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Hi, I'm 17 years old and ever since I started getting periods I was using menstrual pads for bleeding control. Now as I got older I'm considering using tampons instead of pads since most of my friends already use tampons. I have heard that they are very convenient and that they offer greater comfort than pads. I have also heard that there are some safety and health concerns connected with the usage of tampons. What should I do should I continue using pads or should I use tampons despite the possible problems?

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Tampons have been present on the market since 1930’s, they were not widely spread at first but gained greater popularity in the 70’s. The basic problem with tampons is the possible infection with streptococcus aureus and intoxications with its metabolites, which, if they get into the blood can lead to toxic shock syndrome or TSS that can even cause death. S. aureus normally resides on everybody’s skin and isn’t dangerous but during the placement of a tampon it is possible to contaminate the tampon with s. aureus that can lead to TSS. The biggest breakout of tampon related TSS was in 1980. and 1981. when over a 1000 cases were reported of TSS and several deaths caused by TSS. from 1982. till now FDA has taken serious precaution measures to prevent the TSS and with great success, only 2 cases of TSS were reported in 1998. as opposed to 800 cases in 1981. the quality of the tampons has improved and tighter control measures have been imposed to minimize the possible s. aureus infection. Today, there still is a small chance that you may get TSS but that is negligible if you follow all the instructions of the producer and if you keep the hygiene. If you feel restrained by the pad I think that you should try tampons and later, if you don’t like them switch back to pads. If you have any other gynecological problems then you should talk to your doctor before using tampons to prevent unwanted consequences.
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