How Long Can I Leave A Tampon In Without Getting TSS?

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What’s the absolute longest I can leave a tampon in without risk of toxic shock syndrome?

ChickRx expert Dr. Mandi Beman, Ob/Gyn says…

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.

You might also like:
My Period’s Super Long. Is That A Problem?
How Can I Skip My Period When I’m On The Pill?

Do you worry about TSS? Do you ever leave your tampon in for more than 8 hours? Let me know in the comments.

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  • Emma

    What if leave it in for 9 hours?

  • Rachel

    PLEASE HELP!!! Today I was at school and I left because I got these symptoms… I started getting nausea, dizziness, sweating, and I started shaking. I was just sitting in class. What should I do I’m scared. I am only 14 by the way.

  • Franny Masella

    I just pulled out a tampon today that apparently had been in me for a couple of months. It was dark black and I was having severe pain in my abdomen and lower stomach. I was woozy nauseous and almost passed out. The doctor said if I had waited any longer I would be hospitalized.

  • McKenna

    i had my tampon in for about 8 hours… which is around the time I usually keep it in. This part sounds silly, but i was making dinner, cutting onions and obviously my eyes started to hurt from the onions, but I have been super drowsy since just after making dinner. Not showing any other symptoms.. I may just be tired, but it feels like I took a gravol and became really drowsy from it. I’ve never felt this drowsy before. Should I go to emerge?

  • hologram 81

    I cannot believe that anyone I mean anyone would keep a tampax in for 12 or or god forbid 48 hours ,come on people common sense ……no I am not interested if anyone is offended ,just use your brain…please……notice a bit of a smell? Really????

    • Marteen Lake

      I have never done it but i can see that it can be easy, it could right near end of your period and you forget you never took that last one out and the longer ago it was the less likely you will think about a tampon your period has ended.

    • Short

      Not everyone smells! And yet our noses WORK (Extreemly well) judge not lest ye be judged

    • Kjpurple

      I know right? ! The lady in one of the post said she had it in for 2 months. .um, don’t u clean inside your vagina when you take a shower. ..if you did I’d think u would notice it was in there :-

  • Nemo Koinu Ankoku

    I sorta was showing signs of TSS yesterday after I ended my period. I had a slight fever, nausea, and diarrhea. I didn’t find any rash.

    But now I feel fine, I feel fine at least. Should I be concerned?

  • Amy

    Ieft a tampon in for 12 hours while i slept, I don’t notice any symptoms so do I consult with a doctor ?

  • Sandie

    Left a tampoon in for almost 48 hours, just noticed. Wasn’t hard to remove..noticed a strange smell which led me to find the tampoon. Should I contact a doctor?

    • Sarah

      Yes go know ! That’s a sign of bacteria buildup

  • Jaide

    can I leave my tampon in while I sleep?

  • Becky

    I sleep for about 12 hours so how can I use a tampon when I sleep?

    • Ashleigh

      That’s what pads are for.

    • Madeline

      Hey, I have been using tampons for not that long and I love my sleep, so I was really worried about TSS, everyone had told me “just put on an alarm to wake your self up and change it” seriously? I don’t think anyone can wake me up, so I just used ultra thin overnight pads, i row for my local school and I have to wake up really early about 5:30, so I wear tsmpons then because I only get about 6 hours. But if your really worried about TSS and stuff like that, just to be on the safe side wear ultra thin overnight pads or those diva cups, they don’t sell them in my country so I have never used them. You can try the alarm thing, but if you Loooove sleep then maybe not a good idea, if no one can wake you up. But always know, you can wear tampons to bed, just not over 8 hours. Hope I helped. 🙂

    • Marteen Lake

      you shouldn’t sleep for 12 hours 0.0 it’s bad for you, unless you were a small child.

  • kykesan27

    I am 14. And I have always been so paranoid about toxic shock syndrome. I had my tampon in on day four, for a little over 5hours. There was blood on it but hardly little. But reading about this just scares me. There is no way I could have it, right?

  • sweet_girl

    im not vith my periods but i think that i never dont use tampons

  • karen

    Im on my period I’m getting rashes I do leave my tampons on to long sometimes. I have q fever. Call doctor?

    • Sarah


  • Danielle

    I prefer my Lunette menstrual cup. I’m 15 and I love it. It’s not messy, it’s earthfriendly, you don’t have to buy stuff every month, and best of all, TSS has never been accompanied with the cups. TSS is bacterial and the silicone (medical grade like whats used in heart devices) is bacteria resistant. I don’t need to be scared every month. Check out my channel on youtube about reusables. 🙂

  • Miranda

    So here is a question can you get TSS from using pads. (I can’t use tampons)

    • JO

      No, tampons can only cause TSS because it is inserted into your vagina. Pads aren’t like that, so there’s no chance of TSS with pad use.