We’re all for recycling, reusing and reducing waste, even when it comes to periods, but trying to be more environmentally friendly shouldn’t come at the expense of risking your health.
Doctors are warning women against crocheted and knitted tampons after noticing an upward trend in the reusable menstrual products being sold online.
The problem is that DIY or handmade tampons, don’t have to pass rigorous safety regulations like those of their shop-bought counterparts.
According to Forbes, properly manufactured cotton tampons must adhere to stringent safety testing, including analysis of the strength, integrity, absorbency and, crucially, whether the tampons encourage the growth of harmful bacteria inside the vagina.
And experts say this lack of testing of crocheted and knitted products could put women’s health at risk.
“Since handmade crocheted tampons have not gone through the same thorough testing that shop-bought sanitary products have gone through, their safety is not guaranteed,” explains Dr Diana Gall from Doctor-4-U.
Dr Gall says the use of crocheted tampons could put you at risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).
“There are risks associated with all types of tampons, particularly of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) which is a fatal condition that occurs when certain types of bacteria known as staphylococcus or streptococcus get into the body.
“Although it's rare, it is possible that tampons can cause the growth of these particular bacteria inside the body and produce toxins that may lead to TSS.”
According to Dr Gall shop-bought tampons are far more sterile than handmade crocheted tampons that are bought from independent sellers online.
“Although they advise on cleaning the tampons to make them sterile before use, there is no guarantee that they are completely free from bacteria,” she explains.
“These are untested and unregulated products which may potentially cause harm to women’s health. Apart from TSS, at the very least there is a risk of vaginal infections, abrasions, and irritation associated with these crocheted tampons.”
Mr Ian Currie, consultant gynaecologist at BMI The Chiltern Hospital in Buckinghamshire is also keen to urge women to be careful about what they put into their bodies.
“Apart from the potential risks of fibre-loss from the material, I would also be concerned about them harbouring bacteria and about how they would be disinfected.”
“I would urge women to make careful decisions before they use them.”
If you want to have a more environmentally friendly period, Dr Gall recommends switching to reusable sanitary towels or a menstrual cup, which have all been tested for safety.
There are some other suggestions for having a plastic-less period here.
It isn’t the first time doctors have issued warnings about what women really shouldn’t be putting into their vaginas.
Last year, experts urged the female population to refrain from putting chocolate up their vagina.
While drizzling - cooled down - melted chocolate over your body during foreplay should be perfectly safe if washed off properly, it should no nowhere near your genitalia.
Consultant gynaecologist Dr Shree Datta from MyHealthcare Clinic told the Daily Star that it could cause painful burns to what is an already very sensitive area, and risks leaving you with an infection if not washed off properly.
Also last year Dr Jen Gunter, gynaecologist and author of The Vagina Bible, who incidentally also warned against the use of crochet tampons, told women to beware of the risks of putting garlic cloves in your vagina to treat a yeast infection.
Unsurprisingly, it turns out that this DIY method of yeast infection cure is not an effective treatment for the condition.
What’s more inserting garlic into your frou frou could actually do some harm down there.
Got it ladies?