Tampons 101: Freedom Guaranteed. Period

Let me tell you how convenient it is to wear tampons over napkins. In the olden days my mom told me they didn’t use disposable napkins. I couldn’t imagine how that could be possible. Women often referred to their menstrual period as ““I’m having my rags” because pieces of old cloth were actually used to soak up menstrual fluids. Not only that, women washed the soaked blood after every change. Messy indeed. I didn’t have to use rags because in my generation, I got to use disposable sanitary napkins and a few years later, tampons came along. The sanitary napkins in the early seventies looked like a bunch of disposable cotton wrapped around a rectangular gauze that needed a belt or safety pin to tie the napkins in place. It was embarrassing to have those leak accidents. I still remember when the sanitary napkins in 1975 came out with adhesive to keep napkins in place. Though adhesives felt a bit more convenient, it left an unsightly mark on the underwear that refused to wash out.

When tampons came into my life in the early eighties, I realized how liberating it was to shift from napkins to tampons. At the beach outing with friends, I felt confidence as I wore my swimsuit.

Advantage of tampons over napkins

The main reason is of course feeling confident. Tampons offer better protection and help keep a period private. I can wear tampons confidently under shorts, a fitted skirt or my swim wear without showing unnecessary bulk. Wearing a tampon gave me the freedom to shower, play badminton, and even swim while on my period. This freedom is probably one of tampon’s biggest advantage over the napkin, making it the best option during a summer getaway.

Consider how a napkin leaks much more than a tampon can. When inserted properly, a tampon minimizes the chance of leakage because a tampon fits to the wall of the vagina and soaks up blood for a period of several hours. When one replaces it frequently, a tampon is so much more reliable than a napkin. It leaves me feeling much cleaner and fresher than using a napkin.

Facts of using tampons

Like I said earlier, myths surrounding tampons made me initially resistant in giving it a try. Some of these myths are explained below.

1. A tampon will not move beyond the vagina and get lost inside a woman’s body

It just isn’t possible for the tampon to get lost or pushed far back because the opening of the cervix found at the end of the vagina is too small to allow a tampon to pass through.The walls of the vagina also hold the tampon in place and it will stay put until you take it out.

2. A tampon does not get stuck inside a woman’s body

It is not possible for a tampon to get stuck inside you. There might be problems taking it out if you are feeling tense. Just try to relax if you feel some resistance when you pull out the withdrawal cord. Leaving the tampon a little bit longer will allow the tampon to absorb enough menstrual fluid and make it soft enough for easy removal.

3. Tampons do not block menstruation.

The tampon sits in the middle third of the vagina and won’t block the menstrual flow. It absorbs the menstrual fluid into its inner holding layers until fully saturated. When the tampon is saturated, the excess fluid just flows out of the vagina either through the tampon or outside of it.

4. A virgin can use tampons and it will not affect her virginity.

Many young girls worry about using a tampon because of an old myth that one can lose their virginity by the tampon breaking their hymen. This is not possible. Tampons are small and cylindrical and they do not go so deep as to break your hymen.

Whether one chooses to wear sanitary napkins or tampons is definitely a personal choice. It is really important to stay informed and weigh options in using tampons. Over the years, the use of tampons allowed women to be more active and have fuss-free menstrual periods. Women these days have come a long way since their grandmothers. Imagine the freedom and discretion to do whatever you like while menstruating including swimming and sports.

About the author

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ gmail.com) for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement.

Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)"

P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience.
They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.