Simple answers to your tough questions
Toxic Shock Syndrome
All people with periods using tampons and menstrual cups risk TSS.
What is TSS?
Tampon and menstrual cup use has been associated with Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) a rare but serious condition that may cause death. Caused by a toxin produced by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus, TSS is commonly found in the skin, nose and vagina. The risk of TSS is greater in adolescents and those under 30. Although it’s rare, it is important to recognise symptoms and treat it immediately.
The symptoms of TSS can appear suddenly during or just after menstruation and resemble the flu. Contact your doctor immediately and remove the tampon or cup, if you have any of these TSS symptoms:
- Feeling very ill, headache, muscular pains.
- A sudden high fever and chills (over 39°C/102°F).
- Vomiting or diarrhoea, or both.
- Dizziness or fainting when standing up, weakness or confusion.
- A rash that looks like a nasty sunburn.
Guidelines for the Use of Tampons to Reduce the Risk of TSS
- Feeling very ill, headache, muscular pains.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before handling tampons.
- Only use one tampon at a time.
- Don’t force a tampon to fit inside your vagina.
- Use the lowest absorbency to suit your flow.
- Use the tampon immediately after unwrapping it, don’t handle it more than necessary, or place it on any surface.
- Remove the used tampon before inserting the next one and always remove the last tampon used at the end of your period.
- Change your tampon regularly (every four hours is a good guide and never more than eight hours).
- Only use a tampon when you are menstruating. Using a tampon when you don’t have your period can cause dryness and irritation and will absorb the protective mucous that your vagina produces to keep it clean.
- Avoid the risk of tampon-associated TSS by not using tampons, or reduce the risk by alternating tampon use with sanitary pads during your period or overnight.
Guidelines for the Hygienic Use of Menstrual Cups
- Only use a menstrual cup when you are menstruating
- You must sterilise the cup before using it for the first time each month – boiling the cup in water for 3-4 minutes
- Wash your hands thoroughly before handling the cup
- During your cycle, empty and wash the cup with clean water, preferably warm, so that it is ready for using again. Remember to thoroughly wash the suction holes
- Remove and empty your cup at least every 6-12 hours
Seek medical attention if you have any questions about TSS or menstrual cup use.
Umm, am I normal?
You might feel like there’s a lot of blood when you have your period. Or there may be not much more than a few spots. The amount of fluid lost during a period will range from 10-80ml across 2 to 7 days. We’re all different sizes and shapes, we live different lives, and we get different periods. Which is why we make a range of products to help you manage your period, your way. Should you have any health concerns regarding your period and flow please see your medical professional.
Tampons or pads – what’s best for me?
If you prefer tampons to pads, or are planning sports, swimming or any other activities where a tampon is required then the tampon range from Oi is the perfect choice. We recommend pads be used overnight. Tampons should be changed every 4 hours or so.
Who can use Oi’s period products?
All people with periods have the chance to make a difference by choosing period products which are good for their health and better for the environment. Our bodies are unique, but the average age for starting your period is 12.5 years, while menopause usually starts between 45 and 55 years old. Transgender boys and men, non-binary and gender-queer individuals may also get periods.
What are other tampons, pads and liners made from?
Most tampons are made from rayon and conventionally grown cotton – a crop heavily sprayed with pesticides – along with chlorine-bleached wood pulp. Chlorine bleaching produces a by-product called dioxin, linked to cancer, endometriosis and immune system compromise. Most other menstrual pads, liners and tampons on the market also contain synthetics, plastics, surfactants and, plus fragrance and dyes.
Why should I choose Oi certified organic cotton period products?
Conventional, non-organic cotton is grown using herbicide and pesticide sprays which leave potentially harmful residue. Not stuff we want to be putting in our bodies! These residues may cause irritation, soreness and discharge. By choosing Oi, you’re saying NO to these nasties in your body and your environment. Oi tampons, pads and liners are made from 100% certified organic cotton – free from chlorine bleach, synthetics, toxic chemicals, pesticide residue, dyes, fragrances and lubricants. Many gynaecologists recommend 100% certified organic cotton tampons and pads to their patients.
Are all tampons, pads and liners biodegradable?
In the right conditions, certified 100% organic cotton will safely biodegrade within five years. Sadly most conventional tampons, pads and panty liners contain synthetic materials (like plastics), which are not compostable or biodegradable and may take 500 years to break down in landfill.
What about Oi packaging?
Oi cardboard boxes are kerbside recyclable, and our inks are made from plant-based dyes. Our pads and liners wrappers are made from corn starch derived biopolymer which will compost in approximately three weeks under industrial conditions and the cardboard applicator tampon is individually wrapped in paper. Oi non-applicator tampons were previously wrapped in recyclable polypropylene, but we’re switching to a compostable wrapper.
Where are Oi products made?
Oi is a New Zealand owned company. Our cotton comes from GOTS (Global Organic Textiles Standard) certified farms in the USA, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Turkey. Our products are made in Europe, Israel, New Zealand and China to meet strict GOTS, BioGro, FDA and AS/NZS 2869:1998 guidelines.
Applicator vs Non-Applicator Tampons – what’s the difference?
Non-applicator tampons (aka digital tampons) are inserted into your vagina using your fingers. Minimal packaging (less waste, whoop!), discreet, easy to carry and the most affordable tampon option. On the other hand, you may prefer using the Oi cardboard applicator to guide the tampon in, so there’s no need to touch the tampon. When you’re starting out, we recommend giving both types a go, to find the one that suits you.
Which absorbency should I use?
Everyone’s flow is different, so we make a range of absorbencies to fit your flow: Select the absorbency rating that goes with your flow. Choosing a lower absorbency tampon can reduce the risk of TSS. If you need to change it more often than every 4 hours, try a tampon with a higher absorbency rating. If changing your tampon is uncomfortable, try one with lower absorbency, or check out other options like pads or cups.
What’s the deal with the Oi Cup™?
Menstrual Cups can seem a bit scary to begin with, but with patience it will soon feel natural. Users tell us the Oi Cup™ is a complete game changer. Made from safe, comfortable TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomers), once in place, it gives you more hours of freedom than when using a tampon or pad. And because it’s reusable, it’s the zero waste way to manage your period.
Which size should I use?
The Oi Cup™ is available in three sizes to suit different people and their flow. The following is a guideline, but it may take time to work out what size fits best for your unique shape.
Small: Suitable for those under 18 years old, who do not have sex regularly, or those who are smaller inside.
Medium: The most common size & suitable for those over 18 years old, & those who have not given birth vaginally
Large: For those who are larger inside, this may be because they have given birth vaginally
Please note that the Oi Cup™ is a personal hygiene medical device, and as a result used cups may not be returned or exchanged.
How to use the Oi Cup™
Getting used to a menstrual cup can be a little difficult at first, but be patient. After a little practice inserting and removing it, it is very easy and very comfortable. Oi Cup™ users love how simply and effectively it works.
Sterilize the cup
Before using the cup for the first time each month you must sterilize it:
- First wash your hands.
- Bring water to the boil in a saucepan and place the cup in the water for 3-4 minutes, covering it completely. We suggest setting a timer to ensure you do not over boil your cup, as this can shorten the useful life of your cup.
- Remove the cup being careful not to burn yourself, and it will be ready to use once it has cooled to your skin temperature.
Get yourself relaxed and ready
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
- Adopt a comfortable position. You can squat or sit on the toilet, or stand.
Fold the cup to make it easier to insert
- The simplest option to fold the cup is the C Fold
- Press both the sides of the cup to put them together and then fold the cup in half forming a ‘C’.
- Insert the Oi Cup™ While holding the cup folded with one hand, with the other hand separate your labial lips and push the cup into your vagina and towards the tailbone or base of your spine. The cup sits a bit lower than a tampon, but not so low that the stem becomes uncomfortable.
- Once you have inserted the cup, let it loose, it will ‘pop’ open and perfectly fit your vaginal wall.
- To be sure that the cup has created a seal, turn it slightly by grabbing the base of the cup just above the stem.
- Your cup should not leak. If yours is leaking it is probably not placed in correctly or it is full. It should be placed at the entrance of the vagina, lower than a tampon.
- You should be able to rotate it easily inside you.
- Check the cup size, perhaps you have not chosen the right size and you need a larger one from our Oi Cup™ range. Or if the cup is not opening up once inserted correctly, then you may need to size down.
- If none of these tips help, and you use a large size, you may need some exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Consult with your doctor. Or switch to a tampon or pad.
Avoid discomfort: Your cup should be very comfortable. If it isn’t then it may not be positioned correctly. Remove the cup and try the process again with a slightly different angle.
You may find the stem too long, generally it shouldn’t protrude outside the vagina. It is OK to trim it until you find the most comfortable length for you, as long as you don’t damage the base of the cup.
When to empty the Oi Cup™
When to remove it
- You must empty the cup at least once every 12 hours for your personal health.
- Once you are familiar with its use and your flow, you will know how frequently you need to empty it.
- If your flow is heavier, you may need to empty it sooner. Typically a cup is emptied after six hours and before 12 hours after placement.
How to remove your Oi Cup™
This can be tricky at first, but don’t panic if it seems a bit hard, relax and stay calm, breathe in and out slowly.
- Get into a comfortable position (standing, sitting on the toilet or squatting).
- Place your index finger and thumb in the vagina to locate the stem, reach just above the stem, pinch the bottom of the cup to release suction and gently pull down and out keeping it in an upright position.
- Push down with your abdominal/pelvic muscles to make it easier, so that if the cup is too high in the vagina it falls through.
- Gently pull the stem until you are able to firmly hold the base of the cup. Try holding the base of the cup rather than the stem and making small movements from side to side as you roll it gently out.
- Press the cup base with your thumb and index finger for air to enter and help release the suction.
- Remove the cup completely, while still holding it vertically so that the content remains within it.
- Empty the content into the toilet, or the shower if this is where you prefer to remove it.
How to care for your Oi Cup™
Sterilize and store
- After your period is finished, we recommend sterilizing again to keep it perfectly clean.
- Store in the Oi cotton canvas bag provided.
- Next time you use it, you need to sterilize it again before inserting.
- Use the cup according to the instructions in the provided leaflet and only during your period.
- The Oi Cup™ is a product of intimate use so you should not share it.
- For cleaning do not use abrasive cleaners or disinfectants such as tea tree oil, Aleppo or Alep soap.
- Do not use oil-based lubricants to insert the cup into the vagina.
- Never keep the cup in a plastic bag or airtight containers.
- If you’re in a place with poor sanitation, ensure that you wash your hands and the Oi Cup with either cooled down boiled water or bottled water.
- In case of burning, irritation, genital or vaginal inflammation, discomfort during urination or other symptoms that you think are abnormal, immediately remove the cup and ask your doctor.
- You must remove the cup before having sex and remember that the menstrual cup is not a contraceptive device and it does not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases.
- If you notice that your cup is damaged, you must replace it.
- Keep the cup out of the reach of small children.
Answers to more frequently asked questions
NO. It won’t disappear inside you.
NO. You don’t need to remove the cup to urinate or make bowel movements.
NO. Your cup shouldn’t leak if you have the right size and have placed it correctly.
YES. You can use the cup at night for up to 12 hours.
YES. The cup can be used while you exercise and play sport including swimming.
YES. The cup is compatible with the IUD or diaphragm but we recommend checking with your doctor before using.
NEVER. Use the cup as a contraceptive device, it isn’t one.
SEEK. Medical attention if you have any questions about TSS or cup use.