Should I be worried about Toxic Shock Syndrome?Not really. Here’s the deal: TSS is a potentially fatal illness caused by bacteria, not tampons. They can facilitate it in part because a blood-soaked tampon is a good place for bacteria to grow, says Meredith Loveless, M.D. Model Lauren Wasser made headlines this summer when she shared her TSS story, which ended with a leg amputation. That’s terrible, but the odds of TSS happening to you are super rare: between 1 and 17 cases for every 100,000 menstruating people annually. To reduce your risk for any infection: Wash your hands before inserting a tampon, don’t wear one for more than eight hours, and pick the smallest needed for your flow. Using a super-absorbency tampon if you don’t need it could lead to micro-tears in the vaginal wall, which could let germs in.

What if I leave a tampon in way too long?If it’s been in there for more than a day or two, see your ob-gyn. “We’ve taken some crazy things out of vaginas before. It won’t shock us at all!” says Jennifer Ashton, M.D. Your gyno will most likely do a culture to check for infections and may place you on antibiotics as a precaution.

Can I shower with my tampon in?Yep, but it will likely get wet and then expand, so you may have to change it sooner.

I get yeast infections after my period a lot. Could wearing pads be why?Contact with a wet pad can irritate skin, making it more susceptible to yeast that’s present. But it might also stem from changes in vaginal pH, says Dr. Ashton. “Try eating probiotics — there’s growing data that this can help.”

Should I be using all-natural sanitary products?Your call. In theory, fewer chemicals might be better for your body. But it’s not proven that chemicals in tampons and pads leach into your system … or that organic is better. If you tend to get itchy or irritated, you may be a good candidate, says Dr. Ashton. And everyone should opt for unscented — fragrances can be harsh on your delicate vag.

So … the menstrual cup. How does that work?The cup — a bell-shaped, flexible vessel that collects blood right in your va-jay-jay — has been around since the 1930s, but it’s getting more popular. You fold up the rubbery cup to insert it, and it returns to its shape inside you. After about 10 hours, you dump it out, clean it with warm water and mild soap, and put it back inside. Downside: It can leak if it overfills or slips out of place. Still, says Dr. Loveless, “a lot of women love it once they get the hang of it.”

I’m a transgender man and shopping for “feminine products” is alienating. Tips?Thankfully, almost anything can be ordered online. The feelings of disorientation some trans men feel during periods are harder to solve. “Deciding what to use can be challenging, especially if he’s already transitioned socially — it’s difficult to wear boxers and use a liner or pad,” says Henry Ng, MD, president of GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality. “Some may use tampons, but for others that may give them dysphoria.”