Let's Talk About


9 years ago by


It’s the same thing every month.

And, no, we’re not talking about your phone bill. (Even if that’s a whole other thing!)
We’re talking about periods and, more specifically, tampons.

There’s been a lot of talk recently following the horrible effect that tampons had on Australian model Lauren Wasser. In 2012, at age 24, she lost her leg due to complications resulting from Toxic Shock Syndrome. It was the chemicals in her tampon, and now she’s suing the company Kotex. She had a major heart attack and her organs began shutting down.

Toxic Shock Syndrome comes from a serious bacterial infection, sometimes caused by tampons. And it’s really the synthetic contents used by major tampon companies that lead to it; popular materials like rayon and plastic allow bacteria to flourish – and, in rare instances, TSS.

But 100% cotton tampons pose almost no risk to women who choose to use them. So, why aren’t more people making the change? Organic options aren’t as accessible, as they’re not generally stocked in major pharmacies, but it’s definitely worth the extra effort. And some of the brands that we love, which offer dye- and chemical-free cotton tampons are Organyc, NatraCare, and Seventh Generation. Or have you already made the switch to pure cotton?


Add yours
  • Mais il faut passer à la coupe menstruelle !!! Beaucoup moins toxique, protège bien plus longtemps dans la journée, écolo et économique puisque c’est réutilisable :)

  • La meilleure solution (en plus d’être la plus écolo)…c’est la diva cup!

  • Mais oui, enfin! C’est complètement dépassé les tampons! MoonCup power!

  • I’ve wondered about the effects of putting bleached tampons inside me for hours and hours every month. I have never purchased organic tampons (partly because they’re more expensive) but just finished my last box and think I will make the switch.

  • I’ve actually moved to using a menstrual cup. I’m still working out the kinks-I’m having some leaking so perhaps I need a larger size. But so far, so good!

  • I switched to a silicon menstrual cup a few years ago. I haven’t looked back since. As long as you care for and clean it properly, the risk of bacterial infections is very low especially compared with tampons which can cause tiny tears and scratches on the vaginal walls (which is how bacteria can enter the blood stream and cause infection). Plus, it is much cheaper in the long run.

  • I wonder the same. This post made me run out and buy a diva cup.

    I am tired of using cotton ( very toxic to the environment to grow ) and the disposable culture. Was looking into alternatives. I finally pulled the trigger.

    Ladies, keep the comments coming. Very interested to read opinions.

  • I switched to the mentrual cup about a year and a half, it was a dream come true. Considering I live in extreamly hot and humid weather, having a sanitary napkin between your legs was a 6 days 24hr nightmare. Tampons isn’t much of an option here in India as we have just started getting them in only speciality stores.
    Initially I had doubts as it turn mucky and brown after a few times but then I found the best way to clean it. Just put it in listerine for an Hour and it just gets as good as new later just wash it with soap to neutralise it.
    Mentrual Cup is my best bet.

  • Monika June, 25 2015, 1:50 / Reply

    What about menstrual cups? They are reusable, made from medical grade silicon.

  • Ben ouais moi aussi j’utilise la mooncup franchement c’est trop bien pas du tout prise de tête. Recommandée par une sage-femme je trouve ça vraiment trop bien, même si c’est un peu intimidant à première vue ????

  • Pauline June, 25 2015, 2:49 / Reply

    Ladies, come on, get yourselves a moon cup! No waste, no STC, invisible…what else can you ask for?

  • Katerina C June, 25 2015, 2:51 / Reply

    I use only pads. To put something in reminds me too much of being at the gynaecologiat or my childbirths. It is awful association. I can’t believe how many use tampons. I really don’t get it. Why? Of course if you’re a sportsperson, or something else physical, but in any other case…Well,sex, but it is a mood thing, while a tampon is something you have to attend to every three hours for five days. Am I alone here ?

  • I will be looking into alternatives to tampons after reading this post. I have very heavy periods so have been concerned to change from standard pads and super-super tampons to a cup. I will start my research today. Thank you for this very relevant post.

  • You are not alone! I tried using tampons when I was younger but never found it comfortable!

  • I swear on my diva cup for years already-ecological and economical at its best

  • Hannah June, 25 2015, 2:54 / Reply

    I’ve been using organic pads and tampons for about a year now. I’m also trying to phase into only using the Diva Cup! I’m happy I made the switch, it’s a lot less stressful and better for your body and the environment!

  • Maggie June, 25 2015, 3:01 / Reply

    I love seeing all this support for menstrual cups! I too have been using a Diva Cup for about 4 years with very little issue. They’re better for your body, budget and the environment- I recommend them to all the women in my life!

  • Daiana June, 25 2015, 3:05 / Reply

    I’ve never heard of TTS before the article about Lauren came out. I don’t think we have as many options in Argentina as you guys have in the US, but it is definitely something to reconsider… I’ll see what I can get besides tampons, otherwise I think I’ll switch back to maxi pads and wear tampons on certain occasions.

  • Marguerite June, 25 2015, 3:09 / Reply

    Mon commentaire va être très similaire aux précédents : j’ai testé la cup pour un voyage en Afrique où l’utilisation de tampons était quasi-impossible et ce fut pour moi une révolution ! Plus de fuite, pratique, rapide, économique, écolo,… que des points positifs !

    Dire que quand j’en avais parlé à mon gynéco il avait tout bonnement balayé le sujet en me proposant à la place des tampons probiotiques à 10€ la boîte !!! La France est vraiment en retard dans certains domaines….

  • I have been using 100% cotton or organic tampons and pads for about a year now. I plan on making the switch to DivaCup, but I just haven’t dropped the $40 yet! However, I will! I am glad Lauren’s story went viral. Personally, I always read the little pamphlet about the risk of TSS and knew the symptoms. However, not all ladies do read the small print.

  • lenalem June, 25 2015, 3:16 / Reply

    Alors depuis un deux et demi j utilise une coupe menstruelle, j en ai meme plusieurs ! Et bien les debuts étaient un peu difficiles mais pour rien au monde je ne reviendrai au tampons ! MENSTRUAL CUP TEAM 4 EVER !

  • I think women need to not sleep with tampons. If more women changed them ever 2-4 hours it wouldn’t be a problem


  • Lnchou June, 25 2015, 3:31 / Reply

    Another vote for menstrual cups! It’s only slightly impractical when the sink is outside of the toilet cubicle…

  • Actually I have read this article that indicated that a) you need to have that bacteria in your system ( it said about 20% of people have it) b) same can happen with 100% cotton. Though in the general aspect I am sure cotton is healthier, just not clear if in this context is true.
    Go figure…In my opinion this issue is similar to the pill. I myself experienced pretty bad consequences after 7 years of use… but would I tell other girls to never use it? Not sure, it is really very personal.
    This is the article I am referring to…not exactly medical journal but still :)

  • I switzerland to a menstrual cup a free years ago and never looked back. Clean, economical and environmentally-friendly. Takes some getting used t at first, but really makes you think about the amount of waste we generate every month with our dozens of tampons/pads. It’s the way forward!

  • Juliet June, 25 2015, 4:13 / Reply

    Been using a menstrual cup for something like 7 years. It took me a little time to figure out the correct positioning, but I never looked back. I’m so glad to see so many commenters supporting it. It’s so much cheaper on the long term, environmentally friendly, practical (put it on in the shower in the a.m., empty it in the shower in the p.m., soap up, rinse carefully, and just put it back on!), and healthier (haven’t had a single vaginal infection since i started using it, as opposed to when I used tampons). Also, it keeps us connected to our body (yes, we bleed! And there’s no good reason but denial to try and ignore that fact through plastic applicators and disposable everything).

  • Moon cup moon cup moon cup AMOUR DE MA VIE !

  • It’s not only the tampon itself it’s the individual’s habits also.
    Approximately 5300 cases of TSS were reported between 1979 and 1996; underreporting is probable, especially in nonmenstrual cases. The proportion of cases associated with menstruation has decreased significantly over time (91 percent between 1979 and 1980 versus 59 percent between 1987 and 1996).

    The number of cases of menstrual TSS has declined, from 9 in 100,000 women in 1980 to 1 in 100,000 women since 1986. The case-fatality rate for menstrual TSS has also declined (from 5.5 percent between 1979 and 1980 to 1.8 percent between 1987 and 1996).

    The withdrawal of highly absorbent tampons and polyacrylate rayon-containing products from the market partially explains the decrease in menstrual cases; however, tampon use remains a risk factor for TSS [15]. Women who develop TSS are more likely to have used tampons with high absorbency, used tampons continuously for more days of their cycle, and kept a single tampon in place for a longer period of time.

  • I couldn’t get the hang of the a Diva Cup.

  • camille reddress June, 25 2015, 10:28 / Reply

    two words MOON CUP you have to do an article on them , try one out

    1. health – no more risk of TSS and doesn’t upset the natural moisture of vagina like tampons do
    2. better for environment, not adding to landfill every month
    3. cheap – buy it once and it will last you a life time ( well, twice ….you will have to buy a second ( slighter larger size) after you have children or get to 30 )
    4. convenient , never be caught out . once you have it in it’s always with you. you can forget you’re on your period. no going to the bathroom with your handbag. no awkward asking of friends ( or strangers) in the bathroom at a club ” does anyone have a tampon?”

  • Briar Fleming June, 25 2015, 10:42 / Reply

    Go the moon cup! ( /diva cup / menstrual cup). I too was skeptical when I first heard about them, and ended up trying one after my (rather open) friend raved about the goodness that is putting it in warm after it has just been sterilized (I can now testify: amazing). I also suffer from crippling – literally crippling – period pains and had read that using a cup can help. It does take a bit of getting used to how to get it to sit right so it doesn’t leak, but once you nail that you will never ever look back. I’ve had a to resort to tampons on the odd occasion and now find them disgusting – they smell and leak and slip out…….

    Get a moon cup – it will literally change your life.

    PS – added bonus – you can have sex while it’s in there (recently cleaned and not as contraception obviously)

  • Theresa June, 25 2015, 11:49 / Reply

    I switched from tampons to a Lunette menstrual cup about 6 months ago–there was a slight learning curve, but I’m never going back.

  • la coupe menstrelle, vite vite il faut faire un article dessus!
    Pas de risque de choc toxique, pratique (très! jusqu’à 12h de protection d’affilée!), écologique (très très très peu de déchets car on n’en change que tout les, pffff 10 ans), plus jamais je ne revendrai en arrière.

    Essayez les filles du studio, et faites passer le mot autour de vous: la cup, ça change tout!

  • Eva Seoane June, 26 2015, 3:15 / Reply

    In my case (I live in Spain) I’m giving a shot to an other option, the vaginal cup, Lily Cup. Im pretty happy by far, is clean and considerate and healthy. My friends (who also are using it) and I are really happy with our change.

  • La coupe menstruelle est une alternative que j’ai adopté depuis 3 ans et qui me plait beaucoup ! J’ai changé un tout petit peu mes habitudes et mon rapport au corps pour des résultats positifs sur tous les plans : 1/je ne suis jamais en rupture de stocks de tampons et serviettes hygiéniques, 2/je fais 100 euros d’économies par an (ma cup m’a coûté 30 euros), 3/j’ai réduit ma quantité de déchets, 4/niveau santé, j’ai choisi une cup en plastique médical qui ne contient ni bisphénol A (perturbateur endocrinien), ni phtalate (cancérogène, reprotoxique), ni latex (allergène). Il existe des cups en silicone également.

  • Kareldestoute June, 26 2015, 3:41 / Reply

    En lisant l’article, j’ai bondi sur la rubrique “commentaires” (moi qui ne commente jamais) pour crier “coupe menstruelle” ! Et je suis ravie de voir qu’en fait j’arrive avec un train de retard :)
    Les tampons, même en coton, produisent des tonnes de déchets. Sans parler des désagréments physiologiques : ils assèchent, peuvent irriter, sentent mauvais quand tu les retires. Et coûtent cher…

  • YES! Would recommend any menstrual cup. they are amazing, my period has stopped being something i even worry about since getting mine. And somehow using it has made me feel more in touch with my body… very unexpected “i am woman” vibes. the ruby cup brand is nice because they have a TODS-type business model, distributing a menstrual cup to a girl/woman attending school in a developing country for every cup they sell.

  • Roxanne June, 26 2015, 8:02 / Reply

    One more vote for moon cup !!! changed my life. I would never go back to tampons.

  • Menstrual cups are another great option. Once you get a cup, you’ll never go back!

  • I’ve also been using a menstrual cup for about 10 years. The best thing ever, practical, economical and ecological. If Moon/Diva cup are too expensive, there are many more options online. They vary in shapes and materials used (latex, silicone or plastic). There’s probably a good fit for almost any woman. I’ve had very heavy periods since my blood doesn’t coagulate well and I can’t stand hormonal contraception, and it’s less unpleasant with cup than tampons or pads. Not to mention I can actually swim with it!

  • Thank you for this information, I must switch to cotton then. As a sporty type, I’ve been using tampons since my early teens. I’ve heard about the toxic syndrome before, but seen it as more of an urban legend to be honest. But now, after this story with leg amputation, I’m quite terrified. Not to mention that it happened to me to sleep with a tampon in for 10 hours or so. Now I’m definitely going to be more careful…


  • Pas encore passée au 100% coton mais tu as bien raison, les réactions devraient être plus rapides. Merci pour cet article !

  • Katherine June, 26 2015, 2:21 / Reply

    Heureuse de voir que je ne suis pas la seule à utiliser la Diva Cup! Il faut absolument que vous fassiez un post là-dessus. Beaucoup plus santé, pas de risque de choc toxique, beaucoup plus écologique, plus propre, n’assèche pas les muqueuses du vagin, pas de risque d’avoir une corde qui dépasse (vrai, j’ai déjà vu une fille avec des shorts très courts avoir une corde qui dépassait, pas chic du tout), bref, ce n’est que du positif!!! Les tampons, il faut arrêter ça, qu’ils soient en cotton ou pas!

  • Olivia June, 26 2015, 3:59 / Reply

    Hello !

    Je crois que l’article comporte des informations erronées. Le SCT n’a rien à voir avec les matières synthétiques du tampon même si peut être que cela favorise le SCT. Le STC est du au staphylocoque doré….
    Je lis aussi dans les commentaires que le SCT est impossible avec les coupes menstruelles, ce qui est complètement faux…

  • Paulina June, 26 2015, 5:47

    Tout a fait d’accord avec Olivia.
    SCT et coupe menstruelle ne sont pas antinomiques. C’est une infection due au staphylocoque, pas à la nature des protections. Les protections peuvent malheureusement la favoriser, comme il est connu désormais que le tampon présente plus de risques que les serviettes, mais ce n’est pas pour ça que la cup ne présente aucun risque non plus!

  • Valerie June, 27 2015, 9:53 / Reply

    As a women’s health specialist, I’m so happy to see how many women are jettisoning tampons and using Moon Cups! Wow! My colleagues and I were test subjects for the first cup products when they were invented in the late 90s and were concerned that women wouldn’t use them b/c they involved more interaction with the body and women are taught to be disgusted by their bodies everything about their monthly cycles, but it’s heartwarming to see that women are making the switch. It’s a better move for the environment as well. Tampons are very bad for your vaginal microbiome (look it up) as well, so yes, make the switch!

  • Je suis restée sur les bonnes vieilles serviettes, les tampons j’ai toujours trouvé ça inconfortable et pas très pratique à mettre et à changer, et il y a des risques de fuite… et puis cette histoire a fait connaître le syndrome du choc toxique, mais moi j’étais au courant depuis longtemps car j’ai une amie qui l’a eu et qui s’est retrouvée à l’hosto sous perf d’antibiotiques…. elle était étudiante en médecine et elle a tout de suite compris, si elle n’avait pas été au courant, elle aurait très bien pu y passer. Et moi ça m’a passé l’envie de prendre des risques tous les mois… La cup, je ne sais pas, ça ne me dit franchement rien…

  • Jennifer June, 27 2015, 4:51 / Reply

    I had no idea, thank you for this information.

  • Ita Darling June, 28 2015, 4:59 / Reply

    I have been using cups for about 20 years.. Moon/Diva cups are great- but sterilzation and smell can be a bother if you are not someplace where you can sterilize/clean well- Instead cups are great if you are travelling (as they are disposable) and you can wear safely for 12 hours. I also sterilize and re-use the Instead cups and now they make a variety that is designed for reuse for one period cycle.. I only use tampons as a last resort!

  • Oh my god! I have been obsessing about my shameful use of tampons since I read this article this morning!
    I ran to my local pharmacy only to find out that the same TSS can happen from using organic cotton tampons… I guess I will stick to organic pads and after reading all the comments, will give the mooncup a try!!!

  • Je crois que la meilleure solution c’est la coupe menstruelle !!!
    peut-être pas d’intérêt pour les grandes entreprises de sa diffusion?…

  • Menstrual cups are the best, they are clean, smell much better, plus you can insert them even before the period starts.

  • you guys all use the menstrual cup !! but what about going for a swim ? Aren’t tampons the best option in that case ?!

  • You can swim with it :)

  • Caroline July, 10 2015, 4:39

    Au contraire! A cup is so much more confortable for any activities, swimming, running, whatever..and it is totally invisible, perfect for a midnight skinnny dip :)

  • Lansky July, 2 2015, 12:29 / Reply

    Je suis une utilisatrise des tampons durant la journée et la nuit les serviettes. Je lis les commentaires et le «cup» revient très souvent… Je ne sais pas si un jour je vais tenter le coup simplement parce que mes écoulements ne sont pas abondantes du temps. C’est malgré tout hyper intéressant.

  • Moon cup forever! it’s gonna change your life and you can do everything with it!

  • Have also loved using a cup although recently I found this company called THINX which looks amazing! Haven’t tried them yet but they sound pretty awesome and seem to have good reviews off site.

  • TSS is caused by super absorbent tampons, not all tampons. And its usually because they’re left inserted for too long. Women tend to think because its super absorbent, you can get away with not replacing it as frequently.

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