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By Maggie Fox

The company that makes Kotex tampons recalled some of them Wednesday, saying they could unravel or come apart and might cause infections if women use them.

Some customers have complained about infections or irritation, and checks showed a defect in some of the lots that have been sold, the company and the Food and Drug Administration said.

“Kimberly-Clark has received reports from consumers of the U by Kotex Sleek Tampons, Regular Absorbency, unraveling and/or coming apart upon removal, and in some cases causing users to seek medical attention to remove tampon pieces left in the body,” Kimberly-Clark said in a statement.

“There also have been a small number of reports of infections, vaginal irritation, localized vaginal injury, and other symptoms.”

Tampons are highly absorbent and bacteria can grow on the material if a tampon, or part of a tampon, is left inside the body. Some of the bacteria may cause toxic-shock syndrome, which can kill. After several women died in the 1980s, the FDA started regulating tampons and companies stopped marketing products meant to be worn for more than eight hours at a time.

However, if bits of tampon remain behind, women may not be aware, and bacteria could grow in those small pieces.

“Consumers who experience vaginal injury (pain, bleeding, or discomfort), vaginal irritation (itching or swelling), urogenital infections (bladder and/or vaginal bacterial and/or yeast infections), or other symptoms such as hot flashes, abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting following use of the impacted product should seek immediate medical attention,” Kimberly-Clark said.

“A full list of recalled lot numbers is available on the U by Kotex® website,” it added.

“Any consumer with the impacted U by Kotex® Sleek Tampons, Regular Absorbency, in their possession should stop using the product immediately and promptly contact Kimberly-Clark's Consumer Service team at 1-888-255-3499 between 7:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Central Time, Monday through Friday, for information regarding this recall.”