When you’re on your period, you want the least amount of interruption to your schedule as possible. Repeated trips to the restroom to change your tampon can interrupt your work and take you out of social situations.
If you’re considering leaving a tampon in a little longer than you normally do, you should know there’s a risk associated with leaving it in too long.
We’ll talk about how long you can safely leave in a tampon, what can happen if you leave one in too long, and other options you have that let you stay in the game longer with less potty pit stops.
How Long Can You Leave a Tampon In?
Most tampons are designed to provide you safe coverage for four to six hours. You should never leave a tampon in more than eight hours. Why?
For starters, most tampons aren’t going to provide adequate coverage past the four to six hour mark if you’re wearing the correct size. As your tampon fills, it expands to allow more flow to be absorbed. Once it has been completely filled, it will not provide a barrier against leaks.
The second reason you’ll want to remove your tampon as soon as possible is to reduce your risk of infection. When you leave a tampon in for too long, you can create a breeding ground for bacteria. This bacteria can lead to mild irritation of your vagina and vulva to a more serious infection like bacterial vaginosis.
What About Toxic Shock Syndrome?
Raise your hand if you’ve ever been personally victimized by your older relative’s stories of toxic shock syndrome. Us too.
Although toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a real issue, it is highly unlikely that you will develop it. However, it’s important to know the facts.
TSS isn’t caused by tampon usage. It is caused by a particular strain of staphylococcus bacteria that exists on your skin and in your vagina naturally. Most of the time, this bacteria doesn’t cause any problems, but in rare cases, the bacteria can overgrow and release toxins that make you very sick.
While it is unlikely you’ll get TSS, you can reduce your risk even further by:
- Using the lowest absorbency tampon possible.
- Changing your tampon every 4-6 hours.
- Switching between other forms of period care, like pads or a menstrual cup.
If you accidentally leave a tampon in too long, you’ll most likely be just fine. But if you do it repeatedly, you could risk an infection or messy situation.
No one wants to deal with an infection or risk a leak, and if you use tampons properly you won’t need worry about either.
Here’s our quick guide to tampon usage that will tell you everything you need to know about using them the right way.
1. Pick the Right Kind
You might be surprised to learn that some tampons can contain ingredients that are unnatural and harsh on your body. In fact, when researchers tested several brands of tampons, they found levels of carcinogens and reproductive toxins.
At Rael, we think women have the right to safe, chemical free period care that won’t disrupt your hormones or irritate your body.
We make our organic tampons from pure cotton without:
- Chlorine bleach
We think you should get more than just great protection with your period care products; you should get peace of mind.
2. Pick the Right Absorbency
One size never fits all when it comes to period protection, and when you’re selecting tampons, it is always a good idea to have a few different sizes on hand.
You’ll know you have the correct size when your tampon lasts for at least two hours and is easily removed. If your tampon feels uncomfortable when you try to remove it, you’re probably using an absorbency that is too high for your flow.
If you’re experiencing leaks after only an hour of wear, you’ll need a larger size for that day.
Keep in mind that your flow will change during your period, and the same tampon size that works the first day may not be the right fit on the last day of your period.
3. Know When to Change
Sometimes it’s easy to tell when it’s time to change your tampon, but sometimes it’s easy to forget about them (especially on light days).
Make sure you change your tampon every four to six hours, even on light days. If you decide to wear a tampon overnight, don’t keep it in more than eight hours. We recommend using an alternate form of period care, like period underwear, for overnight protection.
4. Use Proper Vulvar Care Items
No matter how well you plan, sometimes your period causes sensitivity and irritation to your most sensitive areas. When this happens, you may experience some discomfort.
Rael has solutions that work, without the use of harsh ingredients that could make you feel worse. Our vulva care products help soothe your skin, keep you feeling confident, and put you back in the middle of your life with zero down time.
Natural, botanical extracts help gently cleanse and moisturize to keep you comfortable no matter what time of the month you experience irritation.
5. Use Other Methods of Period Care
If you’re a tampon purist you might not know about the most recent options in period care. There’s more available to you than simply pads and tampons, and using other methods of period care along with your tampons can help ensure you aren’t wearing tampons longer than you should.
Period Care Options That Work
You’ve got options, and you should know what they are and how they work. Switching up your coverage options isn’t just a good idea for making sure you don’t leave a tampon in too long, it can also give you coverage that is more effective for you during certain times, like overnight.
If you don’t like pads, we’re guessing you haven’t worn them in a while. Pads have come a long way, and they’re super absorbent without being bulky. Rael’s pads offer superior protection in the form of organic cotton that will never irritate your skin.
We also offer reusable pads, which are a great option for keeping your dry and reducing your carbon footprint. Our reusable pads mean you always have period care items on hand, no matter when you start.
You may have tried pantyliners in the past, but our liners are designed to be ultra protective. Unlike some liners which can seem non-absorbent, our liners are made with organic cotton and designed to be ultra thin. You’ll literally never feel them.
Just like our pads, we offer a reusable option, which can help you save the environment while caring for your body. Caring for yourself and Mother Earth at the same time? That’s a win/win.
You’ve heard about them, but haven’t really considered them. Period panties are panties with an absorbent layer of fabric to help contain your flow. Period panties work great for lighter days, or for wearing overnight for added protection.
Rael’s period panties fit just like your regular intimates, are super comfortable, and are as absorbent as three tampons. Trust us, you’ll probably end up wearing them all month long.
If you’re more of a disposable product person, our disposable, organic cotton period underwear are the perfect fit. A growing trend in Korea, disposable period underwear combine an overnight pad with period underwear for unbeatable overnight protection and comfort.
The Menstrual Cup
If changing your tampon in a timely manner is hard for you, we suggest the menstrual cup. The reusable menstrual cup is a small, silicone cup you insert in your vagina to handle your flow. It’s easy to use, completely leak-proof, and can be worn up to twelve hours at a time.
The cup can also be reused every month, which makes it incredibly cost effective. It’s quite literally the ultimate in luxury period care items.
It’s a game changing form of period care for people who want to minimize the time they spend changing their period care products.
Intimidated about using one? We’ve got you covered. You can learn how to use one easily and effectively here.
You should always make sure you change your tampon every four to six hours and never wear a tampon longer than eight hours at a time. It’s a great idea to change up your period care items, and Rael has holistic, natural period care products that keep you covered your entire period.