The Secret Dangers of Tampons and Pads


If you are a woman who still uses tampons or menstrual pads during your cycle, you need to read this! There is a serious health danger you may not ever have heard of, and it could be putting you at risk. Keep reading to learn about the potential harm your pads and tampons could be causing your body.

The Problems with Pads

Due to the chemical processes used to create sanitary napkins, there’s a risk that women who use menstrual pads can experience irritation and infection. If a woman does experience a vaginal infection from using a pad, she may experience the following symptoms during her menstrual cycle:

  • Slight fever and headache

  • Itchy skin

  • Cervical inflammation

  • External inflammation of the vagina

  • White discharge

  • Searing heat or pain

  • Endometrial inflammation

These symptoms could be further aggravated by the chemicals used to make your pads white and appealing for mass audiences. Chemicals like bleach and toxins are frequently used in the manufacturing of menstrual pads, and there’s some risk that a chemical residue could linger even through the production process, putting your health at risk.

Tampons Are Dangerous?

Using tampons instead of pads isn’t a free pass from health problems, either. In fact, tampons are actually more dangerous to a woman’s health. Consider some of the common problems associated with tampons:

  • Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS): The biggest problem with using tampons, TSS affects women under 30 (especially teenagers) most. However, any woman using tampons can get TSS. Over 60% of TSS fatalities happen in women ages 15 to 24, and nearly 98% of these victims are white. Once you suffer TSS, you’re more likely to suffer miscarriages, loss of limbs and hair, severe organ damage, miscarriages, and many other severe health complications.

  • Synthetic fibers: Like pads, the synthetic fibers that make up tampons have been bleached with harsh chemicals. There is a risk that the processes used to treat tampons could be dangerous to the user.

  • Environmental effects: In addition to risking the health of the women who use tampons, the manufacturing process of these menstrual aids causes damage to the environment. The toxic byproducts of producing tampons include poisons like dioxin and furan.

What’s the Solution?

Since the Tampon and Pad industry is a $718 million dollar market, it’s unlikely legislation will pass anytime soon that will make these products safer. In the meantime, you may want to consider the following alternatives:

  • Menstrual cup: These flexible silicone cups are reusable and safe. Essentially, they are inserted into the vagina and catch all of the menstrual fluid. The cup is then emptied every 12 hours or so. While this may seem a little gross at first, it’s a much safer solution than inserted chemically treated synthetic cloth into your vagina. Plus, since a single cup can be reused again and again, it’s very cost effective, too.

  • Reusable pads: Another option is to purchase reusable pads. Like washable diapers, you simply wash these pads and use them every time you have your cycle. They’re also cost-effective and safe for the environment.

It’s important to keep your most sensitive parts safe. If you use tampons or pads, consider making the change now.

127 Comments on The Secret Dangers of Tampons and Pads

  1. I used tampons for years until one day I developed and allergy to tampons. It was horrible because I hate pads with a passion. But then I discovered the Diva cup. It’s wonderful. I insert it in the shower in the morning and then remove it when I get home from work or right before bed. LOVE IT!!!

  2. You are mad. I’m changing every 4 hrs when I’m heavy. You want me to work with this thing in? They said IUDs are safe too; but I’m not sticking copper wires into my body, thanks.

  3. my daughter just recently started using the cup a few months ago. I didn’t think she would continue it because she has very heavy periods but she loves it. She also loves the fact she is keeping chemicals out of her body.

  4. I ditched disposable feminine “care” items over 10 years ago, and I have NEVER regretted it. The Diva Cup works awesomely, and has helped me get back in touch with what’s going on in my body. I feel sorry for people who still think disposable is the only ‘hygenic’ answer there is.

  5. Menstrual blood is actually fairly sanitary compared to the slew of other fluids human beings excrete in their lifetimes. The cup is one of the healthiest and least dangerous methods of “feminine hygiene.” I will take collection over chemical burns any day.

  6. If you don’t mind my asking, how old are you? Because I will be 50 soon; and having your cycle at 20-30 and having it when you are perimenopausal are two completely different situations.

  7. Back to the cloth rags, ladies. TSS is basically from stupid women who don’t take out used tampons. How do you forget it’s in there? I’m not trusting a damned cup; my cycles are too heavy for that.

    • There are organic tampon and pad companies that make a much better quality product. If you want to keep using tampons and pads. I think the re-usable cloth is a good idea, or rags…I mean isn’t that where the ” on the rag” term came from?! We really don’t bleed as much as we think we do. The average women bleeds, 4 tablespoons to a cup over 3 to 5 days, give or take.

    • There’s a reason why overnight pads/tampons sell out. Where the heck did you find those numbers? No one I know bleeds that lightly unless they are in full blown menopause.

    • You must not know much~TSS does not come from stupid women who don’t take out tampons. WOW. It can also come from surgical packing, etc. It was a big deal in the late 1970s and early 1980s when tampons were really hitting the market hard-it got a lot of attention then. BUT-it is ACUTE, meaning quick~not from tampons that have been in the body for extra long periods of time. Over night would do the trick.

    • Jennifer, it’s the same situation; the stuff is sitting in your body. I was alive in the 70’s and remember it well. Almost every woman who got TSS left the damn things in too long. They are meant to be changed out every 4 hrs. Why would you wear one overnight? (definitely too long)

  8. Ummm, silicone cups are chemical free? I tend not to think so…and the reason you bleed is to get rid of garbage…not to hold this reaking dead stuff inside you for another twelve hours…that is just gross. I do agree, however, that tampons are not the safest bet either…and homemade pads are really the best solution…except you must be careful what you are using to wash them after use

  9. As a teen, a few months after beginning to use Tampons my cycle became torture! Cramps, sick, it was like 24 hours child birth every month! After my son was born I used cotton pads. A year latter I started to use tampons again and the 2nd month the cramps returned. That was the LAST time I used commercial products and NO cramps, NO being sick at all! I will also say Menopause is grand also. Maybe my system did not have to detox?

  10. You can’t point to a product just because you aren’t familiar with it and call it disgusting. If you’re going to do that, you might as well look at all menstrual products because there is no “glamorous” option for the menstrual cycle. It’s just part of life, it’s ALL kinda gross, but its not a big deal.
    Having said that, i switched over to the cup several years back and in my opinion, its much cleaner, even overnight. You empty the cup (even with a heavy flow, maybe 2-3 times in an 8 hour interval), you rinse it, re-insert, then wash hands, wash sink, and then i wash my hands again. It has made my cycle much less of an irritation. i used to complain all the time before the cup. These are very popular in Europe and have been used in the states since the 1920s.
    You can also clean it between cycles by soaking it in peroxide overnight or as long as you want to. it comes with a cotton storage bag that is also Machine washable. It is a very clean product, and i love it.

  11. Do you have to throw up EVERY period, have a fever or “hot flashes” during the days and nights, get extream headaches/migranes during you period? These are not normal period symptoms and could be TSS.

  12. The diva cup sounds disgusting. The busy pace of this sick world also has us so out of balance with our health it’s crazy. But we have to find the best way under those circumstances. The ones from TJ or WF sounds like a good option.

  13. Please enlighten yourselves and read the article before bitching. Geeze. There are many options out there. And contrary to the “nurse” Lisas experience TSS is VERY REAL AND DANGEROUS. Many women suffer from it and continue to have issues as they get older. I myself have it and have to limit my tampon use.

  14. This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. In the 6 years I’ve worked at a hospital at jobs ranging from registered nurse to clinical laboratory scientist, in hospitals in both NYC and San Francisco, I’ve *never* seen or heard of a case of TSS in any of the hospitals I worked at. Which shows you just how rare it is. In fact, I once had a girl who accidentally left her tampon in for over a month, didn’t even know it until a pelvic exam, and even she didn’t suffer from TSS.
    Further, if you’re worried about the source of your cotton there are organic cotton tampons that they sell at Trader Joes and Whole Foods. This website’s links have gone from informative to off-the-charts nonsense taken way too far. Don’t worry ladies, your tampons are fine.

    • If someone wants to use cups and reusable pads, then more power to them. It just seems incredibly inconvenient and unsanitary to me. I can’t imagine a woman with a heavy flow having to “empty her cup” every 20 minutes. How would you work or go to school? And as I said, being a medical professional, it’s not even about being “gross”, as I have complete tolerance for bodily fluids, but more of a huge inconvenience when you’re further than 10 mins from the nearest bathroom. Further, I find pads incredibly uncomfortable. And I’ve heard horror stories of these cups having terrible leak issues. I’ve used tampons since I was 16. I prefer to purchase organically grown cotton tampons, which are a much better choice than conventional tampons. But my main point is that this article is making claims that simply aren’t true – especially regarding TSS. And a woman shouldn’t feel guilty, or feel like she’s doing her body arm, if she’s unable to use one of these cups, or isn’t comfortable using pads. Organic cotton is always the best choice.

    • I had a very heavy flow (pregnant now) and use glad rags and moon cup….and never had any problem….I could go 5-7 hrs without emptying…and if I did…even in a public place I just got a wet papertowel before taking out so I have something to clean up…I often use my h20 bottle….but this didn’t happen often. Besides being better for the environment….my body feels MUCH MUCH better not using this products!!! My pocket is happier too! PS with or with out a moon cup….there is still blood that goes into the toilet for women who are menstruating….just saying 😎

    • Suction cup that you empty? That sounds god awful. And what do you do if you have a heavy flow? Empty it every 5 mins? How would anyone with a job every be productive? You’d spend your entire day (or 5-7 days) in the bathroom.

  15. Nope, much rather take the risk. I hated periods and the nasty mess that came with. My periods were way to heavy for such things and my mother hated having to use rags and wash them out. I will stick with tampons thank you.

  16. I don’t see the big deal about using a menstrual cup. More and more women are using them nowadays. Luna cup and Diva Cup are very popular…and even using mama cloth is gaining popularity. I don’t see why this is frowned upon. I’m actually surprised to read these comments on a page that is about health.

  17. Wow. Some of you are idiots.. you diss the cups but you will stick chemical soaked cotton in your hoohas? Do you know how fast your body absorbs chemicals?? Please do what u want cuz its your body but dont talk down to others cuz they dont do exactly what you choose to do…

  18. Over six months ago I developed very heavy bleeding during my period, got an ultrasound and my doctor told me that I have a condition when the walls of my uterus are falling apart. Apparently is getting very common this days. I’ve been a tampon user (OB) for 25 years, my first thought was to do some research. As soon as I learned how dangerous they actually they are are quit using them. Now my period is 1/4 of what use to be, no more cramps. I will never go back! Got the diva cup, takes time to learn how to use it, but is worth it!!!

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