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Weird Things Women Had To Resort To Before Tampons As We Know Them Existed

Updated 26 Aug 2019 118.5k views12 items

What did women do before tampons? Roughly half the population has probably used them, excluding those who don’t have access to them or are super scared of toxic shock syndrome. But women have been around for centuries. More than that, they've been around for at least a couple of millennia, right? And the modern tampon as we know it wasn't created until 1929 – at least according to Tampax.

In the early 1930s, a Colorado-based GP named Earle Cleveland Haas patented the first commercial applicator tampon after hearing from a female friend of his that she used a piece of sponge to absorb her menses. Haas, thinking of how convenient it would be for his ballerina wife who found it hard to dance with the diaper-esque menstrual pads of the '30s, sought to solve this special plight of women. And he designed a cotton plug that could be inserted by two cardboard tubes to do just that. After that, Tampax hit the shelves in the mid-1930s.

But, before Dr. Haas sought to make the monthly menses plight a little easier, what did women use before pads and tampons as we know them today? What's the history of tampons? And what are the old ways to manage periods that don't involve having to go and sit in the Biblical period tent and bleed all over the floor until your moon time is over?

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