My 2c on the use of Female Hygiene Products for Wound Care

Discussions of the best (or worst) equipment to have on hand for use in the event of an injury during an emergency.

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My 2c on the use of Female Hygiene Products for Wound Care

Post by wild_weasel » Sat Jun 05, 2010 10:41 pm

While I’d rather not dwell on the issue of using female hygiene products for wound management here is my 2c. The Wilderness EMS Institute http://www.wemsi.org/pwm201.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; publishes the privious document for assembling a comprehensive personal medical kit that includes two (2) tampons. (refer to footnote for proper context) . While I would not place a tampon directly on, definitely not in, a wound I’d place it over a sterile dressing and secure with an elastic or gauze bandage.

x2 OB-type compressed vaginal tampons 42

42 This makes a compact but very absorbent dressing; some suggested adding various types of
trauma dressing, but we opted to pick something that was very small, not wanting to increase
the size of the kit. Of course, it can also be used as a tampon for a female patient with
menstrual flow.


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Re: My 2c on the use of Female Hygiene Products for Wound Care

Post by painiac » Sun Jun 06, 2010 5:27 pm

Can be useful.
Just be certain the brand of tampon you're buying doesn't contain an antiocoagulant (many do), as this would be counterproductive to controlling bleeding.

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Re: My 2c on the use of Female Hygiene Products for Wound Care

Post by Kojo2047 » Sun Jun 06, 2010 5:59 pm

A lot of us Marines put them in our IFAKs actually. I see no problem with using them to plug a bullet wound.

To speak very bluntly, what is the purpose of a tampon? To plug holes and soak up blood. A standard size tampon is just about the perfect size to fit a 7.62mm wound without too much trouble. Just get the cheap, plain cotton ones, poke it in the wound and bandage it up to make sure it keeps the blood from seeping out. Even has a string for easy extraction once you get to better medical attention.

It may be uncomfortable to put it in, and many guys would have sort of a stigma against them, but if it's between being in massive pain/embarrassment or death, i'll take the former.
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Re: My 2c on the use of Female Hygiene Products for Wound Care

Post by ZombieGranny » Sun Jun 06, 2010 6:02 pm

Where did you get that idea?
Tampons don't contain anticoagulants. It's just an old rumor.
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Re: My 2c on the use of Female Hygiene Products for Wound Care

Post by CitizenZ » Sun Jun 06, 2010 6:03 pm

painiac wrote:Can be useful.
Just be certain the brand of tampon you're buying doesn't contain an antiocoagulant (many do), as this would be counterproductive to controlling bleeding.
I had always heard that too, but upon researching I could not find any tampon makers that claimed to include any additives at all. Which would be required by law. All claimed 100% cotton plus liner materials. No other ingredients. Maybe it's just an old wives' tale.
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Re: My 2c on the use of Female Hygiene Products for Wound Care

Post by ki4mus » Sun Jun 06, 2010 7:47 pm

Kojo2047 wrote:A lot of us Marines put them in our IFAKs actually. I see no problem with using them to plug a bullet wound.

To speak very bluntly, what is the purpose of a tampon? To plug holes and soak up blood. A standard size tampon is just about the perfect size to fit a 7.62mm wound without too much trouble. Just get the cheap, plain cotton ones, poke it in the wound and bandage it up to make sure it keeps the blood from seeping out. Even has a string for easy extraction once you get to better medical attention.

It may be uncomfortable to put it in, and many guys would have sort of a stigma against them, but if it's between being in massive pain/embarrassment or death, i'll take the former.
regardless of the stigma, they work.
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Re: My 2c on the use of Female Hygiene Products for Wound Care

Post by Pete E » Wed Jun 09, 2010 6:48 pm

Just recently, I've read a couple of posts on various forums claiming Tampons don't work in this context, although nobody explains why????

I mean look at what a tampon is made from, and tell me why it would not absorb blood from a wound, but would work when used as directed for its usual purpose? ?

The nearest I got to reasonable negative comment was that tampons are made to biodegrade fairly quickly, but even that doesn't stand up to scrutiny, as in their original use, they need to last at least say 12 hours, which for first-aid purposes is more than enough.

Many years ago I used two tampons to fill a large deep cut on somebody's leg. I inserted them lengthways along the cut, and then covered them with a standard FFD. Packing the wound like this was simple and effective and allowed me to get pressure "into" the wound site with a standard FFD..

When the medic's and ambulance arrived, they took one look at the bandaging and elected to leave it in place until the guy reached ER, rather than poke about cleaning or "examining" the wound and potentially starting the bleed off again.

As a bit of an experiment, try the following:

Fill a plastic soda bottle or similar with water, right up to the top of the neck. Insert a tampon into the kneck so its lower half is in the water and it can wick the water up...Leave it about 20 seconds for the tampon to expand and then invert the bottle; virtually no water will come out, unless you squeeze the plastic bottle.

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Re: My 2c on the use of Female Hygiene Products for Wound Care

Post by ZombieGranny » Wed Jun 09, 2010 8:25 pm

Tampons aren't sterile, they can shred, (and they don't stay in for 12 hours.)
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Re: My 2c on the use of Female Hygiene Products for Wound Care

Post by Sckitzo » Wed Jun 09, 2010 9:13 pm

I remember someone saying something along the lines of "they are not meant to stop bleeding, just to soak up blood" think it was on here.

That being said, I gotta a couple in my IFAK and a few more in my bag, their small, don't take up much room and have other uses besides GSW's so I see no harm in carrying them, though my Capt looked at me like I was nuts when I handed him one for a nose bleed :lol:

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Re: My 2c on the use of Female Hygiene Products for Wound Care

Post by Veritas » Thu Jun 10, 2010 3:22 am

Pete E wrote:As a bit of an experiment, try the following:

Fill a plastic soda bottle or similar with water, right up to the top of the neck. Insert a tampon into the kneck so its lower half is in the water and it can wick the water up...Leave it about 20 seconds for the tampon to expand and then invert the bottle; virtually no water will come out, unless you squeeze the plastic bottle.
That might work better if you put a blood pressure cuff around the bottle and pumped it up to about 120. Or that might be a terrible idea.

I have heard both "this works, do it" and "this is total internet bs." I think it would be interesting to find an article that is reviewed/confirmed about someone doing this. Not that I don't believe the people of ZS, it would just be nice to see some citable evidence.
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Re: My 2c on the use of Female Hygiene Products for Wound Care

Post by JIM » Thu Jun 10, 2010 4:28 am

Regulair tampons are also great for nosebleeds. You could also spray some nasal-decongestant like neo-syphrine on it for additional effect.
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Re: My 2c on the use of Female Hygiene Products for Wound Care

Post by Pete E » Thu Jun 10, 2010 4:34 am

Veritas wrote: I have heard both "this works, do it" and "this is total internet bs." I think it would be interesting to find an article that is reviewed/confirmed about someone doing this. Not that I don't believe the people of ZS, it would just be nice to see some citable evidence.
May be we need to set our expectations here so we are all talking about the same thing.

I see them as an alternative to ordinary gauze in that they can be used for packing, & wound cleaning ect and I would expect them to perform about the same...

Somebody mentioned they are not sterile, but I would dispute this, given their original purpose and as they sealed in plastic wrapping much as any other first-aid supplies..

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Re: My 2c on the use of Female Hygiene Products for Wound Care

Post by BobtheBreaker » Thu Jun 10, 2010 4:43 am

wild_weasel wrote: While I would not place a tampon directly on, definitely not in, a wound I’d place it over a sterile dressing and secure with an elastic or gauze bandage.
This is pretty much also why few recommend it. The wilderness folks are okay with it because it has multiple uses. But lay responders do not pack wounds, or generally place anything in a wound channel.
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Re: My 2c on the use of Female Hygiene Products for Wound Care

Post by KnightoftheRoc » Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:41 am

Sckitzo wrote:I remember someone saying something along the lines of "they are not meant to stop bleeding, just to soak up blood" think it was on here.

That being said, I gotta a couple in my IFAK and a few more in my bag, their small, don't take up much room and have other uses besides GSW's so I see no harm in carrying them, though my Capt looked at me like I was nuts when I handed him one for a nose bleed :lol:
One of them was me. I've based my opinions on the use of them in wounds on the information I've gotten from actual users of the product, in the intended use- namely, my ex and other girlfriends over the years, before and after being married. I'll stick to using items intended for the purpose of wounds, and build a FAK accordingly, thanks. My fiance will be packing all the feminine hygiene products that will be making any trips with us.

I suppose that if you're stuck for the proper items, you have to make do with what you have, and if a tampon is all you got, slap that sucker on there and start taping it down- I, too, would rather live to be embarrassed than die. I just don't see the sense in packing something that is only marginally useful for this application, when I can load up on items designed to handle them much better.
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Re: My 2c on the use of Female Hygiene Products for Wound Care

Post by Murph » Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:35 am

The mythical use of tampons and maxi-pads to plug up bullet wounds was perpetuated by fanboys of Navy SEALS that heard they go out and get shot up, jam themselves full of kotex'es, hump a 75 lb rucks up hill both ways to and from the LZ, in monsoon rain, killing bad guys in hails of bullets shooting full auto from the hip, all the while chewing on a snake like beef jerky.
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Re: My 2c on the use of Female Hygiene Products for Wound Care

Post by phil_in_cs » Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:49 am

I wouldn't say they won't absorb blood, the issue is are they more effective than a square of H&H compressed gauze?

Improvising is improvising, and prepping is prepping. If you're improvising, then sure, use whatever is available. If you're prepping a kit to treat gun shot wounds, get the stuff that is most effective.
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Re: My 2c on the use of Female Hygiene Products for Wound Care

Post by ZombieGranny » Thu Jun 10, 2010 10:48 am

All right, rather than guess I went a got the box of tampons from the other bathroom...
Here's some of the information from the package that will answer some of the questions posted on this thread.
------------
Absorbency range:
regular 6 - 9 grams
Super 9 - 12 grams
Super Plus 12 - 15 grams
-
Change every 4 - 6 hours.
Warning: Tampon is not sterile!
Ingredients: Absorbent materials comprised of cotton and rayon; polypropylene cover; rayon, polyester or cotton string.

A different brand she uses when the other is out:
Ingredients: Rayon and/or cotton fiber, polyester or cotton string, polysorbate 20*, fragrance.
Do not use for non-menstrual discharge.
*Polysorbate 20 - Is a non-ionic surfactant that is used to disperse and emulsify.
---------
---------
Anyone know how much blood that gauze will sop up?
Last edited by ZombieGranny on Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My 2c on the use of Female Hygiene Products for Wound Care

Post by Pete E » Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:07 am

phil_in_cs wrote:I wouldn't say they won't absorb blood, the issue is are they more effective than a square of H&H compressed gauze?

Improvising is improvising, and prepping is prepping. If you're improvising, then sure, use whatever is available. If you're prepping a kit to treat gun shot wounds, get the stuff that is most effective.
I can't argue with that, the H&H compressed gauze looks like an excellent product and is pretty cheap too. I definately wouldn't advocate choosing tampons for inclusion in a IFAK at their expense of gauze.

I include a few tampons in mine simply as they fill the odd knook and cranny and the one time I actually used a couple for packing a wound, they worked great.

Regards,

Peter

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Re: My 2c on the use of Female Hygiene Products for Wound Care

Post by Wildeman_13 » Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:28 am

phil_in_cs wrote:Improvising is improvising, and prepping is prepping. If you're improvising, then sure, use whatever is available. If you're prepping a kit to treat gun shot wounds, get the stuff that is most effective.
+1
If you are bleeding out and all you have is a box of tampons, then use 'em and save your life. Otherwise, throw in a few more Israeli bandages or H&H compressed gauze or whatever else floats your boat and use them as intended.
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Re: My 2c on the use of Female Hygiene Products for Wound Care

Post by christopherblade » Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:57 am

well while looking all over the net i found this for us to argue over. the info were looking for is in part 5 about min34:30sec in to the episode. so lets hear it, what do you all think???
http://www.spike.com/full-episode/mall-shooting/34334" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
id rather have it and NOT need it, than NEED it and not have it.

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Re: My 2c on the use of Female Hygiene Products for Wound Care

Post by Chantrea » Thu Jun 10, 2010 2:14 pm

Keep in mind also that tampons (and even disposable pads, for that matter) can have fragrances and other additives that can produce negative reactions in some folks. (I'm pretty sure that it's rare! Esp. in men who may not have had years of monthly exposure!) As Granny mentioned--they're not sterile. Packaged gauze is supposed to be (not sure how reliable that is though).

I know quite a lot of women who get irritated by the (gross smelling) fragrances. You'd think that they'd make something that at least is not made MORE offensive by blood, but go figure--it makes it worse, at least to my delicate sensibilities. And if you or your person you're patching up has ANY sensitivity to medical adhesives, you need to be very cautious. I developed an allergy to them during my last pregnancy, and break out in a blistering rash to most disposable menstrual hygiene supplies (internal or external).

I agree though, if you don't have anything else--it's probably better to use than, say, a dirty t-shirt.

I have heard the whole tampons-for-nosebleeds rumors, but...uh, dang, you people have HUGE honking nostrils if you can shove a tampon up there! :shock:

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Re: My 2c on the use of Female Hygiene Products for Wound Care

Post by Murph » Thu Jun 10, 2010 4:38 pm

christopherblade wrote:well while looking all over the net i found this for us to argue over. the info were looking for is in part 5 about min34:30sec in to the episode. so lets hear it, what do you all think???
http://www.spike.com/full-episode/mall-shooting/34334" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
He also said later on that mall table tops will provide "cover." Last I checked 7.62 x 39 will tear through plywood / aluminum like a hot knife through butter.

Do you believe everything you see on TV?
Does your BOB at least have: water, basic tools, fire, food, first-aid kit, and shelter?
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Re: My 2c on the use of Female Hygiene Products for Wound Care

Post by Real_Ale_Act » Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:13 pm

ZombieGranny wrote:< real data >
I have nothing to contribute about the actual efficacy of tampons as being debated, but I would like to point out that there are definitely some brands that are 100% cotton, and plenty that do not contain anything other than that (i.e.: no polysorbate and no fragrance). And if you're at the improvisation point of using them on a wound, true sterility would not be an issue, since I think it unlikely that the wound could be considered sterile at that point. If they're clean enough for their intended use, they're clean enough for first aid use.

But please note I said improvisation use. I strongly agree that it's better to have the right tools for the job, but I also realize that sometimes it doesn't work out that way.
Chantrea wrote:I have heard the whole tampons-for-nosebleeds rumors, but...uh, dang, you people have HUGE honking nostrils if you can shove a tampon up there! :shock:
I dunno. If I can fit my finger in my nose at least partway (and my nose is by no means large), I think I could get a tampon in there about the same distance and it would be enough to help with the bleeding, although it would look _drastically_ funny. JMO.
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Re: My 2c on the use of Female Hygiene Products for Wound Care

Post by tool133 » Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:02 pm

This has been discussed before...
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=59970&start=240
3/4 down the page...
tool133 wrote: 1- Tampons are not sterile
2- Tampons are permeated with perfumes and other chemicals for the specific use they were designed for.
3- Tampons are made of compressed cotton or rayon. They are not woven, so the fibers begin to mesh into the wound and the forming clots. That would become a major problem because of #1 and #2.
4- Eventually, the tampon would have to be removed and you would have to undergo an excruciating time picking all of the remnants out of the wound. That means the wound would have to be re-opened, defeating the purpose of using the tampon in the first place.
5- Tampons are designed to swell as they absorb fluids. While that may sound good because you would assume it would block the bleeding, it would actually open many more doors to complications.
6- When you go to the E.R. with a tampon self-injected into a gunshot wound the doctor will laugh at you. :oops:
Pete E wrote:
Veritas wrote: I have heard both "this works, do it" and "this is total internet bs." I think it would be interesting to find an article that is reviewed/confirmed about someone doing this. Not that I don't believe the people of ZS, it would just be nice to see some citable evidence.
May be we need to set our expectations here so we are all talking about the same thing.
I see them as an alternative to ordinary gauze in that they can be used for packing, & wound cleaning ect and I would expect them to perform about the same...
Somebody mentioned they are not sterile, but I would dispute this, given their original purpose and as they sealed in plastic wrapping much as any other first-aid supplies..
There is a BIG difference between clean and sterile. Something packaged as sterile means it has been processed in a way in which no microbes / bacteria are present. These same microbes, believe it or not, also are the chief culprits behind infections. You should never assume something is sterile unless it is protrayed as such and has been handled in a clean manner between removing it from its package and putting it into use. Tampons are enginnered for only one specific use.
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