Tampon Myths: Separating Fact From Fiction
Originally Published: March 1, 2013
Revised: March 1, 2013
The first time I heard about tampons was in the seventh grade, and my first thought was It goes in where?! At the time I cringed at the thought that someone would put something inside of her vagina—and keep it there. Looking back, I probably overreacted about how tampons are used.
My second and third thoughts were Does it hurt to use one and Can it get stuck inside of you? Well, after talking with my friends about what a tampon is, I wanted to know a little bit more about them. I would hear these ridiculous myths about tampons that made me feel like I would never in my life even try to use one. But, after being so afraid of them for so long I took the time to do some research, and I found out that most of these myths just aren’t true.
Myth #1: Using a tampon will make you lose your virginity.
Virginity can mean different things to different people. Some people define virginity as never having engaged in sexual behaviors with a partner. A tampon is not a partner, and inserting a tampon is not a sexual behavior. If virginity is about what you have or haven’t done sexually, then you cannot lose your virginity from using a tampon.
Some people think that a girl is a virgin until her hymen breaks. The hymen is a thin piece of tissue that partially covers the opening of the vagina. The hymen can tear without having sex, including when playing sports, riding a bike or inserting a tampon, which is why people think that wearing tampons makes you lose your virginity. But using the hymen to determine if someone is or isn’t a virgin is tricky. Some girls are born without a hymen. Some girls might only engage in oral sex and still have their hymen. Does this make them virgins? Is virginity just about having a hymen?
However you define virginity, one thing is true: using a tampon doesn’t mean anything about whether you have or haven’t had sex.
Some girls like tampons because they find them more comfortable than pads. But not everyone likes tampons and that’s OK, too!
Myth #2: Tampons can get lost in you.
It is not possible for a tampon to get lost inside of the body because there is nowhere for the tampon to go. The only other opening inside of the vagina is the opening of the cervix at the top of the vagina, which is too small for a tampon to go through. So a tampon can’t travel to any other part of the body; it will stay in the vagina until it is removed.
But what if a tampon were to get stuck because, say, the string attached to the end snapped off? The best thing for someone to do is wash her hands, sit on the toilet, put her fingers into the vagina and pull the tampon out.
Myth #3: Tampons can give you an infection.
Well, this is not so much a myth as it is a possibility. Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a rare, sometimes fatal, infection that is caused by bacteria that can grow in the presence of a tampon that has been left in for too long. This is why it is best to change your tampon every four to six hours, depending on the absorbency, and use the absorbency that is best for you. Also, be on the lookout for symptoms like a fever, muscle aches and chills if you are using a tampon.
With all of the false information that circulates about tampons, the risk of TSS does discourage some people from using them. However, some girls like tampons because they find them more comfortable than pads. But not everyone likes tampons and that’s OK, too! Whether or not you use a tampon is completely your choice. As with anything, if you are thinking about using tampons, it is good to know all of the information. Just make sure you can separate the facts from the myths!
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