Winkpass Creations, Inc., the software company that made iPeriod (the app that tracks a user’s menstrual periods, ovulation, related moods and symptoms), is introducing a companion app, the Tampon Timer, which reminds a user when it’s time to change her tampon (at least every 4-6 hours). Timing is important to avoid bacterial infection, and such an app could be helpful particularly to young, maturing girls who tend to have other things on their active minds – homework, annoying parents, mean girls, Lady Gaga, the latest app, etc.
The Tampon Timer ($1.99) is marketed as a tool to avoid Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). Although reported cases of tampon-related TSS have decreased dramatically over the past 30 years, many women who blossomed in the 1970s remember the scary surge of TSS in 1980 – the year 942 women were diagnosed in the US, 40 of whom died. At that time, P&G’s brand of superabsorbent tampons, Rely, which used carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) for super absorption was named the primary culprit by the Centers for Disease Control and was forced to be taken off the market. Soon after, the FDA banned CMC from use in tampons and now only cotton and rayon are legal. When last surveyed back in 1987, the annual incidence of Toxic Shock Syndrome was only 1-2/100,000 women 15-44 years of age, according to the CDC. So the materials change seems to have stopped the problem. For some though it’ll be a comfort to know, nonetheless, that there’s an app for that.