SIG MMG 338 Program Series

Private Bloggins – Hemorrhage Control – What Aunt Flow Didn’t Know

For those of you not in the know, Private Bloggins is the blog side of CTOMS, offering stories and recommendations regarding their products, along with plenty of other great stuff.

They recently put up a post regarding the use of sanitary pads, diapers, and tampons, and why they don’t make for the best dressings when used for hemorrhages.


23 Responses to “Private Bloggins – Hemorrhage Control – What Aunt Flow Didn’t Know”

  1. Ed says:

    As a former EMT/A who received training more than 35 years ago, these items were described as clean, non-sterile, expedient wound coverings when sterile gauze was not available, not preferred dressing materials. The limitations of these products were known then.

  2. Common Sense says:

    I have recieved more classes, and done more “first aid” training than most- and I remember a time when tampons/pads were considered THE best option for immediate assistance.

    My shop teacher kept “beltless sanitary napkins” instead of a proper first aid kit (look it up, they used to need belts)

    Luckily that has changed, but these items are still useful for hemmorhage control if nothing else is available.

    However I have heard posing fake internet or “bodyguard” types claim that the best thing to carry is still a tampon- ignoring the multitude of sterile and purpose designed products that are readily available to control a bleed.

    • India Alpha Zero One says:

      You may want to add to your first aid knowledge by reading case studies on the efficacy of improvised trauma dressings. There are many resources available to you – the “Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS)”; “EMS World”; the Special Operations Medical Association’s (SOMA) “Journal of Special Operations Medicine (JSOM)”/Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care (CoTCCC) – are but a few resources. Look at quantitative research and case studies to see what works and what doesn’t – and why.

      • Common Sense says:

        I’m not sure what you are pointing me toward. I have read case studies, and I clearly wrote that while something is better than nothing- that something should be a purpose designed item unless you have used all of yours up and have no other choice.

        • India Alpha Zero One says:

          I am saying that there is a lot of medical, peer-reviewed information which says that the use of these items are contradicted in the traumatic hemorrhage patient. Your comment about still using them, if nothing else is available – makes me question the qualifications of the author of the case study that you had read.

          • India Alpha Zero One says:

            Contradicted=Contraindicated (stupid autocorrect).

            • India Alpha Zero One says:

              The more that I think about this – I think that I have a better analogy to explain this… So, I am driving down the road and my vehicle breaks-down. I have a diesel truck and I’m not only out-of-fuel – but my oil is not reaching the dipstick. A Good Samaritan stops and offers me a Jerry can with gasoline in it -so I pour it into my truck. Now my oil issue… Well, I look-around and I find a liter bottle of Coca-Cola in my drink holder and figure, “Something has got to be better, than nothing!” – so I pour it into my engine.

              Did I do the best for my truck, in this instance – or did I do more damage than what has already been done?

              • Common Sense says:

                While I think we are generally on the same page, your analogy goes too far.

                Tampons are not going to do massive damage, as putting gas into a diesel would.

                My point about nothing else being available means just that- nothing else.

                For example it’s -40 in winter, I can’t strip off all my layers right now, but a sanitary napkin is available.

                Or, I’m in the backcountry rafting- and all of my other supplies got washed away when we hit the last rapids. I wasn’t wearing a shirt, I’ve got nylon board shorts as my only clothing, but somebody has a sanitary napkin in their backpack.

                Again- these are extreme examples, however in these limited cases they will work better than trying to plug a wound tract, or apply direct pressure with my bare hands.

                In these limited cases, these items will work better than a nylon tent fly, or a plastic bag, or a glossy magazine.

                Overall I think we still agree that this is a last resort, the very last, and people need to carry the right gear.

                • India Alpha Zero One says:

                  Yes, the research shows that they WILL do damage, they plug the hole – but do nothing to stop the bleed. You really need to do some true research – as your attitude is going to kill someone.

                  • India Alpha Zero One says:

                    By the way, I know that you have more first aid training – than most. However, I have been in EMS – as a provider and an instructor – since the mid-1990’s. Trauma is what I do for a living and reading every case study and research paper on trauma – to keep myself apprised of changes, is how I provide the best, possible care for my patients. I have seen people die, from less-than-appropriate trauma hemorrhage control techniques. Your flippant comment about not doing damage shows just exactly how basic your knowledge-base, is.

                    • Common Sense says:

                      So then explain this to me- in the two examples I provided- what is the alternative?

                      Do I watch someone bleed to death, or try to pack the wound with my fist?

                      Plugging the hole, but not stopping a bleed does not equal further damage, it equals an ineffective bandage/dressing/packing. With some kotex you are correct- it might not work, that however does not cause FURTHER harm, it only fails to stop the bleed in progress.

                      I’m not going to argue about qualifications and experience, I’m sure you have more than I do, I will fully admit that- but I put “first aid” in quotation marks in my first post for a reason, because I’m talking about more than the basics. I’m not going to list a resume.

                      My comment was not flippant, this is the internet, just read it more slowly and it will seem sincere.

                    • India Alpha Zero One says:

                      “Plugging the hole, but not stopping a bleed does not equal further damage, it equals an ineffective bandage/dressing/packing.” …Did you truly say that??? PEOPLE DIE FROM UNCONTROLLED INTERNAL HEMORRHAGING, YOU FOOL!!!

                      I am done beating my head against the wall. You really need to take much, much more training. You are an absolute liability and your ignorance is going to kill someone.

                      I wish you – and your patients – the best of luck.

                      I am done.

                    • India Alpha Zero One says:

                      I just revisited this thread with my current class of EMT students (and it caused a great deal of conversation with them) and we are all still incredulous at your comments, including – “…it might not work, that however does not cause FURTHER harm, it only fails to stop the bleed in progress.”

                      For someone, “in-the-know” – I would really like to determine your thought-process as to why we are taking time to dress wounds – but not be concerned, whatsoever – with something as “trivial” as stopping a bleed.

                      We (unanimously) truly feel badly for you – as you have received some horrible training, in the past – to not understand the whole purpose of packing/dressing/bandaging a wound – is to keep the patient from bleeding-out (either internally, or externally).

  3. Bushman says:

    Should someone die from massive bleeding or infection after using personal hygiene products instead of dedicated materials to get official prohibition of that dumb practice? Some professionals are always thinking they know better. It’s like that epic story about worker and engineer.

  4. Bill says:

    back in the ancient days of the last century, like 1985, carrying a sanitary napkin in the top of your hat was the height of preparedness, and you were also mandated by policy to carry a clean handkerchief. Both were the best available at the time, and it sure beat the alternative.

    Quite a few of us had to buy our own gear then, and now. I’d far rather have a guy who makes the effort to improvise, adapt and overcome by using what he or she can get, than figure that they are incapable of doing anything because they can’t afford the late and greatest.

    • Erik says:


      I can agree with you on this, but in today’s age, it’s just as easy to carry around an Israeli bandage as it is a tampon or maxi pad….

      • Ed says:

        I agree with you. Please re-read what I wrote.

        Perhaps I should have explicitly written “they were considered better than nothing” 35 years ago? I never used them for trauma dressings because I had the appropriate dressing materials available to me when I needed them. Are there even better dressing materials available now? Yes.

    • Common Sense says:

      Did you read the article?

      Nothing says don’t adapt. Nothing says let someone bleed. It states, very simply, that a t-shirt is better than a tampon, and that tampons don’t magically fill a wound tract like some people think they do.

      Can’t afford? The Emergency Bandage (Israeli Dressing), costs less than $8.00 for a 6″ version, and less than $7.00 for a 4″ version. Same for the OLAES bandages. You can even go on the ctoms website- and buy 4 yards of compression packed sterile gauze for $6.00 Canadian.

      The point of the article is that tampons are not the best, nor are they good, they might work- but there are better improvisations, and if you expect to need it- just buy the right stuff in the first place.

      • Bill says:

        I’m not arguing with anybody, and carry Israeli dressings, Bloodstoppers and a variety of other purpose built dressing nowadays, along with tourniquets, hemostatic agents and all the other stuff we didn’t have back then. I also have been in place where replacements were not available, but I’m pretty certain I could find some women in a 2nd World country who could point me towards a local pharmacy to pick up whatever passes for panty liners in Kazakhstan…

        I’d never heard the tampon trick, just the sanitary pad routine. And if I had an instructor who told me that a bullet hole felt like a vagina, I think I’d be looking for a different training track.

        As for cotton Tshirts, I don’t wear those in cruddy climates, but I wonder if a wad of gun cleaning patches for maybe a 12 gauge might work….

  5. A-fricking-men. Never liked the tampon/maxipad thing although they are better than nothing if that is all you have I guess. Pack the wound, pressure, package and transport. The new quikclot Z fold dressings are outstanding for this purpose.

  6. balais says:

    Excellent. I’ve been arguing against such crap for a while and everybody thought I was just being eccentric.

    Anybody with any shred of tactical medicine know-how can see this as well.