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How To Use Tampon

April 30, 2024

How To Use Tampon

If you're wondering how to use tampons, you're not alone. Many people feel intimidated when using a tampon for the first time, but with the right guidance and a little practice, it can become a simple and comfortable part of your menstrual routine. This article will provide you with a comprehensive guide on selecting, inserting, and maintaining tampons, as well as troubleshooting common issues to ensure a safe and comfortable experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Select the right tampon for your needs by assessing flow and choosing the appropriate size and absorbency, considering organic and eco-friendly options if preferred.
  • Prioritize hygiene by washing hands before handling tampons and finding a comfortable position for insertion, whether using an applicator or not.
  • Follow a step-by-step guide for tampon insertion, ensuring it sits comfortably inside and the string hangs outside your body for easy removal.
  • Monitor the duration of tampon use to prevent risks like Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), and be aware of signs of discomfort that may indicate improper placement or other issues.
  • If encountering difficulties with insertion or removal, remain calm and try different techniques, and seek medical advice if problems persist.

Understanding Tampon Absorbency and Selection

Assessing Your Flow and Tampon Size

Selecting the appropriate tampon size is crucial for both comfort and efficacy. Absorption capacity is a key factor, which varies according to individual menstrual flow. Light, regular, super, and super plus are common absorbency levels that correspond to the amount of menstrual fluid they can hold. For lighter days, a smaller absorbency tampon is recommended, while heavier days may require a tampon with greater capacity.

It is essential to evaluate one's menstrual flow to determine the most suitable tampon size. This assessment not only ensures optimal absorption but also minimizes the risk of discomfort. 

The following list provides a general guideline for tampon size selection based on flow:

  • Light: Ideal for the beginning or end of a menstrual period.
  • Regular: Suitable for average flow days.
  • Super: Designed for heavier flow days.
  • Super Plus: Recommended for the heaviest flow days.

Regular assessment and adjustment of tampon size throughout one's menstrual cycle can lead to a more comfortable and worry-free experience.

Comparing Tampon Types and Applicators

When selecting a tampon, one must consider both the type of tampon and the kind of applicator. Applicator tampons offer a smoother insertion process due to their design, which often includes features such as a 'twist-to-release' mechanism. This innovation is aimed at enhancing the user's comfort and ease of use. On the other hand, non-applicator tampons may appeal to those seeking a more direct and environmentally friendly option, as they typically generate less waste.

The absorbency of tampons is standardized across brands, ensuring that users can rely on consistent performance. For instance, light applicator organic cotton tampons are designed to absorb 6 grams and under, while super plus variants can absorb 12-15 grams. It is crucial to select the appropriate absorbency level based on one's menstrual flow to prevent leaks and ensure comfort.

While exploring tampon options, it is beneficial to consider the environmental impact of the products. Organic cotton tampons with biodegradable cardboard applicators serve as a sustainable choice, aligning with eco-friendly practices.

Absorbency Level Absorption Capacity (grams) Length x Diameter (mm)
Light 6g and under 20 x 110
Regular 6-9g 22 x 118
Super 9-12g 24 x 122
Super Plus 12-15g 28 x 126

Selecting the correct tampon involves a balance between personal comfort, absorbency needs, and environmental considerations. It is advisable to review the product specifications and seek guidance from resources such as the Tampon Resources Page for detailed information on usage.

Evaluating Organic and Eco-Friendly Options

In the pursuit of more sustainable menstrual products, many individuals are turning to organic tampons. These tampons are crafted from 100% organic cotton and are devoid of synthetic materials such as rayon, as well as harmful chemicals like chlorine bleach and pesticides. The absorbent core and veil of these tampons are also made from organic cotton, ensuring a product that is gentle on the body and the environment.

Organic tampons come with various applicator options, including biodegradable cardboard applicators. The packaging is often eco-conscious as well, with tampons individually wrapped in recyclable paper and boxed in fully recyclable cardboard. When considering the switch to organic tampons, it is important to verify that the cotton used is indeed certified organic, as this guarantees the absence of toxic substances.

While exploring organic options, it is beneficial to support brands that not only prioritize sustainability but also hold certifications such as B corp, which indicates a commitment to social and environmental performance.

Preparation and Hygiene Before Tampon Insertion

Proper Handwashing Techniques

Ensuring proper hygiene is crucial before tampon insertion. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water to prevent introducing bacteria into the vaginal area. This step is essential for maintaining vaginal health and preventing infections.

After handwashing, find a comfortable position that allows for easy access to the vagina. This could be sitting on the toilet with knees apart, standing with one foot elevated, or squatting. Comfort is key to a stress-free insertion process.

Once positioned, prepare the tampon. If using an applicator, hold it at the grip marks with your thumb and middle finger. For non-applicator tampons, unwrap and hold it between your thumb and index finger. The tampon should be inserted at a slight upward angle, aiming toward the small of your back, without force. Ensure the tampon string is visible for later removal. After insertion, wash your hands once more.


Finding a Comfortable Position

Identifying a comfortable position is crucial for the smooth insertion of a tampon. Many individuals find that sitting or squatting provides the stability and ease needed for this process. Alternatively, one can stand with one foot elevated on a toilet seat or bathtub edge. It is essential to relax the muscles to facilitate easier insertion.

Ease of insertion can be significantly influenced by one's posture and relaxation. For those experiencing discomfort due to dryness, a water-based lubricant may be applied to the tampon tip or applicator. This can be particularly helpful when the menstrual flow is light, and natural lubrication is minimal.

For additional comfort and protection, consider using Absorption Briefs.  These briefs provide a secure fit and can be a reassuring backup to tampons, especially on days with heavier flow or when one is still becoming accustomed to tampon use.

Unwrapping and Handling the Tampon

Once an individual has selected the appropriate tampon, based on their flow and comfort level, the next step is to carefully unwrap the tampon. It is crucial to handle the tampon with clean hands to prevent any potential contamination. Proper hand hygiene cannot be overstated; it is a fundamental aspect of tampon use.

After unwrapping, one should familiarize themselves with the parts of the tampon: the tampon itself, the string, and the applicator if present. Ensuring that the string is visible and hangs outside the body after insertion is essential for subsequent removal. The tampon should be held at the end opposite the string, typically where the applicator's grip is located, to facilitate a smooth insertion process.

The insertion process varies slightly depending on whether an applicator is used. With an applicator, the tampon is inserted until the grip area, at which point the plunger is pushed to release the tampon into the correct position. Without an applicator, the tampon is inserted using a finger until it sits comfortably inside. In both cases, the tampon should expand gently to fit the individual's shape, providing the necessary absorption without causing discomfort. 

It is important to dispose of the tampon properly after use; flushing is not recommended as it can cause plumbing issues. Instead, tampons should be wrapped in toilet paper and placed in a waste bin. Below is a concise list of steps for handling and inserting a tampon:

  1. Wash hands thoroughly.
  2. Unwrap the tampon carefully.
  3. Hold the tampon by the applicator or the base.
  4. Insert the tampon until it is comfortable.
  5. Ensure the string remains outside the body.
  6. Dispose of the tampon correctly after use.

Step-by-Step Guide to Tampon Insertion

Inserting with an Applicator

The process of inserting a tampon with an applicator is designed to be a hygienic and straightforward method for managing menstrual flow. Firstly, one must ensure that their hands are thoroughly cleansed with soap and water to maintain cleanliness. After unwrapping the tampon, the individual should find a comfortable position, which often involves sitting on the toilet with knees apart.

The applicator should be held at the grip marks using the thumb and middle finger. It is then gently inserted into the vagina at a slight upward angle, aiming toward the small of one's back. Once the applicator is in place, the plunger is pushed in all the way to release the tampon. Following this, the applicator is carefully removed, leaving the tampon correctly positioned.

For those seeking to minimize their environmental impact, it is noteworthy that cardboard applicators serve the same purpose as plastic ones but are more eco-friendly. Unlike plastic applicators, which can persist in landfills for centuries, cardboard applicators decompose naturally. 

Inserting without an Applicator

When opting to use a tampon without an applicator, one must ensure that the process is approached with both cleanliness and care. First, thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water to maintain hygiene. Next, carefully unwrap the tampon, being mindful to touch only the string and the very end of the tampon that will be inserted first.

To facilitate insertion, one should find a comfortable position, which could be sitting on the toilet with knees apart or standing with one foot elevated. Gently insert the tampon into the vagina at a slight upward angle, aiming toward the small of your back. If resistance is met or discomfort is felt, it may be necessary to adjust the angle or relax the muscles further. Once inserted, the tampon should sit comfortably inside, and the string should hang outside the body for easy removal.

It is crucial to ensure correct placement for comfort and to prevent any potential leakage.

Ensuring Correct Placement and Comfort

Ensuring the tampon is correctly placed is crucial for both comfort and effectiveness. If inserted correctly, one should not feel any discomfort or pressure. The tampon should be fully inside the vagina, with only the string hanging outside. It is important to insert the tampon just far enough so that it is no longer palpable and does not cause irritation.

For those experiencing vaginal dryness, especially during lighter flow days, discomfort may occur. In such cases, selecting a tampon with a rounded tip or applying a small amount of water-based lubricant to the tip or the applicator can facilitate easier insertion. 

The following list provides a quick reference for ensuring correct tampon placement:

  • Insert the tampon at a comfortable depth, following the instructions provided.
  • Choose the correct absorbency level for your flow to prevent discomfort.
  • Consider using tampons designed for comfort, with features such as ComfortFlex® Grooves.
  • If discomfort persists, reassess the size and absorbency of the tampon being used.

Safe Tampon Use and Maintenance

Monitoring Duration of Use

It is crucial for menstruating individuals to monitor the duration of tampon use to maintain vaginal health and prevent potential risks such as Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). Tampons should be changed every 4 to 8 hours, depending on the flow and the tampon's absorbency level. Exceeding this time frame can increase the risk of bacterial growth and TSS.

When considering overnight protection, Menstruation for women can pose unique challenges. For those who sleep longer than 8 hours, alternative options such as menstrual cups or Absorption Briefs may provide a safer and more sustainable solution. These products are designed for extended wear and can offer worry-free menstrual management during sleep.

The following table outlines the recommended maximum duration for tampon use based on absorbency levels:

Absorbency Level Maximum Duration
Light 4-6 hours
Moderate 6-8 hours
Heavy 8 hours

Adhering to these guidelines will help ensure a safe and hygienic experience during menstruation.

Recognizing Signs of Discomfort

When using tampons, it is crucial to be vigilant about any signs of discomfort that may arise. Severe pain during tampon insertion or removal should not be considered a normal part of the menstrual experience. Other symptoms to be aware of include unusual vaginal discharge or odour, itching or burning in the vaginal area, and rash or skin irritation around the vagina. These symptoms could be indicative of a more serious condition, such as a vaginal infection or toxic shock syndrome (TSS), and warrant immediate medical attention.

The presence of fever or flu-like symptoms in conjunction with tampon use is particularly concerning and should prompt an urgent consultation with a healthcare provider. 

It is essential to listen to one's body and not dismiss any troubling signs. Early detection and intervention can prevent complications and ensure a safer menstrual experience.

Removing and Disposing of Tampons

Proper removal and disposal of tampons are crucial for personal hygiene and environmental health. To remove a tampon, one should first relax to ease the process. Gently pulling the string at the same angle as insertion helps to avoid discomfort. If the string is not immediately accessible, squatting may assist in locating either the string or the tampon itself. The tampon should be removed slowly and without force, ensuring that no fibers are left behind.

Once removed, the tampon must be disposed of correctly. Tampons should not be flushed down the toilet as they can cause blockages and environmental damage. Instead, they should be wrapped in toilet paper or a sanitary wrapper and placed in a waste bin. 

It is essential to monitor the duration of tampon use, adhering to the recommended 4-8 hour window, depending on individual flow. This practice helps prevent potential health risks, including Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). A structured approach to tampon maintenance includes:

  • Ensuring tampons are changed within the recommended time frame.
  • Observing personal comfort and signs of leakage to determine if a tampon needs to be replaced sooner.
  • Keeping track of tampon usage to maintain a consistent replacement schedule.

Troubleshooting Common Tampon Issues

Dealing with Difficult Insertion

Difficulties with tampon insertion can often be attributed to using the incorrect absorbency level or improper technique. To avoid discomfort, ensure that the tampon is inserted at a comfortable depth, following the instructions provided. For those with a lighter flow experiencing vaginal dryness, a tampon with a rounded tip may facilitate easier insertion. Additionally, applying a small amount of water-based lubricant to the tip or applicator can assist in making the process smoother.

When selecting a tampon, it is crucial to consider both the physical comfort and the absorbency needs. Absorption Briefs offer an alternative for heavy flow days, providing tips on changing frequency and proper tampon insertion. The right tampon should not only fit comfortably but also expand gently to match the individual's shape, ensuring both comfort and protection.

If experiencing pain during insertion, it may indicate that the tampon is not inserted far enough, sitting too low and causing discomfort, or it is inserted too far, pressing against the cervix. To remove a tampon, use the thumb and finger to grip the string and pull it out slowly, always disposing of it properly and never flushing it down the toilet.

Addressing Tampon Removal Challenges

Occasionally, individuals may encounter difficulties when attempting to remove a tampon. If the tampon string is not visible or reachable, one should not panic. It is advisable to squat down, which can help in locating the string or the bottom of the tampon. Using one's finger to gently explore can aid in finding the tampon and facilitating its removal. Should the tampon still be resistant, applying a small amount of water-based lubricant around the entrance of the vagina may ease the process.

For those who frequently experience challenges with tampon removal, considering alternative products such as Absorption Briefs may provide a suitable solution. It is essential to remain calm and patient during removal, as undue force can cause discomfort or injury. In cases where removal is not possible through these methods, seeking the assistance of a healthcare professional is strongly recommended.

The following list outlines steps to take if one is struggling with tampon removal:

  1. Attempt to relax the pelvic muscles, as tension can make removal more difficult.
  2. Squat or bear down with the pelvic muscles to push the tampon lower.
  3. Use a finger to locate and gently pull on the string or the tampon itself.
  4. If necessary, apply a water-based lubricant to assist in easing the tampon out.
  5. Consult a healthcare professional if the tampon cannot be removed comfortably at home.

When to Seek Medical Advice

It is imperative to recognize when tampon-related discomfort transcends minor irritation and necessitates medical intervention. Severe pain during tampon insertion or removal should not be dismissed as a normal experience. Other alarming symptoms include unusual vaginal discharge or odor, itching or burning sensations, rash or skin irritation around the vagina, and fever or flu-like symptoms. These could be indicative of a more serious condition, such as a vaginal infection or toxic shock syndrome (TSS), which demands immediate medical attention.

Individuals experiencing persistent discomfort or any of the aforementioned symptoms should promptly contact their healthcare provider. In the interim, one may consider alternative menstrual products, such as Absorption Briefs, which offer a comfortable and leak-free experience without the need for tampons. 

The following list outlines key symptoms that should prompt a consultation with a medical professional:

  • Unusual vaginal discharge or odor
  • Itching or burning in the vaginal area
  • Rash or skin irritation around the vagina
  • Fever or flu-like symptoms

Timely medical advice can prevent complications and ensure menstrual health is maintained.


In conclusion, mastering the use of tampons is a valuable skill that contributes to a more comfortable and confident menstrual experience. This article has provided a comprehensive guide, from choosing the right tampon to the correct insertion and removal techniques. It is important to remember that practice and patience are key, and it's perfectly normal for it to take several attempts to become adept at using tampons. Always prioritize your comfort and safety, and do not hesitate to seek advice from healthcare professionals if you encounter any difficulties. With time and experience, using tampons can become an effortless part of your personal care routine.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I choose the right tampon absorbency for my flow?

Select a tampon based on the heaviness of your menstrual flow. Start with a regular or light absorbency if you're new to tampons, and adjust as needed. Tampons come in various sizes from light to super plus, so choose one that corresponds to your flow to avoid leaks and ensure comfort.

What is the correct way to insert a tampon?

Wash your hands, then sit or stand in a comfortable position. If using an applicator, hold it at the grip marks and gently insert it into your vagina at a slight upward angle. Push the applicator to release the tampon and remove the applicator. Ensure the string hangs outside for easy removal.

Can I use tampons overnight?

Yes, you can use tampons overnight, but it's essential to choose the correct absorbency for your flow and ensure you don't exceed the recommended duration of use, typically not more than 8 hours, to reduce the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).

How often should I change my tampon?

Tampons should be changed every 4 to 8 hours, depending on your flow. It's important not to leave a tampon in for more than 8 hours to reduce the risk of TSS. Monitor your flow and change your tampon regularly for hygiene and comfort.

What should I do if I can't find the tampon string for removal?

If you can't find the string, remain calm, squat down and use your finger to locate the string or the bottom of the tampon. If you still have trouble removing it, seek assistance from a healthcare professional.

Are there eco-friendly tampon options available?

Yes, there are eco-friendly options such as organic cotton tampons and reusable tampon applicators. These products are designed to reduce environmental impact while providing a comfortable and effective menstrual solution.

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