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What’s the absolute longest I can leave a tampon in without risk of toxic shock syndrome?
First, let’s talk about toxic shock syndrome, which is also sometimes called TSS. It’s caused by bacteria and the symptoms of TSS are similar to the flu. Toxic shock syndrome is a dangerous illness that has been associated with tampon use.
The important thing to know is that menstrual-related toxic shock syndrome is extremely rare an occurs in approximately 1 in 100,000 women. While it is rare, it is potentially very dangerous so it’s good that you’re aware of it.
Studies have shown that women who develop TSS are more likely to have used tampons with higher absorbencies, used tampons for several days of their cycle and kept a single tampon in place for a long period of time. Toxic shock syndrome occurred more often in the 1980’s, when higher absorbency tampons were available. You can no longer buy these types of tampons.
To minimize your risk be sure to practice good tampon hygiene:
* Wash your hands before inserting a tampon
* Change your tampon every 4-8 hours
* Only wear tampons during your menstrual cycle
* Use lighter absorbency tampons when possible
You should also know that women with TSS have symptoms that develop very quickly with fever, rash, diarrhea, or vomiting. If you develop these symptoms during your menses or with a tampon in place you should remove your tampon and contact your health care provider immediately. With all of that said, the bottom line is that tampon use is safe and TSS is extremely rare.
Do you worry about TSS? Do you ever leave your tampon in for more than 8 hours? Let me know in the comments.