LifestyleMedical alert: Experts urge caution on expired tampons and hidden health risks

Medical alert: Experts urge caution on expired tampons and hidden health risks

Gynecologists advise which tampons not to use
Gynecologists advise which tampons not to use
Images source: © Adobe Stock
2:29 PM EST, December 5, 2023

Exercise caution around expired or spoiled tampons. Experts warn that invisible molds or bacteria can introduce small contaminants into the body, leading to irritation or even diseases of the sexual organs.

It is common knowledge that many food products, like milk or cheese, and drugs carry expiry dates. Consuming or using these items after their expiry may result in harm or a lack of effectiveness. Surprisingly, even tampons have a use-by date that also matters.

Tampons are highly beneficial during menstruation, and it's always a good idea to have at least one on hand. However, a problem arises when we forget about a tampon we put in a bag several months ago. After such a prolonged period, is it still safe for use? Here's what manufacturers and gynecologists have to say.

Is there an expiry date for tampons?

As a medical product, tampons should display their use-by date on the packaging. Typically, tampons have a shelf life of three to five years.

Gynecologist Michael Green suggests in an interview with Yahoo that you should never use tampons with visible discolorations, stains, or those with a suspicious smell. This rule applies even more stringently to tampons that have been exposed to excessive moisture or are soaked.

The dangers of using expired tampons

The use of expired female hygiene products can cause irritation and itching. Tampons exposed to extreme conditions of heat, cold, or moisture, or those with damaged packaging, may harbor bacteria and molds.

"Invisible molds or bacteria can introduce small contaminants into the body, leading to irritation or even diseases of the sexual organs," adds Doctor Greg Marchand.

Beyond the health risks, expired tampons may also be less absorbent, reducing their ability to guard against leakage.

Extending the shelf life of tampons

Primarily, tampons should be stored outside the bathroom to avoid high humidity that fosters bacterial growth. Ideally, tampons should be placed in a dry, cool, and clean place, such as a bedroom closet. Moreover, for added protection, rather than carrying tampons loosely in a bag, secure them in a small cosmetic or drawstring bag. Not all packaging may have an expiration date, so it's prudent to write down the purchase date yourself.

The same rules apply to sanitary pads. Regarding the menstrual cup, with proper care and cleaning as per the manufacturer's instructions, it can be used for several years. Nevertheless, if you notice a crack, change in consistency or an unpleasant smell, it's advisable to replace it with a new one.

Related content