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Tampon Risks

By Marie Zenack

Tampons may allow us more freedom during menstruation, but they raise serious health questions. The natural secretions of the vagina are constantly cleaning the vagina and making the growth of bacteria less likely. The tampon, however, is not a natural part of this cleansing process. Some time after a tampon is inserted, bacteria will begin to grow on the tampon. Bacteria, like all living things, eat, digest, and excrete waste products. The waste products excreted by the bacteria may be absorbed by the vagina. There have been cases of women becoming seriously ill and even dying from the absorption of the waste products on a tampon. This is called toxic shock syndrome. The symptoms of toxic shock syndrome are fever, vomiting, sunburn-like rash, diarrhea, muscle aches, dizziness, and confusion.

Another concern with tampons is their effect on the body's natural flow of energy. According to many schools of natural healing, the body's energy naturally flows down during menstruation. Many women experience that a tampon blocks the downward flow of energy and causes abdominal discomfort and cramping, which they do not experience when they use menstrual pads. Some women have even begun to call tampons, crampons!

If you decide to use tampons and want to reduce the risk, you can buy the unbleached cotton variety. Bleached cotton or synthetic tampons have been shown to contain dioxins, contaminants associated with serious health problems. Always remove a tampon in two hours or less, and do not sleep with them.

If you want to go swimming during your menstruation, a tampon allows you to do so. And the cool water will probably slow the bleeding for a while. However, according to many schools of traditional medicine, swimming in cool water during menstruation cools the internal organs, which over time causes menstrual discomfort and cramping. If you decide to swim during your days of bleeding, be sure to remove the tampon after swimming. And take time for a warm bath or a warm heating pad over your lower abdomen after swimming.

Whenever possible, consider using menstrual pads instead of tampons. Get to know the downward flow of energy during your moon-time, and enjoy your ancient and sacred time of retreat. Doing so will renew your energy and creativity each cycle.

About The Author
Marie Zenack is a teacher of fertility awareness and a facilitator of women's rites of passage.

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