A Doctor Explains Whether You Should Change Your Tampon Every Time You Pee

by Kim Wong-Shing
Kim Wong-Shing is a staff writer at LittleThings. Her work spans beauty, wellness, pop culture, identity, food, and other topics. She is a contributing writer at NaturallyCurly, and her work has also appeared in HelloGiggles, Lifehacker, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and other outlets. She grew up in Philadelphia, attended Brown University, and is now based in New Orleans.

If you use tampons, you’re probably familiar with the balancing act of using the bathroom during your period.

Everything is pretty close together down there, so you may or may not get pee on your tampon string. It’s inevitable. But does that mean you need to switch to a fresh, pee-free tampon?

A viewer posed this question to the hosts of The Doctors, and Dr. Nia Landry answered once and for all: No, you don’t need to change your tampon after urinating — even if the string gets wet. And yes, it’s totally normal to experience this.

“Your urethra is close to your vagina, so when you pee you may get a little bit of pee on your tampon string because it’s right there,” Dr. Landry explained.

“However, it’s no big deal. It’s just a string. You’re not soaking up a bunch of urine with your tampon.”

Changing your tampon after every restroom trip could become pretty wasteful. However, you can definitely go ahead and change it if it bothers you.

“If it gets on your nerves, feel free to do it. Don’t pull it out too much though, because if it’s dry and you’re pulling out a bunch of tampons, that can irritate the vaginal mucosa,” Dr. Landry said. In other words: ouch.

Regardless of your stance on this issue, you should follow some tampon etiquette rules. Always change your tampon within four to six hours, Dr. Landry advises. Eight hours is the absolute maximum that you should leave a tampon in. Use the lowest absorbency necessary for your flow.

Following these simple rules lessens your chance of developing toxic shock syndrome, which you definitely don’t want. Other than that, though, feel free to replace your tampon whenever you like.

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