If you have just started having your period, or you’ve been experiencing them for years, but are looking for another form of sanitary product other than pads then you’re in the right place. Welcome to our guide on how to use tampons – we answer frequently asked questions to help you decide whether they are right for you.
Please note, for first-time users, tampons that come with applicators are the easiest to insert.
- To begin, make sure your hands are clean and unwrap the tampon. Most people insert a tampon while sitting on the toilet. But for the first few times you might want to stand up with one foot on the toilet seat. Otherwise, try lying on your back in your bedroom (if there’s room) with one leg on the floor and another propped up on a nearby chair.
- Try to relax (try taking a few deep breaths) as it will be harder to insert if you’re tensed up. If your tampon has an applicator, first pull out the applicator plunger (the smaller plastic tube inside the larger one).
- Gently insert the tampon into your vagina at a 45-degree angle. You might need to move it around slightly so it slides in easily. If your tampon has an applicator, head to the next step. If not, feel free to skip on to step 5.
- If your tampon has an applicator, push it in until the larger tube is inside your vagina, with the plunger on the outside. Next, push the plunger back inside the larger tube, which will then move the tampon completely inside. Pull out the entire applicator – the tampon should now be inserted with the string just visible.
- If the tampon is non-applicator, use your middle finger at the base of the tampon to push it all the way inside – make sure the string is free and not being pushed in with it! (If you can still feel the tampon after you’ve inserted it, you may not have pushed it in far enough.)
- When it comes to removing the tampon (after four-eight hours), wash your hands again and relax. Gently pull on the string until the tampon comes out.
When to use a tampon
Tampons can be used throughout your entire period, just make sure you use the right absorbency for your flow. Tampons come in different sizes or absorbency levels, depending on whether your flow is quite heavy (day one), or the last day of your period where there is less blood.
If you experience discomfort when removing your tampon, it might be the wrong absorbency. Start off with the lowest absorbency tampon to begin with (wear a pad to catch any leaks) and work your way up once you’re more used to them.
How long do I wear a tampon for?
You should change your tampon ideally every four hours. Tampons can be worn at night but no longer than eight hours, so make sure you insert it just before you go to bed and remove first thing in the morning. (Some people prefer to just wear pads at night to be safe.)
Are tampons right for me?
Some people prefer tampons as they are discreet and less messy than sanitary towels – plus you can’t feel them when inserted. You can also wear them to go swimming, unlike pads. However, tampons come with health risks. If you leave them in for too long, you can risk getting Toxic Shock Syndrome. This is a bacterial infection, which can be life-threatening in extreme cases. So, make sure you remember to change them regularly, as it’s all too easy to forget (set a reminder on your phone if needs be).
Remember, if it’s your first time using tampons just relax, take your time, remember your hygiene practises and you’ll be okay!
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