Tampons are a feminine hygiene product used to absorb menstrual blood during menstruation. They are typically made of cotton or a blend of materials, and are inserted into the vagina to absorb the blood. Tampons come in different sizes and absorbencies to accommodate different flow levels, and are usually worn for several hours before being replaced. Some tampons come with applicators for easier insertion, while others do not. It is important to change tampons regularly to avoid the risk of toxic shock syndrome, a rare but serious bacterial infection. Alternatives to tampons include pads, menstrual cups, and period underwear.