I put a tampon in for about 20 minutes and I wasn’t on my period. Am I going to get TSS (toxic shock syndrome)?

tamponIt would be extremely rare if you got TSS from leaving a tampon in for just 20 minutes. Here’s why: Tampons themselves don’t cause TSS. TSS is actually caused by bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus. When a tampon is inside your vagina it creates an environment for different types of bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus to grow and make a toxin. Toxic shock is more common in teens than older women because many teens haven’t developed antibodies to the toxin yet. However, TSS is still very rare. That’s why health care providers usually recommend changing your tampon at least every 4-6 hrs and using pads some of the time. You recognized that inserting a tampon when you are not on your period is not a good idea. It’s also much easier to insert a tampon when your flow has started.  Follow these guidelines when using tampons.

  • Use care in inserting tampons.Wash your hands before and after inserting or removing your tampon.
  • Change your tampons at least every 4-6 hoursor more often if necessary. Use a pad at bedtime.
  • Choose the correct tampon absorbency.Use smaller sized tampons when your flow is lighter. TSS occurs more often when super-absorbent tampons are used. Don’t use these unless your menstrual flow is extremely heavy.
  • Don’t use tampons to absorb anything other than your menstrual flow.Only insert a tampon once menstrual blood is present.