The Grapevine

Kotex Tampons Recall: Defect May Cause Vaginal Infection, Reports Say

Across the United States as well as Canada, certain lots of tampons are being recalled by personal care corporation Kimberly-Clark. The official announcement was made by the Food and Drug Administration on December 11.

The company stated that they had received reports of a quality defect from consumers of the U by Kotex Sleek Tampons, Regular Absorbency, which led to the voluntary recall.

In their reports, these tampons were said to unravel or come apart when they tried to remove it. In some cases, users had to seek medical attention in order to remove pieces of the tampon which were left inside their body. 

"There also have been a small number of reports of infections, vaginal irritation, localized vaginal injury, and other symptoms," the company said in their statement. It is not hard to understand how this happens if you are familiar with the risk of toxic shock syndrome.

"If you use highly absorbent tampons or leave a tampon in too long, it can cause vaginal dryness, or alter the pH or the normal flora of your vagina. In rare cases, you could get toxic shock from bacteria growth," Ann Mullen, director of health education at Cycle Technologies, told MedicalDaily earlier this year.

So when tampon pieces end up lodged in the vagina without the user realizing, bacteria can eventually start to grow on them and raise the risk for all those aforementioned symptoms. 

Women who notice these signs should see a medical professional as soon as possible. In addition, those who may have used the recalled product should keep an eye out for other symptoms like hot ashes, abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting.

The specifics of when the company received the consumer complaints are not known yet. "[What I can say] is that we worked quickly to identify the issue and determine the scope, leading to the recall of this product," a Kimberly-Clark spokesperson told CBS news via email.

The recalled tampons were manufactured between October 7, 2016, and October 16, 2018. They went on to be distributed between October 17, 2016, and October 23, 2018. To find out if your product is affected by the recall, you can look up the lot number on the Kotex website.

The company, which also produces diapers and tissues, assured that consumers do not have to worry about any other products. If you are a tampon user, now is a good time to brush up on the rules and precautions.

To reduce the risk of infection, remember to change your tampon every 4 to 8 hours and use the lowest absorbency possible. If you tend to sleep for long, uninterrupted hours, it is safer to use a pad at night. Of course, always wash your hands after handling tampons, whether you are inserting or removing them.