Your Bod

All your tampon questions: answered


Whether you just got your period or you’ve had it for years, you might still have some questions when it comes to tampons. Some girls love ‘em, others prefer to steer clear of ‘em. Tampons might seem a bit daunting at first, but trust us—they can be major lifesavers.

Why they rock
Convenient: It's so great being able to workout and swim
Comfortable: Don’t get us wrong, we love pads, but if they give you that diaper feeling, you might want to try tampons
Clean: Tampons do their best to nix any messy situations pads might make

How to prevent the sucky sitches
Toxic Shock Syndrome: You may have heard some horror stories about how tampons will give you TSS, but don’t freak out. While TSS is scary, it is also super rare—and super easy to prevent. If you've got a heavy flow—or just want to wait a few extra hours before hitting up the bathroom, it might be tempting to spring for the seriously absorbent tampons. But the higher the absorbency, the more likely you are to leave it in too long, upping your risk for TSS. Leaving your tampon in for a prolonged amount of time will allow the bacteria that causes TSS to grow, so make sure to change it at least every 5-8 hours, which might mean using a smaller tampon and just changing it more frequently. At night, consider switching back to pads so you can sleep uninterrupted for as long as you want.
Leakage: It sucks when your period ruins a perfectly good pair of underwear, but it's easy to avoid. Depending on the day and your flow, change your tampon accordingly. It never hurts to double up and wear a pantyliner (or even a pad for really heavy days) in addition to your tampon.
Getting lost: There are plenty of urban legends about girls losing their tampons inside themselves, but these are only legends. Here are the facts: It’s impossible to lose a tampon. Once it's in there, there's nowhere for it to go but back out. If for whatever reason you're having trouble finding it, take a few deep breaths and relax, then try to push it out using the muscles you do kegels with. Don't be afraid to search around for it yourself. However, if it does somehow get stuck, or you can't pull it out by yourself, your gyno or another doctor will be able to remove it in a matter of minutes.

Tampon crash course

Before you use a tampon, it’s easy to freak out a bit. Major creds go to Young Women's Health for these awesome step-by-step instructions.

1. Wash your hands with soap and water. With dry hands, unwrap the tampon. If you drop the tampon on the floor or into the toilet, throw it away and begin again with a new tampon. The tampon should be completely sealed in plastic wrap. If not, select another tampon and unwrap it with clean hands.

2. Unwrap the tampon directions that come in the box.

3. Tug on the string to make sure it is securely attached to the tampon.

4. Sit or stand in a comfortable position. Some women prefer to place one leg on the toilet seat or tub, while others prefer to squat down. After you find a position that is the most comfortable for you, hold the end of the tampon at the spot where the applicator dents in. Make sure the string is visible and pointing away from your body.

5. With your other hand, open the labia (the folds of skin around the vaginal opening) and position the applicator in the vaginal opening.

6. Gently push the applicator into the opening, aiming for the small of your back.

7. Once the tampon is inside of your vagina, use your index or “pointer” finger to push the tampon out of the applicator and into your body.

8. Make sure that the string hangs outside of your vaginal opening. Later, when you are ready to remove the tampon, hold the string and gently pull it downward until the entire tampon is out.

9. Remember to wash your hands before inserting a tampon and again after you take one out.

Are you a fan of tampons? Do you feel more comfortable after ready our handy how-to?

Photo credit: Playtex

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by Maria Graham | 5/31/2016