Advertisement

Tampon

From Academic Kids

A tampon is a (usually disposable) plug that a woman inserts into her vagina during her menstrual period to absorb the flow of blood.

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates tampons as medical devices.

Contents

History

There is evidence which suggests that women have been using tampons made of various materials for thousands of years. The tampon with an applicator and string was invented in 1929 and submitted for patent in 1931 by Dr. Earle Haas, an American from Denver, Colorado. Tampons based on Dr. Haas' design were first sold in the U.S. in 1936.

Design and packaging

'A tampon with applicator.  The leftmost part is the bigger tube, which has a smooth surface and a round end for easier insertion. There's a star shape openning at the round end. The tampon itself rests inside the bigger tube. (The tube shown is made of cardboard)  The middle section is the narrower tube. It nested inside one end of the bigger tube. The narrow tube slides into the bigger tube, pushing the tampon through and into the vagina.  Both tubes (the applicator) are withdrawn after the tampon is inserted.  The string by right end, would be hanging out of the vagina, allows for easy extraction.
Enlarge
'A tampon with applicator. The leftmost part is the bigger tube, which has a smooth surface and a round end for easier insertion. There's a star shape openning at the round end. The tampon itself rests inside the bigger tube. (The tube shown is made of cardboard) The middle section is the narrower tube. It nested inside one end of the bigger tube. The narrow tube slides into the bigger tube, pushing the tampon through and into the vagina. Both tubes (the applicator) are withdrawn after the tampon is inserted. The string by right end, would be hanging out of the vagina, allows for easy extraction.
Missing image
Elements_of_a_tampon_with_applicator.jpg
The elements of a tampon with applicator. Left: the bigger tube ("penetrator") Center: cotton tampon with attached string. Right: the narrower tube.
Missing image
Tampon.JPG
Tampon sold without applicator. (The ruler shown is in cm)

Tampons come in various sizes, which are related to their absorbency ratings and packaging. Virgins may for instance choose to use the thinnest varieties.

The shape of all tampons is basically the same; cylindrical. Tampons sold in the United States are made of cotton, rayon, or a blend of the two. Tampons are sold individually wrapped to keep them clean, although they are not sterile. They have a string for ease of removal, and may be packaged inside an applicator to aid insertion.

Tampon applicators may be made of plastic or cardboard, and are similar in design to a syringe. The applicator is consisted of a bigger tube and a narrower tube. The bigger tube has a smooth surface and a round end for easier insertion. There's a star shape openning at the round end. The tampon itself rests inside the bigger tube, near the open end. The narrower tube nested inside another end of the bigger tube. The open end of the applicator is placed and held in the vagina, then the woman presses the narrower tube in with her fingers. The narrow tube slides into the bigger tube, pushing the tampon through and into the vagina.

Tampons are also sold without applicators; these are simply unwrapped and pushed into the vagina with the fingers.

Absorbency ratings

Tampons come in several different absorbency ratings, which are consistent across manufacturers in the U.S.:

  • Junior absorbency: 6 grams and under
  • Regular absorbency: 6 to 9 grams
  • Super absorbency: 9 to 12 grams
  • Super plus absorbency: 12 to 15 grams
  • Ultra absorbency: 15 to 18 grams

Toxic shock syndrome

Missing image
Tampon_inserted.png
A tampon in the vagina

Tampons have been shown to have a connection to toxic shock syndrome (TSS), a rare but sometimes fatal disease caused by bacterial infection. The U.S. FDA suggests the following guidelines for decreasing the risk of contracting TSS when using tampons:

  • Follow package directions for insertion
  • Choose the lowest absorbency for your flow
  • Change your tampon at least every 4 to 8 hours
  • Consider alternating pads with tampons
  • Know the warning signs of toxic shock syndrome
  • Don't use tampons between periods

Environmental impact

Tampons, their applicators, and wrappings are used once and then either flushed down a toilet, or disposed of in trash. If flushed down a toilet, they end up in sewage treatment plants where they are filtered out of the influent. However, note that different countries have different sewage systems and that tampons might cause sewage blockings if flushed down a toilet, especially in small electrical sewage pumps, such as used in toilets on trains, planes and even in some private households. Warning signs in hotels and public toilets can be found (at least throughout Europe). The warning signs usually include tampons as well as other sanitary articles such as condoms within their list of articals forbidden for flushing down. In these cases, small plastic bags (usally labelled 'sanitary bags') are provided for discreet disposal and hygiene. If disposed of in the trash, they may end up in incinerators or landfills (where they can take up to six months to biodegrade).

Some tampons are made with genetically modified (GM) cotton. Chlorine bleach is also used in the manufacture of tampons. The bleaching of fibers with chlorine is implicated in dioxin contamination.

Among tampon users, each woman is likely to use about 10,000 tampons during her lifetime.

Alternative choices

In industrial countries, some women choose not to use tampons, due to health and/or environmental concerns. Several alternate ways of absorbing menstrual fluids are available. Women in developing countries are less likely to have these choices (including tampons) available.

Some women may choose not to use tampons because they fear damaging their hymen, regarded as a proof of virginity. In some cultures, the use of tampons by virgins is discouraged because of this.

Disposable

Reusable

Template:Commons

References

de:Tampon fr:Tampon hyginique nl:Tampon ja:タンポン pl:Tampon sv:Tampong zh:衛生棉條

Navigation

Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Art)
    • Architecture (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Architecture)
    • Cultures (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Cultures)
    • Music (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Music)
    • Musical Instruments (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/List_of_musical_instruments)
  • Biographies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Biographies)
  • Clipart (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Clipart)
  • Geography (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Geography)
    • Countries of the World (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Countries)
    • Maps (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Maps)
    • Flags (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Flags)
    • Continents (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Continents)
  • History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History)
    • Ancient Civilizations (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Ancient_Civilizations)
    • Industrial Revolution (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Industrial_Revolution)
    • Middle Ages (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Middle_Ages)
    • Prehistory (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Prehistory)
    • Renaissance (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Renaissance)
    • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
    • United States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/United_States)
    • Wars (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Wars)
    • World History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History_of_the_world)
  • Human Body (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Human_Body)
  • Mathematics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Mathematics)
  • Reference (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Reference)
  • Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Science)
    • Animals (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Animals)
    • Aviation (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Aviation)
    • Dinosaurs (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Dinosaurs)
    • Earth (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Earth)
    • Inventions (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Inventions)
    • Physical Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Physical_Science)
    • Plants (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Plants)
    • Scientists (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Scientists)
  • Social Studies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Social_Studies)
    • Anthropology (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Anthropology)
    • Economics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Economics)
    • Government (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Government)
    • Religion (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Religion)
    • Holidays (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Holidays)
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Solar_System)
    • Planets (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Planets)
  • Sports (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Sports)
  • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
  • Weather (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Weather)
  • US States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/US_States)

Information

  • Home Page (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php)
  • Contact Us (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Contactus)

  • Clip Art (http://classroomclipart.com)
Toolbox
Personal tools