Tampon Safety for Teens

You’ve finally gotten used to having your period, and you may be thinking about making the switch from pads to tampons. The idea of tampons can be intimidating, and it’s likely you may have questions about how to use them properly. We’re here to answer some of those questions and to help ease your mind about making the switch.

Are tampons safe?

Tampons are relatively safe when used correctly. There is a very small risk of infection if a tampon is left in too long.

How often should I change my tampon?

You should change your tampon every four to six hours. The more frequently, the better. Never leave a tampon in for more than eight hours. Bacteria can grow on a tampon that is left in for too long, increasing the risk of infection.

Can I leave a tampon in overnight?

Yes, you can wear a tampon overnight. However, if you typically sleep more than eight hours a night, you should use a pad instead since tampons should not be worn for more than eight hours.

How do I choose a tampon absorbency?

Tampons come in various absorbency levels: light, regular, super and super plus. It’s best to choose the lowest absorbency tampon necessary. If your tampon is becoming fully saturated within an hour or two, choose a tampon that has a higher absorbency. If your tampon is relatively dry, choose a lighter absorbency.

What is Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)?

Toxic Shock Syndrome is a rare, but a very serious and potentially life-threatening infection. It’s a result of toxins accumulating in the body that are produced by certain bacteria. Leaving a tampon in for too long, particularly high-absorbent tampons, can increase your chances of TSS. Symptoms of TSS include, but are not limited to, a sudden high fever, vomiting, diarrhea and a rash that looks similar to a sunburn. If you experience any of these symptoms, see your pediatric provider right away.

As your pediatric provider, we’re here to help if you have any further questions about tampon use or your menstrual cycle.