Ladies, gear up. We’re about to get up close and personal with the blazing glory that is the female bod and those little cylinders of period-proofing wonder.
Don’t fear the cylinder!
First, don’t be nervous. Not only will you have it worked out in a jiffy, but being nervous could make you clench your muscles, which will not help the inserting-a-tampon cause. So why don’t you breathe with us. Nice long breaths. Now exhale, nice and long. Relaxed? Good.
Now go wash your hands.
Step 1. Get your hands all lathered up because hygiene is key. Once your hands are sparkling clean and dry, unwrap that little pocket rocket. If it falls on the floor, or anywhere really (even if it looks mank-proof), ditch it and start again. And if it’s been hanging around with no wrapper on? Yup, ditch it.
Step 2. Have a little pull on the tampon string to make sure it’s firmly attached. All good? Okay, now get comfy. You might prefer to have one leg raised on the toilet seat, or you might prefer to squat or just sit on the toilet. Go with what feels right for you. A mirror can also be handy for guidance.
Step 3. Now that you’re comfy, make sure the string end of the tampon is facing away from you (so tapered side is facing towards you). Place the tampon at the opening of your vagina.
Step 4. Now gently push the tampon into the opening, tilting it towards your back (not straight). Don’t forget to breathe. Relaxation is our friend.
Step 5. Once the tampon is in, use your index finger to secure it (yeah, just kinda gently push it in as far as it will go. And don’t worry, it won’t get lost like it’s in the Tardis or Mary Poppins’ terrifying bag – your cervix will block that bad boy’s path).
Step 6. Make sure the string is dangling outside your vagina, so once it’s ready to be replaced, you can (gently) yoink it out with ease.
Step 7. Wash your hands and get on with your day.
You should be comfortable and not able to feel the tampon. If you can feel it, you might need a redo (with a freshy tampon), as it might not be inserted properly.
Above all, don’t worry if you don’t get the hang if it at first. Practice is key.
And if you have blitzed it, don’t forget to change your tampon 3-6 times a day, and never leave it in for longer than 8 hours (yep, 8 hours is pushing the absolute max). On that note, also choose the lowest absorbency required for your flow – it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation.
Okay, here comes that waggling finger all up in your face.
- Don’t use a tampon unless you have your period.
- Don’t flush them (or the wrappers) down the toilet. Your pipes will be pissed. And don’t even think about the rage of the wastewater systems… (Yup, this goes for our spesh biodegradable tampons, too. The job of tampons is to absorb liquid. With absorbing comes expanding and… yeah. You get it.)
- Don’t use the super absorbency tampons as a “catch-all”. Know your flow so you can use the appropriate tampon absorbencies… appropriately. Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is rare, but it’s a thing, and one of the ways to prevent it is to use the lowest absorbency tampon you can (aka, the tampon that suits your flow. Yeah, we’re repeating ourselves, but we’re giving you a lecture, and repetition is part of the joy.).
- Don’t forget to change your tampon 3-6 times a day.
- Don’t leave a tampon in for more than 8 hours, as it can increase your chance of getting TSS. So if you sleep for more than 8 hours, best to stick to pads or other options at night.
- Don’t be embarrassed. If at first you don’t succeed, try again. And if it’s feeling like an uphill battle, ask someone you trust, like your mum, sister, friends or doctor/healthcare human.
- Don’t forget to breathe. Get your “oms” rocking and your zen breath rolling and unclench them muscles, dammit.
You got this, lady.