Annie’s Mailbox: Mom worried about daughter
Dear Annie: My 19-year-old daughter came home for the summer after her first year of college.
When I did her laundry, I couldn’t help noticing there were no panties.
I was stunned when my daughter told me that she and many other girls at school had stopped wearing panties altogether.
I asked if her clothes weren’t getting ruined by staining from natural secretions, and she said they wear tampons.
Annie, I recall a lot of news reports about toxic shock syndrome. Women were getting it from wearing tampons without changing them frequently enough.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
Could my daughter be endangering herself?
— Worried Mom of Britney Spears Wannabe
Dear Worried: We contacted J. Douglas Van Arsdale, M.D., Associate Clinical Professor, Dept. of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Here is his response:
Dear Worried Mom: The abrasive nature of pants, particularly if they are tight, would not make this a comfortable endeavor.
However, chronically wearing a tampon may increase the risk of minor vaginal wall abrasions, and thereby increase the risk of HIV infection.
Also, the absorbent nature of tampons would decrease lubrication.
A more dramatic concern is toxic shock syndrome. This is a rare event most often associated with super-absorbent tampons that have been left in place for extended periods of time.
But, one can never absolutely rule out this possibility. So I would recommend the following:
Have an exam by a gynecologist to be sure that she is healthy and has no sexually transmitted diseases.
Make sure she knows how to use a condom and uses one every time she has sex. She may also need a lubricant. Be certain that she has been vaccinated for HPV.
If she must go commando, she should use a low-absorbent tampon, and even then there may be a very low risk of toxic shock. And most importantly, stay away from the paparazzi.
Dear Annie: I’ve been married to “Bob” for three years. I love him dearly and get along with my in-laws.
The problem is, he insists we spend every holiday with his family, which is stressful for me.
I don’t handle large crowds well, and at these holiday functions, there are at least 30 people crammed into a house with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
We always stay at his folks’ place for several days, and I am constantly uncomfortable.
I asked Bob if he would consider celebrating at least one holiday by ourselves, but he won’t hear of it. He says his parents would be hurt.
Thanksgiving will be here shortly, and I am already dreading it. Can you help?
— Holiday Blues
Dear Holiday: Putting up with the in-laws at family gatherings is part of marriage.
Although you shouldn’t have to spend every holiday with Bob’s family, if it is only a few days in November and December, please try to do your best.
Having young children often provides an excuse not to travel so much.
Right now, start with a compromise. If you can afford it, insist on staying at a hotel instead of at his parents’ home, at least part of the time.
This will give you some privacy and may provide you with the equanimity to tolerate the rest.
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