Why You Shouldn’t Sleep With A Tampon In, Aside From The Obvious Bed Sheet Massacre

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The minute blood starts gushing out your vagina you hear cautionary tales of young people who slept in/left their tampon in for too long ending up in the ER with toxic shock syndrome (TSS).

While TSS is very real, it also takes the perfect storm (read: vaginal environment) to develop it. TSS is caused by a toxin called TSST-1. According to microbiologists, it’s produced when the toxin crosses into the vaginal mucosa and then enters the bloodstream, resulting in low blood pressure, organ failure, loss of limbs and even death.

A woman on her period with S. aureus already present in her vagina has more than enough bacteria to produce the toxin since menstrual blood can multiply Staph. aureus organisms from 1,000 to 10 billion, all it needs to trigger TSS is air. 

Meaning anytime you insert a tampon, menstrual cup or disc, you risk introducing oxygen into the normally anaerobic vagina. Tampons, in particular, because of their absorbency and how often we need to change them, have the ability to trap more oxygen increasing the user’s risk. 

In case you forgot, you shouldn’t leave tampons in for any longer than the recommended 4-6 hours, and I don’t know about you, but mumma needs a full 8hrs sleep, ya feel? So sleeping in tampons is 100% a no-go! 

Don't leave tampons in while you sleep

If all that’s not enough to convince you to stop wearing them to bed, what about the fact that you’ll never have to do the “Oh fuck” panic run to the toot ever again? 

You know, the one where you’ve fallen asleep with a tampon in only to wake up in a panic because you’ve had it in for too long. So you clench for dear life and waddle to the bathroom so you can give birth to an unholy wad of cotton that has quadrupled in size?! We’ve all been there. 

And Idk about you, but whenever I have a tampon in I’m EXTREMELY aware of it! Especially if it’s accidentally inserted it at an awkward angle, or it was too “dry” when you put it in, making it feel like you just took the biggest peen of your life. Ooft. 

period pain

Considering all of the above, I honestly don’t know why we do it to ourselves, especially when there are much safer options that are also comfortable and environmentally friendly?! I know, I know, most of us are terrified of wearing period undies because overflowing tampons have left us with leakage-PTSD. But I’m here to put that myth to bed, folks. 

I was just as sceptical as you when someone was first raving about the blessing that is period undies. But they’re the shit, and you should seriously consider making the swap. Brands like Modibodi have created a range of cute period undies and shorts that are leak-proof, comfortable, can handle a heavy flow AND don’t feel like you’ve reverted to wearing nappies.

Their new Sleep Shorts are perfect if you’re curious yet fearful of leakage, they offer full protection from front to back and there’s zero room for flap mishaps while you snooze. A worthwhile investment if you’re looking to avoid all of the above tbh. 

And look, if you’re not going to do it for your vagina health or the environment, at least do it for your bloody bedsheets. 

Swap tampons for period undies

Classic Sleep Short in Heavy-Overnight, $60

If you’re keen to jump full speed onto the period undie train, we’ve thrown a few of Modibodi’s best-sellers together to get you started.

Seamfree Full Brief in Heavy-Overnight, $35

Sensual Boyleg in Light-Moderate, $26.50 

Classic Bikini in Light-Moderate, $24.50