Period Stigma

Q&A: I'm TERRIFIED of using tampons in public! Example: if I have a tampon in and I need to change it but can't find a bathroom. Help please!

It can take a while for most girls to become comfortable with the “logistics” of their periods. When, where, and how to change their period products is a concern that many girls share with you. My recommendation is that if you choose to wear tampons, that you also wear (and carry with you) panty liners. This way, if you have trouble finding a bathroom, you’ll have back-up protection in place, and this should buy you a little more time! Also, if you find it hard to get comfortable enough to insert a tampon when you are in a public restroom, it is totally fine to use pads instead. Try to remember that dealing with your period can be a big adjustment. By taking it a step at a time and doing what feels most comfortable for you NOW, you will begin to feel more secure and confident (and hopefully a lot less afraid!).

I have definitely found myself in public situations with no bathrooms, and the trick to handling these while on your period is to plan ahead. This is the time to wear a liner, or even a smaller pad (if you know you’re going to be there a while, for example) with your tampon.


I’m trying to imagine where you would be for an extended period of time without bathroom access. My issues usually come up at my son’s baseball games. Usually you can find a coffee shop or even a gas station if you’re really desperate.


I totally understand this! I get performance anxiety, too. The first way to get past your fear is to practice more with tampons. The more comfortable and experienced you are with them, the less stressed you’ll be putting one in in public. Next, you can start wearing tampons out only when you know you’ll be able to find a bathroom. Going to school, the mall, out to dinner -- these are places where you know there will be a restroom. If you’re going someplace where you aren’t sure if there will be a bathroom, you can plan ahead by wearing a pad instead or changing your tampon just before you arrive so you won’t have to change it while you’re there. And remember, if you really need a bathroom to change your tampon, it’s OK to ask for help. Tell someone you’re with (like your mom or teacher) or someone in charge that you have an emergency and need to use a bathroom immediately. They should be willing to help!