What You Should Know About Inserting a Tampon

Even if you have been using tampons for years, you may still have questions about them, regardless of where you learned about them. And if the lack of knowledge about tampon use has kept you from trying them, assistance is at hand. The Cleveland Clinic is a private, not-for-profit medical

Even if you have been using tampons for years, you may still have questions about them, regardless of where you learned about them. And if the lack of knowledge about tampon use has kept you from trying them, assistance is at hand.

The Cleveland Clinic is a private, not-for-profit medical institution. Display advertising on our site helps fund our operations. In short, we only recommend Cleveland Clinic services and products. Policy

According to women's health expert Sara Youngblood, CNP, "there is a little sense of embarrassment in talking about your period." However, "getting the proper knowledge on how to use tampons becomes even more of a barrier if you don't have anyone in your family who is open to having that discussion." ”

If you have any questions about tampon use or care, Youngblood will walk you through the process and provide answers.

The Importance of Correct Use and How to Avoid Misuse

Leakage and discomfort are possible if a tampon is not inserted properly. However, if you insert it properly, it will absorb menstrual blood and let you go about your day without interruption.

As Youngblood puts it, "Tampons are a great option for most people because they're discreet and easy to use."

Can you describe the tampon's components?

Let's go over the tampon's components and their meanings before you put it in. The first thing you need to know is that there are two different meanings of the word "tampon":

  1. It could mean the gadget in its entirety; or
  2. The absorbent core, the bullet-shaped piece of fabric inserted into the vagina to absorb menstrual blood, may be the only part of the product that is meant to be referred to.

This can be a bit perplexing, so let's name the various parts:

  • The absorbent core is housed within the tube-shaped barrel of this applicator. Plastic or cardboard is used for the applicator, and it has a slot at the top where the fabric insert goes.
  • The smaller, tube-shaped barrel known as a plunger is typically fabricated from plastic or cardboard. The cotton tampon is pushed into the vagina when the applicator is inserted because the plunger slides up into the applicator.
  • Cylindrical fabric with an absorbent core, commonly referred to as a tampon. Fabrics typically include cotton and/or rayon. This portion remains in the vagina and acts as a sponge, soaking up blood.
  • String: The plunger and absorbent core are enclosed by a soft, braided string. After a tampon has been inserted, the string will be visible outside the vaginal opening until the time comes to remove the tampon by pulling on the string.

Applicators aren't standard on tampons. A tampon that doesn't have a notch is easier to insert, but if this is your first time, you should use one that does. And, Youngblood says, "plastic applicators are more comfortable to insert than cardboard ones."

Inserting a tampon properly

Here is a detailed look at how to properly insert a tampon, with helpful hints along the way.  

First, select an appropriate tampon.

The amount of blood that a tampon can absorb is used to classify different types of tampons. They're not measured by the size of your vagina, Youngblood says. There's a direct correlation between the words used to describe them and the severity of your period. ”

Tampons labeled "junior" or "light" are designed for moderate flow, while "super" or "ultra" are intended for heavy flow. In addition, you may need pads of varying absorbency on different days of your period. (Unfortunately there is no way to predict how heavy your flow will be.) However, after a while, you may begin to recognize patterns regarding your period, such as the days and times it is most likely to be particularly heavy or light. )

An explanation is as follows:

  • Junior, slim, or light tampons are recommended for days with a light flow. If your period is slow to begin with, or if it ends quickly, you may find that these are most effective on either the first or last day of your period.  
  • Use regular absorbency tampons on days when your period is normal.
  • You may need to switch to a super, super-plus, or ultra tampon on days of heavy flow.

As Youngblood puts it, "if your tampon becomes heavily saturated with blood in a short period of time, you may need to go up in absorbency." Inversely, if your period is light and there are white, unsaturated patches on the tampon when you remove it, you may want to use a lower absorbency tampon. ”

The second step is to perform a thorough handwashing.

Always use soap before inserting a tampon and always wash your hands. According to Youngblood, "you want to try to keep everything as clean as possible, which will prevent bacteria from getting inside your vagina."

Thirdly, see if you can unwind.

Putting in a tampon for the first time can be intimidating. Nonetheless, if you're anxious, you might tense up and find it more challenging to complete the task at hand.

According to Youngblood, "when you're tense and afraid, your vaginal muscles constrict, which can make inserting a tampon difficult or uncomfortable."

Before you get started, it might help to take a few deep breaths. Relax your body and let your muscles loosen with each breath. You're gonna make it

A comfortable position is the fourth step.

The toilet is a convenient place to insert a tampon. Youngblood instructs, "Spread your legs wide and put your knees apart, just a little bit wider than your hips," as if you were about to perform squats.  

If you're a first-timer and need a little extra room, prop one foot up on the toilet or the bathtub. As we'll cover in Step 6, inserting the tampon at an angle, this could be useful.

Fifth, get your hands ready to grasp the tampon.

Put the tampon in your dominant hand after you've removed it from its packaging. Use your thumb and middle finger to grasp the base of the applicator, and your index finger to shield the plunger's exposed end from the string.

You'll need this leverage to push the plunger up into the tampon applicator, which is what ultimately releases the tampon and forces it into your body.

Step 6: Locate the vaginal orifice.

To begin, a brief anatomy lesson Labia, the "lips" or folds of skin that make up the vaginal exterior, are more commonly referred to as the vagina. The vaginal tampon is inserted into the vaginal canal, a small tube that runs from the vagina to the cervix.

Spread your labia with your non-writing hand to expose your vaginal opening and prepare to insert a tampon.

Youngblood instructs, "Hold the tampon in one hand and spread your labia in the other; then, position the tampon's applicator tip at the vaginal opening."

The seventh step is to slant the tampon's insertion.

Carefully insert the applicator into your vagina until the base of the device, held by your thumb and middle finger, reaches the vaginal opening. Make sure the plunger is still protruding from your genitalia.

With your other index finger, the one that has not been holding the plunger, push the plunger up into the applicator. With this, the absorbent core can be inserted into the vagina. The cotton string is now the only thing protruding from your vaginal opening, as the plunger has been nested inside the applicator.

You might be tempted to aim the tampon straight up or at an angle toward your stomach, but doing so will put it in an awkward spot. According to Youngblood, "you want to aim it at your rectum or back, which follows the natural curve of the female reproductive system."

Eighth Step: Discard the Applicator

What's most important is that the applicator does not remain inside your body. Its sole purpose is to facilitate the insertion of the absorbent core. Once the core has been inserted, the syringe can be discarded.

"After inserting the plunger," Youngblood instructs, "lightly pull out the plastic or cardboard barrel." Keep the tampon in place, with only the string showing outside your body. ”

However, you shouldn't pull on the string, as this can loosen the tampon and lead to pain.

Lastly, step nine, dispose of the packaging and the applicator.

The tampon package can be viewed as a mini garbage can for the applicator. For the most part, Youngblood says, "tampon packaging serves as a little pouch." "Seal the pouch closed and throw away the applicator." ”

Wrap it in toilet paper if you're embarrassed about others seeing it go into the trash. But keep in mind that menstruation and the use of sanitary products are perfectly normal.

The tampon applicator, packaging, and used tampons should not be flushed down the toilet. This can cause clogging issues.

Timely tampon removal is the tenth step.

To remove the tampon from your vaginal canal, simply pull gently on the string.

While tampons pose no health risks when used properly, they should not be reused for more than eight hours. Youngblood emphasizes the importance of removing the tampon as soon as possible, even if it is not completely soaked through with blood. If you don't, you run the risk of toxic shock syndrome and other health problems. ”

Keep in mind that the heaviness of your flow should dictate the tampon you use. Consider switching to a higher-absorbency tampon if you're experiencing heavy bleeding and your current one is soaked through in just a few hours. However, if there are many white specks visible when it emerges from your vagina, you should try a tampon or sanitary pad with less absorbency.

Does it matter if you can feel the tampon?

If your period isn't particularly heavy yet, you may experience some discomfort when you first insert a tampon, as Youngblood notes. There is a little more friction in the vaginal area because your vaginal walls aren't as lubricated as they are during a heavy period. ”

However, once a tampon is in place, it shouldn't hurt or feel awkward. She firmly asserts, "Tampons should not hurt." If it hurts after insertion, there are likely multiple factors at work. ”

  • You haven't inserted it completely into your vaginal canal. If the tampon hasn't been fully inserted into the vaginal opening after being pushed in by the plunger, you can manually do so with your finger.
  • The inclination is incorrect. As before, you can use your finger to help insert the tampon. To help it find its best fit, Youngblood recommends "walking around a bit."
  • The Size Is Inappropriate It's possible that using a tampon that's too big for you will make you feel uncomfortable. Simply pull gently on the string to remove it (so the dry cotton doesn't scratch your vaginal walls), and then switch to a new, appropriately sized tampon.
  • You still have the needle in your body. Inexperienced users often make the mistake of leaving the plastic or cardboard applicator on the product. Put the cotton part of the applicator into your vaginal canal using the plunger, and then throw away the applicator.

You've finally made it! Ignore all period-related concerns for the next few hours.

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