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Soaking Tampons in Vodka – The Facts

Soaking tampons in vodka or other liquor is an alleged trend that has been reported in numerous media outlets. However, most of the stories are unlikely to be true and a number of credible sources have debunked the practice entirely. Nevertheless, there are a few isolated cases where it’s possible that some teens or young adults did actually try this disturbing process, and the stories will likely prompt more teens and young adults to try it in an effort to get drunk quickly while avoiding detection. This article explores why it’s not logical to attempt to become intoxicated in this manner and that in fact the practice can be dangerous.

Can Vodka Soaked Tampons Help Avoid Breathalyzer Detection?

The primary reason suggested for teens and young women inserting vodka soaked tampons into their vagina is to avoid bad breath and the potential to be caught by a breathalyzer test for alcohol. However, considering that alcohol is absorbed via various parts of the body and from there makes its way into the bloodstream, it’s not logical to think that the breath will be untainted. In fact, breathalyzers test the BAC or Blood Alcohol Content of a person, which means that the test is not relative to the breath per se as much as it is the concentration of alcohol in the blood.

Therefore, soaking tampons in any type of alcohol will not help avoid detection and therefore eliminates the one seemingly plausible reason for the supposed trend in this practice. This fact is even confirmed by the primary source of the story about teens soaking tampons with vodka, KPHO.com. (Bierman, Breanne and Erwin, Elizabeth Teens Using Vodka Tampons to get Drunk 11/08/2011 http://www.kpho.com/story/15981315/teens-using-vodka-tampons-to-get-drunk)

Soaking Tampons in Vodka – Practicalities

A number of bloggers and others have run tests to confirm if this rumor is true and were unable to make the practice work. Cardboard applicators and tampons were virtually ruined by the alcohol and made vaginal insertion nearly impossible. One blogger who was successful in inserting a vodka soaked tampon complained that the pain was instantaneous and severe and provided no perceived level of intoxication whatsoever. (Boozing it Up: Young Women Using Tampons Soaked in Vodka to Get High http://www.snopes.com/risque/kinky/vodka.asp 05/28/2012)

Additionally, the amount of alcohol that a person could reasonably expect to be retained in a tampon prior to insertion is very small – perhaps less than one shot of alcohol. In most cases the procedure is so difficult to make work that no intoxication will occur, while in other cases successful insertion – under the right circumstances – could result in over-intoxication or alcohol poisoning. This is because alcohol absorbed through mucous membranes (and thereby bypassing the mitigating effects of the stomach) works much faster and intensely in the body than through traditional means.

Vodka Tampons – Medical Explanation

Alcohol that comes into direct contact with mucous membranes will immediately begin to irritate and break down those tissues. This is especially true of the vagina, which has very sensitive membranes throughout. Even one instance of this practice could result in damage to this sensitive sexual organ.

Additionally, the human vagina requires a delicate balance of native bacteria and flora in order to function properly. The introduction of foreign substances like alcohol can upset this balance and cause significant problems including yeast infections, urinary tract infections, pain and sensitivity and foul odors.

Medically, the idea of getting alcohol past the functions of the gut by inserting it in various areas of the body does work in practice. In fact, many people have reportedly become intoxicated – some dangerously so – by receiving enemas containing alcohol. (Cops: Sherry Enema Killed Texan 02/03/2005 http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/crime/cops-sherry-enema-killed-texan) By absorbing alcohol into the anus or other body orifice, vital bodily functions normally required to breakdown alcohol are bypassed, resulting in acute intoxication. This has been seen in reports of the “butt-chugging” trend, where young people are using funnels to deliver alcohol directly into their rectum.

However, while this practice might work to dangerous levels when the method of insertion used involves the anus, the vagina is a completely different structure and if enough alcohol is inserted into it, severe damage will occur, although it is possible that some intoxicating effects may be achieved. Nevertheless, it is difficult to determine a fatal dose versus a non-fatal dose administered in this medically-unsafe manner and therefore people of all ages are urged not to attempt this method of alcohol consumption.

Summary and Conclusion

While it is vital for parents, educators and law enforcement to take all reports of this nature seriously, it’s not likely that vodka soaked tampons is actually a trend. The reality is that a few isolated people have attempted it with poor results, which prompted unverified, sensationalist news stories that in turn caused more unthinking people to try this practice – most unsuccessfully. However, communities and medical professionals are urged to keep this in mind as a potential cause of problems considering that in the event of an emergency, it’s doubtful that anyone administering aid is going to check in the vagina of a young person for a contamination source.

Debunking the supposed trend is one thing, but remaining aware for related problems is still the responsibility of everyone. If someone you know is considering attempting this practice, you should tell them that it’s not likely to work and could ultimately damage their sexual organs and potentially result in acute poisoning and death. For all intents and purposes, attempting the vodka tampon method of getting a buzz just isn’t worth it.

About The Contributor
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More