No one can wreak havoc on a fresh set of sheets quite like Aunt Flo, so naturally you’re in need of a nighttime solution to her monthly visit. Needless to say, tampons are an appealing option for comfortably preventing overnight leaks…but, um, can you wear a tampon to bed? Happily, the answer here is yes, but before you settle in for the night, make sure you read on for more details to this pressing question below, courtesy of Dr. Jennifer Lincoln, board certified OB GYN and medical advisor to The Body Agency.
For how long can you safely wear a tampon?
Before we get into whether or not it’s fine to wear a tampon when you tuck yourself in, we must state the cardinal rule of safe tampon usage—namely, that no tampon should stay in place for more than eight hours. by Dr. Lincoln, “The reason it’s not recommended to [wear a tampon for] longer than eight hours is two-fold: the absorbency of tampons usually will max out after that and leaks can be more likely, and also this is to decrease the risk of an infection called toxic shock syndrome (or TSS).” You might remember hearing some ominous warnings about TSS from when you first hit puberty and, well, it’s still a thing. Although it’s worth noting that Dr. Lincoln describes TSS as an “extremely rare infection [that’s] actually more common, when it does happen, to not be associated with tampon use.” However, the expert tells us that the eight-hour rule is a precaution that the industry takes very seriously, due to TSS being associated with super absorbent tampons in the 1980s. The takeaway? The odds are very slim that you will develop TSS from keeping a tampon in for, say, nine hours…but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Can you wear a tampon to bed?
Yep, it’s safe to wear tampons morning, noon and night. After all, as Dr. Lincoln points out, “your vagina doesn’t know what time of day it is, right?” Of course, you probably weren’t worried something weird might happen if you wear a tampon once the sun goes down, so the real answer to the question simply depends on how long you sleep (and how heavy your flow is). Per the expert, “it’s totally OK to sleep while wearing [a tampon] as long as you stay under that eight-hour mark.” For those lucky ladies who are getting a longer and more luxurious night’s sleep on the regular, switching to an alternative product at bedtime—be it a pad, menstrual cup or your trusty pair of Thinx—is the extra cautious choice.
Is it better to wear a pad or tampon at night?
The goal is to prevent leakage and there are several different ways to go about it. As for the particular method you choose—it’s really just a matter of personal preference, provided you aren’t breaking the eight-hour tampon rule, that is. In other words, it doesn’t matter if you use tampons or pads as long as you are using them as instructed, says Dr. Lincoln, adding that those who “hate sleeping with pads but routinely go past eight hours of shut-eye might want to consider a menstrual cup, [which] is often as comfortable and leak-proof as tampons but can stay in place up to 12 hours.”
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