The Truth About Tampons

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Think you know the ins and outs of this feminine hygiene product? Here's what you should know.

Can wearing a tampon while you sleep cause toxic shock syndrome?

It's rare. But using more absorbent tampons or leaving them in for too long can raise your risk of this rare, potentially deadly bacterial infection. Tampon makers recommend using less absorbent tampons, and to avoid wearing one longer than eight hours.

Can they come apart inside your body?

While it's not common, tampon pieces can get left in your vagina, and lead to irritation or infection. One brand recalled its product after parts of the tampon unraveled.

Do tampons expire?

Yes. Just like canned food and skin care products, your tampons have a limited shelf life. Make sure to store them in a cool, dark place. A steamy bathroom or the bottom of your purse can become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria.

Will organic tampons protect you from toxic shock syndrome?

Organic tampon makers claim their products are free from fragrance and dyes, which can lead to problems like allergic reactions and irritation. But research links a greater risk of toxic shock syndrome to tampons with a higher absorbency. The FDA also regulates feminine hygiene products for effectiveness and safety before they reach the shelf. So unless you don't mind shelling out more cash, it's OK to stick with regular tampons with the lowest absorbency that meets your needs.