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Unbroken's avatar

(NSFW) question about menses?

Asked by Unbroken (9382 points ) December 3rd, 2013

Lol. So I am 27 and have experienced secondary ameorhhea, lapse in Menses for medical reasons for over a year.

So this is a first time in quite awhile (Yay, I think) and am going on the ninth day with no sign of stopping, which I’m not concerned about. I remember my last periods were infrequent and one must have lasted a month.

My problem is the tampons are irritating me. I feel dry and itchy. I switched to lights from regular on the 5th day. But the discomfort has only gotten greater. Or I have less tolerance for it. I don’t recall this being a problem before. And have no idea how to remedy it.

In case you need detail…. I switch tampons every 2–4 hours. More if I just ate. And when I go more then 4 hrs without eating I leave it out for an hour or so and just use a pantyliner if I am not exercising or sleeping.

I walk approx 7–10m at work a day. And exercise 10–30minutes running/walking/cycling dependent on energy level and time. I do not have any symptoms of yeast infection or uti. Just dry and itchy inner and outer and friction is not helping.

Any suggestions or ideas?

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47 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Are you switching that often because the tampon is soaked? Do you put a new one in as soon as you take one out?

I wear a tampon for 4–8 hours. I don’t replace it right away if my bleeding is light.

Seek's avatar

I have very very light periods since having my son. After the first day I could probably go without, except that pantyliners irritate the heck out of my skin.

In order to avoid the dryness irritation you’re talking about, I put a little bit of lube on the outside of the tampon (I use OB) before putting it in. Astroglide, if it makes a difference. It’s mostly water and glycerine.

deni's avatar

I am the same as @JLeslie…..I usually only wear 2–4 tampons per period. I do have a light period due to birth control though, but I could see how switching it out frequently even if it was a heavier flow would be problematic. When I do wear them, I leave them in until they start to leak. I know that sounds gross, but it is the only way I can remove them without it hurting, or being irritating, or whatever. I would try leaving them in longer if i were you. It seems like pads wouldn’t be a good alternative either, I find them very irritating on that sensitive skin.

JLeslie's avatar

To clarify, my heavy days are day one and two, and I wear maybe three tampons a day. I change it if I have a bowel movement, for fear of infection, otherwise I change it every 4–8 hours like I said, and I usually don’t wear tampons at night. The last 4–5 days of my period I wear 1–2 a day.

Unbroken's avatar

@JLeslie, they are typically half used, they get uncomfortable and shortly after start leaking beyond that.

@Seek_Kolinahr good idea, I am absolutely trying that.

@déni yours don’t start leaking until they are completely soaked? Odd. I did think about pads and I am almost desperate enough to try it… But if they are just as bad no point. Don’t y’all worry about toxic shock thing?

deni's avatar

@Unbroken I was so worried about that, I didn’t use tampons for the first, like, seven years of my period. To be honest tampons have always freaked me out, I just don’t like the way they feel coming out, or the way you can sometimes feel them a little when they’re in. Ugh. But yeah, I usually wait until there is bright, new blood coming out to take it out, otherwise it is usually dry and painful. Like I said, my period is really light, so thats why I do it the way I do it.

JLeslie's avatar

Mine almost never leak as long as I was not “bleeding” before putting them in.

Are you sure you have it in deep enough. You shouldn’t feel it inside of you. If it isn’t in deep enough it can be irritating or at minimum just cause you to be aware it is there. The applicator should be well inside of you before you actually push the tampon through. Just the part on the end of the part of the applicator that holds the tampon should be sticking out for you to hold onto while you insert it.

hearkat's avatar

@Unbroken – perhaps you are sensitive to something in the tampon? Do they make organic tampons?

Another option is to lubricate the areas that are irritated, since you complain of dryness. If you have a personal lubricant that you know you tolerate well, try that to see if it helps. I use Miracell oil if I’m feeling dry or irritated in my genital area (or anywhere… that stuff is great).

JLeslie's avatar

Oh, great point. Make sure you are using unscented tampons.

Unbroken's avatar

Hmm. I guess I could try them in longer. They are unscented. Totally against any scents. But if all else fails I could try organic. Oh and push them in farther too. I feel like a preteen thanks for all the advice. Means a lot, I may make it through the day without screaming. :)

deni's avatar

@Unbroken I really think that could be it, When I remove a tampon, the feeling of it coming out, even though it’s usually soaked, is extreme irritation. Luckily it only lasts a second so it’s fine. But if you are putting them in and removing them that often, I could see where there would be irritation! I hope that’s what it is, anyhow, so you can find a solution! Good luck!

JLeslie's avatar

Maybe read the instructions? It might help clarify everything. I was lucky my mom told me what to do when I was very young. I know women in their 30’s and 40’s who have lived all those years without putting the thing in deep enough. At least two women I told them they are doing it wrong. LOL.

snowberry's avatar

Here’s something nobody else has mentioned- the many chemicals that a typical tampon contains. Any one of these could be irritating you, and changing them out often isn’t necessarily going to help. http://naturallysavvy.com/care/conventional-feminine-hygiene-products-a-womens-issue-with-toxic-implications

glacial's avatar

If they’re leaking when they’re only half used, I have to wonder if the brand you’re using is just crappy. Now that you’re experiencing irritation, probably anything you use will just exacerbate it, but you might want to consider switching for your next period.

JLeslie's avatar

Don’t use tampons for a day. Take a bath tonight and tomorrow morning. Let the area rest. The bath will help not have blood in the area for a short time. If you take it before you lay down to go to sleep it hopefully keep your vagina and vulva fairly free of blood if you aren’t very heavy. Blood can be irritating too.

Unbroken's avatar

@JLeslie Lol, I didn’t think I needed a refresher but time has proved me wrong. Back to the box it is.

@snowberry Learn something new every day, who would have thought tampons were a medical device, and since when should medical devices be exempted from listing ingredients, I would think that is more important then food, as it could be implanted in your body for the rest of your life, metalosis anyone?

@glacial will do, it is a store brand. But I hope you are wrong about nothing I can do this round, but the lube does sting.

@JLeslie good idea I think I am going to bed very early tonight.

JLeslie's avatar

Oh, the whole medical device thing can send me on a whole tangent of why I think tampons should either be tax deductable or at least able to buy them on FSA or HSA cards. During the Rely tampon fiasco, you are probably to young to know about it, the FDA realized how important it is to do clinical testing on new tampons coming to market. So, they are classified as medical devices to ensure they meet FDA requirements for scientific study before placed for sale in America. Many women become deathly ill, some died from TSS from Rely tampons. They were made out of different fabric than other tampons.

You know if men bled every month it would be covered under HSA. I am going to write the President.

Unbroken's avatar

Omg Seek lmao! Thanks for inserting some humor.

glacial's avatar

Very punny, @Unbroken!

Unbroken's avatar

couldn’t resist

cutiepi92's avatar

I’m just amazed at how easy a lot of you have it lol. When I wasn’t on birth control, for 4 days out of a six day period I would have to change a super plus tampon every two hours (soaked through all the way) and had to wear a tampon AND a two pads at night to keep from bleeding everywhere. i hate periods

as to the question: i agree about the lube on the tampon idea. Sounds like it would help a lot. And keep them in longer.

Seek's avatar

My periods were like that before I had my son. Then I had a full 13 months of lactation amenorrhea (woot!) And when they did come back they were super light.

Unbroken's avatar

I usually have two heavy days but not heavy. I find what I eat really affects things too. The more salads I eat for example the lower my flow is.

I found an interesting commentary on menorrphagia which is excessive bleeding. It is interesting even if the sources credibility is questionable.

snowberry's avatar

Regarding what you eat affecting your menses, quite a lot of foods and herbs are estrogenic. This means they have compounds in them that are close enough to true estrogen, they can fill up the estrogen receptors in our bodies, thus altering our hormones. Among them are coffee, sunflower seeds, and beer. Many chemicals also mimic estrogen.
https://mysticways.wiki.zoho.com/Chemicals,-Food,-Herbs-that-are-Estrogenic.html

And in addition, candida overgrowth (yeast infection, usually due to antibiotic use) produces by products that mimic estrogen. Candida (yeast) feed on the natural sugars in the body, which depletes it. Then we crave sugar to replace what is lost. This is why so many people are addicted to sugar. http://bodyecology.com/articles/pms-and-candida-overgrowth-the-dangers-of-estrogen-dominance

JLeslie's avatar

@Unbroken Are you feeling better today?

gailcalled's avatar

Why not simply skip the tampons entirely for a while and use unbleached and unscented pads? That would give the irritated tissues a chance to heal. Any kind of skin irritation benefits from the physical removal of the aggravation.

snowberry's avatar

You should be able to find alternatives to the toxic tampons and pads in most health oriented grocery stores, such as Natural Grocer or Whole Foods.

gailcalled's avatar

^^ Good thought. Here’s an online resource to find a place near you.

http://www.seventhgeneration.com/sanitary-pads

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry You do realize that link for Natural Savvy reads like an ad to sell the product. I am not trying to discourage you or the OP from trying a different product that you feel will be healthier, but the references to TSS are scare tactics, tampons are incredibly safe, we learned a lot with the Rely mess. Sure some people still get TSS or other infection. but very very rare, and it can theoretically happen with any tampon, especially if they are left in too long or there is a pre-existing problem. The FDA has addressed the dioxin concern; although, I will not argue that the government tends to use phrases like, “in safe limits,” and “trace amounts” which some people might still be uncomfortable with. Clothing is bleached and dyed and we still wear underwear, so I would think that would be similar to pads, although obviously tampons are hitting internal organs. Many tampons are made with chlorine free bleaching, although the pesticide concern is worth considering in my opinion.

No matter what, I would just like to say to everyone that tampons are in the top three greatest inventions of all time if you ask me. LOL. I am not commenting on safety, maybe tampons and pads are killing us, although I doubt it. I just know for me tampons have meant I can get through a period without feelng like I even have a period. I am much more irritated if I don’t use tampons, probably related to some GYN health problems I have had, and I can swim, zumba, ballet, etc, all because of tampons.

snowberry's avatar

This site offers a well rounded view of the different sanitary options and their hazards, including Menstrual cups which have no connection to TSS (toxic shock syndrome) because they are not absorbent: http://www.labyrinth.net.au/~obsidian/clothpads/CupsTSS.html

I suggest you click around this site because it seems to cover everything.

The other options discussed include these products which all carry a concern about TSS: store bought conventional, store bought natural, or homemade tampons, store bought natural sponges or store bought conventional or homemade sanitary pads, and all these concerns are addressed on this same website.

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry Homemade tampons sounds more risky to me than a Playtex tampon. It is not scietifically tested or monitored.

Menstrual cups are made from silicone I think, or ther materials like latex. I don’t know why the author would be more comfortable with that?

Women should use the correct absorbency, that is a good thing to touch on. Absorbency is actually regulated by the FDA if memory serves. From brand to brand there are parameters that must be met to label it regular or super, and whatever else they call them know. Super is super no matter what brand you buy it has passed certain tests to be able to be called super. Using tampons with more absorbancy than needed can cause irritation, even tears in the vagina. This also includes changing tampons too often, because it is basically the same as using tampons that are too absorbent.

snowberry's avatar

@JLeslie I just listed the available options. What works for one woman won’t work for the next. The FDA’s opinion on anything isn’t worth much, IMO. They have a lousy track record.

Edit: In fact, if the FDA says it’s risky, I look again at it, and if the FDA approves, I think maybe there’s something wrong with it!

Unbroken's avatar

I am feeling less tender. Thank you, again. I actually did buy some seventh generation tampons. My store carries them and I made the switch because my tampons were crappy not filling all the way and have never before questioned the safety of tampons so I can’t do more then read up on it.

I do agree with snowberry about the FDA.

I can’t say I’m very comfortable with the idea of cups and using them public restrooms with stalls sounds quite nasty.

Oh and about the food thing it is very noticeable with me. Even before I was a celiac I noticed a huge difference between eating a burger and a salad. I do make sure to eat plenty of protein and iron and indulge in very dark chocolate. But I will take a look at the foods again. I haven’t been able to eat yeast or milk products for years so that sticks out.

snowberry's avatar

@JLeslie Yes, I know, but that particular site (Natural Savvy) also gives a lot of great history, some government links, and so on. I think it’s fairly obvious I’m not promoting a particular brand. TSS is still a real possibility, especially with certain women who might have compromised immune systems, or who have an impaired ability to tolerate elevated levels of certain compounds that can be absorbed into the blood stream (not exactly sure what they are, but I know they exist), or maybe even an allergy to bleach.

“Clothing is bleached and dyed and we still wear underwear, so I would think that would be similar to pads” I don’t think so. The issue with TSS arrives when the body is in constant contact with mucous membranes for long periods of time, while underwear is designed to fit a tad looser and/or allow more room to breathe. At the very least, it’s thinner, and there is less room for “gunk” to grow stuff, build up, or whatever than on a pad (this discussion is starting to give me the shivers)!

As I mentioned before, just because the FDA says it’s “safe” doesn’t mean it is. Aaaand I could totally derail this question with that topic, so I’ll stop here!

gailcalled's avatar

Let us remember what women used to use before the advent of disposable cloth and non-cloth products…cat tail fluff, corn cobs, animal skins, grasses & mosses, sea sponges, wool, ash, wood shavings, sheep skins, and pieces of cloth.

History of the Menstrual Pad

Lots of other choices, ladies. Let your imagination run wild.

JLeslie's avatar

The FDA screws things up all the time. They also sometimes push things through because of a good ol’ boy network that still exists, all sorts of negative things I can say about them. But, overall they do look at the science and they do enforce some regulations and testing to protect people. The FDA investigated dioxins, asbetos, and the deaths regarding Rely tampons and has put in place regulations, which we should all be very glad about. Possibly it should be stricter, I am not arguing that.

The chemicals have nothing to do with TSS, TSS was caused by absorbency, fabric, and still can happen to people who are more susceptible or like I said leave a tampon in too long.

I realize you are just giving information @snowberry so am I. Like I said your sites seem a little too hysterical about the TSS slant. The history of Rely tampons has kind of stuck in the minds of people and they expand the risk to all tampons, but the statistical risk is vastly different for tampons that had been on the market previous to Rely and that are still on the market today. Rely was recalled.

Having said all of that, my girlfriend got TSS, almost died, from a contraceptive sponge. She was interviewed by the company. I honestly don’t know if the FDA regulates sponges, I would assume so, and somehow that one was on the market. It was taken off the market shortly after my friend was so sick. I don’t know where the contraceptive sponge stands now or the specific history. My mom was already retired from the FDA at that point, or maybe she had switched out of medical device, not sure of the chronology, so I don’t know as much.

Edit: I agree women should decide for themselves with as much info as possible. I worry about all the chemicals in our environment today also. I don’t “worry” about TSS though, I just try to be prudent about my tampon use. Anyone who gets high fever and vomits while using tampons should go to the hospital.

Seek's avatar

^ Hey, your forebears just took a week off, right? Layed about in a separate tent and took baths for a while and all. I read a really historically inaccurate novel about it once. ^_^

(directed at @gailcalled)

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr What’s your point? Are you saying we should all get a week off being ladies of leisure every month? I can go for that.

snowberry's avatar

@JLeslie I understand your point of view about the FDA, but the way I see it, very once in a while they’ve got to do something right, even if it’s by mistake! LOL!

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry I found this about tampons on the FDA website, you might be interested. My bet is the “natural” tampons use the same bleaching process as other tampons at this point. Although, the point made in your information about cotton grown with pesticides seems to not be addressed from what I can tell from googling. I have no idea about that topic in particular.

@Unbroken I’m glad you feel better. :)

snowberry's avatar

@JLeslie Well, regardless of what that website says, it’s pretty obvious that @Unbroken‘s symptoms show something in those things were bothering her, and since the manufacturers don’t show all the ingredients, she’ll never know, which is kind of scummy of them, IMO.

@Unbroken, I’m also glad you’re feeling better!

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry Something in them or she was using the tampons wrong. We don’t know which right now.

Unbroken's avatar

Thanks for the links. The rely thing is interesting. Good to know they have chlorine and dixion free tampons. Those are irritants. Gails link was a little scary. And the natural savvy link did have plenty of info on it as well. A non gmo activist I wouldn’t want to support any use of them.

As to what was wrong I could have been using them too often. I could have needed a break from tampons them I fasted all evening and night so I caught a break, they normally don’t get used so many days in a row. I could have been using them wrong or it could have been something in them.

I also am trying not to walk as much. I did yoga. And purposely trying to walk less. I plan on doing the same thing tonight as things aren’t completely healed.

JLeslie's avatar

@Unbroken Is the pain on your vulva or internal? Did you have sex in the last few weeks? I only ask, because if your pain reoccurs once you feel better and you don’t have your period you should consider it is totally unrelated to the tampons. For now it sounds like the most likely explanation is the tampons though.

Unbroken's avatar

Yeah it seems most likely it is the tampons.

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