Are Organic Tampons Actually Better For You?

It's a day like every other day. All of a sudden, the telltale cramps hit your lower abdomen, sending familiar biological warnings. You run to the restroom to see if there's any tampon or sanitary pad left to use. More often than not, you can't find any. You rush to the nearest drugstore and snatch the cheapest, most familiar-looking menstrual products on the shelf. You don't really have a preference as they all look the same to you.

And that's what a typical menstrual product purchase looks like once every 30 days over roughly 40 years until your menstrual cycle runs its course. Surely, tampon users aren't alien to this ritual. But have you ever asked yourself how aware you are of the products that go inside your body every month? Aside from their sizes, absorbency, and pricing, what else do you know about them?

If you haven't, you should. Not only does your choice of feminine hygiene products directly affect your own health, but it also has a lasting impact on that of the planet. According to a 2019 study published in the scientific journal Sustainability, it takes regular sanitary pads 500 to 800 years to decompose. And as plastic makes up the majority of these items, they might never biodegrade. Meanwhile, Rael claims that regular cotton in non-organic tampons is usually soaked with pesticides and chlorine that pose risks to your body in the long run.

If all these claims hold true, we have a good reason to switch to organic hygiene products – which are believed to hold more benefits. So, what can you expect from organic tampons?

Benefits of organic tampons

If you see chemicals as a cause for concern, you might want to go organic for your peace of mind. According to a 2013 report by Women's Voice for the Earth, traditional menstrual products can cause harm to your health. Some hazardous ingredients found in nonorganic tampons and pads include dioxins, furans, pesticide residues, and fragrance chemicals. Long-term exposure to these products might cause reproductive harm and endocrine disruption.

Organic tampons, on the other hand, are made with 100% organic cotton grown without insecticides or pesticides, as explained by Blume. This means organic menstrual products don't contain any fragrances, dyes, or potentially harmful ingredients and thus lower the risks of bacterial infections. On top of that, organic tampons can biodegrade within just a year or two and save our oceans from bulging with harmful plastic content in regular tampons or pads. Therefore, if you go organic, you'll contribute to the long-term health of soil life and waterways. 

As versatile as eco-friendly menstrual products are, there's no conclusive evidence that they're superior to the traditional ones in their functions. 

Non-organic tampons are just as safe as organic tampons

Some people have claimed that they saw their cycles shortened or their period made lighter after going organic. According to Natracare, however, there's no scientific evidence that organic tampons and pads can do such a thing. In fact, the changes in your period are more likely to depend on the fluctuations in your general health.

As menstrual products are made with organic cotton, they are roughly 47% more costly than traditional ones, per Insider. If you don't mind a bigger dent in your wallet, you can check out some popular organic feminine hygiene brands such as Cora, Lola, and o.b. organic.

Plus, Healthline asserts that the risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is not eliminated by using organic tampons. You must still change them every eight hours to eliminate the source of harmful bacteria. Despite its contrast to eco-friendly tampons, experts agree that regular tampons are not toxic. No scientific findings have been established as to whether organic tampons are safer than traditional ones, per Keck Medicine of USC.

At the end of the day, choosing between organic tampons or non-organic tampons is more of a personal preference. In case you'd like to explore chemical-free alternatives and make environment-friendly choices through your purchases, going organic might be your best bet.