A tampon is a mass of absorbent material-most often cotton, rayon, or a combination of the two-that is inserted into a body cavity or wound to absorb bodily fluid. The most popular today is designed to be inserted into the vagina when a woman gets her periods so as to absorb the flow.
The word tampon traces its roots to medieval French word tampion which means a piece of cloth to stop a hole (stamp, stopper, plug).
The tampon has been in use for several centuries, even in the 18th, when antiseptic cotton tampons treated with salicylates were used to stop the bleeding from bullet wounds. Not too long ago, stories fly of soldiers using tampons on bullet wounds during the Iraq war.