For some Betties, tampons might be our first encounter with inserting something into our vaginas, which, um…may be a little uncomfortable to even think about, right?!
Betties, you’re not alone. ? We’ve laid out a tampon how-to guide to help make this possibly-strange experience seem a little bit less scary and allow you to feel more empowered while getting to know your body.
Learning Your Body
Sometimes, tampon anxiety isn’t about the tampon at all! It might be rooted in simply not knowing the vulva and all its parts, plus a general discomfort with feeling around down there. That’s why our first step to putting in a tampon is getting to know your vulva!
Grab a mirror and get ready to take a little tour.??
Found the vagina? This is where the tampon is inserted and nowhere else! Once you’ve located each of these anatomical structures, you might find it helpful to insert a clean finger into your vagina to get an idea of what that feels like before attempting with a tampon.
Grab a tampon and remove the plastic packaging. If you’re a tampon newbie, this miiiiight be a little confusing at first and that’s a-okay.? While it might look good-to-go right out of the package, most tampons come wrapped inside an applicator to make tampon-insertion easier – typically made of plastic or cardboard.
Tampon didn’t come with an applicator? Not a prob! They’re not necessary and can be inserted gently with your fingers.
⚡️ PRO TIP: WASH UP!?
Before your hands pop that tampon wrapper or go anywhere south, make sure you wash up! Our hands come in contact with a host of nasty germs. Although the vagina isn’t a sterile environment (which is fine, it cleans itself✨), hand-washing is important to help keep harmful bacteria out of there.
Assume The Position
Any position that makes sense for you, that is! When inserting a tampon, some Betties like to perch above a toilet or do the toilet-lid lunge, while others might prefer sitting or even laying down. Whatever posture you choose, keep in mind you’ll be inserting the tampon at an angle, not straight up.
⚡️ PRO TIP: DEEP BREATHS, BETTIES!?
Putting a tampon in your vagina shouldn’t be painful, but it might be unpleasant if your pelvic floor muscles are tense. Just take a few breaths and move slowly until you feel comfortable.
It’s Go Time
Once you feel physically comfortable, place the tip of the tampon applicator into your vaginal opening and point it at an angle slightly towards your lower back, NOT parallel to your spine. Slowly insert the applicator until the entire tampon is inside your vagina (that is, only the “stem” of the applicator is outside your body). By this point, your fingers should be touching the exterior of your vulva.
Take The Plunge
Now that the tampon and applicator are fully inside the vaginal canal, use the applicator to drive the tampon further up into the vagina toward your cervix. To do this, continue to grip the base of the applicator and push the applicator stem with your forefinger until it releases the tampon inside your vagina. Don’t worry, you’ll feel it! Then, slowly pull the applicator back down and outside the vaginal canal, wrap it in toilet paper and properly discard it into a waste bin.?
If you’re using a tampon that doesn’t have an applicator, use your forefinger to push the tampon into your vagina until your finger isn’t able to go any further.
Be sure to wash your hands before going about your day!
Betties, watch that clock when you’re wearing a tampon. It’s recommended that tampons be removed after eight hours. This helps reduce the risk of a rare condition called toxic shock syndrome.
⚡️ PRO TIP: SET A TIMER! ⏳
Set a timer on your phone or make a note in your calendar so you you do not forget or leave a tampon in too long!
You’ll want to remove and replace a tampon sooner if you experience any leaking. If your tampon hurts or is dry/not very saturated when you remove it, this doesn’t mean you should leave it in longer. This actually might be an indicator to try dropping down a size (like, going from super down to a regular, or from a regular down to a light). We always recommend using the minimum size you need to prevent leakage.?
When it’s time to remove, soap up and wash those hands before going down there again. Next, pinch the string with your thumb and pointer finger to pull out the tampon. Take your time and remove slowly and gently. Once removed, wrap in toilet paper and place in the trash can. (Pssssst: don’t ever flush tampons down the toilet! This could lead to a sewage blockage. Yikes!)
⚡️ PRO TIP: LOST TAMPON? NO WORRIES! ?
One of the most-common fears surrounding tampons is “losing” it inside your vagina. Betties, this is just a myth. Now it is possible the string could fall off and the tampon may become temporarily lodged in your vajayjay, but it’s not going anywhere! If this ever happens, wash your hands extra well, reach up there and grab it between your thumb and forefinger.
Tampons can feel foreign and seem intimidating – and that’s okay! Once you become more comfortable with inserting, rocking one, and removing it, you might find that tampons can be a powerful tool to help you manage your periods!
If you have more questions about menstrual health or any other things gynecology, we want to help! Leave a comment below so our medical community can advise you, or schedule a Care Anywhere appointment with one of our providers.