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How To Use a Tampon

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Updated August 13, 2013

how to use a tampon

Tampons provide comfortable and secure menstrual hygiene

Digital Visions / Getty Images
You want to learn how to use tampons for menstrual bleeding, but you’re not sure how they work, or whether tampons are safe. The fact is that tampons, in one form or another, have been around for centuries. Properly inserted, and removed, tampons provide comfort and security about menstrual hygiene to women from the onset of menstruation during puberty throughout the female reproductive years until the onset of menopause when monthly menstruation ceases.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 5 to 15 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Before you insert a tampon, wash your hands to prevent any harmful bacteria that may be present on your hands from entering your vagina.
  2. Unwrap the tampon, throwing the wrapper in the trash.
  3. Make sure the tampon string is secure by gently pulling on it prior to inserting the tampon into your vagina.
  4. Also be sure that the tampon reaches the tip of the applicator by gently pushing the inner applicator tube so that the tampon almost begins to come out of the applicator.
  5. Decide if you want to sit or stand during tampon insertion. If you choose to sit, the toilet is a good place. Spread your knees apart and insert the tampon into your vagina. If you’d rather stand during tampon insertion, prop one foot on something so that leg is higher than the other leg; the side of your bathtub is good for propping your foot on.
  6. Place the tampon applicator tip into the opening of your vagina and push it towards your lower back.
  7. Continue pushing the tampon back until you can feel the end of the outer tube just at the opening of the vaginal canal.
  8. Next, push the inner tube into your vagina until the tampon inserts fully, and the inner and outer applicator tube ends meet.
  9. For proper tampon insertion, make sure the two ends of the applicator meet just at the opening to your vagina. Gently pull the applicator out of the vagina, while making sure that you can feel the string hanging out from the bottom of the tampon.
  10. When you’re ready to remove, or change a tampon, relax and gently pull on the string attached to the end of the tampon until the tampon is out.

Tips:

  1. Before you try inserting a tampon into your vagina, make sure you are fully relaxed. Inserting your first tampon is much easier when you are not worried about whether you’re doing it right. Tensing up can make tampon insertion difficult, if not impossible.
  2. The best time to insert your first tampon is when your menstrual blood flow is heaviest, which is usually the first or second day of your period. This is the time when tampons slide easiest into your vagina. Use a water-based vaginal lubricant on the applicator tip, if vaginal dryness makes tampon insertion difficult. Never use petroleum jelly as a vaginal lubricant; petroleum jelly can create a breeding ground for vaginal infections.
  3. Make sure to throw all parts of your tampons and packaging materials including the wrapper and applicator in the trash. Never put tampons, applicators, or wrappers in the toilet; this could lead to expensive plumbing problems.
  4. Change or remove tampons every four to eight hours, including during the night, depending on the amount of menstrual bleeding you experience. Tampons have been associated with the occurrence of a rare disease called toxic shock syndrome (TSS); the risk goes up the longer you leave tampons in, so be sure to change them often to reduce your risk of TSS.
  5. Don’t forget to remove the last tampon when your period is finished. If you experience any trouble removing a tampon, contact your doctor for advice.

What You Need

  • Tampons
  • Water-based vaginal lubricant

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