As women, there are many decisions that we make regarding our reproductive health. One of those decisions is what feminine care product to use each month when our menstrual cycle arrives. Tampons, pads, cups, specialty underwear...there are so many options; it is hard to know what is best for you. Even when looking at tampons, there are different types of applicators. However, one of the biggest controversies in the world of tampons right now is whether organic tampons are better than regular tampons. Here are some facts to note before making your next tampon purchase:
1. What does “organic” mean? Organic tampons are made from 100% organic cotton and they are either not bleached or bleached with peroxide.
- Regular tampons can use rayon and/or non-organic cotton (meaning this cotton can be grown with pesticides). They are also generally bleached with chlorine, which then creates dioxin as a byproduct.
- Organic tampons are free of dioxins, synthetic material, pesticides and GMOs. They are also generally unscented, which can be beneficial for women who have sensitive skin.
2. Should I be worried about dioxin? Dioxin is a byproduct of bleaching with chlorine and is a known carcinogen and a possible hormone disruptor.
- However, it is important to note that the FDA considers tampons a medical device and therefore does regulate them and requires manufacturers to monitor dioxin levels. Although the FDA does allow a small amount of dioxin and glyphosate (a pesticide), they require manufacturers to keep the amounts within what they consider a safe level.
3. Understanding the labels. Just like with food, it is important to understand the packaging of your tampons.
- It is worth noting that there are no laws requiring manufacturers to list what goes into their tampons. This means that they are not required to list the materials used or if the product contains any dyes or chemical fragrances.
- 100% cotton does not mean that a product is organic. The packaging would state “Organic” if it used organic cotton.
- Organic tampons are generally more eco-friendly, meaning the methods used to grow and harvest the organic cotton have a lower negative impact on the ecosystem around them.
4. How can this decision affect reproductive health?
- The lining of the vagina is very absorbent, so it makes sense that what you put in there will get absorbed. Nevertheless, you need to make the decision on what is best for you, your health and your budget.
- Both regular and organic tampons are considered safe by the FDA and most physicians; however, there has been no testing done on the long-term safety or effects of either of these types of products on the female body.
- Neither type of tampon product is better than the other at preventing or eliminating the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome. The best way to prevent TSS is to make sure a tampon is never left in for longer than 6-8 hours.
Your decisions regarding your reproductive health and care are your own; however, it is always good to stay informed so you can make the right choices for yourself. When it comes to regular versus organic tampons, the FDA and the majority of healthcare professionals state that regular tampons are just as safe as organic. Other factors you may need to take into consideration include ecological impact, price, skin sensitivity and peace of mind. Whatever feminine care product you choose, just make sure it feels right to you.
Did you know that we have a FREE program called Wellness Wednesday with your Hy-Vee dietitians? Tune in virtually for a live complimentary wellness session over your lunch hour with your Hy-Vee dietitians. Each week learn about hot trending nutrition topics and delicious foods and/or recipes to add to your routine. Visit our Hy-Vee dietitian website to sign up or check out the other services that we offer.
*The blog articles, recipes and recommendations found on this site are not intended as medical advice and should not replace consulting with your medical provider. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.