Arts & Events

Unknown allergies a hazard

It’s that time of month again. “Jane” wakes up, pops the next placebo in her birth control pack, and goes to the bathroom to change her pad.

Like many women, Jane wears pads to bed to avoid the time restrictions of tampons and sleep through the night. While admittedly less comfortable, she enjoys the freedom of sleeping for a delicious 12 hours straight on weekends without worrying about the rare chance of TSS. But this morning, something is wrong.

Perhaps the insides of her thighs are purple and swollen. Perhaps the skin on her pubic mound is red and scaly. In any case, her skin feels and looks all wrong. She, like thousands of other unacknowledged women, is suffering an allergy to the chemicals in her pad.

This scary and humiliating condition is one which goes virtually unrecognized yet has a very real presence, often requiring antibiotics for treatment.

An attempt to research hard facts about feminine hygiene product allergies brings up shockingly little; almost all information available is the result of individual testimonies, outcries for help and information.

What little information there is suggests that allergies can manifest at any time; a woman who has used pads before is not safe from a sudden onset.

Pads most likely to cause reactions often include “odor lock” or other scent-oriented chemicals, with the Always brand standing out as particularly prevalent in allergy causation.

Perhaps it’s worth waking up a couple hours earlier to change your tampon after all.