Myth: There are no “best practices” for using tampons; I can simply buy and use them however I want.
Fact: The FDA has issued guidance for consumers, and tampon manufacturers provide instructions and other information with tampon cartons. Following the instructions on tampon package inserts is very important to ensure you are safe and hygienic during your period. Follow these best practices whenever you use tampons:
- Always use the lowest absorbency possible
- Wash hands before changing tampon
- Change your tampons after 4-8 hours of use
- Do not use tampon to absorb vaginal discharge
- Do not flush the applicator or the tampon
Myth: Bleaching of the cotton in my pads and tampons produces dioxins.
Fact: Purifying and cleaning fibers used in feminine care products is important for removing residues within these raw materials as a result of farming or harvesting practices. Current practices for purification, commonly called “bleaching,” utilize the Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF) or Total Chlorine Free (TCF) methods. The FDA considers these methods to be safe and dioxin free.
Myth: There is asbestos in my tampons.
Fact: Tampons do not contain asbestos, and have never included asbestos. The FDA has found no evidence of asbestos being present in any U.S. tampon. The FDA reports that asbestos is not an ingredient in tampons and the agency conducts regular inspections of tampon manufacturers to ensure there is no contamination.
Myth: Tampons and pads need to be changed every 2 hours.
Fact: Tampons and pads should be changed depending on flow and comfort. Consistent with FDA guidance, tampons can be used for up to 8 hours.
Myth: When it comes to tampons, more absorbency is better.
Fact: Always wear a tampon with the lowest level of absorbency for your needs in order to reduce your risk of TSS. In other words, don’t go “super” when a “regular” will do just fine.
Myth: If you use tampons, you’ll lose your virginity.
Fact: You’re a virgin until you have sex. Using tampons doesn’t change your virginity.
Myth: You shouldn’t use tampons until you reach a certain age.
Fact: If you’re old enough to have a period, you’re old enough to use a tampon. Whether a girl uses a tampon or pad is a personal choice.
Myth: Tampons can get totally lost inside you.
Fact: Once you insert a tampon, it stays in your vagina and it cannot travel anywhere else in your body. It can be removed by using the string attached to the tampon. Learn more.
Myth: Tampon use puts me at risk for cervical cancer.
Fact: Cervical cancer has not been scientifically or medically linked to the use of tampons. Risk factors for cervical cancer are listed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and include:
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Having HIV
- Using birth control pills for a long time (five or more years)
- Having given birth to three or more children
- Having several sexual partners
Myth: The adhesives used in my feminine care products are dangerous.
Fact: The adhesives used in feminine care products can only be present if there are safety data that support their use in menstrual products. Therefore, the adhesives in products have a favorable safety profile, including demonstrated skin tolerance. Pads are also designed in a way that limits direct skin contact with adhesives.
Myth: There are pesticides in my feminine care products.
Fact: For materials that are grown in soil, like cotton, pad and tampon manufacturers thoroughly clean and purify all fibers to ensure the materials are free of any harmful substances before they become part of the product. Regular assessments have confirmed that all materials in finished pad and tampon products are safe for use.
Myth: Tampons cause TSS.
Fact: TSS is caused by specific strains of a bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus in susceptible people. Using tampons, as well as other vaginal products like menstrual cups or contraceptive sponges increases your risk of getting TSS. Learn more about TSS and tampons.
Myth: Pads, pantiliners and tampons are not regulated.
Fact: Pads, tampons, and liners are regulated as medical devices by the FDA and must undergo rigorous evaluation before they can be sold.
Myth: Scented feminine hygiene products will make me itch down there.
Fact: If a woman is not already sensitive to perfume and fragrances, it is highly unlikely that she will be sensitive to fragrances used in feminine hygiene products. There is no known increased risk for reactions among women using scented pads or tampons. However, it is recommended that women who prefer fragrance-free products, or who may already have allergies or sensitivities to fragrances, use unscented products. Learn more.
Myth: There is one “best” type of feminine care for all women.
Fact: Only you can determine the product that best fits your needs. If you have any questions, ask your doctor.
Myth: Colors used in feminine care products will soak into my body.
Fact: Every ingredient in feminine care products is rigorously evaluated and shown to be safe. When used, colors are bound to the product and don’t transfer to the body——and are proven safe for use.
Myth: Dangerous disperse dyes are used in my feminine care products.
Fact: Disperse dyes are not used in feminine care products used by BAHP members. Numerous safety evaluations of these colors, such as skin patch tests, have confirmed their safety and have shown no evidence of skin irritation or sensitization.