Whether you just started using tampons or you’re not fond of using pads anymore, you might be wondering whether wearing a tampon to bed is okay. Maybe you accidentally fell asleep and you forgot to take your tampon out, now, you are panicking a little (let’s be real, you are probably panicking a lot). Is it safe? Do I need to air things out at night? Will the tampon get l0st up there? Will sleeping with a tampon cause toxic shock syndrome?
If you are not one of those people who follow a specific routine and include taking out their tampons at night in their nighttime routine, or you just simply forgot to remove it, as most people do. Here are some things you should know about sleeping with a tampon.
Can you sleep with a tampon in?
Having to deal with 6 to 8 days of monthly period is already physically and mentally draining as it is, so making sure you are using the right period supplies that you are most comfortable in should be a priority. Not everyone can withstand using sanitary napkins 24/7. They can be extremely uncomfortable and can make you prone to bacterial growth and other infections if not replaced often. Because of this, a lot of women prefer using tampons. They are extremely comfortable wherein you won’t even feel them inside if they are inserted correctly.
But because you can’t even feel them, there is a high chance you will forget them. If you don’t suffer period cramps, you might forget you even have your period. That’s why, accidentally sleeping with them on, or wanting to use them while you sleep can be a question.
Tampons should be worn no longer than eight hours. Naturally, a tampon would not know if you are asleep or not, so to answer your question, Can I Sleep With A Tampon In? will depend on whether you sleep for more than eight hours or not.
Why Can I Only Wear It For 8 Hours Only?
Tampons are placed inside you, if you are to wear them for more than eight hours, you are at risk of developing an infection or irritation. Infections like Toxic Shock Syndrome or TSS are rare but can happen.
Toxic Shock Syndrome
While Toxic Shock Syndrome is rare, it is a serious infection that can be incredibly fatal. But TTS can happen to anyone, not only for people who wear tampons.
Toxic Shock Syndrome happens when a bacterium called Staphylococcus aureus gets into your bloodstream. This bacterium is present in your nose and skin, however, if it overgrows, an infection will occur. Usually, this happens when there is a cut or opening in the skin.
While experts were not able to find exactly how tampons cause TTS, they suspect that tampons attract bacteria since it is in a warm and moist environment. The bacteria can enter the body through the microscopic scratches in the vagina that are made by the tampon fibers.
Tampons that highly absorb tend to be riskier since they can absorb more of the vagina’s natural mucus and cause the vaginal walls to dry out. This can increase the chances of possibly creating small microscopic tears. So, the longer you leave the tampon inside, the more time you give the bacteria to reproduce to a more dangerous level. The larger the tampon you use, the more you provide material for the bacteria to cling to and lead to faster production.
While your body is prepared to make responses to fight off the bacteria inside, the bacteria also have prepared advances on how to protect themselves from getting destroyed. An example of such is producing dangerous toxins that can make their way into your bloodstream. This will cause your body to go into shock and you will experience toxic shock syndrome.
Toxic Shock Syndrome Symptoms
If your body is under TSS, the symptoms will usually take about three to five days of tampon use before it kicks in. But when it kicks in, they will come on sudden and severe. While TSS is a rare case, it is best to know what are the possible symptoms you would expect just in case you can be able to identify it if you ever experience one.
- muscle aches
- sore throat
- rashes that look like sunburn-like marks
- low blood pressure
- redness and inflammation on mouth and throat
- eye redness that looks like conjunctivitis
- peeling skin on your palms or soles
If you ever experience these symptoms and you suspect that you are experiencing Toxic Shock Syndrome, head to the emergency room immediately. This is considered a medical emergency. If you have this, you will most likely be treated in an intensive care unit for a couple of days. The treatment for TTS may include an intravenous antibiotic and a course of antibiotics continued at home. You may also receive an IV to treat dehydration. While Toxic Shock Syndrom is fatal, it is still treatable, so it is extremely important to be treated as soon as possible.
Other Factors that cause TSS
While Toxic Shock Syndrome is commonly associated with the use of tampons, it is still possible to get it even if you do not use tampons or do not menstruate. You might experience Toxic Shock Syndrome if you:
- are experiencing skin infection
- have a cut, sore, or open wound
- recently gave birth
- recently had surgery
- use forms of contraception like diaphragms or vaginal sponges
- experiencing inflammatory illnesses or experienced one, like sinusitis or tracheitis
- had the flu
A bit more background on TSS
Toxic Shock Syndrome is not as common today as it once was before, partly thanks to the regulation of absorbency and proper labeling of tampons. Since people are more aware of the possible condition when tampons are not properly used. people are more educated and more informed about the possibilities.
TSS was first discovered in 1978 and was linked to tampons during the 1980s. Due to this, manufacturers started to reduce the absorbency of tampons. The FDA also required manufacturers to advise people to only use super-absorbent tampons only when necessary should be included in the tampon packaging labels. FDA also regulated the labeling of tampon’s absorbency so that the terms like “low absorbency” or “super absorbent” are following a standardized definition.
This action helped. From 42 percent of tampon users in 1980, it went down to 1 percent in 1986.
Along with the changes in labeling and manufacturing, more have been educated about Toxic Shock Syndrome. More people have a better understanding of the importance of changing tampons regularly and following the recommended time limit and usage. These factors have helped make Toxic Shock Syndrome less common.
Supporting this statement, the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) reported that in 1980, 812 of the 890 cases of toxic shock syndrome were related to menstruation and tampon usage. But in 1989, 45 of 61 cases of Toxic Shock Syndrome were reported. Since then, CDC has reported even fewer cases reported every year that are related to menstruation and tampon usage.
What if I think I am experiencing TTS?
If you realized you left on a tampon for too long, which is more than 8 hours. there is no need to panic. You will not have TTS right away, you will just be at a higher risk.
Make sure you take the tampon out and do not insert a new one after. It is best to use pads at this point and give it time to make sure that bacteria are not able to reproduce. This will ensure you lower the chance of having more bacteria growth. However, make sure that you are still monitoring yourself and look for any symptoms mentioned above. If you think you are experiencing something, no matter how minuscule it is, make sure you contact your doctor right away. Know that it is better safe than sorry.
Not changing your tampon or using a high-absorbent tampon when unnecessary is could also risk bacterial vaginosis. While this is not as serious as TSS, it can still be uncomfortable and can cause vaginal discomfort, odor, and abnormal discharge. When you use a tampon for long periods, you can also irritate your vaginal area and sensitive bits. If you are experiencing discomfort, call your gynecologist right away.
Can I Wear A Tampon To Bed?
Even though you are aware of the risks that could happen when wearing a tampon for long periods of time, it is still understandable that you still want to wear a tampon to bed. I get it, it’s comfortable and they might not be leakproof but they don’t wrinkle up or become uncomfortable when sleeping.
So, if you still insist on wearing them, here are some tips you should follow to make sure you avoid TSS and other vaginal problems as much as you can.
- Put the tampon in just before you are about to go to bed.
If you want to use a tampon overnight, make sure you change one just before you are about to sleep. If you put it in hours before, you might miscalculate the time you have to change and risk yourself having TSS.
- Choose the appropriate absorbency for your flow.
We now have acknowledged how super-absorbent tampons are a no-go and should only be used when it is extremely needed. If your period flow is not that strong and you use one, you provide more material for the bacteria to cling to and risk your vagina having accidental microscopic cuts when you take it out because some of it is rough and dry. Many girls usually change their tampons every 4 to 6 hours whenever they experience heavy flow. Make sure that you determine how hard your flow is to determine which absorbency type should you use.
- Set an alarm so that you can change at the right time.
If you don’t think you can wake up after 8 hours or exactly 8 hours, it is best to set an alarm. As you understand your flow, you will figure out the best time you should change your tampon. If you set an alarm, you will be able to wake up in time to change and stay within the 8-hour limit. However, if you know that you usually sleep through the alarm, it is best to use a napkin or pad instead. While some may find this uncomfortable to sleep in, you will find this so much better than having to worry about TSS.
- Wear a pantyliner to prevent leakage.
If you think your flow is extra heavy, make sure you use a panty liner so that you do not have to worry about any leakage. Setting the alarm for 4-5 hours rather than 8 would be better to prevent leaking all over your bed.
Other Tampon Q&A’s
How do I start using tampons?
There is no need for any special preparations when using a tampon. You can use a tampon as soon as you experience your first period, even if you are a virgin or not. However, you must learn how to properly insert it to make sure you feel comfortable throughout and avoid leakage.
What is the best age to use tampons?
There is no minimum age required when using a tampon. A tampon does not affect your virginity( heads up, is just a social construct). Just make sure you use the proper size and absorbency.
Does it hurt to use tampons for the first time?
You may experience slight discomfort when you insert the tampon inside, but it should not hurt. If you can properly insert it, you won’t feel any or even the tampon at all.
How do I choose the right size?
The size of the tampon should depend on the absorbency level that varies from junior to super plus. To choose the right size, you must consider into account whether you are a virgin or have gone into vaginal labor.
You should choose the small one if you haven’t had vaginal labor or sexual intercourse. If you choose the right size, it will feel comfortable, basically feels like nothing.
Why does it hurt when I take it out?
Taking out a tampon should not hurt. Make sure you choose the right size beforehand to avoid this. However, you may experience slight discomfort but it should not be to the point you are unable to pull it out. When pulling the tampon out, make sure to relax and take deep breaths to help calm yourself.