As a curious 15-year-old, I stumbled upon tampons for the first time in one of my relative’s toilet. I was quick to figure out what they were, and how to use them by reading the instruction leaflet. I’m not proud of how it happened, but I stole a few tampons, and then decided to use them to see how they worked as I’d never seen them before.
There was no turning back from that day on!
I would save my pocket money and secretly buy a stash that I would then hide with my socks in the very back of my drawer, lest my mother discovered them. When my friends found out they were in shock and still are, even when we’re all thirty plus. They still can’t wrap their heads around why I would want to “shove something up my vagina!”
Here is why it really didn’t matter:
Like pads, tampons are sanitary products used to absorb menstrual flow – but because the cylindrical cotton bullets-of-sorts are inserted into the vagina, they absorb the blood before it leaves the body. Pretty neat, huh?
They come in different absorbancies. You can use a combination during your period, depending on how heavy your flow is and wear a panty-liner to cover any, if at all, small leakages.
Not only are they barely there in terms of size, but once properly inserted, they cannot be felt and don’t have that uncomfortable, wet sensation that pads do. And while it isn’t scientifically proven, the use of tampons can also reduce cramps; two out of three of the women we talked to found that using tampons instead of pads lessened the intensity of cramps, especially in the first few days).
They also allow you to swim and can be used for up to eight hours at a stretch, which means mother nature won’t be dragging you down when she comes knocking!
Since this little contraption has to be inserted into the vagina many women feel that if unmarried girls use it, it poses a threat to their virginity. Now I’m no rocket scientist, or OB/GYN but the last time I checked, until and unless a woman actually indulges in sexual intercourse, her virginity is very much intact, hymen or no hymen!
Still, we head to Dr Zeryab Setna to clarify the matter once and for all: does using a tampon damage my virginity?
“If a tampon is used carefully,” he says, “it does not change the hymen or virginity.” So if you’re using the right size [usually the ‘lites’ which are super slim] and following instructions for application, they won’t tear your hymen during insertion or otherwise.”
But its not all fun and games. One must be weary of a potentially fatal condition called the Toxic Shock Syndrome and other health issues.
Dr Setna recommends changing your tampon every 4-6 hours and using a sanitary pad at night to reduce the risk.
Furthermore, he says that one should, “never use a tampon to absorb anything other than the menstrual flow,” and always, “insert a tampon once bleeding has commenced,” rather than in anticipation of the period.