Ugh: Why I Am Officially Never Using Tampons Again

Welcome to The V, our weeklong series devoted to all things sex and reproductive health. This is a safe space free from "taboos," because there's no reason anyone should feel awkward talking about their bodies. That said, we'll be clearing up any misinformation on the subject, starting with this huge misnomer: The "V" in this case doesn't refer to the vagina, but the vulva, which is the anatomically correct term for external female genitalia (including the opening of the vagina). Stay tuned all week for need-to-know guides on birth control, tips for taking your orgasm to the next level, real-life stories about endometriosis, and everything in between.

Two years ago, I made the life-altering switch from tampons to menstrual cups and swore I'd never go back. My new silicone period pal was better for the environment, saved me tons of cash, and could stay put way longer than a tampon without filling up (12 whole hours!), which was both more convenient and minimized my TSS paranoia.

However, since going the menstrual cup route in early 2016, the fem care revolution has exploded, and with newfound attention placed on the ingredients in our wellness products, lots of organic tampon brands have hit the market. Curious to see what all the hype was about, I decided to go off the cup one month late last year and try out one of these new brands. Let's just say it did not work out.

After about a day of being back on tampons, I was hit with a mysterious itching sensation, and even after I switched back to the cup, it remained for days. It wasn't unbearable, but it definitely wasn't fun or normal for me. I figured my body had just gotten so used to the cup that it developed a general sensitivity to tampons, even the organic ones, but period experts say there might have been an even more specific (and unpleasant) cause of my unwelcome itching: tampon shedding.

If you're a tampon user who experiences spontaneous vaginal itching around your period, you might be dealing with the same thing. Read on to learn what you can do about it.