How to insert a tampon

applicator free tampon

Managing your period, especially when you get it for the first time (in which case, congratulations!), can feel daunting. There are many different methods, brands, and varying advice for making that time of the month as painless as possible. Ultimately, you might need to experience some trial and error in figuring out what works best for your body.

While there are many ways women manage their periods, many choose tampons because of comfort and convenience. Most women don’t feel tampons once they are inside their bodies, which allows them to comfortably carry on working, moving around, and even exercising while menstruating. In order to live a comfortable and active live while on your period, it’s important to insert your tampon correctly and remember to change it frequently. Here, we’re sharing a few tampon tips as well as a 10-step process for inserting both applicator and applicator-free tampons.

HOW TO INSERT A TAMPON WITH AN APPLICATOR

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  2. Make sure the tampon is fully sealed and protected; if it’s become unwrapped, get a new tampon.
  3. Sitting on the toilet, remove the tampon from its plastic wrapper.
  4. Pull the inner tube of the applicator out until it comes to a natural stop and is roughly the same length as the outer tube (you will feel a slight click when the inner tube reaches the end of the outer tube). The tampon string should hang from the inner tube.
  5. Sitting or standing with your legs spread, use your non-dominant hand to spread the lips of your vagina.
  6. Using your dominant hand, hold the ridged part of the outer tube. Place the tip of the applicator at your vaginal opening and gently push it into your vagina until the ridged part is almost entirely inside of you.
  7. While holding the outer tube steadily, use your free finger to push the inner tube completely into the outer tube. The tampon is inserted when the inner tube is pushed completely into the outer tube and the ends of each tube are close together.
  8. Gently pull the fully compressed applicator tube out of your vagina. The tampon is now inserted and the string should be outside of your body.
  9. Stand up; if the tampon feels uncomfortable, use your pointer finger to try and push the tampon further inside your vagina. If you can’t feel anything and all you can see is the string, you’ve successfully inserted the tampon.
  10. Dispose of the tampon wrapper and wash your hands again with soap and water.
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how to insert a tampon

HOW TO INSERT AN APPLICATOR-FREE TAMPON

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  2. Make sure the tampon is fully sealed and protected; if it’s become unwrapped, get a new tampon.
  3. Sitting on the toilet, remove the tampon from its plastic wrapper.
  4. Holding the tampon with one hand, pull the string from one end so it hangs down from the tampon.
  5. Sitting or standing with your legs spread, use your non-dominant hand to spread the lips of your vagina.
  6. Hold the tampon with your dominant hand, in between your middle and thumb fingers. Place your pointer finger at the base of the end of the tampon that has the string dangling down.
  7. While still spreading the lips of your vagina, push the tampon into your vagina, aiming toward your lower back.
  8. Use your pointer finger to slide the tampon into your vagina, stopping when most of your finger is inserted in your vagina and the string is the only part of the tampon you can see.
  9. Stand up; if the tampon feels uncomfortable, use your pointer finger to try and push the tampon further inside your vagina. If you can’t feel anything and all you can see is the string, you’ve successfully inserted the tampon.
  10. Dispose of the tampon wrapper and wash your hands again with soap and water.

Don’t feel discouraged if your first attempt isn’t successful. If, after several tries, you’re unsuccessful, try scheduling an appointment with your doctor and use pads in the meantime.

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Can't use tampons

I am 23 years of age and for the 10 years I have had my period I have never been able to use a tampon.

When I first, er, started bleeding down there my mum gave me my first packet of pads, and even though I had heard of tampons, pads suited me just fine for the first few years.

At 16, if I ever needed emergency supplies from my friends they would always give me a tampon and I was too embarrassed to say I’d never used one, so I’d shove it to the bottom of my bag and stuff tissues down my knickers instead. Sanitary, I know.

Eventually, this became increasingly uncomfortable so reluctantly I decided to give the whole tampon thing a go. I read the instructions 10 times over and tried many different positions but it just wouldn’t go in.

Any time I tried its like my vagina would put a safety lock on – and there was no key to it.

After that I kinda resigned myself to the fact that I was some sort of tampon-fearing weirdo, and stuck solely to the slightly less hygienic habit of using sanitary pads…that is until last week, when a office discussion about periods revealed, that actually, being unable to use a tampon is fairly common.

Amongst the 20-some female staff in our office, six ‘fessed that tampons are a total no go for them, while most of the rest said a friend, or a sister has had similar issues.

I think it stems from a bad experience of trying to use them when I was a young teen, without having a clue what I was doing…

“I appreciate that tampons feel more hygienic than pads for a lot of girls, and in a sense are less hassle to use, but the application process turns me off using them,” Sarah, 25, told me. “I think it stems from a bad experience of trying to use them when I was a young teen, without having a clue what I was doing…”

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Claire, 28, has experienced similar difficulties. “I find it so frustrating that I can’t use tampons,” she told me. “I always feel like they’re a much more handy and discreet option than using pads, but every time I go to use one, it’s like I just can’t. I get a mental block and it won’t go in.”

So, with so many women unable to use them, what gives?

According to beinggirl.com one of the main reasons for this is Vaginismus; a condition that causes the vagainal muscles to tense up.  Basically, if you’re worried that putting a tampon in is going to hurt or feel uncomfortable,  a signal goes to the muscles at the opening of your vagina and makes those muscles contract. The kicker? You won’t know this is happening, you won’t feel it; you’ll only know that you aren’t able to get a tampon in.

So is there a quick fix for gals who really want to make the switch to tampons?

Fortunately, there are a few things you can try. The NHS recommends trying relaxation and exploration techniques. These are things like breathing practices, massage and having a bath, which may help to loosen the tension enough for you to be able to insert a tampon.

In more extreme cases, physio or surgery may be required.

The important thing to remember though? Whether you can insert a tampon at lightening speed or can’t do it at all, you’re completely normal. Do what I did; have a chat with your gal pals and I’ll bet that ‘weird’ problem you have might not seem so unusual after all.

As for me, I’ll be sticking with sanitary pads for the foreseeable future.

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