“Um, ew, who actually wears pads?” you think to yourself as you reach for the tampons instead.
Well, as it turns out, more women than you think! That’s right, according to Priceline Pharmacy, 74% more sanitary pads were sold than tampons in 2017.
“It is a very personal choice for women and one of the main reasons for this is that there has been an increase in awareness over the last decade about the risks associated with Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)”, says Priceline Pharmacist, Regina Cowie.
Back in the 80s and 90s, tampons were a major health concern and it seems as though women are becoming—once again—more conscious of the complications that can arise from tampon misuse. Toxic Shock Syndrome is a rare but serious condition that is caused by bacteria (namely streptococcus or staphylococcus—more commonly known as “Staph”). Although this bacteria make up our normal human flora and live naturally (and harmlessly) on the skin, throat, nose and genitals, it is in the case of overgrowth that they can become harmful. The bacteria itself releases toxins which invade the bloodstream and essentially poisons the body in a sepsis-like manner which, in extreme cases, can result in organ failure, loss of limbs and fatality.
So how exactly does tampon use increase the risk of TSS? Well, the underlying mechanisms are not yet fully understood, however one major theory is related to the fact that tampons are left “inside” for a long period of time, which in turn, encourages a breeding ground for bacteria to thrive.
Furthermore, the skin of the vulva is highly sensitive and easily irritated by common ingredients used in sanitary products such synthetic materials like polyethylene, perfumes and bleach. On average, a woman will use over 11,000 tampons over the course of her menstruating lifetime, so it’s no wonder more thought is put into this.
When it comes to tampons, there are a number of brands out there using organic ingredients such as 100% natural cotton and ensuring that pesticides, chemicals and other genetically modified materials are not being used in any stage of production. Such brands include TOM Organic, Cottons and Gift Box Organic.
Pads, on the other hand have also come a long way over the years. “The great advances in the technology of pads may also be a contributing factor,” says Cowie. “In my opinion, women are more open these days about choosing whatever is right for them rather than listening to any stereotypes such as ‘pads are daggy or old fashioned.’”
What you reckon? Will you (or have you already) made the switch?