National Tampon Day is observed every year on May 12. Tampons are menstrual products used to absorb the flow of blood during a woman’s menstruation. Before the invention of modern tampons and sanitary pads, women used a wide variety of implements, some of which were unhygienic and uncomfortable. Menstruation was also perceived as unclean in most cultures around the world. This holiday is an opportunity to dispel those myths while providing people with the correct information about menstruation and menstrual hygiene.
History of National Tampon Day
Not much is known about the history of National Tampon Day, except that it is observed on May 12 annually. According to Wikipedia, a tampon is “a menstrual product designed to absorb blood and vaginal secretions by insertion into the vagina during menstruation.” Before the invention of modern tampons and pads, women in different cultures and civilizations used various methods to protect their modesty during menstruation. Ancient Egyptian women are said to have used softened papyrus during their menstrual flow. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, documented that ancient Greek women made tampons by wrapping bits of wood with lint.
During the Medieval period, menstruation was regarded as a thing of shame, and women were forced to go to excessive lengths to hide the smell of their flow by carrying sweet-smelling pouches of herbs around their necks or waists. At this time, women used rags as menstrual pads; hence, ‘on the rag’ came to mean ‘menstruating.’ Some women just bled into their clothes without using anything. Things started to change during the Victorian era as people realized that old methods were unsanitary and unsafe.
The first menstruation product to emerge was known as Lister’s Towels, invented by Johnson & Johnson in 1888. Lister’s Towels were disposable pads. Next came the Hoosier sanitary belt, which was popular among women between the 1890s. This belt could be attached to a washable pad and worn around the waist. Then in 1929, Dr. Earle Haas invented the first tampon. Inspired by a female friend who often used a sponge inside her vagina to absorb blood, he developed a cotton plug that was inserted using two cardboard tubes. When self-adhesive pads were finally invented during the 1970s, women abandoned the Hoosier sanitary belt.
Today, there are various menstrual products on the market, from menstrual pads to tampons to menstrual cups. Thanks to these products, women can experience better hygiene during their periods.
National Tampon Day timeline
Women use rags as menstrual pads.
Lister’s Towels become the first commercially-produced menstrual product.
The Hoosier sanitary belt is invented.
Dr. Earle Haas invents the first tampon.
National Tampon Day FAQs
Are sanitary belts still available?
Yes, sanitary belts are still being sold on some websites and are used in some medical settings by women who have just given birth.
How many days is a menstrual cycle?
This varies from person to person, but the average length of a menstrual cycle is 28 days, though it could be longer or shorter.
Do women feel emotional during their periods?
Up to 75% of women report feeling emotional during their periods due to increased hormone levels.
How to Observe National Tampon Day
Give a gift
Forget flowers and chocolate. Give the woman in your life a free box of tampons coupled with a gift and a note to show your appreciation and understanding.
Support the less-privileged
In many developing countries, many women do not have access to menstrual products and are left to use unsanitary methods during their periods. Support them by donating to a charity drive that is dedicated to the cause of providing safe and clean menstrual products for these people.
Break the silence
Talk to someone about National Tampon Day and break the silence. Menstruation is a completely natural process for women and should not be considered taboo. Neither should women be made to feel shamed for it.
5 Menstruation Myths
Women are impure during their period
False — menstruation is one of the natural functions of a woman’s body.
Menstrual blood is dirty blood
False — menstrual blood is not dirty blood.
Women shouldn’t bathe during their flow
False — it is completely safe to bathe while menstruating.
Women shouldn’t exercise during their periods
False — exercise can actually relieve cramps.
Drinking cold water makes menstrual flow stop
False — cold water has no negative impact on your menstrual cycle.
Why National Tampon Day is Important
Information is provided
National Tampon Day is an opportunity to educate the public about menstrual hygiene. Young girls need to be provided with the correct information so that they are well-prepared when their periods begin.
Awareness dispels myths
There are many myths surrounding menstruation. This holiday opens the door for proper conversation to dispel those false beliefs and educate people.
Support is provided
Many women worldwide do not have access to clean and affordable menstrual products due to poverty and lack of education. This holiday encourages us to take up the charge in providing women in underdeveloped countries with safe and clean products through our donations.
National Tampon Day dates