Tampons can be intimidating, and it has been for decades. The thing is, once you get the hang of them and learn the facts about them, tampons are a comfortable and convenient way to survive that time of month. Here's your crash course in Tampons 101:
What Exactly Is a Tampon?
Contrary to pop culture, the tampon isn't reserved solely for stopping a struggling boxer's nosebleed. Its original purpose is absorbing period blood. A tampon consists of a small cardboard or plastic applicator that's filled with absorbent cotton — picture a tube within a tube. The applicator is used to slide the cotton into the body, where it soaks up all evidence of your monthly visitor. When a tampon is inserted properly, you won't even feel that it's there!
Steps To Insert Your Tampon
First: Try to relax. It's completely normal to be nervous before inserting a tampon for the first time, but calm muscles are the key to a smooth experience.
- Find a comfortable position with spread knees. You might take a seat on the toilet or even prop a leg up on the edge of the bathtub. You do you.
- Hold the tampon with your thumb and middle finger on the middle of the tampon, on the textured grip. Put your index finger on the string end.
- Insert the entire applicator into your vagina, angling it upward. If you feel resistance, you probably need to adjust your angle. If you feel discomfort, you probably haven't inserted the applicator fully.
- Once the applicator is all the way in, use your index finger to slide the cotton inside up and into your body. Push until your index finger meets up with your thumb and middle finger.
- Remove the applicator using your thumb and middle finger. Leave the string hanging free.
- Chuck the applicator in the garbage, not the toilet.
Knowing When To Remove Your Tampon Is Crucial
While a tampon is a safe, efficient way to absorb your flow, it's very important that you don’t let it overstay its welcome. Generally speaking, a tampon should be changed every 4 to 6 hours, but every person’s flow is different, and you may need to experiment a bit to find out what time frame works for you.
No matter what, a tampon should never, ever be left in place for more than 8 hours. Doing so carries the risk of toxic shock syndrome, a potentially serious bacterial infection with an appropriately scary name. Planning to sleep in? Sweet! Get your pad on. Want to reduce your overall risk of TSS? Opt for all natural tampons.
How To Remove Your Tampon
Tug on the string with two fingers and gently slide the tampon out of your body. Don't flush it. Wrap it up and throw it in the garbage. Yup, it’s that easy!
Benefits of Tampons
While most organic period products offer excellent protection during your period, tampons do have three main advantages over pads:
- They're more comfortable. (Did we mention that you can't feel them?)
- They're more convenient for athletes and similarly active people with periods.
- You can wear them while swimming!
It's worth noting that many people with periods who wear tampons also use pads. For example, you might wear tampons by day but rock a pad overnight!
At the end of the day, listen to your body. Everyone’s cycle is different. Choose tampons for a safe, effective way to take care of you and your flow each month.