How long can a tampon be used?

You might be wondering how long you can leave a tampon in.

And if you’re using tampons for the first time, it’s perfectly normal to have questions like that. The amount of time you can keep a tampon in for depends on the stage you’re at on your period as well as the heaviness of your flow. Ideally, tampons should be changed roughly every four hours. And if you find you need to do so more often to prevent leakage, you may need to wear one with a higher absorbency. The maximum amount of time you can keep a tampon in is eight hours.

You should always change your tampon before it starts to leak. So when the string starts to get wet, it’s time to wear a fresh one. Blood loss is usually heaviest at the start of your period, so you may find you need to change your tampon more frequently in the first couple of days.

It’s absolutely fine to wear a tampon at night. But it’s important not to keep it in for longer than is safe. So pop a fresh one in before you go to bed and set an alarm to take it out eight hours later. If you prefer to sleep late or can’t be that organised, you’re safer using a sanitary pad at night. Wearing a tampon for longer than eight hours can increase your risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome, so it’s important to avoid doing this.

You should feel confident to enjoy any sports and activities you want while wearing a tampon. That’s because it’s tucked away discreetly and will stay put, however much you move around. But your V-zone can become sweaty after sports, attracting bacteria and making you more prone to infection. So use a fresh tampon soon after you’ve finished. Make sure you have hand sanitizer with you in case the changing facilities aren’t great.

Unlike sanitary pads, tampons can be worn when you’re swimming, so you don’t have to worry about stains on your costume. Use a fresh tampon just before swimming, making sure the string is safely tucked inside your swimwear so it doesn’t show. And always take your tampon out as soon as you can after you leave the water. Your tampon will absorb some of the pool water, so it won’t be as effective afterwards. And from a hygiene point of view, it’s best to replace a tampon that might have soaked up bacteria along with the water.

Tampon do’s and don’ts

Every four hours
First

Change your tampon roughly every four hours.

Clock
Second

Don’t wear a tampon longer than eight hours.

Bed
Third

Put a fresh tampon in before you go to bed.

FAQ

How long should I keep a tampon in?

The amount of time you keep a tampon in will vary, depending on where you are in your cycle, and the heaviness of your flow. Ideally, you should change your tampon every four hours. If you find you need to do so more often to prevent leakage, you may need to wear a higher absorbency tampon.

Can I use a tampon at night when I’m asleep?

It’s safe to use a tampon at night, but it’s important not to wear it for longer than is safe, which is eight hours. So pop a fresh one in before you go to bed and set an alarm to take it out eight hours later. If you prefer to sleep late or can’t be that organised, you’re safer using a pad at night.

Can I use a tampon when I’m doing sports?

You can do all the sports and other activities you want while wearing a tampon. But your V-zone can become sweaty after sports, attracting bacteria and making you more prone to infection. So you should change your tampon soon after you’ve finished. Insert a fresh tampon just before swimming, and change it as soon as you can after you leave the water.

What if I have really heavy periods?

Your period is usually heaviest at the start of your period, so you may find you need to change your tampon more frequently in the first couple of days. If you find you need to change your tampon more frequently than every four hours, you may need to wear a higher absorbency tampon.

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