You probably remember conversations about toxic shock syndrome back in high school, but perhaps you need a refresher. 

Dealing with your period can be a nightmare at the best of times, but overnight it can turn your bedsheets into something resembling a warzone.

And while pads offer protection during the night, they’re not exactly the most comfortable, especially if your flow is heavy. So you might be curious if not tempted at the idea of just using a tampon. Inset and forget, no? Yeah, it’s really not a great idea. Why? Something called toxic shock syndrome.

The last time someone spoke to you about TSS was probably at high school sex ed, when you’re learning about your cycle for the first time.

Though rare, TSS occurs when Staphylococcus or Streptococcus bacteria, which naturally exist on your skin, nose, or mouth, are pushed deeper inside the body.

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It can present itself with a sudden high fever, vomiting or diarrhea, muscle aches, headaches, seizures, and confusion. The body experiences a sharp drop in blood pressure that deprives the organs of oxygen and yes, it can kill you.

This was so terrifying for a newly-menstruating young woman that you may have vowed at 15 to never EVER use a tampon for fear it may cause you to keel over.

But as you’ve gotten older, the monthly chore of your period and changing sanitary items regularly can get tedious and perhaps you’ve gotten a little lazy. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.

The reality is that you shouldn’t be leaving your tampon in for more than 4-6 hours, which means if you’re getting your full eight hours, sleeping with a tampon in is an absolute no-no.

While TSS has historically been linked to tampons due to their absorbency but it has been known to affect those who use menstrual cups as well, though this is much rarer.

So if you’re not into pads at night, period undies are the absolute best, we tested some out if you’re curious.

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