things we don't talk about

The Probiotic Tampons That Saved Me From Pain and Misery

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While we might all be curious about the best plunger or probiotic tampon or cold-sore remedy, it can be difficult to discuss these more personal items. That’s why we’re tackling Things We Don’t Talk About, a series in which we track down the best hygiene-, sex-, and bodily function–related things we all need but might be too embarrassed to ask about. In this installment, we discuss the best probiotic tampon.

We’d save a lot of time and money — and gain a good dose of dignity — by admitting that most everything we buy in the name of physical self-improvement doesn’t work. There are exceptions: Advil, inexpensive lipstick, dental floss, boob jobs, that one weird hairbrush. I’m pretty convinced that most everything else is purchased for the sick financial thrill of it. At least, that’s true for me. So when I come across something that does what it says it’s supposed to, I’m genuinely surprised. And then I talk nonstop about it, buy it for other people, and write about it online.

My most recent Actually Effective Purchase was a small tin of probiotic tampons, bought in a moment of desperation at a Geneva pharmacy last winter. Let’s just say that the uncomfortable and malodorous problem that had been plaguing me for over a week was gone within an hour. The “technology” is based on a classic homeopathic remedy for yeast infections that calls for soaking a regular tampon in yogurt before inserting it, which supposedly populates your private area with healthful flora (lactobacilli bacteria, specifically). The result is a closer-to-nature tampon experience that provides relief from burning, odor, and pain. The mere idea of dipping a tampon in yogurt makes me want to vomit, but a clinical, Scandinavian interpretation of it? Sure!

These tampons are a bit more sophisticated than a DIY yogurt dip — each one houses freeze-dried probiotic bacteria that’s only released at body temperature. My trip salvaged, I was so impressed by the little guys that I ran out and bought three more tins of them before heading to the airport. Luckily, I haven’t needed them since, but when a friend in California recently complained to me about a certain problem “down there,” I overnighted her some from New York (she’s a convert, too, now). And though the exact same Nordic brand isn’t quite stocked in America, there’s a French dupe on Amazon that’s practically identical (it uses the same freeze-dried method) and available to buy Stateside. And you should — if only for the rare joy that comes from putting something on or in your body that does what it says it will in a timely fashion.

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The Probiotic Tampons That Saved Me From Pain and Misery