As helpful as it would have been, most of us didn’t take a Tampons 101 class when we first got our periods. This left us with many tampon-related questions, such as: Can I sleep with a tampon in? Do I need to change it after I pee? How do I know if it’s inserted correctly?
These are just some of the questions that might be swirling in your mind, even if you’ve been using tampons for years.
Even though tampons are safe to use, it’s important you use them correctly. If you use a tampon incorrectly, you could risk your own health, or at the very least, end up in a messy situation.
To clear things up once and for all, we’re breaking down all the tampon dos and don'ts you need to know about. Be sure to check out our organic cotton tampons and other period care items designed for women by women to keep you looking and feeling your best all cycle long.
- Do wear organic tampons.
Organic tampons aren’t just trendy. They are better for your body, and a definite do. Traditional period products are laced with chemicals and harmful toxins. Rael’s Organic Cotton Tampons, on the other hand, don’t contain any fragrances, chlorine, pesticides, GMOs, or dyes.
What could happen if you wear a non-organic tampon? Maybe nothing, or maybe something. It’s really about using them repeatedly. One non-organic tampon isn’t going to hurt you (although you may find it irritating to your most sensitive area), but using non-organic tampons over time can expose your body to chemicals that are known to disrupt your endocrine system.
- Do insert the tampon far enough.
How do you know if you’ve inserted a tampon correctly? You don’t feel it at all. If you do feel it or have any sort of discomfort, you probably didn’t insert it deep enough into the vagina. The trick is to push the tampon up towards your back as deep as it will go.
If you can feel the bottom of the tampon protruding, you can attempt to push it further back. If that doesn’t work, you may need to remove that one and try again with another. Just so you know, a tampon cannot get lost inside of your body, so you never need to worry about that happening.
- Do change your tampon after swimming.
When you take a dip in the swimming pool or the ocean, your tampon gets soaked in chlorine or salt-filled water. It’s important to change it out once you get out of the water to avoid any irritation.
You can still get protection from a tampon while swimming, but because you are submerged in water, the tampon won’t have the same amount of absorption, so you’ll also need to take that into consideration.
In other words, if you’re normally able to wear a regular tampon for four hours, you may only be able to wear it for half that amount of time if you’re swimming.
- Do change your tampon after you use the restroom (mostly).
Technically, this one is totally optional. You don’t have to swap out your tampon every time you pee or move your bowels. However, we’re putting it into the do category because, let’s be honest, walking around with a tampon string that’s been peed on or could have potentially picked up bacteria from your bowels is no fun.
However, if you pee frequently (every hour or two), you probably won’t want to change your tampon every time, as this can cause dryness and irritate your vagina. Plus, you’ll end up going through a lot of tampons!
Pooping is a little different though, especially because you can push your tampon down during any straining. In this case, you might want to change your tampon for comfort’s sake. Any bacteria that gets on your tampon string is a potential risk for infection, so changing your tampon after pooping is always a good idea.
- Do buy tampons with an easy applicator.
Whether you’re a tampon newbie or a seasoned pro, we can all agree that tampons with smooth applicators make all the difference. Rael’s Organic BPA-free tampons, for example, are a dream to insert thanks to their ultra-thin applicator.
Applicators make all the difference when inserting tampons. If you’re still having trouble inserting a tampon with an easy applicator, you can apply a dab of lubrication to the tip to help it glide in more easily.
- Do wash your hands before and after.
Most of us remember to wash our hands after we’ve changed our tampon but don’t forget to also wash your hands before you remove your tampon and apply a new one. This will avoid contaminating the tampon before you insert it.
You don’t have to use antibacterial hand soap, and be careful to wait a few minutes if you decide to use a hand sanitizer; the alcohol in a hand sanitizer could give you a really unpleasant experience if it hasn’t completely dried from your hands.
- Don’t leave it in for too long.
The longest you should leave a tampon in is eight hours. However, the doctor-recommended ideal time is four to six hours. So yes, you totally can sleep with a tampon in, but if you’re planning on hitting the snooze button in the morning, then maybe an Organic Overnight Pad is a better idea.
Another option? Period panties. Period panties look and feel just like your normal, everyday intimates but have the ability to absorb up to three tampons worth of flow. They’re a great option for overnight or for adding extra protection on heavy days.
- Don’t use a tampon with an open wrapper.
We’ve all got that one random tampon floating around in the bottom of our bag with a dirty wrapper.
If you find a tampon that’s already been opened or tampered with, toss it out. You never know what bacteria, dirt, or dust might be on it. Since the tampon is going inside your body, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Don’t use a tampon before your period starts.
In most cases, being prepared is great. When it comes to tampons, however, popping one in before your flow starts is not the best idea. This can throw off the vagina’s healthy bacteria and dry it out, increasing the risk of infection. If you don’t want your period to catch you off guard, wearing an Organic Cotton Liner or Period Panties is a better way to go.
This is another time when period panties can really be a game-changer. Rael’s Period Panties are made from breathable, absorbent cotton and zero chemicals that could interfere with your hormones or your reproductive system.
Wearing period panties give you the pre-period protection you need, but all you feel is comfortable.
- Don’t use more absorbency than you need.
Although toxic shock syndrome is rare, it can happen. Wearing a tampon with more absorbency than you need is one of the causes. So unless your flow is super heavy and you really need that extra protection, stick to regular absorbency tampons.
You’re also not doing yourself any favors by wearing a tampon with a higher absorbency than you need. Attempting to remove a tampon that isn’t saturated can be really uncomfortable and sometimes painful.
Save the supers for days you really need them and use a tampon with a lighter absorbency for other days.
- Don’t forget to take the tampon out.
This might go without saying, but hey, it happens to the best of us. Pro tip: Set an alarm or timer on your phone to remind you when you need to take it out. And if, for whatever reason, you can’t take it out, go see your doctor ASAP.
Another mistake? Putting another tampon in but forgetting to take the old one out. Most of the time, the old tampon will prevent you from inserting another, but in some cases, it’s possible to end up placing a new tampon in while the old one remains in place.
- Don’t use expired tampons.
Yes, tampons do have an expiration date. It’s usually five years after they were made. So if you find some old tampons way in the back of your bathroom sink, it’s probably best to buy some fresh ones. Cotton is prone to attract mold and bacteria over time, especially if you store them in a place where there’s a lot of moisture, like the bathroom.
Additionally, the materials that make up tampons can become less absorbent as time passes. You could be in for an unwanted surprise if your tampon doesn’t last as long as it normally does.
Rael is your go-to source for holistic, natural period care. Our tampons are crafted from 100% certified organic Texas cotton, and nothing else. You won’t find chemicals, dyes, fragrances, viscose, or bleaching ingredients in our tampons. Want more? How about BPA-free or cardboard applicators? We’ve got those, too.
We believe your period should make you feel empowered to take on the world, and with the right period care products, it can. Trust Rael to give you access to the safest, most comfortable period care products.