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A super tampon is a tampon sized larger than normal. These tampons feature significantly greater absorbency as compared to regular tampons, making them helpful for women undergoing heavy periods. In addition, the size of a super tampon allows it to be used comfortably by women with wide-set vaginas, who can have trouble keeping a regular-sized tampon in position. Super tampons can also be used by women who suffer decreased elasticity in their vaginal walls, as the size of the tampon allows for better grip. Some manufacturers offer tampon sizes even larger than super for women with extremely heavy flows, such as "super plus."
Menorrhagia, or heavy menstrual flow, is most often caused by hormonal imbalances. Rather than correcting the imbalance, many women opt to use a super tampon to compensate for the irregularity. The increased size and absorbency of a super tampon makes it better-equipped to deal with the flow than other types of tampons. In cases where heavy flow is due to serious medical issues, such as uterine tumors or sexually transmitted diseases, super tampons are often prescribed to deal with the excessive blood flow during the preparatory period prior to treatment. Patients undergoing treatment for these disorders can also use super tampons for the length of the treatment period, until menstrual flows stabilize at lower levels.
Using a super tampon is also beneficial for women who find that regular-sized tampons are too small to fit into their vaginas. Smaller sizes can accidentally slip out of wider vaginas through sufficient agitation, which could lead to very embarrassing situations. This same benefit applies to women whose vaginas lack the muscle development needed to secure a tampon in place. Although Kegel exercises can help women develop the strength and tightness needed to hold tampons firmly, results are not immediate and cannot completely solve more drastic cases of muscle weakness. Conditions that cause the deterioration of vaginal tissue, such as vulvovaginal atrophy, cannot be treated by exercise alone.
Using a super tampon should always be done under the recommendation of a doctor. Many women resort to using these types of tampons without first being diagnosed for the cause of their abnormally heavy periods. As a result, serious medical problems have a risk of being overlooked. In cases where heavy periods occur on a consistent schedule, the loss of blood can lead to the development of anemia, which increases the risk of heart problems.
Ask a doctor before using a super tampon? You've *got* to be kidding me! Considering how heavy my flow was when I was a teenager, I probably could have used some hormone therapy, but I just used the super or super plus tampons and dealt with it. I was a happy camper when the pad manufacturers came up with the "wings" concept. Long time coming.
Anyway, I don't think getting a doctor's clearance to use a super tampon is at all necessary. It's the chronically heavy flow and cramps that need to be treated. I never would have made it through high school without super tampons. Getting a doctor's OK first sounds like overkill to me.