4 Dangers Of Using Tampons You May Not Know About

Hi! Let’s talk about periods. First, let’s talk about mine. So I threw out a box of Tampax tampons and switched over to menstrual cups back in 2015. Why? Because despite being one of the most frequently used feminine hygiene products, tampons aren’t the safest option available—in fact, they’re actually pretty dangerous for our bodies, our vaginas, and the environment. Now, let’s talk about your period. Here’s a list of reasons why tampons can be bad for you and why you should consider not using them. Like, not to scare you or anything, but I feel like you should just want to know these things.

1. Tampon Ingredients Aren’t Regulated By The FDA

Tampons are categorized as “medical devices” by the government, which means ingredients don’t need to be listed on any product labels or packaging or fully disclosed by the brands that sell them. Now, there are newer brands out there who pledge to disclose their ingredients, but when it comes to the bigger manufacturers, do you think they’re going to tell us, the consumer, information they don’t legally have to? LOL! *nervous laughing*

So we know exactly what fake-ass (delicious) rainbow Twizzlers are made of, but we don’t know what goes into “women’s health” products. How is that possible? How TF is that legal? What about people with allergies?! Who’s in charge here?!?!

2. And The Ingredients That We ARE Aware Of Are Not Safe

Yes, there are organic cotton tampons out there and companies like LOLA who disclose how their products are made—and shout-out to them for existing! But the most popular tampons on store shelves (especially fragranced ones) are composed of chemicals, pesticides, and other toxins that the EPA calls “probable human carcinogens” aka sh*t that’s poss unsafe for the human body. Some of these harmful ingredients include rayon, plastic, chlorine, procymidon, piperonyl butoxide, methylene chloride, carbon disulfide… the list goes on. You get the point. Given how, um, intimate you get with your tampons, this isn’t exactly comforting news.

3. Tampons Increase Your Risk Of Developing A Bacterial Infection

Vaginas are like sponges. Vaginal tissue is lined with mucous membranes and blood vessels that absorb whatever we put in there. So it should not come as a huge surprise to you that if you leave a tampon in for too long, you’ll run the risk of contracting a bacteria-induced infection. You probably won’t get sick and die from Toxic Shock Syndrome by sleeping with a tampon in like your fifth grade health teacher fear-mongered you into believing, but if you use highly absorbent tampons in your highly absorbent vag and bacteria starts breeding and enters your bloodstream, you *might* die wind up with a yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis (BV), TSS, or another type of nasty infection. Ugh.

4. They’re Harmful To The Environment

On top of everything else, our periods have an impact on the environment. Yes, by destroying everything in our path when we’re PMSing, but also from how we dispose of the feminine hygiene products we use while we’re on our period.

Think about this… like, really think about this. 70% of women use tampons. The average woman is blessed with approximately 450 periods during her lifetime. The average woman uses 20 tampons per cycle. That’s about 9,000 tampons per woman (and $1,200, but who’s counting?).

Now, all of these women are using all of these tampons that are made with all of these iffy ingredients… and these tampons aren’t recyclable and don’t quickly biodegrade. Folks, we’ve got ourselves a bloody mess serious vaginal and environmental pollution issue.

So WTF do we do about this? From personal experience, I’d recommend ditching tampons for a reusable menstrual cup that’s made from medical grade silicone. It’s the healthier, cheaper, and environmentally friendlier option. If you’re going to continue using tampons, at least protect yourself and buy them from transparent, health-conscious companies who willingly disclose their ingredient list and care about their consumers.

Whatever you do, *please* be mindful about what you’re putting inside your vagina. F*ckboys included. #savethevaginas

Images: Shutterstock; Giphy (4)

Morgan Mandriota
Morgan Mandriota
Morgan Mandriota is a New-York based writer and the founder of She writes about sex, relationships, health, travel, and other fun stuff for Betches, Bumble, Bustle, Cosmopolitan, Health, mindbodygreen, Tinder, Well+Good, and your other favorite websites. In her spare time, you can find her hiking, playing video games, chasing sunsets, traveling, or slathering CBD salve all over her aching body. Follow her on Instagram/Twitter @morganmandriota or visit