Using Oi Tampons

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Toxic Shock Syndrome

All people with periods using tampons and menstrual cups risk TSS.

What is TSS?

Tampon and menstrual cup use has been associated with Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) a rare but serious condition that may cause death. Caused by a toxin produced by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus, TSS is commonly found in the skin, nose and vagina. The risk of TSS is greater in adolescents and those under 30. Although it’s rare, it is important to recognise symptoms and treat it immediately.

The symptoms of TSS can appear suddenly during or just after menstruation and resemble the flu. Contact your doctor immediately and remove the tampon or cup, if you have any of these TSS symptoms:

  • Feeling very ill, headache, muscular pains.
  • A sudden high fever and chills (over 39°C/102°F).
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea, or both.
  • Dizziness or fainting when standing up, weakness or confusion.
  • A rash that looks like a nasty sunburn.

Guidelines for the Use of Tampons to Reduce the Risk of TSS

  • Feeling very ill, headache, muscular pains. 
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before handling tampons.
  • Only use one tampon at a time.
  • Don’t force a tampon to fit inside your vagina.
  • Use the lowest absorbency to suit your flow.
  • Use the tampon immediately after unwrapping it, don’t handle it more than necessary, or place it on any surface.
  • Remove the used tampon before inserting the next one and always remove the last tampon used at the end of your period.
  • Change your tampon regularly (every four hours is a good guide and never more than eight hours).
  • Only use a tampon when you are menstruating. Using a tampon when you don’t have your period can cause dryness and irritation and will absorb the protective mucous that your vagina produces to keep it clean.
  • Avoid the risk of tampon-associated TSS by not using tampons, or reduce the risk by alternating tampon use with sanitary pads during your period or overnight.

Guidelines for the Hygienic Use of Menstrual Cups

  • Only use a menstrual cup when you are menstruating
  • You must sterilise the cup before using it for the first time each month – boiling the cup in water for 3-4 minutes
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before handling the cup
  • During your cycle, empty and wash the cup with clean water, preferably warm, so that it is ready for using again. Remember to thoroughly wash the suction holes
  • Remove and empty your cup at least every 6-12 hours

Seek medical attention if you have any questions about TSS or menstrual cup use.

Umm, am I normal?

You might feel like there’s a lot of blood when you have your period. Or there may be not much more than a few spots. The amount of fluid lost during a period will range from 10-80ml across 2 to 7 days. We’re all different sizes and shapes, we live different lives, and we get different periods. Which is why we make a range of products to help you manage your period, your way. Should you have any health concerns regarding your period and flow please see your medical professional.

Tampons or pads – what’s best for me?

If you prefer tampons to pads, or are planning sports, swimming or any other activities where a tampon is required then the tampon range from Oi is the perfect choice. We recommend pads be used overnight. Tampons should be changed every 4 hours or so.

Who can use Oi’s period products?

All people with periods have the chance to make a difference by choosing period products which are good for their health and better for the environment. Our bodies are unique, but the average age for starting your period is 12.5 years, while menopause usually starts between 45 and 55 years old. Transgender boys and men, non-binary and gender-queer individuals may also get periods. 

What are other tampons, pads and liners made from?

Most tampons are made from rayon and conventionally grown cotton – a crop heavily sprayed with pesticides – along with chlorine-bleached wood pulp. Chlorine bleaching produces a by-product called dioxin, linked to cancer, endometriosis and immune system compromise. Most other menstrual pads, liners and tampons on the market also contain synthetics, plastics, surfactants and, plus fragrance and dyes. 

Why should I choose Oi certified organic cotton period products?

Conventional, non-organic cotton is grown using herbicide and pesticide sprays which leave potentially harmful residue. Not stuff we want to be putting in our bodies! These residues may cause irritation, soreness and discharge. By choosing Oi, you’re saying NO to these nasties in your body and your environment. Oi tampons, pads and liners are made from 100% certified organic cotton – free from chlorine bleach, synthetics, toxic chemicals, pesticide residue, dyes, fragrances and lubricants. Many gynaecologists recommend 100% certified organic cotton tampons and pads to their patients.

Are all tampons, pads and liners biodegradable?

In the right conditions, certified 100% organic cotton will safely biodegrade within five years. Sadly most conventional tampons, pads and panty liners contain synthetic materials (like plastics), which are not compostable or biodegradable and may take 500 years to break down in landfill.  

What about Oi packaging?

Oi cardboard boxes are kerbside recyclable, and our inks are made from plant-based dyes. Our pads and liners wrappers are made from corn starch derived biopolymer which will compost in approximately three weeks under industrial conditions and the cardboard applicator tampon is individually wrapped in paper. Oi non-applicator tampons were previously wrapped in recyclable polypropylene, but we’re switching to a compostable wrapper. Oi Adult Care pads are wrapped in Green PE (a renewable sugarcane based plastic), and we are currently working on a more sustainable, biodegradable option. 

Where are Oi products made?

Oi is a New Zealand owned company. Our cotton comes from GOTS (Global Organic Textiles Standard) certified farms in the USA, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Turkey. Our products are made in Europe and Israel, to meet strict GOTS, BioGro, and AS/NZS 2869:1998 guidelines.

Applicator vs Non-Applicator Tampons – what’s the difference?

Non-applicator tampons (aka digital tampons) are inserted into your vagina using your fingers. Minimal packaging (less waste, whoop!), discreet, easy to carry and the most affordable tampon option. On the other hand, you may prefer using the Oi cardboard applicator to guide the tampon in, so there’s no need to touch the tampon. When you’re starting out, we recommend giving both types a go, to find the one that suits you.

Which absorbency should I use?

Everyone’s flow is different, so we make a range of absorbencies to fit your flow: Select the absorbency rating that goes with your flow. Choosing a lower absorbency tampon can reduce the risk of TSS. If you need to change it more often than every 4 hours, try a tampon with a higher absorbency rating. If changing your tampon is uncomfortable, try one with lower absorbency, or check out other options like pads or cups.