Dolly Doctor

Dolly Doctor: Everything You Need To Know About Your Period

From leaving tampons in overnight to swimming with a pad - we've got the low-down.
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No matter which way you spin it, bleeding for five to seven days can be a bit sucky for ten zillion reasons.

No one loves cramps, bad moods, a sore back, bloat and especially leakage (ugh!).

WATCH: Thinx New Ad Shows What It Would Be Like If Men Got Periods Too.

But while there are reasons for your period to not be so fun, there are a bunch of myths floating around that could be making that time of month more confusing, and even scarier, than it needs to be.

We checked in with Dr Ginni Mansberg to help answer all your curious questions around menstruation.

“Tampons can be safely worn for up to 8 hours overnight.” (Credit: Getty)

Can wearing a tampon overnight cause Toxic Shock Syndrome?

Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a rare but life-threatening infection caused by bacteria found in the nose, armpit, on the skin and in the vagina.

The bacteria can cause a toxin to go through the body causing sudden high fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, dizziness, muscle aches, fainting and can be fatal.

While it is very rare, wearing a tampon for too long is often pointed at as being the cause of the illness.

“The link between Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) and tampons was really related to a type of super absorbent tampon that was invented in the 80s and since hasn’t been on the market,” says Dr Ginni. “[But] tampons are hardly ever a factor [and] one of the greatest myths girls are told is that they cannot wear a tampon to bed. Tampons can be safely worn for up to 8 hours overnight which helps leakage and provides you with extra comfort.”

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Period blood should be normalised. (Credit: Getty)

Can you wear a pad while swimming? 

Alright, if you’re around your pals you’re probably going, “Ewwww, of course you can’t!” But then secretly, when out of tampons or at that annoying stage of not heavy, but not quite finished period, we’ve all wondered.

Just pop on a pair of boardies to hide the evidence… But the answer is still, not really.

“They won’t poison the water or anything but they get pretty wet and the pad become full of water and can’t absorb blood,’ says Dr Ginni. ‘Plus, in water leakage is an issue. If you’re having a light day, you can try giving pads a miss altogether while you’re in the water or go for a [mini] tampon.”

Can a tampon get stuck or lost in my vagina?

Hmm, short answer: No. Longer answer: “Not stuck,” says Dr Ginni. “It can be inserted incorrectly which will be hard to achieve! But will hurt like crazy. Unless you accidentally forget to pull down the string before you insert I, just pull it out and try again.”

The thing is, your vagina is only 5-10 cm long, and a dead-end street. Even if you pushed it right up to the end, there is no way it can drift off into your body somewhere.

If you have forgotten to pull the string and are finding it hard to pull it out – don’t freak out. Keep calm, and try squatting down like a frog and give a small push to help it down. You should be able to grab the part of the string that enters the tampon.

If you’re really worried, ask a female friend or super close friend for advice – it might have happened to them!

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“Your vagina is only 5-10 cm long.” (Credit: Getty)

Are pads less hygienic than tampons?

This is quite often the claim by tampon-wearers, that pads are something dirty to wear.

Firstly, there is nothing dirty about period blood. For some reason, there is a perception that period blood is somehow different to normal blood – just imagine the two different reactions to blood on your arm from a cut, and period blood leaking down your leg.

Our guess: very different. However, there is some merit if you’re leaving a pad on too long (much like if you left a bandage on too long) where sweat and over-absorbency becomes an issue.

The fact that it is an external sanitary item does make it seem like it could be more gross than a tampon, but there’s not much difference. “Assuming you change them regularly and dispose of them properly, they’re about the same,” says Dr Ginni.

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Pads or tampons? It’s up to you. (Credit: Getty)

How many hours should I be wearing a pad?

“It’s the gross factor that makes you want to change them,” says Dr Ginni. “In theory, if your period has stopped altogether you could leave it on all day and turf it just before you have a shower. But on heavier days, you’ll probably need to change them every three or four hours.”

Also, hygiene aside, pads only have certain amounts of absorbency and if left too long, leakage is in the high-risk gotta-wear-a-jumper-around-my-waist danger zone.

If you’d rather not have to do the bum-swipe every time you stand up, freak out at wearing anything that’s not deepest black and just generally be able to crack on with your day without fear, be prepared.

Pack a few pads in your bag (in a zip pocket – so you don’t fling one at your crush while taking your Math book out) and change as often as you feel necessary.

Have a question for Dolly Doctor? Drop us an email – dollydoctor@aremedia.com.au

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