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Question:

Some people think that tampons will clog your toilet if you flush them. I don't believe it, but I'd like to be sure. Can flushing tampons be dangerous?

PEER ANSWER

Some old toilets or plumbing systems are tricky and can get clogged easily – not just by tampons, but by toilet paper or because a lot of people are using them. In general, newer plumbing can handle tampons being flushed. However if you’re in an old house or there is a sign specifically asking you not to flush tampons (which you’ll see in public bathrooms sometimes…perhaps because that place has had a plumbing problem before) then it’s best to respect the owners’ wishes. In that case, you can just wrap your tampon in toilet paper before throwing it away in the trash.

MOM ANSWER

I have to be honest, I’m a tampon flusher myself. That being said, I was once mortified when I flushed one at someone else’s house and the toilet overflowed. I don’t do that anymore! Check the package and see if your tampons are biodegradable; most plumbers agree that these are okay to flush. Many plumbers say that they don’t recommend flushing the non-biodegradable tampons.

EXPERT ANSWER

In the words of a very wise plumber who once fixed my toilet when it was clogged: “There is nothing worse for your pipes than a tampon. Don’t flush ‘em – ever.” So while I don’t pretend to be a plumbing expert, I do know there is nothing I like less than having to deal with a backed-up, overflowing toilet. And while I wish I could just flush tampons away, it is easy enough to wrap them in toilet paper and throw them in the trash. I suggest you do the same – and promise you that whoever owns the toilet you’re using will appreciate it!

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This is not intended to be medical advice. Everybody is different so please make sure to consult your physician if you're having issues. Do not delay or refrain from seeking professional medical advice from your physician because of something you have read on this site.

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