Do You Make These 5 Common Tampon Mistakes?

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These days, more and more women are preferring tampons to pads since they’re less visible underneath their clothing, but the drawback is that you must be twice as careful while wearing them. “Along with the convenience comes additional responsibilities,” says Dr. Melinda Miller-Thrasher of Innovative Women’s Healthcare Solutions in Atlanta. She cautions, “Don’t become complacent when it comes to your tampon use.”

Not taking the proper precautions can lead to serious health problems, including a urinary tract infection (UTI) and toxic shock syndrome (TSS). As a practicing gynecologist for over two decades, Dr. Miller-Thrasher shares she has never seen a case of TSS – a rare, but potentially fatal condition which can be caused by prolonged use of superabsorbent tampons becoming infected with Staph or Strep bacteria. “The decrease in incidence” she says “is due to public awareness, with resultant early detection, removal of super absorbant tampons from the market and antibiotic use.”

However, what Dr. Miller-Thrasher does see a great deal of is unhealthy habits that act as precursors to TSS. Whether you’re a newbie to tampons or you’ve been wearing them your whole life, here are five big no-no’s:

1. Not changing your tampon after you urinate or have a bowel movement. Here’s the deal: If the string picks up any bacteria, it could enter the urethra, which can lead to infection. You can always hold the string while using the restroom so that it doesn’t become soiled.

2. Not washing your hands before inserting your tampon. You wouldn’t not clean your hands before preparing dinner or eating lunch or touching your eyes, right? Well, the same goes for down there.