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  • In Ancient Rome tampons were made of wool, Indonesians used vegetable fibers and Japanese women used rolled up paper.

  • The first commercial tampons were launched in the 1930s and today women use up to 12,000 menstrual hygiene products per lifetime.

  • But is there a better option?

  • Should you stop wearing tampons?

  • Despite being a completely normal biological process that half the population faces, menstruation is often taboo.

  • The menstrual cycle begins every 28 days on average, and repeats from puberty to menopause.

  • Every month, in response to the reproductive hormones progesterone and estrogen, the lining of the uterus grows and thickens preparing for a potential pregnancy.

  • However, if pregnancy doesn't occur, progesterone drops and the thickened lining sheds.

  • The menstrual flow is a combination of this uterine lining and blood from the arteries in your uterus,

  • which is a unique trait as few other species menstruate at all.

  • In every other mammal other than humans, primates, bats and the adorable elephant shrew,

  • the endometrium only thickens in response to getting pregnant.

  • During menstruation, 30-90ml of fluid is lost, and 81% of women use tampons as the primary method to absorb this blood,

  • at times in combination with pads.

  • Tampons use exceptionally absorbent materials like cotton and rayon that interact strongly with water.

  • And while cotton and rayon are biodegradable, the rest of the tampon isn't,

  • contributing to 300 pounds of waste in a woman's lifetime.

  • The materials also provide an environment that the bacteria staphylococcus like,

  • which can lead to a rare but potentially fatal disease known as Toxic Shock Syndrome.

  • As menstrual blood adds neutralizing proteins to the vagina, which is normally more acidic,

  • its ability to kill bacteria is reduced.

  • In 1983 more than 2,200 cases of Toxic Shock Syndrome were reported to the CDC, but by 1997 there were only 5 cases.

  • This decrease is attributed to education about tampons, like the need to change it at least every 8 hours

  • and using the lowest absorbency for your flow.

  • On top of this, tampons can lead to vaginal dryness and breakage in the skin, leaving you prone to further infection.

  • On average, women spend close to $100 on tampons and pads a year,

  • which are often taxed as "luxury goods" despite being a basic necessity.

  • Protests have influenced governments like Canada to remove the "Tampon Tax"

  • but in many lower income nations, the high price of tampons causes girls to miss school.

  • In South Africa, 9 million girls ages 13-19 miss school because of a lack of menstrual hygiene products

  • or facilities to change them throughout the day.

  • One alternative solution to tampons is a menstrual cup. It's a non-absorbent reusable barrier cup that collects blood.

  • The cost of the cup is significantly less than tampons, and is reusable for multiple years.

  • It can also be worn for 12 hours, meaning women can change it at home,

  • as opposed to school or work, and it creates substantially less environmental waste.

  • In a study where women aged 19 to 40 who had previously used tampons as their main method, were given menstrual cups for 3 cycles,

  • and 91% said they would continue to use the cup

  • and recommend it to others despite the learning curve.

  • Period blood could also save your life!

  • Scientists are developing diagnostic tests that women can use at home to monitor early signs of cancer,

  • reproductive diseases, STIs and endometriosis using their menstrual blood.

  • Additionally, stem cells found in menstrual blood are more powerful than those found in bone marrow.

  • These stem cells can differentiate into nine different types of cells,

  • meaning period blood might provide a potentially unlimited, easily collected,

  • inexpensive and without ethical dilemma, source of stem cells for regenerative medicine!

  • From gross and taboo, to normal, to potentially life saving, periods are pretty cool! Period.

  • If you want to learn interesting scientific hacks to minimize physical pain, and emotional pain during your period, head over to my channel Ask Kimberly.

  • Or you can check out my other videos, where I tackle all kinds of relationship issues as a relationship expert and a therapist.

  • Thanks to my brother Mitch for having me on the channel and subscribe for more weekly science videos!

In Ancient Rome tampons were made of wool, Indonesians used vegetable fibers and Japanese women used rolled up paper.

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Should You Stop Wearing Tampons?

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    韓澐 posted on 2016/09/27
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