The internet has birthed many horrors. Chief among them is the myriad of products, ranging in absurdity, that people can buy to put into their vaginas. Naturally, the newest (awful and disgusting) trend is homemade tampons. On Etsy, customers can purchase “makeshift menstrual products,” including rolled felt attached to string, and even crochet-knitted tampons. Because why not just stick an unidentified object made of unidentified materials into a pH sensitive area of your body? What could POSSIBLY go wrong?
Unsurprisingly, a lot, according to OBGYN Dr. Adeeti Gupta.
“Theoretically all of these make sense, but we don’t really know the long-term effects,” [Dr. Adeeti Gupta] tells The Post. “It’s true that these materials are ‘natural,’ but we don’t know how they behave for a period of time in the internal vaginal environment.”
Clearly, the word ‘natural’ has ceased to have any real meaning, but it is obvious that the main issue here is that we SHOULDN’T PUT RANDOM ITEMS WE BOUGHT ON THE INTERNET INSIDE OUR VAGINAS. (That sounds like the kind of thing some high school health teacher will tiredly have to explain to their entire class in approximately five years from now, when goop has ruined the vaginal health of the entire nation.)
But actually, do these people like yeast infections or something?
The “chemical environment” of the body can also be harsh, according to Gupta, which may cause insertable products, such as tampons made of yarn or sea sponge, to become “partially disintegrated,” leaving fibers behind after the tampon is removed.
Sea sponge? Like a real one? From the ocean? Oh NO.
“These could cause vaginal infections and possibly toxic shock syndrome (TSS),” she says, which can lead to rash, high fever, vomiting or diarrhea, muscle aches, seizure, renal failure and death.
When I was thirteen, there was nothing more terrifying to me than toxic shock syndrome. The warnings on my tampon boxes have stuck with me so that to this day I get nervous about leaving a tampon in overnight. Please don’t get toxic shock because of a yarn tampon. That would be such an embarrassing emergency room trip.
Again, keep these things away from your vaginas.
Despite the absurdity of products like this, the broader concern about the overall safety of menstrual products is absolutely legitimate. It’s no secret that even FDA-approved pads and tampons contain chemicals that can be potentially harmful to the body in ways that are largely unknown and under-researched. But if you’re looking for a safer and more eco-friendly product for your vagina, I beg of you, just buy a menstrual cup.