So you want to know how to use a tampon. Maybe you’ve just started your periods and are worried about how to insert a tampon for the first time (if so, welcome to the club! You’re in for a ride). Maybe you’ve been using pads for years and you’re ready to switch it up (maybe after finding out there’s the equivalent of four plastic bags in every mainstream sanitary pad?!) Or maybe you’ve been using tampons for years and you’re just reading this for the fun of it (we’re not going to tell you what to do with your life but if that’s the case maybe go outside? Take a nap? Read one of the many articles we have that are more likely to enhance your life in some way?) Whatever brings you here, welcome. We’re going to explain to you, in as much detail as you could possibly ask for, just how to insert a tampon and our top tips for using tampons safely and hygienically. First things first, let’s talk about how to get those little cotton thingys inside your vaginas, with or without an applicator, and without spending the following five hours feeling like you’ve sat on a rusty steel pole…
Should you use a tampon?
Okay, we take that bit about the rusty metal pole back. You really don’t need to be scared of using tampons. Honestly, we love tampons (but only when they’re organic and toxin-free, wink wink…) and believe tampons are the best option when it comes to the weird and wonderful world of period products. With a tampon in, you can’t feel the blood seeping out. You don’t have to worry about your knickers getting twisted and blood collecting straight onto your jeans or the chair you’re sitting on. You can go swimming. You can let a single, unused tampon fall out of your bag and watch immature men react like you just threw a radioactive cockroach on the ground.
Getting the sucker inside you: a step by step guide to using tampons
We’re going to rather egotistically assume you’re using ohne tampons. If you’re not, the details about the wrappers might be a little different but the tampons themselves should function in basically the same way.
How to use non-applicator tampons
- Remove the tampon from its wrapper by holding the rounded end in one hand and peeling the centre strip before removing the wrapper from either end.
- Pull the tampon string downwards, giving it a little tug to make sure it’s secure!
- Ease your longest finger into the end of the tampon with the string. This may make the cotton flare slightly.
- With your other hand, spread your labia – the folds of skin around your vagina – outwards.
- Gently push the tampon in – not vertically up, but angled slightly towards your lower back, as this is the direction of your vagina.
- Make sure your tampon feels comfortable inside you. If you can feel it (it might feel like a dull ache or like it’s pushing against the sides of your vagina) then it needs to be pushed further inside you until you can’t feel it.
- Leave the tampon in for 4-6 hours and repeat (always remember to take out the old tampon before inserting another one)!
How to use applicator tampons
- Remove the applicator tampon from its wrapper.
- Give the cardboard applicator a little twist to free it up from the ‘locked’ position (usually just a tiny hole in the two pieces of cardboard holding them together).
- With your thumb and middle finger, hold the end of the outer applicator tube (the big bit with the tampon inside it) firmly using the anti-slip grip rings (little ridges around the middle of the length of the tampon applicator.
- Ensure that the string is hanging down through the lower part of the applicator.With your other hand, spread your labia – the folds of skin around your vagina – outwards.
- Place the rounded end of the applicator at the opening of your vagina with the tip angled towards your lower back. Push it inside you until the part of the applicator you have a grip on reaches the opening of your vagina.
- Keeping a hold of the base of the outer tube, push the inner tube up as far as it will go inside the outer tube. This will push the tampon up through the outer tube and into your vagina. You will then be able to carefully remove both tubes.
- The tampon should feel comfortable inside you. If you can feel it (it may feel like like a dull ache or like it’s pushing against the sides of your vagina) then it needs to be pushed further inside you until you can’t.
- Leave in for 4-6 hours and repeat (always remember to take out the old tampon before inserting another one)!
Top Tampon Tips
- For those who may be a little lost when it comes to their anatomy: the vagina is further underneath your body than where your pee comes out. If you’ve never held up a mirror to look at your vulva, now might be a good time to try it out – just pop a towel down, spread your legs, and have a good old nosey. You should be able to see where the blood is coming out of your vaginal opening and that’ll make it easier to know where to insert the tampon.
- You may find it easier to insert the tampon if you squat slightly, or put one leg up on the bathtub/similarly stable surface of convenient height. This is because it angles your pelvis back slightly, making it easier to push the tampon upwards.
- Wash your hands before you put a tampon in. Your vagina is a sensitive soul and likes to be kept clean, tyvm.
- You should change your tampon every four to six hours and definitely don’t leave it in for more than eight hours.
- Don’t flush your tampons. Seriously, don’t.
- Definitely don’t flush your applicators (the ohne tampon applicators are biodegradable. Just, y’know, FYI).
- Use the lowest absorbency type for your flow. It might be tempting to go for a super plus tampon that you can leave in for hours, but Toxic Shock Syndrome, or TSS, is more common in people who use a a higher tampon absorbency type than they need. This is because they are more likely to still be on the dry side when you remove them, which means that the little fibres can get left inside you when you pull the tampon out. Although, cheeky plug, an organic tampon has never been linked to a case of TSS. Do with that information what you will…
- Don’t use a tampon unless you’re actually on your period. The first time you use a tampon, do it on a day of your period when your flow is quite heavy. The more blood, the easier it will be for the tampon to just slide straight on up into your vagina. Whatever you do, do not attempt to ‘practise’ inserting a tampon when you are not on your period. It will not feel good going up and it certainly will not feel good when you attempt to pull it out again.
- Don’t hold back. The first time you use a tampon, you’re probably going to be a bit hesitant and not want to push it too far up inside you. Don’t worry about this. The tampon is not going to get lost inside you, promise. If you leave it sitting too low in your vagina, while it will still collect blood, it will likely feel quite uncomfortable. It should sit far enough up inside your vagina that you can’t feel it when you are walking around.
No, go forth and discover the joys of using tampons. But buy them from us first. We know we’re biased, but ohne tampons are the best tampons. Oh, and don’t forget the whole throwing-your-tampons-on-the-ground-in-front-of-men thing. It’s never not funny.