Menstrual Products

Q&A: I can't use tampons. They hurt way too much when I try to put them in and I don't think I can break my hymen.

I remember the first time I put a tampon in, I didn’t have anyone to tell me how to do it. I didn’t put the tampon in right and it was really uncomfortable. Actually it took me a few tries before I figured out how to properly put in my tampon so it didn’t hurt. It may hurt when you are trying to insert your tampon because you are really stressed out and tensing up your muscles down there, which creates resistance and makes it painful and difficult to insert a tampon. Another possible reason for pain and difficulty with putting in a tampon could be that your menstrual flow isn’t heavy enough to make you wet enough to help the tampon slide in. Of course it is also possible that your hymen has a really small opening. It is okay to use some gentle pressure when putting in the tampon even if it tears your hymen a little. It will be a little uncomfortable but you will be able to get tampons in fine after that. Read our guide on inserting a tampon for the first time and make sure you are wet enough. If you are still having difficulty getting past your hymen or it is hurting a lot as you apply pressure, it may mean – and this is pretty rare – that your hymen is blocking the whole opening to your vagina and you need see your healthcare provider.
Using a tampon for the first, or even the fourth time can be tricky, but it shouldn’t hurt. Are you using a proper sized tampon? If it isn’t inserted all the way you could experience some discomfort. The most important thing is to relax when inserting a tampon- take a deep breath and un- tense all your muscles. Regarding breaking your hymen, please read Dr. Molly’s take on that.
If it hurts when you put a tampon in, you may not putting it in right. Using a tampon shouldn't hurt. When you insert a tampon in correctly, it should feel almost non-existent – that's the incentive for using them. Putting tampons in the right way can be tricky. I went through at least half of a box of them before I got it right. Here are some steps you can follow. First, buy two boxes – give yourself a trial and error buffer. If it turns out you get it right on the second or third try, well, you'll have a box of unused tampons that you will come in handy in a month. Second, it helps to put one of your feet up on something. This will help with the angle at which the tampon will go in. Third, you don't necessarily want to insert it straight up. Instead, you'll want to go in at an angle. As you're inserting it, you'll be able to feel if it's in comfortably and correctly because as it's going in, you'll, basically, start to feel it less. Don't give up or feel discouraged if you don't get in the first ten or even twenty tries. As for your thoughts around your hymen, Dr. Molly is better suited to address that with you.