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Is it possible to urinate or defecate while wearing a tampon?

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  • Post last modified:September 26, 2023

Every individual who possesses a vagina understands that the instances when it is necessary to use the restroom do not always align with the need to insert a new tampon. When faced with this situation, one may find themselves contemplating whether to remove the tampon that was inserted merely 15 minutes ago or to proceed with using the restroom while it remains inside. If the former option is chosen, the fresh layer of cotton, which is likely still completely dry, will undoubtedly be highly uncomfortable to extract. However, if one selects the latter option, concerns may arise regarding the possibility of developing an infection or simply feeling unclean for the remainder of the day.

To be honest, neither choice seems ideal, but it is worth inquiring: Can you urinate with a tampon in without jeopardizing your well-being? And is it acceptable or strictly prohibited to defecate with a tampon in? Here, Dr. Kelly Culwell, a certified obstetrician-gynecologist also known as Dr. Lady Doctor, provides answers to these crucial questions concerning the act of urinating or defecating while having a tampon in your vagina.

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Is it Possible to Urinate with a Tampon In?

Ladies and gentlemen, you can set aside any worries about leaving your tampon in while urinating, as there are no health concerns associated with urinating while wearing a tampon, according to Dr. Culwell. In case you require a quick refresher on biology, urine exits the body through the urethra, which is a separate opening from the vagina, the area from which one menstruates during their monthly cycle, she explains. Consequently, there is no need to fret about the tampon absorbing your urine or obstructing its flow.

Furthermore, even if a small amount of urine comes into contact with the tampon string, it is of no significance. As Dr. Culwell states, “Unless you already suffer from a urinary tract infection, urine does not contain bacteria, so even if a little urine gets on the tampon string, there are no health risks.” She adds that “even in the case of a urinary tract infection, there is no concern about transferring bacteria from the urine [on the string] to the vagina.” If it makes you feel uncomfortable, you can simply keep the string away from the stream of urine to prevent it from becoming soaked, she suggests.

However, it is crucial to remember to wipe from front to back after urinating, regardless of whether you have a tampon in or not, as advised by Dr. Culwell. Doing so will help you “avoid introducing bacteria from the rectum or vagina into the urethra,” she explains. Wiping from back to front may cause bacteria to travel up the urethra and lead to a urinary tract infection, she warns. Due to the fact that individuals with vaginas have shorter urethras, measuring only 1.5 inches in length (in comparison, the urethras of individuals with penises are approximately 7 to 8 inches long), it is easier for bacteria to ascend into the bladder, increasing the likelihood of developing an infection, according to the Office on Women’s Health.

(PSA, cleansing in a posterior to anterior direction isn’t the sole restroom error you might be committing.)

Can You Defecate with a Tampon In?

Fortunately for those with unpredictable bowel movements, it’s also generally safe to defecate with a tampon in, says Dr. Culwell. Nonetheless, some individuals may discover that their tampon slips out while dropping a deuce, especially if they’re straining, she says. “There’s no health risk, but it could be bothersome, particularly considering that it isn’t beneficial for plumbing to flush tampons,” she explains.

There’s no need to worry about UTIs from defecating with a tampon in, but it is possible to develop bacterial vaginosis (BV) if your number two gets all over the tampon string, says Dr. Culwell. “Bacterial vaginosis is an imbalance of ‘good’ versus ‘bad’ bacteria in the vagina,” she explains. “There are a lot of shared bacteria that live in both the vagina and rectum (because they are so close to each other), so if you introduce more of the bacterium from the rectum into the vagina, it can disturb the balance and lead to bacterial vaginosis,” she continues. Tell-tale signs of BV are foul-smelling vaginal odor, vaginal itching, a burning sensation while you urinate, and thin, gray, white, or green discharge, according to the Mayo Clinic. Fun!

To decrease your risk of bacterial vaginosis and keep everything in ship shape downstairs, hold the string away from your anus, tuck the tampon string into the labia (if that works with your anatomy), or, if you really want to be cautious, remove the tampon entirely after you defecate, recommends Dr. Culwell. And, once again, always wipe front to back to decrease the risk of UTIs, she says.

For the record, just because you can urinate and defecate with a tampon in doesn’t mean you have to do it. If urinating or having a bowel movement while you have a piece of cotton up your vagina makes you uncomfortable, feel free to remove it before doing so.

As the proverb declares, “every person has their own preferences,” even when it comes to using the toilet.

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