News, Culture & Society

Have YOUR tampons gone off?

You’ve probably heard that make-up and beauty products have a shelf life, but have you ever wondered if your sanitary protection has a use-by date?

According to New York-based Dr Alyssa Dweck tampons do in fact go out of date, usually about five years after manufacture, so you should always check the box to find out if they’re still good to use. 

‘Read labels just like you would for salad or juice,’ Dr Dweck said in an interview for Women’s Health.  

New York-based Dr Alyssa Dweck has revealed that tampons have a shelf life of around five years after manufacture (stock image) 

Cotton is susceptible to mould and bacteria, Dr Dweck pointed out yet most of us keep sanitary protection in the damp environment of the bathroom. 

It’s important not to use out of date tampons even if they look fine, because mould can be hidden by the applicator and lead to irritating symptoms or even infection.

‘You might notice itching and irritation, or increased discharge because the vagina is trying to maintain its natural pH.’ says Dweck.

If symptoms persist after you’ve removed it, then you should visit your doctor or gynaecologist as you made need antibiotics. 

Tampons tend to pass their use-by date around five years after manufacture 

Tampons tend to pass their use-by date around five years after manufacture 

Everyone’s familiar with the emergency tampons that rattle around in the bottom of handbags indefinitely, with no way of telling how old they are as they’re out of the box. 

Dr Dweck said that they key thing to pay attention to is the integrity of the wrapper. 

If the covering has been torn after rattling around in your back it can leave the cotton susceptible to dust makeup, and other infection-causing bacteria. 

In the UK, campaigners have been putting pressure on supermarkets to ditch the so-called tampon tax, ahead of Brexit. 

Customers will not have to pay the five per cent tax – the reduced VAT rate levied on tampons – when the UK quits the bloc in 2019. 

Currently the EU needs to approve any changes to rates in VAT.

In August, Waitrose became the latest chain to agree to foot the bill and pass the saving on to customers, following in the footsteps of Tesco after a campaign branded the levy ‘sexist’.