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Kotex Tampons Are Being Recalled After Reports of Them Unravelling Inside People's Vaginas

One type of Kotex tampon is being pulled from shelves after some customers had to seek medical attention.

It's not just romaine lettuce you have to worry about: On Tuesday, Kotex maker Kimberly-Clark announced that it was voluntarily recalling some of its tampons after hearing from customers that the product was unravelling inside their vaginas and sometimes leaving pieces of tampon behind, which had to be removed by a doctor. Errant tampon shreds could cause health problems.

The recall affects specific lot numbers of U by Kotex Sleek Tampons, in regular absorbency only, sold in the US and Canada in packages of various sizes. No other U by Kotex products are being recalled, and other absorbencies of the Sleek Tampons are not affected. The tampons were distributed between October 17, 2016, and October 23, 2018, and Kotex has told retailers to remove the recalled lot numbers from their shelves and post notices in stores.


To see if your Kotex Sleek Tampons are affected, you can type the lot number on the bottom of the box into the search bar on the Kotex recall page or check it against the list of lot numbers on the websites of Kimberly-Clark or the FDA. You can also call Kimberly-Clark's Consumer Service team at 1-888-255-3499.

The company says "a quality-related defect" is potentially impacting the performance of the tampons. The specific problems reported are:

Kimberly-Clark has received reports from consumers of the U by Kotex® Sleek® Tampons, Regular Absorbency, unraveling and/or coming apart upon removal, and in some cases causing users to seek medical attention to remove tampon pieces left in the body. There also have been a small number of reports of infections, vaginal irritation, localized vaginal injury, and other symptoms.

The company says anyone with these tampons should stop using them immediately and that people who experience the following problems after using the products should seek immediate medical attention: vaginal irritation; bladder infections; yeast infections; vaginal pain, bleeding, or discomfort; and hot flashes, abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting.

The last four symptoms are similar to those of toxic shock syndrome (TSS), according to the Mayo Clinic and the National Institutes of Health. Using tampons is associated with a small risk of developing TSS, which is why those folded instructions inside the box say to change tampons at least every eight hours (for people who have a certain bacteria in their vaginal flora, leaving a tampon in long enough could result in that bacteria producing a dangerous toxin).

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