Health Risks of Pads and Tampons

5 Shocking Reasons to Ditch Pads and Tampons for Period Panties

Menstrual hygiene products are important for managing periods. While sanitary pads, tampons, and menstrual cups offer convenience, they also carry potential health risks. It's important to be aware of these risks to make informed choices.

In this blog we will talk about the health issues linked to these products and why period panties are way better and a safer alternative.

But, before that let us highlight the diseases and complications that can arise from using sanitary pads, tampons, and menstrual cups.

1. Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)

Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a rare but serious condition caused by bacterial toxins. It primarily affects menstruating women using tampons, but it can also occur with the use of menstrual cups and even pads. TSS can escalate quickly and become life-threatening if not treated promptly.

Causes of TSS

TSS is caused by toxins produced by certain types of bacteria, most commonly Staphylococcus aureus (staph) and Streptococcus pyogenes (strep). These bacteria can grow rapidly in the presence of super-absorbent tampons or when tampons are left in for too long. Menstrual cups that are not cleaned properly or sanitary pads that are not changed frequently can also create a breeding ground for these bacteria.

Symptoms of TSS

The symptoms of TSS can develop suddenly and they include:

  • High fever (above 38.9°C)
  • Low blood pressure
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Rash that looks like a sunburn, particularly on palms and soles
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Muscle aches
  • Redness of eyes, mouth, and throat

If you feel these symptoms, you should contact your family doctor immediately.

Tips to prevent Toxic Shock Syndrome

Preventing TSS involves adopting good menstrual hygiene practices:

  • Avoid using tampons; consider switching to pads or period panties instead.
  • Ensure menstrual cups are cleaned thoroughly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Change sanitary pads frequently to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Consider using period panties as a safer, more comfortable alternative to traditional menstrual products. We have complete guide on how to use period panties.

2. Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is a common vaginal infection caused by an imbalance of the natural bacteria in the vagina. It’s not necessarily a serious condition, but it can be uncomfortable and, if left untreated, may lead to more significant health issues.

Causes and Contributing Factors

BV occurs when the balance of good and harmful bacteria in the vagina is disrupted. This can happen due to several factors, including prolonged use of sanitary pads and tampons, which can create a warm and moist environment conducive to bacterial growth. Menstrual cups that are not cleaned properly can also contribute to this imbalance. Other factors include douching, using scented soaps or vaginal products, and having multiple sexual partners.

Common Symptoms

The symptoms of BV can vary but often include:

  • Unusual vaginal discharge, which may be thin and greyish-white
  • A strong, fishy odour, particularly after sex
  • Vaginal itching or irritation
  • Burning sensation during urination

While some women may experience no symptoms at all, it’s important to recognize and address any changes in vaginal health promptly.

How to prevent Bacterial Vaginosis

Maintaining a healthy vaginal environment is key to preventing BV. Here are some tips:

  • Change sanitary pads and tampons regularly, every 4-8 hours, to reduce the risk of bacterial overgrowth.
  • Avoid using scented soaps, sprays, or douches that can disrupt the natural bacterial balance.
  • Consider using period panties, which are breathable and designed to wick away moisture, providing a healthier option.
  • Maintain good hygiene practices and wear breathable cotton underwear to allow airflow and reduce moisture.
Health Risks of Pads and Tampons

3. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply in the bladder. While anyone can develop a UTI, women are more susceptible due to their shorter urethras, which make it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder. During menstruation, the risk can increase if menstrual hygiene products are not used properly.

Symptom of Urinary Tract Infections

UTIs can be quite uncomfortable and, if left untreated, may lead to more serious health issues. Here are some common symptoms to watch out for:

  • A strong, persistent urge to urinate
  • A burning sensation during urination
  • Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
  • Cloudy or strong-smelling urine
  • Pelvic pain, especially in the canter of the pelvis and around the area of the pubic bone.

Improper use of menstrual products can contribute to the development of UTIs. Sanitary pads and tampons that are not changed regularly can create a breeding ground for bacteria. Menstrual cups, if not inserted and cleaned properly, can also introduce bacteria into the urinary tract.

4. Yeast infections

Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of a fungus called Candida, which naturally resides in small amounts in the vagina. While generally harmless, Candida can multiply excessively under certain conditions, leading to an infection. Factors like hormonal changes, antibiotic use, high sugar diets, and even certain menstrual products can create an environment where Candida thrives.

Symptoms of Yeast infections

Recognizing a yeast infection is key to getting timely treatment. Common symptoms include:

  • Intense itching and irritation in the vaginal area
  • A thick, white, cottage cheese-like discharge
  • Redness and swelling of the vulva
  • A burning sensation, especially during intercourse or urination

While these symptoms can be uncomfortable, they are usually not serious if treated promptly with over-the-counter antifungal medications or prescribed treatments.

How menstrual products lead to yeast infections

Certain menstrual products can contribute to yeast infections. Sanitary pads and tampons that are not changed frequently can create a warm and moist environment, ideal for yeast growth. Menstrual cups, if not cleaned properly, can also harbour bacteria and yeast. It's important to be mindful of the products you use and how you use them.

How do we prevent yeast infections

Preventing yeast infections involves maintaining good hygiene and making mindful choices about menstrual products:

  • Change sanitary pads and tampons frequently to keep the area dry and clean.
  • Opt for unscented and breathable menstrual products to avoid irritation.
  • Consider using period panties, which are designed to be moisture-wicking and breathable, reducing the risk of yeast overgrowth.
  • Wear cotton underwear and avoid tight-fitting clothing to allow air circulation and reduce moisture buildup.

By following these simple strategies, you can significantly reduce the risk of yeast infections and ensure better vaginal health during your menstrual cycle.

5. Allergic Reactions and Contact Dermatitis

Let’s talk about something many of us have experienced but often overlook: allergic reactions and contact dermatitis caused by menstrual products. These issues can turn an already uncomfortable time of the month into an even more distressing experience.

Common symptoms of allergic reactions

Recognizing an allergic reaction is essential for addressing it promptly. Symptoms can include:

  • Itching and burning in the vaginal area
  • Redness and swelling of the vulva
  • A rash or hives in the area where the product was in contact with the skin
  • General discomfort and irritation

Tips for avoiding irritation

To prevent allergic reactions and contact dermatitis, it’s important to select products that are gentle on the skin:

  • Opt for unscented and hypoallergenic pads and tampons to minimize the risk of irritation.
  • Look for products made with organic cotton, free from dyes and harsh chemicals.
  • Change pads and tampons regularly to avoid prolonged exposure to potential irritants.
  • Consider period panties made from natural, breathable fabrics, designed to be gentle on sensitive skin.

Why Period Panty is a safer alternative?

Switching to period panties can make a significant difference. These products are often made from soft, hypoallergenic materials and are free from harmful chemicals. May women have switched to period panties and haven’t looked back since.

Period panties are designed with your health and comfort in mind. They are made from breathable, hypoallergenic fabrics. So, they minimize the risk of bacterial growth and irritation. They are free from the chemicals and fragrances that often cause allergic reactions and contact dermatitis. So, it’s your turn now to ditch those traditional pads, tampons and menstrual cups and switch to period panty.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.