There are a lot of guidelines to remember when using tampons — don’t keep it in for too long, take it out before you have sex, and make sure there’s only one in at a time. But there are also some things about using a tampon that no one really talks about — like peeing with a tampon in. Going to the bathroom with a tampon in can be quite the experience. Sometimes it feels like it’s going to fall out, and sometimes that string gets soaked with pee, which can feel pretty gross. It almost seems like peeing with a tampon in is something you shouldn’t be doing... but is that really the case?

It might feel like an awkward question, but you're definitely not the only one who’s wondering, and it’s important to know the answer. Below, Dr. Cindy Duke, a Las Vegas-based fertility specialist and virologist, breaks down everything you should know about peeing with a tampon in.

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So, can you pee with a tampon in?

Yes, you can totally pee with a tampon in. “There are no health concerns associated with peeing with a tampon inserted,” Dr. Duke confirms.

Here’s a quick anatomy lesson: Period blood and urine come out of two different holes. You insert your tampon in your vagina, while urine comes out of your urethra — “the tube that carries the urine from the bladder out of our bodies,” Dr. Duke clarifies. The urethra is tiny opening near the top of your vulva, and the vaginal opening is right below this. So, when a tampon is inserted, it isn’t interfering with the urine flow at all.

But there is one important thing to remember: “Always wipe front to back after peeing, whether you have a tampon in or not, to prevent or avoid passing the living bacteria from the anus or vagina into the urinary tract (or urethra),” Dr. Duke says.

Is it sanitary to pee with a tampon in?

It’s okay to pee with a tampon in, and it’s also perfectly safe.

“It is completely sanitary to pee with a tampon in,” Dr. Duke confirms. “Tampons don’t block the flow of urine, and even though a little pee might get on the tampon string as you’re peeing, there’s no need to worry.”

“You can’t give yourself an infection by peeing on the tampon string,” she explains. “Unless you have a UTI (urinary tract infection), our urine is sterile — bacteria-free — and there are no health concerns to be worried about.”

Still, if you don’t like the feeling of the wet string, try holding the string out of the way of your stream when you pee, to keep it from getting wet. Or, you can change your tampon every time you go to the bathroom if you’d prefer.

How often should you change your tampon?

Dr. Duke says that you should be changing your tampon every 4 to 8 hours, “or as soon as it becomes full or feels uncomfortable.” If your flow is heavier, you might have to change it more often.

“You should never have a single tampon in for more than 8 hours as it can potentially put you at risk for infections,” Dr. Duke warns. “Having a tampon in too long can cause the bacteria that naturally live on your skin and in your vagina to overgrow and then lead to an infection.”

Technically, you can take out your tampon every time you pee, and if you only use the bathroom every four to five hours, go for it. But, if you’re a frequent pee-er, and your flow is fairly light, then changing your tampon every hour or so may be irritating, and require a bunch of tampons.

What are the best ways to keep your tampon clean?

Clean hands are key. Dr. Duke recommends that you always wash your hands before inserting a tampon, and make sure to change the tampon every 4 to 8 hours (or more often, depending on your flow). To avoid a wet string, you could also hold it off to the side while peeing, she says.

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Carolyn Twersky
Associate Editor

Carolyn Twersky is an associate editor for Seventeen covering celebrities, entertainment, politics, trends, and health. On her off time, she's probably watching Ru Paul's Drag Race, traversing NYC for the best donuts, or, most likely, enjoying time in her favorite place in the world: her bed. 

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Leah Campano is an Associate Editor at Seventeen, where she covers pop culture, entertainment news, health, and politics. On the weekends, you can probably find her watching marathons of vintage Real Housewives episodes or searching for New York City’s best almond croissants.