Q: Please what is tampon?
A: Tampons are products like sanitary pads used to absorb menstrual flow. A tampon is cylindrical in shape and has a string at one end that can be used to pull the tampon out. Sometimes, this string may go inside your body but you can usually feel the tampon and pull it out.
There is a dangerous infection that can occur in females who use tampons. It’s called Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). It is not caused by tampons but because tampons in the vagina create a perfect environment for bacteria (staphylococcus aureus in this case) to thrive, a toxin is created that causes severe illness. Young teens with fewer antibodies to the infection are more likely to experience this than older females.
Symptoms of TSS include sudden high fever, headaches, redness of the eyes, mouth and throat, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures etc. If you experience any of these, while wearing a tampon, remove it immediately and contact your doctor.
Here are general rules for using tampons safely:
· Be careful when inserting tampons. Remember that , Staphylococci, Staph for short, are bacteria which can be found in people’s noses or skin all over the body, minding their own business until a cut or injury occurs giving the germs access into the body. So, introducing an injury while inserting the tampon, increases the chances of TSS.
· Keep your hands squeaky clean especially when changing tampons
· Change your tampons every 4 to 6 hours
· Do NOT let it stay inside you for more than 8 hours.
· Do NOT use tampons to absorb any fluid other than your menstrual flow. Don’t use it as you would use a panty liner.
· Alternate between tampons and sanitary pads eg tampons during the day and pads at night.
· Ensure the tampon is removed very quickly if you observe any of the following:
· Pelvic pain
· High temperature
· Unpleasant smell
· Vaginal discharge
All the best!