So far as can be learned from written history, the hygienic aspects of menstruation had been virtually ignored by everyone, physicians included, until the last several decades. Yet, from the dawn of civilization, man's progress has been characterized by changes and developments intended to produce greater individual and social comfort and convenience. It is therefore strange that esthetically acceptable products for absorption of the menstrual flow were so late in appearing.
The primitive method of menstrual hygiene, ie, a diaper-like pad, rag, or towel worn over the perineum, was improved when, near the end of World War I, perineal (so-called sanitary) napkins intended for one-time use became commercially available. The insertion of cottonlike material in the vagina is not an innovation. Fifteen centuries before Christ there was reference to the use of medicated lint tampons in the vagina for contraception. Intravaginal forms of menstrual hygiene have been used by ancient
Wheatley RE, Menkin MF, Bardes ED, Rock J. Tampons in Menstrual Hygiene. JAMA. 1965;192(8):697–700. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080210041009