Why Do I Set Off Airport Body Scanners Groin & How To Avoid It

There is a chance you will set off the airport body scanner if you have anything in your pants or use female hygiene products, bandages, and soaked clothing.

How do you avoid it? Keep reading to find out more.

Here’s why you set off the airport body scanner groin

Your groin will set off the airport body scanner if you are wearing baggy clothes, have any piercing in your groin, or use a menstrual cup. A cyst or hernia may subject you to extensive airport security screening to look for explosives.

Many airports have replaced X-ray machines with equipment that uses radio waves to detect suspicious objects on persons.

What does the airport body scanner check for?

The airport body scanners are intended to identify what a physical pat-down does not show, but a metal detector does. Nonmetallic weaponry and plastic or chemical explosives concealed in a pocket or worn on the body are examples of this.

The machines detected firearms, knives, and other metallic objects that would set off a metal detector.

Body scanners are classified into millimeter wave scanners and backscatter X-ray scanners.

The millimeter wave scanner creates an image of the body using high-frequency radio waves to expose details concealed by clothing.

Backscatter X-ray scanners detect radiation generated by the human body.

What does TSA actually see with full body scans

A monitor shows a person’s generic silhouette while highlighting potential hazards. The image is the same regardless of gender, stature, or body.

The scanning software detects metallic and non-metallic items hidden beneath garments and then generates an image with yellow boxes marking any spots that require further screening.

If there is nothing to be concerned about, the panel will display a green “OK.”

The initial generation of body scanners displayed the naked body of the passenger as well as anything hidden beneath their clothing.

A person in another room would review the photographs and radio the officer at the checkpoint to determine if the passenger should be allowed to pass.

The most recent scanner generation shows a cartoon shape of a humanoid with a box above each location where an abnormality is discovered.

A machine performs the analysis, and a human never views the raw images of the passenger’s body.

Backscatter and millimeter wave scanners may create an accurate image of the body beneath all layers of clothing. Many tourists prefer them to other options because they do not require pat-downs.

Scanners can identify steel and nonmetallic compounds on the body’s exterior.

Contrary to popular perception, they cannot see inside body cavities or diagnose disease.

The new airport body scanners are intended to give travelers more privacy by displaying simply a generic outline that does not reveal their gender or body type. Some scanners, however, are significantly more detailed.

If you use a body scanner at the airport, the security process will be less intrusive than in the past. Your security officer will notice a paper doll-like picture.

In airports where explicit scanning is still used, the officer viewing the image is kept in a separate area, ensuring that the passenger and scanner never come into direct touch.

Airport body scanners generally cannot identify items hidden within a bodily cavity. As a result, the scanners could not detect at least one prevalent drug smuggling tactic.

3 tips to avoid the body scanner to set off

There are three common ways to avoid setting off the airport body scanner. They include: wearing drawstring material, having empty pockets, and naked millimeters.

See related: Is LAX Busy On Christmas Day?

Wearing Drawstring Material

Metal is frequently discovered. Consequently, if you must wear trousers with a suspension, you should choose sweatpants with a cotton drawstring.

Various non-metal belts are available, but if your pants have a zipper, button, or any other metal fasteners, a non-metal belt will likely not suffice to prevent a pat-down.

Having Empty pockets

Carrying a crumpled tissue in your pocket will result in a pat-down. Therefore, when they say “empty your pockets,” ensure that only lint remains in them. Baggy sweatpants without metal are likely the best option.

To clarify, wearing tight-fitting pants will decrease your likelihood of getting patted down because the stretched fibers will be more evident in scanning.

However, such safeguards are necessary if your jeans are not excessively thick.


Naked Millimeter

If you want to maximize your clothing’s transparency to millimeter wave detectors, which is synonymous with “look as naked as possible at millimeter wave frequencies,” the U.S. Army has many recommendations for you:

  • Rayon
  • Nylon
  • Silk
  • Naugahyde
  • Denim
  • Leather
  • Linen
  • Wool

A few other materials and items will set off the airport body scanner. It is unclear with non-metal things when they would set off the body scanner.

Any metal will be visible, but inconsistencies in fabric density may suggest the presence of a suspicious object. When traveling, you should avoid the following:

  • Velcro fasteners,
  • transport pockets (multiple layers),
  • tucking your shirt in (rumples),
  • sloppy clothing or underwear,
  • shirts with large collars, as well as,
  • transpiring or donning wet garments.

The scanner will instruct TSA security agents to pat you down at least once in each area listed above.

Can airport body scanners detect health issues

Because airport scanners employ radiofrequency radiation to identify anomalies and bulges on people, they can discover medical issues. To detect medical concerns, millimeter-wave scanners outperform backscatter scanners, which use radio waves rather than x-rays.

Obesity is one of the most common health concerns found by body scanners.

The scanners can detect extra weight and provide data that may be used to help people make healthier decisions. Cancer is another medical problem that body scanners may identify.

Scanners often detect irregularities in the body that could suggest the existence of cancer.

This information can then provide the individual with the care they require. As a result, while body scanners cannot show every facet of a person’s health, they can detect specific problems.

Can airport scanners detect inflammation?

Airport scanners cannot detect inflammation or cancer.

Airport scanners can only identify objects other than human bodies. Examples are skin growths, implants, colostomy bags, and other metallic or nonmetallic body protrusions.

See related: Does The Airport Close?

Can airport body scanner see a tampon?

Tampons are invisible to airport scanners, which people walk past as they go through security because the scanners can’t see the inside of the human body.

Airport scanners use various methods and techniques to assure passenger safety, including scanning individuals and their bags.

Metal detectors, millimeter wave machines, ionizing radiation machines, backscatter scanners, and cabinet x-ray scanners are examples of these scanners.

As body scanners, airports use both the millimeter wave scanner and the backscatter scanner. Backscatter scanners emit low-energy x-rays that are reflected in the device.

Tampons only penetrate garments and do not provide an anatomically accurate image. Therefore, the scanner would not detect one.

Millimeter wave scanners provide a three-dimensional, animated image of the individual and the stuff they carry by bouncing electromagnetic waves off travelers.

Millimeter wave scanners, like backscatter scanners, cannot penetrate the body. Hence a tampon will not be detected.

Why are passengers who use tampons sometimes separated?

As previously stated, airport scanners have undetected tampons and menstrual cups. Scanners use imaging to detect any “abnormalities” between your body and your clothing.

This “strange” thing could be something you would never have thought of, like sequins, embroidery, or a fold in your outfit.

A TSA agent will then separate you for additional screening. In other words, pulling a passenger aside while using a tampon or menstrual cup is entirely coincidental; anything else between your body and your clothing sets off the alarm.


Going through a body scanner at the airport before boarding a flight is becoming a standard procedure in modern travel. However, you could be reported even if you followed the process and emptied your pockets.

All TSA scanners currently include Automatic Target Recognition software (ATR). ATR analyzes the body scan image and presents the contour of a generic person and the location of any “anomaly” or “alert” that TSA personnel should look into.

According to the TSA, photos of a traveler’s actual body are never viewed by humans when using ATR.

Since May 2013, all airports have used ‘millimeter wave’ devices, which reflect electromagnetic waves off the traveler to produce an animated image of the location of a suspect item.