What you should know about tampons in wake of claims of shortage in Nairobi


Claims of tampon shortage in Nairobi have emerged on Twitter, with different women sharing their experiences of frustrating-search for the hygiene product, which, they say, are not being found on many supermarket shelves.

Vocal feminist Scheaffer Okore opened the conversation gates, when she inquired from other women whether they were experiencing frustrations as a result of fruitless search for super size tampons in the capital city.

“Is there a tampon shortage in Nairobi and I’m not talking about the mini ones?” Tweeted Ms Okore.

Another user, Sly Wan, also shared her experience, saying: “I went to multiple supermarkets last month to get some and couldn’t find them. I had to opt for chemists. So frustrating! SMH.”

Scholar Dr Wandia Njoya tweeted: “I thought it was only our local supermarket.”

Twitter user Mercy Wambui said: “I noticed this in October [2018], when trying to get maxi tamps. It’s gotten even harder now to find them.”

Nyambura Mwaura said: “Game hasn’t had [tampons] for the past 2 months. [I have] been getting [them] from the Midnight Chemist in Westlands.”

The above sampled tweets are just a few of the many concerns shared by Nairobi women on Twitter, who allege that a few pharmacies that have the products stocked, are selling them at inflated prices.

However, amid the sharing of those exasperations, was a community which said they hardly knew one or two things about tampons: how they are used, their advantages and disadvantages. This community was – of course – largely dominated by men.

According to Tampax.com, a tampon is a soft, absorbent cotton or rayon-based product that helps protect against leaks. Unlike sanitary pads, which are worn on your undies, tampons are actually worn inside a woman’s body.

Most tampons come in four different sizes: light, regular, super, and super plus. As a general rule of thumb, the heavier your period is, the bigger your tampon should be.

Tampax is a brand of tampon currently owned by Procter & Gamble and sold in over 100 countries.

Why do women love tampons?

Because they actually help stop leaks before they ever leave your body, Tampax says.

“By catching your flow earlier, there’s less chance for an accident, which means you can have more confidence to do what you want – even go swimming!”

Do Tampons hurt?

Tampax says “Nope!”

“If tampons do hurt or if you do feel slight pain, it’s probably because you’re a little nervous, and that’s totally normal. Just take a deep breath and try to be as chill as possible. When your muscles are relaxed, the process is much easier.

“If you have a little discomfort after inserting the tampon, there’s a good chance it’s because you didn’t put it in far enough. You can either use your finger to insert it further or simply remove it and try again. When your tampon’s inserted properly, you’ll know because you won’t feel a thing!”

Tampons are not recommended for new mothers, as they hurt if you use them shortly after giving birth. Doctors recommend that you shouldn’t use tampons until you have had your 6-week postnatal check.

“This is because you’ll still have a wound where the placenta joined with the wall of your womb (uterus), and you may also have tears or cuts in or around your vagina,” says a report published on www.nhs.uk.

Can a tampon get lost inside me?

“There’s no such thing as a lost tampon (unless it’s at the bottom of your purse)! The opening at the end of your vagina is only the size of a pencil point, which is way too small for a tampon to fit through. If you think you have a stuck tampon, just relax and use your finger to find the string. Don’t worry, a lost tampon is not going to happen!”

What if a tampon gets stuck?

“If you’re feeling any resistance when you try to remove it, it probably means it’s not time to take it out yet. Wait until the tampon has absorbed more fluid, but never leave it in longer than 8 hours.”

What if the withdrawl string breaks?

“Luckily, there’s pretty much no chance of that ever happening. The removal cord is sewn up into the core of all tampons. If it does break, you can use your fingers to reach up and remove the tampon or make an appointment with your doctor.”

Can a tampon fall out?

“Nope. When properly inserted, the muscles around the entrance to the vagina will hold the tampon in place so it can’t fall out.”

Do tampons cause yeast infections?

“No. Yeast infections usually happen right before your period begins, so girls may mistakenly believe that their tampon is the cause of the yeast infection. But it’s not! Yeast infections are caused by a form of yeast commonly found in the vagina known as Candida. The use of antibiotics, among other things, can be a factor in the development of a yeast infection.

Do scented tampons cause an infection?

“A small number of people may be uniquely sensitive to these materials. If you notice an issue, make sure to see a doctor.”

Can tampons leave fibers in my body?

“Fibers can come off any tampon, but it’s unlikely. If they do, our bodies know what to do. The natural cleansing process of the vagina removes these fibers within a day or two.”

Can tampons cause endometriosis or cancer?

“No. Tampon use is widely accepted by doctors for menstrual protection and there is absolutely no scientific evidence that tampons lead to the development of endometriosis or cancer.”

Tampons weren’t advertised on TV until the 1980s. Friends’ star Courteney Cox was the very first person to use the word “period” in a televised tampon ad for Tampax in 1985.


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