A disgusted mum says she's been left feeling 'violated' after discovering she had unknowingly been using a box of mouldy tampons
After using Tampax brand applicator tampons for most of her life, Canadian woman Allison Smith said she soon noticed something was wrong after they suddenly became difficult to insert.
The 34-year-old decided to remove one of these tampons from inside their plastic applicator in order to insert it manually - but was shocked to discover that it looked 'weirdly discoloured'.
Upon closer inspection, Smith says she was disgusted to see that the tampon was full of black mould and yellow stains.
"At first, I thought it might have just been dye from the blue applicator, but then I looked closer and realised it was mould," she told Caters.
"I fully opened the tampon and realised it was all inside too. It was so gross and made me feel really nauseous."
On further investigation, Smith discovered that 11 of the tampons left in the box were also laced with mould and stains, while just seven of them were not affected.
The pilates instructor said she felt sick to her stomach after realising she had likely been unknowingly using mouldy tampons in the days prior to her discovery.
"There is no way for you to know. You just pop it in and that's that," she said.
"I felt totally violated. There is a huge possibility that I put a mouldy tampon inside of me.
"It makes me feel sick just thinking about it."
Smith says it wasn't her storage of the tampons that was the issue, as she only bought the box three months ago, and kept them under her bathroom sink in a sealed container.
"I thought that something I'm putting inside my body would be safe. The scary thing is I could have used up all the mouldy ones without even knowing."
The mum posted photographs of her shocking find on social media where it quickly went viral - racking up over 50,000 shares in a matter of days.
Smith has since reached out to Tampax who confirmed they would investigate further into the issue while also offering her a credit to purchase more tampons - which the mum said she will not use.
"They said they would send me a $20 gift card to buy more tampons. But I don't want to use them anymore after what has happened."
She says she's considering switching to a menstrual cup instead.
A spokesperson for Procter & Gamble, the company that owns Tampax, said in a statement to Caters that "nothing is of greater importance than the safety of those using our tampons".
"They have been used safely by millions of women over the past 80 years. We have been in touch with the person who originally contacted us and sent a reimbursement card and mailer to retrieve the carton and product so we can analyze the discolouration.
"There has never been a confirmed case of mould-related contamination in our manufacturing site in Auburn Maine but we will work to fully understand this complaint more after we analyze the product to understand the nature of the discolouration and whether it was exposed to water after it left our manufacturing facility.