Doctors weigh in on a most divisive question.
Some say the tampon comes loose during the act of pooping itself. Others just find the proximity of the string and the poop to be too close for comfort.
Meanwhile, some people said that unpredictable timing would make it impossible to change their tampons every time they go — removing a dry tampon isn’t exactly a walk in the park.
“From a medical standpoint, if a tampon’s string is getting soiled from urine or fecal material, you should change it. That’s just common sense,” Dr. Alyssa Dweck, an OB/GYN in Westchester, New York, says.
However, when it comes to infections from tampons, the bigger concern is leaving a tampon in too long, not getting bacteria on your tampon when pooping, says Dr. Matilda Hagan, of the Melissa L. Posner Institute for Digestive Health and Liver Disease at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. “Even in the absence of tampons, we don’t see bowel movements leading to [vaginal] infections,” she says.
That said, if you want to remove it each time, that’s also fine. “With regard to hygiene, standards are personal,” Hagan says.
She also says you could try tucking the tampon’s string out of the way with one hand while you wipe with the other.
Again, it depends on the individual. Hagan says a displaced tampon doesn’t necessarily mean you’re pushing too hard. “Some pressure has to be applied. It depends on your anatomy and how you’re situated internally.”
What is a sign of pushing too hard? Hagan says straining, feeling pain, spending a lot of time in the bathroom, and seeing (non-period) blood in your stools are all signs you should go to a health care professional.