The tampon was invented in 1929 by Dr. Earl Haas, and many women immediately found it to be a more convenient option than pads.
But having your period was a taboo topic; when buying tampons or other menstrual products, women had to deposit money in a box elsewhere in the store rather than interact with a salesperson.
While periods aren't quite as taboo today, they're still an uncomfortable topic for many people.
But here's one reason to talk about them. Using tampons can trigger a rare, life-threatening complication from a bacterial infection: toxic shock syndrome. And the risk goes up if you use tampons incorrectly. Unfortunately, there's debate about the best way.
A new French study says that modern tampons and menstrual cups do a good job of controlling the growth of S. aureas, the bacteria that causes toxic shock syndrome.
But with stats showing the incidence of TSS on the rise, the study authors say women should practice "short tampon use and frequent changing."
There's a catch: Researchers previously discovered that every time you change a tampon, you introduce more oxygen into the area, and that helps S. aureus bacteria proliferate.
That's what led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to update its guidelines in the early 1980s from changing a tampon every two hours to every four to six.
So, what should you do? We recommend that you don't change them too frequently, use low-absorbency ones (perhaps with small pads) and never use more than one at a time.
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