Organic tampons: what's the difference, and why should you care? Let's talk about the facts, myths, misconceptions and benefits of regular or mainstream brands vs all-organic tampons.
You may think that organic tampons represent a new product in the female healthcare market. This is not the case. The first business to introduce organic tampons in the UK was Natracare, and they did so all the way back in 1989. Despite this, organic tampons still haven’t really gone mainstream. Even if you have heard of them, you may be wondering whether they offer any benefits and if this is something worth looking into for your body. Well, let’s dive in!
Let’s start off by taking a look at what an organic tampon is. An organic tampon has been created to provide you with a more natural option instead of using the disposable period products that have been the go-to product for decades now. As indicated by the name, organic cotton is used to create tampons, and this material will have never been treated with insecticides or pesticides.
Not only are organic tampons free of chemicals throughout the early stages of production, but there are no harmful chemicals applied throughout the manufacturing process either, such as chlorine, fragrances, or dyes.
As there is such an emphasis on using sustainable and natural ingredients, many organic tampons won’t include an applicator so even less material gets used.
There is a lot of misinformation on the web regarding tampons and the benefits associated with different types. One of the major benefits of using organic tampons is that they tend to be unscented, which means they can be much better for people with sensitive skin.
In addition to this, organic tampons are a lot better for the environment. This is because they decompose much quicker when compared with regular tampons. Aside from this, they are also created without using any dangerous or harmful chemicals during the process, which prevents runoff from cotton growing that can impact the environment.
Organic tampons are also beneficial in terms of safeguarding our waters. When compared with other crops, pesticides are used more on conventional cotton than any other crop in the world. With organic tampons, though, all of the cotton they’re made from is 100% organic (as the name suggests)! Without pesticides being used, organic tampons help to keep the world’s water clean and safe, as rainwater is prioritised during the production of organic cotton, meaning the natural rhythm of Mother Nature is respected.
You also will not find endocrine-disrupting elements in organic tampons. Dioxin and other endocrine disruptors can cause issues in terms of fertility and hormones, and can still be used in some cheaper mainstream tampon brands. In fact, they have even been linked to some types of cancer. That’s another thing not to worry about if your tampons are organic.
If that wasn't enough, you will not find any harsh chemicals in organic tampons. When you consider the fact that part of your vagina is a membrane, which is incredibly absorbent, you need to be extra careful about the materials that come into contact with it. If you wouldn’t put nasty chemicals (or things made with nasty chemicals) into your mouth, why on earth would you be happy putting them inside you anywhere else?
As is the case with ay product nowadays, there is quite a bit of misinformation on the Internet. A lot of people assume that they can flush their organic tampons down the toilet because they are sustainable and biodegradable. However, this is not the case (please don’t); if you were to do this, it could block your drains and result in damage and flooding, just like any other tampons.
However, one of the eco-benefits of choosing organic tampons is that they can, in theory, be composted with your other forms of compost waste. Simply make sure you check out the packaging first, as not all brands are created equally. If you are unsure, the best thing to do is simply dispose of the organic tampon in a designated sanitary bin or the general waste bin, as it is still going to decompose within around six months, and won’t leave any nasty microplastics behind, unlike conventional brands.
It is also important to clarify that organic tampons are not any safer with regard to Toxic Shock Syndrome, which is one of the more pervasive myths about them. TSS is a rare, life-threatening bacterial condition, which has been linked to some kinds of super absorbency tampons.
Today, AMPHA (or the FDA in the US) regulates the absorbency of tampons to ensure that Toxic Shock Syndrome is prevented as much as possible, and this is the case across both organic and non-organic tampons. So, it is not the case that organic tampons are any “safer” or magically guarantee that TSS will never happen; you still need to change your tampon regularly!
As with regular tampons, when picking which absorbency to use for organic tampons you should use the lowest possible for your flow level. Simply put, use higher absorbencies for heavy days and lower absorbencies for light days. More absorbent tampons hold more blood, but that doesn’t mean you should use them for your entire period - avoid using a high absorbency tampon on a low flow day so you can “leave it in longer.” If you’re not entirely sure, try a lower absorbency with a pad or liner for backup until you can get to know your cycle a bit better. This is as true for organic tampons as for regular ones!
It is important to recognize that it is always a personal decision when it comes to matters concerning your menstrual health and how you manage it. Some people may prefer to use standard tampons because they are cheaper and they have found a brand that they are used to and are comfortable with, and that’s just fine - it’s your body, and your choice!
However, there are a number of benefits to be gained by going down the organic route, especially if you are someone who has sensitive skin and you tend to experience irritation when using standard tampons. Most users tend to notice a difference with irritation after a few cycles of using organic tampons. If you care about the environment and dropping your carbon footprint, but can’t get on with reusable menstrual care like cups or fabric pads, it definitely makes sense to make the switch from standard tampons to the organic variety.
Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to the way you manage your menstrual health; it is all about finding the solution that works for you!