Caroline Harris
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You may have already made the switch to organic food and skincare, but what about organic tampons? Because vaginas are so absorbent, it makes sense to carefully consider how your tampons are made. Any chemicals in your tampons can wind up in your bloodstream, after all.
According to CNN, the average American woman uses between 11,000 and 16,000 tampons in her lifetime. That’s a staggering amount, so it’s no wonder many women are concerned about the risks of “toxic tampons.”
Luckily, many of these risks are overblown and overstated. If you’ve been using conventional tampons up until this point, don’t panic. And because periods can already be painful enough, we combed through the research on organic versus regular tampons to help you decide what’s best for you.
Conventional versus organic tampons
Conventional tampons are made of cotton, rayon or a cotton-rayon blend. The bright white color of tampons is not natural; it’s produced through an FDA-approved bleaching process that’s free of chlorine. (How much you trust the FDA is up to your discretion since the materials in menstrual products don’t need to be listed out for customers.)
Most people’s concern with regular tampons comes from the number of chemicals added during the manufacturing process. Conventional tampons include glyphosate, a powerful herbicide that’s used to kill weeds and a “probable” carcinogen, according to the World Health Organization. In addition, conventional tampons include very low levels of another toxic chemical called dioxin, also deemed safe by the FDA.
We’re exposed to chemicals and pesticides every day in our food, water, clothing and cleaning supplies, just to name a few. While it’s impossible to avoid chemical exposure altogether, some see switching to organic tampons as a step in the right direction to minimize the cumulative, long-term effects of chemical exposure (or you could opt for menstrual cups).
The benefits of organic tampons
By using menstrual products that are 100 percent organic cotton, you know exactly what you’re putting into your body. You get the peace of mind that comes with increased transparency and disclosed ingredient lists. Using organic tampons is also better for the environment because they’re compostable and biodegradable, unlike their synthetic counterparts.
One thing to remember if you do make the switch is that organic tampons don’t eliminate the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), which occurs in about one 1 in 100,000 menstruating women. It’s a rare but life-threatening infection that can result from leaving a tampon in for too long. Protect yourself by changing your tampon every four to six hours. Use the lowest level of absorbency that works for your flow. It’s also wise to steer clear of scented menstrual products, which can lead to irritation and infection.
Sometimes when you’re on your period, all you want to do is wrap yourself in a fuzzy blanket and eat lots of chocolate. On those days, picking up tampons at your local drugstore sounds like way too much work. Stock up on the best organic tampons now from brands like L. and o.b. to prepare for your next period. While you’re at it, you may want to add some chocolate to your cart.
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