The Pros and Cons of Tampons: Advantages, Disadvantages, and How to Decide if They’re Right for You

Jessica Lubahn 9 min read

The Pros and Cons of Tampons: Advantages, Disadvantages, and How to Decide if They’re Right for You

Trying to choose between tampons and other options? This is something that has become a part of life for the majority of women. 

As women, tampons are often the bane of our existence — they have become a dreaded marker of womanhood that most of us don’t look forward to. 

But are they really as bad as they seem? Let’s find out.

In this article, we’ll uncover: 

  • The pros of using tampons
  • The cons of using tampons
  • And why more women are switching to ONDRwear


cons of tampons

Table of Contents


pros and cons of tampons

7 Cons of Using Tampons

Okay, okay… we promised we’d be talking about the pros and cons of tampons… but we’ve decided to start with the cons. 

Why would we do that to you?

Because there are more downsides to using tampons than there are upsides, we figured we may as well get the bad news over with. No point in sugar-coating it, right?

#1: Can Be Hard to Insert and Remove

Some women avoid tampons and stick to pads because tampons can be more challenging to use. 

Inserting a tampon can be difficult because: 

  • It can be hard to find the correct angle for insertion
  • It can take some practice to be sure the applicator is fully inserted 
  • It is sometimes difficult to maintain a good grip on the applicator

Tampons may be difficult to remove because: 

  • The strings can feel like they have disappeared
  • A tampon can move up further than intended into the vaginal canal
  • Removing a dry tampon can be painful

#2: Possible Chemical Exposure

Chemicals that we apply to our bodies and homes, such as deodorant, perfume, and cleaning products, are a growing concern.

Tampons have been added to the growing list of potentially hazardous personal care products because they have been found to contain

  • Pesticide residues
  • Parabens
  • Phthalates linked to hormone disruption 
  • Antibacterial chemicals like triclosan
  • Various carcinogens including styrene and chloroform
  • Dioxins that may be known human carcinogens

We don’t know about you, but none of this sounds vagina-friendly to us.

#3: Not Eco-Friendly

Pantyliners and tampons may seem like insignificant items, but they can significantly impact the environment:

  • In North America alone, close to 20 billion sanitary napkins, tampons and applicators are sent to landfills every year. 
  • In their lifetime, a woman who menstruates uses between 5,000 and 15,000 pads and tampons and will discard about 400 pounds of period product packaging.
  • A year’s worth of disposable period products leaves a carbon footprint equivalent to nearly 12 pounds of carbon dioxide.
  • Plastic and non-compostable materials in menstrual products can take 500 to 800 years to decompose.

ONDRwear period-proof underwear is made from sustainable fabrics. Rather than harsh chemicals and antibiotics, we found fabrics with naturally antimicrobial and odor-resistant properties.

ONDRwear prides itself on being environmentally friendly. Just think of all the disposables that won't be thrown away!


pros and cons of tampons

#4: Risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome

Toxic shock syndrome is a sudden, potentially fatal condition. It is caused by the release of toxins from an overgrowth of Staphylococcus aureus, or staph, which is present in many women's bodies. 

Menstruating women are susceptible to toxic shock syndrome, especially those using super-absorbent tampons. When toxic shock syndrome occurs, the body responds with a sharp drop in blood pressure that deprives organs of oxygen and can lead to death.

The following are additional symptoms of Toxic Shock Syndrome: 

  • A fever of more than 102°F (38.9°C)
  • Chills
  • Feeling sick
  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • A red, flat rash that covers most of the body
  • Skin shedding in large sheets, usually over the palms and soles, one to two weeks after onset of symptoms

For some women, the risk of death is enough to turn them off of tampons completely. If you’re one of those women, don’t worry there are safe alternatives that still offer all the advantages of a tampon.

In fact, period-proof underwear made by ONDRwear was specifically designed by Dr. Jessica Lubahn for women looking for the ultimate in protection and comfort — without the risk. 

#5: Can Be Irritating

A tampon can cause irritation and itching. This may occur for a couple of reasons:

  • Tampons often contain cotton, and cotton can shed easily, leaving behind tiny particles
  • Tampons can cause small tears in the vaginal lining 

For overnight use, tampons are not recommended. Tampons that remain in for an extended period are more likely to irritate your vagina or cause an infection.


pros and cons of tampons

#6: Hard to Know When to Change

Since a tampon is not visible during use, it is difficult to tell whether you need to change it.

There is a learning curve for new tampon users who may not realize their tampon needs to be changed. An over-soaked tampon may result in undergarment stains if you do not change it in time.

A tampon cannot be reinserted once it has been removed so tampons that are not used to their capacity create even more waste. 

#7: Shedding and Fiber Loss

Remember when we mentioned that tampons can shed cotton fibers? Well, this deserves a spot all of its own in this list.

Tampon shedding is more common than most women realize. During insertion and removal of a tampon, friction occurs. This rubbing against the vaginal wall can cause the tampon fibers to loosen and break free inside your vagina. 

Cringeworthy, right?

While using high-quality tampons can help reduce the risk of tampon shedding and fiber loss, it doesn’t eliminate it. 

Not to mention, tampon manufacturers don’t even need to prove that their product won’t cause shedding, so there’s no way to know for certain if it’s happening.

Why does it matter?

Some fibers left inside your body may expel naturally, but before they do they become breeding grounds for bacteria, increasing your risk for a yeast infection like thrush.

4 Pros of Using Tampons

We promised the good part, and here it is. Yes, tampons are currently the most popular menstrual product, and there are a few good reasons why. Let’s take a look. 

#1: They’re Comfy and Invisible

Well, sort of… 

A tampon soaks up menstrual blood internally before it leaves your vagina during your period. Because tampons are worn internally, they can be more comfortable than bulky pads — as long as they’re inserted correctly. 

When you are just learning how to manage your period, inserting a tampon into your vagina may seem intimidating, and if inserted incorrectly, can cause a lot of discomfort.

It’s very important to read the instructions before using tampons for the first time. If a tampon is the wrong size or it’s been inserted incorrectly, it can make you feel like you’ve got something stuck between your legs and may result in leakage — yuck!

However, tampons are often considered more discreet than pads due to their smaller packaging. They are small enough to fit in your pocket or the palm of your hand.

In addition, it is possible to see pads underneath certain types of clothing — seriously, who wants to do hot yoga with a bulky pad under their yoga pants

If you’re looking for a pad alternative, or your flow is too light, period-proof panties are perfect. 

ONDRwear are discreet, comfortable, and odor-free so you can go about your day without the worries caused by tampons and pads.

#2: Double-Up With Other Products

Tampons can be easily paired with other products, such as pads or period underwear, to avoid messy leakage.

But, with ONDRwear, the tampon simply isn’t needed. Our underwear absorbs up to 9 tsps of liquid — more than a super absorbency tampon!

ONDR's period-proof underwear looks like regular underwear and are available in a variety of sizes and styles

Whether it's school, sports, work, or just running around town, ONDRwear has you covered. 

No one wants to ruin an expensive pair of workout shorts, yoga pants, or a new dress. We offer an extra layer of protection for your clothes with our period-proof underwear. 

#3: You Can Swim With Them

Tampons are a great option for outdoor enthusiasts and active people in general. Tampons can be worn while riding a horse, playing tennis, or swimming.

In fact, tampons are one of the few menstrual hygiene products you can swim with and are an excellent option for women who swim regularly. 

Using a tampon while swimming on your period is perfectly safe and hygienic, whether in the ocean or a pool.

However, keep in mind that you don’t always have access to bathrooms or changing rooms, making it difficult to change your tampon as needed.


pros and cons of tampons

#4: Can Be Worn With Any Undies

Unlike pads, tampons can be worn with any type of underwear. You don’t have to worry about a tampon shifting around as you move (like a pad often does), so there's no need for granny panties!

A thong, a bikini, or a hipster are all fine. You can wear whatever style of undies you like.

Speaking of undies, if you’re ready to ditch tampons altogether or maybe you never wanted to bother with them to begin with why not try ONDRwear? 

ONDRwear period-proof underwear are designed specifically to eliminate the need for tampons, pads, or any other menstrual products.

With ONDRwear, you have all the advantages of a tampon (plus some!) and none of the disadvantages. For more information, click here.

Looking for a Comfy, Non-Invasive Alternative to Tampons? ONDRwear’s Washable, Period-Proof Panties Keep You Feeling Fresh and Clean All Period Long

For those who wish to be more sustainable with their period products and prefer a less invasive way to prevent leaks, leak-proof underwear is a great option. 

ONDRwear, designed by a board-certified urologist, includes multiple styles with plant-based liners that can hold 9 tsp of liquid — tampons only hold 1 tsp. This means you would go through 9 tampons for each use of ONDRwear. And ONDRwear has a much lower risk of leakage. 

With advanced absorbent technology, you’ll never have to stop what you are doing to prevent a leak.

Would you like to learn more? Visit our site today. 


pros and cons of tampons


The content in this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.