Some people believe that soaking a tampon in vodka and inserting it into the vagina or rectum is a faster route to intoxication. This method of alcohol consumption is dangerous and can increase a person’s risk of alcohol poisoning and other complications.

Various anecdotal reports and media stories refer to people inserting vodka-soaked tampons into the vagina or rectum.

Several stories in the media have suggested that the practice, which people refer to as “slimming,” is common among teenagers and young adults. However, research has found this to be unlikely.

Some people believe this method of alcohol consumption leads to faster intoxication and other benefits, such as fewer hangover symptoms.

However, the practice of slimming may increase the likelihood of several health risks and can lead to severe complications.

This article looks at why people may insert vodka-soaked tampons, whether it works, and the risks involved. It also looks at signs of alcohol poisoning and alcohol enemas.

A person passing tampons to another person to soak in vodka -1.Share on Pinterest
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People may insert vodka-soaked tampons because they believe this method:

  • provides faster intoxication
  • provides fewer calories
  • prevents vomiting and other symptoms of a hangover
  • prevents the scent of alcohol on the breath
  • avoids detection through a breathalyzer test

Many of the alleged benefits people associate with vodka-soaked tampons may not be accurate, however, and the practice may carry several health risks.

Can inserting vodka-soaked tampons help avoid breathalyzer detection?

A person may produce a positive result in a breathalyzer test after inserting a vodka-soaked tampon.

Breathalyzer tests help estimate how much alcohol is present in a person’s blood, rather than any remnants of alcohol in the mouth or stomach.

Additionally, alcohol does not reach the airways via inhalation but through the blood supply. The concentrated alcohol will enter the bloodstream through the blood vessels in the vagina or rectum and travel to the lungs, where a person may breathe some of it out as alcohol vapor.

Although the most absorbent tampons can only hold a maximum of about 15 grams (g) of liquid, inserting a vodka-soaked tampon into the vagina or rectum may cause intoxication.

A 2014 study found that vaginal alcohol consumption could produce feelings of drunkenness. Researchers theorize that nonoral routes of alcohol consumption, such as via tampons, may cause significant intoxication more quickly than usual.

This is because the alcohol enters the bloodstream without being metabolized in the liver, as it would if it traveled through the gastrointestinal tract.

However, while a person could technically get drunk by inserting a vodka-soaked tampon into the vagina or rectum, it is not likely that this method of alcohol consumption is popular.

Authors of a 2016 study suggest that media attention surrounding the topic suggests a prevalence disproportionate to reality. The study found that college students were unlikely to use alcohol in alternative forms, such as inserting alcohol-soaked tampons.

A 2014 study also found that only 1.1% of 2,349 college students had consumed alcohol in ways other than drinking in their lifetime.

While technically possible to become drunk after inserting a vodka-soaked tampon, it is likely a myth that many people use this method of alcohol consumption. This may be due to several factors, such as:

  • Practicality: Inserting a soaked tampon, which has become swollen and soggy, may be a difficult and unpleasant task.
  • Perception of consequences: The 2016 study suggests that people were unlikely to use nonoral methods of alcohol because they believed it could lead to pain and health complications.
  • Perception of approval: The study also found that people were unlikely to use alternative forms of alcohol because they felt others would disapprove.

Risks of vodka-soaked tampons include:

A dangerous potential complication of nonoral alcohol consumption is alcohol poisoning. When a person drinks more alcohol than their liver can process, they may vomit to expel excess toxins. This can help prevent alcohol poisoning.

However, when a person uses a nonoral method, such as inserting a vodka-soaked tampon, the alcohol does not travel through the gastrointestinal tract, and the liver does not metabolize it. A person cannot vomit out excess toxins and may be at greater risk of alcohol overdose.

Alcohol poisoning can lead to severe complications, such as permanent brain damage and death.

Signs of alcohol poisoning include:

  • confusion
  • unconsciousness, or difficulty remaining conscious
  • clammy skin
  • vomiting
  • slow or irregular breathing
  • slow heart rate
  • slow or dull reflexes, such as no gag reflex to prevent choking
  • low body temperature
  • pale or bluish-tinged skin
  • seizures

A person may choose to insert alcohol into the rectum with an enema bag or funnel. This can cause fast and significant intoxication, as the alcohol bypasses metabolization and reaches the bloodstream directly.

Alcohol enemas carry a severe risk of alcohol poisoning and other health problems and can result in death.

Risks and side effects of alcohol enemas can include:

  • gastrointestinal bleeding
  • inflammation and irritation
  • a frequent urge to pass stool
  • erosion or death of the intestinal mucosa
  • a painful burning sensation in the anus
  • ulcers

Although inserting a vodka-soaked tampon into the vagina or rectum may cause intoxication, the method carries several health risks.

Due to the potential harmful complications of using vodka-soaked tampons, as well as the probable impracticality of the method, it is unlikely that many people consume alcohol in this way.

Consuming alcohol using nonoral methods, such as vodka-soaked tampons or alcohol enemas, can increase a person’s likelihood of alcohol poisoning. Alcohol poisoning may lead to severe complications and death.