The two main differences are in the way the tampon expands when in use; for example applicator tampons such as Tampax tampons and Natracare tampons will expand lengthways, while OB, Natracare and Lil-lets tampons will expand width-ways. All tampons have a cord for removal and some have an additional outer cover to aid insertion and withdrawal. Some women prefer to use a tampon which is contained within an applicator to further aid insertion.
The majority of tampons sold are made of rayon, or a blend of rayon and cotton. Organic cotton tampons are made from only 100% cotton. Tampons are sold individually wrapped to keep them clean, and because the vagina is not a sterile body-cavity, and for the vast majority of women contains “good bacteria”, there is no need for any menstrual device to be sterilized.
If you are currently using tampons, consider switching to reusable menstrual cups. A menstrual cup offers superior protection, is safe, and ecologically friendly. Most popular brands include Divacup, Mooncup, the Keeper and Lunette.
Shop for menstrual cups HERE
Tampon applicators may be made of plastic or cardboard, and are similar in design to a syringe. The applicator consists of two tubes an ‘outer’ and ‘inner’. The ‘outer’ tube has a smooth surface to aid insertion and sometimes comes with a rounded end that is petalled.
The tampon itself sits inside the ‘outer’ tube, near the open end. The ‘inner’ tube is encased inside the ‘outer’ tube and held in place by a locking mechanism. The ‘outer’ tube is inserted into the vagina, then the ‘inner’ tube is pushed into the outer tube (typically using a finger) pushing the tampon through and into the vagina.
Digital or non-applicator tampons are tampons sold without applicators; these are simply unwrapped and pushed into the vagina with the fingers.
2 water drop marks mean that the absorbency is between 6 and 9 grams.Tampons are available in several different absorbency ratings, which are consistent across manufacturers in the U.S.:
- Junior absorbency: 6 grams and under
- Regular absorbency: 6 to 9 grams
- Super absorbency: 9 to 12 grams
- Super Plus absorbency 12 to 15 grams
- Super Plus Extra absorbency 15 – 18 grams
In the UK absorbencies range as follows:
- Lite (light flow) 6g and under
- Regular (light to medium flow) 6-9g
- Super (medium to heavy flow) 9-12g
- Super plus (heavy flow) 12-15g
- Super plus extra (very heavy flow) 15-18g
Some common tampon brands include:
- Seventh Generation Inc.
In rare cases, using a tampon may lead to toxic shock syndrome, a serious and potentially lethal condition. Be sure to read instructions how to insert a tampon.
Also, read about menstrual cups – eco-friendly tampon alternative, as well as instructions how to insert a menstrual cup.
And shop for menstrual cups HEREBUY NOW ON AMAZON