A catamenial tampon is disclosed having rapid initial and high total moisture absorptivities. The tampon is generally cylindrical and has a blunt forward end provided with a forwardly facing, diverging cavity for physically trapping and pooling menstrual fluid. The cavity, which may be in the form of a V-shaped notch, has a width across the forward extremity at least about one quarter of the overall diameter of the tampon. The portions of the tampon defining the cavity are flexible and resilient so that they may be pressed toward one another to facilitate insertion and removal of the tampon. Further, these portions expand forwardly and outwardly during menstrual fluid absorption thereby exposing more internal surface area of the tampon to enhance further absorption of fluid and block egress of the trapped fluid.Methods for making the foregoing catamenial tampon are also disclosed. Generally, the tampon is made by providing a strip of cellulosic cotton with a forwardly diverging cavity in the forward end. This may be accomplished by moving a continuous web of cotton material past a cutter device which separates the web into strips having an initial shape and size. Each individual strip is then compressed both radially and longitudinally into a generally cylindrical configuration having the desired final shape and size.