There may come a time in any menstruator’s life that a pad simply doesn’t feel like the best option. Maybe you have plans at the beach or the pool and your period wants to join the party. Thinking of sitting this one out? Here at U by Kotex®, we firmly believe that period or not, YOU can so please stick around and let’s see if we can solve this one together.
If this is the first time you’re using a tampon - welcome! We know it can seem intimidating in the beginning and we’re here to help make this journey as comfortable as possible.
How do tampons work?
Back to the basics: a tampon is a period product designed to absorb menstrual blood internally. They come in small cylinders most often made of cotton or rayon. These materials are compressed to fit inside you easily and will expand slightly as they absorb. Tampons often come with an applicator made of cardboard or plastic which makes inserting the tampon easier. The applicator contains a plunger, which you will push to insert the tampon. Lastly there is a string attached to the tampon that remains outside of your body after you have inserted the tampon so you can easily remove it.
Where do tampons go?
Short answer: your vagina. This is a little tricky though because often the term vagina is confused with the technical term vulva. Your vulva is the visible area including the mons pubis, labia, clitoris, and the opening of the vagina. Your vagina is the canal that connects your vulva to the opening of your uterus, which is called your cervix. Your vagina is located below your urethra, where you pee. You don’t need to worry about confusing these though: your urethra is too small for a tampon.
Are there different types of tampon sizes and absorbencies?
Yes there absolutely are! You may have a different flow from your friends plus your own flow may be heavier or lighter depending on where you are in your cycle, your age and the number of years you have been menstruating. Let us walk you through a few choices so you can feel confident in your decision.
Typically, tampons come in three absorbencies: regular, super and super plus. A regular tampon absorbs six to nine grams of fluid, a super tampon absorbs nine to twelve grams and a super plus tampon absorbs twelve to fifteen grams of fluid. Any tampon that absorbs less than 6 grams is referred to as light. These terms and absorbency rates are required to be consistent across all tampon manufacturers so that you can rely on the product you choose.
If you’re just starting out with tampons, begin with a regular absorbency. If you find you need to change it more often than every 4-8 hours (the recommended amount of time to wear a tampon) you can try super and vice versa- if your tampon is still white when you change it or you find it difficult to remove you can try going down a size. Click Tampons® come in convenient boxes containing a selection of Regular/Super or Regular/Super/Super Plus so you always have the size you need!
How to put in a tampon correctly:
All right, let’s get ready to try this out. You’ll want to begin (and end) by washing your hands. Next you’ll need to locate the opening of your vagina. It might sound awkward but a mirror is a really great tool here to give you a better view of where you are placing the tampon. So go ahead and get familiar - knowledge is power!
Once you know where you want to place the tampon, you’ll want to find the position that’s most comfortable for you. Perhaps that will be on a toilet seat, squatting, lying on the floor or standing with one foot propped up on a stool. Whatever feels right to you! Being able to relax in the position you choose will make the tampon slide in easily.
Now you can unwrap the package that the tampon comes in. As mentioned, the tampon you chose will have either a cardboard or plastic applicator, or no applicator at all. The tip of the applicator is where you can see the white tampon poking through. The string will be on the opposite side, along with the plunger. Keep in mind that with compact tampons, you first pull the plunger out until it “clicks” into place.
If the tampon has an applicator, you can hold the grip between your thumb and middle finger. Place the tip of the applicator at the opening of your vagina on approximately a 45-degree angle toward your lower back. Slowly and gently push the applicator into your vagina until your fingers on the grip reach your vulva. Using your index finger, push the plunger into the applicator as far as it will go until the tampon is released. Then remove the applicator and throw it away.
If you’re using a tampon without an applicator you can hold it by the string and position it in the same way, at an angle toward your lower back. Then, using a clean finger, push the tampon inside from the base, gently and slowly. When the tampon is fully inserted you should still see the string hanging down- that’s to help you remove the tampon later.
Please remember that at no point should this process cause you pain! If you’re feeling uncomfortable at all, pause and take a deep breath. The more relaxed you and your pelvic muscles are the easier it will be. Trust us, with a little practice you’ll become a pro!
How far should the tampon go?
Lucky for you, Click® Compact Tampons are designed to solve this question for you! You’ll want to insert the tampon until your fingers on the grip of the applicator touch your vulva. At that point the tampon is fully inserted and you can push the plunger to release and then remove the applicator, leaving only the string visible from the outside. The tampon itself should no longer be visible. If it is and feels uncomfortable, simply use a clean finger to gently push it further in.
Why can’t I put my tampon in, or in all the way?
If you’ve located the opening of your vagina, relaxed your pelvic floor muscles and chosen the slenderest tampon size available and you’re still not able to insert a tampon, there may be something else going on. It could be your hymen- most hymens have a hole large enough to accommodate a tampon, i.e. the hole where your menstrual blood comes out. However, in rare cases, that hole is too small for the tampon to fit 2 . Another possible explanation is vaginismus, where pelvic muscles involuntarily contract which again makes it difficult to insert the tampon3. Either way, you’ll want to talk to a gynecologist because there are treatments available for both of these scenarios.
How far does the tampon go inside you?
The tampon fits inside of your vagina and no further- your cervix is too small to allow the tampon through4 .
My tampon doesn’t go in straight- what do I do?
Tampons should actually be inserted on approximately a 45-degree angle toward your lower back because your vagina itself has a slight angle. Finding the angle that works best for your body is key for comfort.
How do you know if you have a tampon in?
The white string attached to the tampon remains outside your body while wearing it as an indicator that you have a tampon inside. If the string is not visible, you can insert a finger into your vagina to locate the tampon.
How should a tampon feel or are you even supposed to feel a tampon in?
Ideally, you won’t feel the tampon at all! It should feel as if you’re wearing nothing, with the possible exception of the string. If the tampon feels uncomfortable, especially when walking, it may not be inserted all the way. Try using a clean finger to gently push the tampon further inside you if you can feel or see it protruding.
Can a tampon get lost or stuck inside you?
Trust us, even though you can’t see it all, your vagina is not so deep that a tampon can get lost5 . If the string of the tampon has accidentally ended up inside you, you can insert a clean finger into your vagina to locate it and remove the tampon. Alternately, you can try sitting on the toilet and bearing down or pushing like in a bowel movement- the pressure could be enough to dislodge the tampon. If the tampon has been pushed or squished higher into your vagina, or perhaps turned sideways, try performing a “sweep” of your vagina: gently use a clean finger to move in a circular motion until you feel the tampon. You may need to use two fingers to grasp the tampon and remove it.
What are the signs of a lost or stuck tampon and its side effects?
In the event that a tampon has been forgotten inside of you, your body will step in to remind you. You may see vaginal discharge in new and varied colours like brown, green, yellow, pink or grey, or perhaps it comes accompanied by a seriously unpleasant odour. Itching, rash, swelling, pain and a temperature are all possible symptoms of having a foreign object inside of you for too long6 . Please seek medical attention at this point.
I’ve had a tampon stuck inside me for weeks- what should I do?
That tampon needs to be removed- stat! We imagine you already would have if you could have so please go see a medical professional ASAP. If you’ve been hesitating because of embarrassment we’re here to tell you this is NBD- in medical jargon a stuck tampon is referred to as “retained” and pretty much every gynecologist has seen this and more before. The longer you have the tampon in the greater your risk for Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), a rare but serious infection that requires immediate treatment.
How to remove a tampon:
Once again, you’ll want to start by washing your hands. Next you can get back into whichever comfy position you used to insert the tampon and relax your pelvic muscles. Locate the white string of the tampon and pull gently to remove it. Once removed, wrap the tampon in toilet paper and dispose of it in the garbage.
Kimberly-Clark makes no warranties or representations regarding the completeness or accuracy of the information. This information should be used only as a guide and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional medical or other health professional advice.