Repeat a lie enough times and it becomes the truth. When we go against our rational judgments, we host bizarre myths that may eventually end up hurting us. Most old wives’ tales – especially about periods and the sanitary products we use – might be innovative and even scary, but are certainly not true.
Myths about tampon use are rampant and with millions of women across the globe using them, these baseless fears not only narrow down our options to explore, but can also lead to health implications arising out of ignorance. Indian women especially have deep-rooted concerns in regard to tampon use and generally avoid it owing to the following three primary reasons:-
Firstly, since the topic of periods itself is a taboo, most women in rural India are unaware about different methods or feminine hygiene options available to them. Thus their ignorance about tampons makes them disregard it as an invalid option. Secondly, this lack of knowledge translates to lack of availability of these products because there is very little demand for them. Lastly, social taboos associated with inserting tampons in your vagina, make women fear the product thus eliminating it completely. Thus in any tampons vs pads battle in India – the latter reigns supreme.
To iron out some of these creases about tampon use during periods, we’ve put together a list of the generally believed myths that need to be debunked at the very earliest:-
You will Lose Your Virginity
Myths have a strange fascination for notions regarding virginity and so the mere mention of its loss before marriage is enough to drive tampons out of bathroom shelves and period kits. People tend to confuse the losing of virginity with the breaking of the hymen: while one is a cultural idea of having sex for the first time, the second is a physical phenomenon that can happen due to various reasons other than having sex for the first time.
The vaginal corona or the hymen gradually diminishes by physical activity such as biking and exercising or sexual activities such as fingering, and not necessarily only through sexual penetration or by inserting a tampon or a menstrual cup, etc. Irrespective, even if a tampon were to break the user’s hymen, tampon use does not lead to the loss of virginity – only having sex can do that.
It will Fall Out of Your Vagina
What use is a tampon if it is going to “fall out” of your vagina? The walls of your vagina are strong and naturally have the capability of holding a tampon inside you. If you make sure that it is inserted properly, then your tampon will stay inside of you, until you take it out. However, when you do apply immense bowel pressure while on the toilet seat, it may pop out, in which case simply insert a new one. Irrespective it does not fall out while you perform routine activities such as walking, running, sitting, exercising, etc.
It Will Get Lost in Your Vagina
Your vagina might be mysterious, but it is not unending. If you have ever misplaced the string of your tampon, you are aware of the panic that follows. However, your vagina is not longer than three to five inches and it is impossible for a tampon to get past the cervix that marks the end of your vagina. So, to debunk this myth simply, your tampon will most certainly not get lost in your vagina.
Can Stretch Out Your Vagina
Inserting anything in your vagina might cause initial alarm, however knowing more about your vagina may help ease concerns regarding tampon use. Many a time, myths about loose vaginas are perpetrated by a patriarchal belief system that aims to instigate fear about promiscuity.
We are here to tell you – fear not. The vaginal muscles stretch, expand and contract easily. Think about it – if a baby can come out of your vagina, then certainly there is nothing that a tampon can do to change the shape of your vagina or stretch it out. Your tampon can fit inside you effortlessly without changing the anatomy of your vagina.
Endometriosis is a painful disorder in which the endometrium (the tissue that lines the inside of your uterus) grows outside your uterus. One of its causes is the occurrence of menstrual blood going back up the fallopian tubes. However, a tampon does nothing to promote it. Despite people thinking that a tampon could block the cervix, the truth is that if the tampon reaches its capacity, it will not send the blood back up the uterus, but will overflow out of your vagina into your underwear. There for Endometriosis is not a “tampon side effect” – as myth would have it.
Tampons Make Period Cramps Worse
Period cramps are caused by the contraction of your uterus to shed its lining and prostaglandins (a hormone involved in pain and inflammation) triggering the uterine muscle contractions. This suggests that tampons have nothing to do with cramping. However, since periods can be painful enough in themselves, we must use a product that will help us relax, and not one that will build stress and discomfort. Hence if you feel some tension in your cervix after using a tampon, consider replacing it with organic sanitary pads such as the ones from HeyDay that are not only absorbent but also comfortable.
Whether you are purchasing tampons online or in local stores, it is important to be aware of the various options available for your ease and convenience. Bear in mind that using tampons for longer than advised or not using more absorbent variations are the two important things to keep in mind when using tampons. Please read the packaging carefully to know how best to use a tampon for a safe and healthy period.