Why You Should Think Twice Before Using This Kind of Tampon
When your period arrives (ugh), there are a lot of different tampon options you can reach for. You can choose between various absorbencies, applicators, and even organic vs. nonorganic. But experts say there’s one type you should be wary of: scented versions.
While some women use scented tampons and have no issues, others can experience swelling and rashes down there—just from one use. “Some women may be sensitive to scented tampons and therefore, it can lead to vaginal irritation,” says board-certified ob-gyn Pari Ghodsi, M.D.
It’s not just irritation you have to worry about: The fragrance in scented tampons can also affect your vaginal pH balance—which is important for your overall vaginal health. That can lead to yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis, a condition that causes abnormal discharge, itching, and odor.
Unfortunately, Dr. Ghodsi says there’s no way to know in advance how you’ll react to scented tampons—it’s really a trial and error kind of thing.
But Rebecca Starck, M.D., an ob-gyn and clinical assistant professor of surgery at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, says it’s really better to play it safe an avoid using any kind of perfumed product down there. “It’s also best to use 100 percent cotton, undyed products,” she says.
If you do end up developing a below-the-belt reaction and you suspect scented tampons are to blame, stop using them immediately and try a hypoallergenic version instead. If the problem hasn’t improved within 24 hours, then use an over-the-counter steroid cream externally, Dr. Starck says. Call your doctor if that still doesn’t help.
“If the problem doesn’t resolve itself, don’t assume,” Dr. Ghodsi says. “Follow up with your ob-gyn to rule out any other causes of irritation.”
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