It’s 2019, baby, and that means technology is advancing in every way! Technology is advancing in the way we can manage our periods as well. Even though menstrual cups are now the rage, the tried and true tampon still gets the job done.
Getting your first period can be a little scary and overwhelming. Something new is happening to your body, and now you have to get used to managing it each month. Using pads is a great way to manage your period especially when you first are getting the hang of it because you just stick it in your underwear and you’re good to go. But what if you want to go swimming? Or what if you need to run a marathon? Or what if you just don’t like wearing pads? Tampons are a great option!
Inserting a tampon the first time can be scary. You’re putting a foreign object INSIDE of your vagina. Then walking around with it in there for HOURS. You might not even feel comfortable touching your vagina. Maybe you’ve never even touched it before. Well that’s about to change. I do think a major plus of wearing tampons or even menstrual cups is that you have to get comfortable with your own body in order to wear them.
Anyway, once you’ve decided you want to wear tampons, you’ve got to purchase some first. There are so many brands, so it’s hard to know which ones to get. You could ask your friends or your mom or aunt or another woman in your life that you know uses tampons and see what she recommends.
So you’ve bought your tampons, now what? Time to insert that thing. I also always recommend wearing a panty liner with tampons because tampons can leak, and you want that extra protection just in case. Full disclosure, you’ll probably have to practice inserting the tampon a few times before you get it in there and it feels right. That’s okay. Be patient with yourself.
I’m going to paint you a very vivid picture to walk you through this.
Sit down on the toilet and spread your legs apart. Relax your body as much as you can. The more tense you feel, the harder it will be to comfortably insert the tampon. Take the tampon out of the wrapper, but leave it in the plastic or cardboard applicator. You should open it so you only touch the end with the little pump—try to avoid touching the side that will go inside you, unless you just washed your hands, then I suppose it’s okay. Keeping your muscles relaxed, slowly push the tampon into your vagina while holding onto the grippy part on the end.
But Jenn, how the heck do I know what hole to put it in?! I can’t see down there while I’m doing this!!!
It’s the hole right between your urethra and your anus. Your body will just know if it’s being inserted in the right place. Make sure you are inserting the tampon at an angle, pointing towards your back. If you hold it straight up and down it will be really uncomfortable and so hard to get it. Your vagina is curved a little so inserting at an angle will help it slide right in. Plus your period blood will help make it easier to slide in comfortably. Slowly insert the applicator until your fingers and thumb are as close to your body as possible while still holding onto the grippy part of the applicator. While still holding onto the tampon with your other fingers, use your pointer finger to insert it by pushing the pump on the end. Remove the applicator, and voila, your tampon is in! the string should be hanging outside of your body, and that’s how you’ll take it out. You can give the string a gentle tug to make sure it feels secure inside you.
Since this is your first time putting a tampon in, stand up and move around a bit. Can you feel anything? If inserted correctly, you shouldn’t be able to feel your tampon once it’s in. If it hurts or you feel it falling, just take it out and try again. Like I said, the first few times take practice.
You’ll also have to pay attention to how often you need to change your tampon since you’re just getting used to using them. Maybe test out wearing one sometime when you know you’ll be home all day so you can really pay attention to your body and your period flow. When it’s time to take out your tampon, go to the bathroom, and sit on the toilet again. With your legs spread and muscles relaxed, slowly pull on the string until the tampon comes out. Wrap that blood soaked tampy in some toilet paper and throw it away. Don’t flush your tampons! It’s bad for your toilet.
You should change your tampon every four to eight hours to avoid Toxic Shock Syndrome, which is very serious! I will warn you though, if you take your tampon out before it’s saturated enough, it will hurt. It’s very uncomfortable, but happens sometimes and you’ll be okay. Just relax and remove it slowly.
Now all that’s left is for you to go forth and try using a tampon. It sounds a lot scarier than it actually is. There are a lot of people though that just don’t like wearing tampons, so if you try it and it’s not for you, don’t sweat it. There are plenty of other options out there for managing your period.