Periods can be painful and uncomfortable for a lot of women. There are about 34 million women who used tampons in 2019 according to a survey published by Statista. Tampons make day-to-day activities a lot easier for women, especially activities like exercising and swimming. Still, a lot of women wonder whether it’s safe to sleep with tampons, considering that there are some side effects worth noting.
In this article, we’ll debunk the common myths about sleeping with tampons in. We will, however, also point why sleeping with a tampon can be dangerous and even fatal if you don’t pay attention to hygiene and other factors. Stay with us to learn more.
Should You Sleep With Tampon?
The short answer is yes. A lot of fear about sleeping with tampon in sparked in the late 1970s and 1980s when the design of tampons was completely different than it is today.
The reason why so many women fear sleeping with tampon in is Toxic Shock Syndrome (Also known as TSS.) This is the main risk of women who sleep with tampons, but over the last years and decades, the risk and fear have been vastly reduced.
We’ll talk about TSS more in the paragraphs below, but here, we’ll mention why sleeping with a tampon could be good for you.
Your Favorite Sleeping Position
Sleeping with a pad can be uncomfortable because you may not be able to lay on your stomach, side, or some other, personalized sleeping position that makes your night rest more comfortable. With a tampon, you can freely toss and turn, picking the sleep position you’re comfortable with. Many studies identify the relationship between sleeping in a comfortable sleep position and better sleep quality, one of them is this one.
No Waking Up in Panic
Women who feel sweaty or moist due to pads can panic and wake up in the middle of the night thinking they should change their pad. If you insert the tampon properly, there is no reason for you to wake up multiple times to check or change your pad.
There are multiple studies, research, and surveys which proved that waking up multiple times can be bad for your sleep quality. Scientists say that you shouldn’t wake up for more than two times during your sleep cycle.
Those two times shouldn’t include more than 5 to 10 minutes of being awake. With that in mind, wearing a tampon properly can maximize sleep quality as well as comfort.
When comparing the odds of getting TSS and sleeping with the tampon in, the chances are slimed down to a minimum. Tampons are no longer made the same way as they were then. They were extremely absorbent and were often suspected to “absorb too much of your periods.”
A lot of rumors associated with these conditions remained nothing but myths, especially because TSS is a disease that can also be contracted through other behavior and conditions and not only with wearing a tampon for an extended time.
Below, we’ll tell you everything about the Toxic Shock Syndrome, that’s been notorious for decades.
What is Toxic Shock Syndrome And How Is It Associated to Periods?
Toxic Shock Syndrome is an extremely rare condition that arises when bacteria known as Staphylococcus gets into the vaginal walls through micro-wounds. It releases dangerous toxins which can lead to various health complications and can often get fatal. Scientists also call it S. aureus at times.
The bacteria and condition in itself were first identified in the second half of the 20th century, or 1978 to be precise. Back then, researchers didn’t know why the condition was occurring, but they knew that it was fatal to people.
When researchers discovered the relationship between the disease-causing bacteria and the use of tampons, the use of tampons was immediately reduced and many regulatory bodies such as FDA have changed the rules regarding tampon composition to make it safer for women wearing them.
Super-Absorbent Tampons Could Be The Main Culprit
The main issue with this odd association was because companies were making highly-absorbent tampons that were overly saturated with blood. FDA issued a change in the use of super-absorbent tampons and since then, the occurrence of TSS in women has declined.
And it didn’t just slightly decline. It’s worth noting that nearly half of the reported tampon users applied high-absorbency tampons. After the public notice about their risk came out, the percentage dropped to one.
It’s worth mentioning that this bacteria normally live in the vagina and is harmless unless there’s an underlying infection. That’s why scientists are still mainly baffled of how it functions and leads to such a fatal condition.
Throughout years of research, scientists learned that the bacteria can replicate quickly in a special environment and that its rapid reproduction allows it to grow enough to release toxins which can be fatal and cause the toxic shock syndrome.
Before the toxic shock syndrome occurs, however, the bacteria’s toxin needs to enter the bloodstream. It’s still unclear how that happens, but experts suggest that it does that through micro-cuts and wounds inside the vagina, usually caused by the fiber on the tampons.
That said, two things are happening. Women wear a tampon with quite absorbent features to soothe her cycle. In the process, the bacteria that are already there reproduce and release toxins.
Researchers ditched the super-absorbent tampons because if they do get saturated with blood, it becomes a great breeding ground for the bacteria. Take into account that women can sleep anywhere from 6 to 10 hours and if they don’t wake up on time, they are exposed to the risk.
A Safer Option
Some of the most popular materials that were used for making tampons is the polyester foam. Scientists found that bacteria will likely thrive, surrounded by soaked tampons made out of this material. Over the past decades, tampon companies worked on options that will maximize safety and security in women, making tampons out of cotton and rayon – material extracted from the wood pulp.
That said, organic tampons aren’t only growing in popularity because of the environment, but because cotton is also safer for those who want to sleep with a tampon in. Here are some organic tampon options worth checking out.
- Tampax Pure Organic
How to Recognize the Early Stage of TSS And Visit The Doctor on Time?
It’s extremely important to associate early symptoms with potential risk factors and visit the doctor on time. If you suspect that you’re exposed to the Toxic Shock Syndrome, visit the doctor or call for an emergency as the state can rapidly worsen.
Scientists also say that TSS isn’t always associated with wearing tampons nor periods at all, estimating that nearly 50% of those who experience it, didn’t get it from tampons. With that in mind, let’s identify risk factors and symptoms.
The problem with symptoms is that they can often remind us of the flu or catching a cold, without realizing that a much more serious process is going own.
That’s because some commonplace symptoms include diarrhea, extremely high fever, and hot flashes, feeling dizzy and lightheaded, and unexplainable rash.
You’re especially in the risk of developing these symptoms if you’ve recently undergone a procedure, have a wound or cut, or gave birth recently. Make sure to visit your doctor if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms or fall into a certain risk group
How to Safely Sleep With Tampons?
Below, we listed a few tips on how to maximize safety and comfort when sleeping with tampons. Remember, the tampon manufacturing reached a point where sleeping with tampons is safe if you won’t sleep for more than eight hours. With that in mind, we help you sleep comfortably and worry-free.
Of course, a lot of women use tampons because they hate the discomfort and risk of leaking out that comes with pads, not to mention a plethora of other discomforts throughout the day. However, for women who are worried that tampons pose risk to them, sleeping with a pad is a good alternative.
Another alternative that seems more feasible these days is a menstrual cup. They exploded in popularity over the past years and more and more women switch to use them. Menstrual cups offer much more safety and reliability as you can wear them for up to 12 hours.
That said if you are rested after 7 to 8 hours of sleep and you can easily change a tampon, no biggie! If you want to squeeze an extra hour of sleep, it’s best to try the menstrual cup out.