Nearly half of the world’s population menstruates, and of this group of women, the large majority turn to tampons as their feminine hygiene product of choice. However, as explained in a recent ASAP Science video, perhaps it’s time we found an alternative.

Tampons are made from rayon and cotton. While these materials make tampons highly absorbent, they also create an ideal environment for bacteria to grow. In addition, while the vagina is usually highly efficient at fighting off infection, menstrual blood briefly lowers its immune defenses. As a result, tampons are linked to a rare yet fatal disease known as toxic shock syndrome.

In addition to TSS, tampons are not very environmentally friendly. Though tampons themselves are biodegradable, the rest of their packaging, such as plastic applicators, is not and can significantly contribute to landfill buildups.

The last strike against tampons is their cost. ASAP Science reports that the average woman spends around $100 a year on menstrual products, and in many low-income countries, girls and women who cannot afford this cost simply do not leave their homes while menstruating.

A possible alternative to the ever-popular tampon is the menstrual cup. It is non-absorbent, which eliminates the risk of TSS; it lasts for several years, making it cost-effective; and it creates far less waste than the tampon. Although the device can require a learning curve, especially for women used to tampons during their menstrual cycle, according to ASAP Science, around 90 percent of women who have used this product not only said they liked it, but would also reccomend it to others.

Read More:

What Is Toxic Shock Syndrome? Hint: It's Not Just Caused By Tampon: Read Here

Michigan Has Seen 5 Cases Of Toxic Shock Since December; Health Officials Warn Against Improper Tampon Use: Read Here

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