The thought of sticking something up your vagina when you are already feeling cramping and discomfort due to your period can seem a bit unappealing. However, when used correctly, tampons can actually alleviate some angst surrounding your period, like minimizing possible leakage! There are several brands of tampons; most offer a variety of size (absorbency) options. If it is your first time using a tampon, it may be best to start with a light absorbency tampon. Although you will likely have to change it more frequently, the slimmer tampon may be more comfortable. Some brands have tampons with applicators and others do not. Regardless of the brand and size, tampons were developed to be user friendly. Nevertheless, using a tampon for the first time can be confusing, so be patient with yourself and bear in mind that once you get the hang of it, it’ll be easy.
The first step is to wash your hands. Then, relax! Inserting a tampon is much easier when you are relaxed. If you feel tense, sit on the toilet and shake your legs a little to calm yourself down. Spread your knees farther apart than normal to give you access to your vagina. Locate your vagina opening. You have three openings: at the front is your urethra (where urine exits), in the middle is your vagina, and in the back is your anus. Hold the tampon and slowly insert the top of the tampon into your vagina. Although it may seem odd, instead of sticking the tampon straight up, angle the tampon towards the small of your back when inserting.
If you have a tampon with an applicator discharge the tampon by pressing the thinner half of the applicator upward with your index finger and stopping when the thin part of the applicator meets the thick part. (You should be able to feel the tampon move further inside of you when doing this.) Once you have discharged the tampon from its applicator, gently pull the applicator out of your vagina. Throw the applicator out in the garbage. When a tampon is properly inserted, you shouldn’t be able to feel the tampon inside of you, nor should you feel any discomfort from the tampon. If this is not the case, the tampon may not be far enough up in your vagina. To remedy: insert you finger into your vagina until you feel the bottom of the tampon and push it in further. If this does not alleviate the discomfort, remove the tampon and try again with a fresh tampon.
Removing your tampon is a relatively easy process. Much like inserting the tampon, removing it is easiest when you are relaxed. Take a few deep breaths and shake your legs if you found that helpful to settle down. Although removing your tampon may feel slightly uncomfortable, it should not be painful. After you have washed your hands, slowly tug the string at the end of your tampon. It is normal to feel some slight friction as the tampon comes out, as it occurs from the cotton fibers rubbing against your vagina on its way out. Once the tampon is completely removed, throw it out in the garbage.
There are different sized (absorbency ranging from light to heavy) tampons available: do not be afraid to change sizes during your period. It is really important to only use tampons when you are menstruating. Do not use tampons between periods for non-menstrual discharge. Do not leave your tampon in for too long. Make sure to change your tampon every four to eight hours. Tampons can be worn overnight, but only as long as you change in within the eight-hour window. Always remove one tampon before you insert another. Tampons should never be flushed down the toilet.