What is a Tampon and How to Use a Tampon Safely?

What is a Tampon and How to Use a Tampon Safely?

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14 December 2023 . 8 min read

What is Tampon & How to Use Tampon? 

Introduction 

If you are seeking information about the best period product, you are not alone! With several options like sanitary pads, tampons and menstrual cups available today, many women are looking for the most suitable products. Of these options, tampons can seem intimidating if you don't have access to the right information about them.  

But not anymore! Say goodbye to worries and discomfort and say hello to a whole new level of period convenience. If you are wondering, "What is a tampon?" "What is a tampon used for?" or "How to use tampons?" and how to insert and remove them safely, this blog has all the answers!  

What is a Tampon? 

Tampons are a type of menstrual hygiene product inserted in the vagina to absorb blood flow during your period. They are designed to be inserted with or without an applicator. Tampons are similar to sanitary pads in that they are made of absorbent material. However, this material is compressed into a small tube. They come in various sizes and absorbency rates for heavier and lighter periods.  

You will also find tampons with or without deodorants. There is no need for a deodorant or fragrance in a tampon, as changing them regularly can help you eliminate any odour. Tampons with fragrance may irritate the vagina or cause an allergic reaction in some individuals. 

What are Tampons Made From? 

Tampons are usually made of cotton, rayon or a blend of the two materials. The fibres in tampons are absorbent in nature and are made with a chlorine-free bleaching process. This ensures tampons are free from dangerous dioxin levels (dioxin is an environmental pollutant).

How to Use Tampons? 

You can wear a tampon with or without an applicator. An applicator is a cardboard or plastic tube that helps guide the tampon into the vagina. Tampons that do not come with an applicator can be inserted using a finger.  

Some girls find a slim-sized tampon with an applicator more convenient when they begin menstruating. Specifically, beginners may find an applicator with a rounded top particularly beneficial. Choosing a day with a heavier flow for your initial tampon usage is recommended, as this facilitates easier insertion. 

Here are a few things to remember when using tampons:

  • Always follow labelled instructions: Whether you are a beginner or have used tampons before, always read the instructions on the tampon package before using them. 
  • Wash your hands properly: Always wash your hands well with soap and water before using a tampon. This prevents infections. 
  • Use only during periods: Tampons must be used only during periods. Do not use them for any other reason. 
  • Change your tampon regularly: You must change your tampon every 4 to 8 hours. Avoid wearing one for longer than 8 hours. 
  • Choose the right absorbency tampon: If you can wear a tampon for up to 8 hours, you can pick one with lower absorbency. 
  • Feel pain or discomfort? Contact your doctor immediately: If you experience discomfort, pain or other unexpected symptoms like unusual discharge when you wear a tampon, or if you think you have developed an allergic reaction to them, stop using the tampon and visit your doctor immediately. Avoid any home remedies that may aggravate your symptoms and condition. 
  • Know the signs and symptoms of toxic shock syndrome (TSS): One of the risks of using tampons is toxic shock syndrome. Common signs and symptoms of this condition are sudden high fever (over 102 degrees F), vomiting, diarrhoea, fainting or feeling dizzy on standing up, and a rash that may look like a sunburn. If you notice these symptoms, remove the tampon, or avoid using one and report it to your doctor immediately. 

 

How to Insert or Remove a Tampon? 

If you are inserting or using a tampon for the first time, it can be challenging. Here's a quick guide to help you insert a tampon and remove it safely.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water and try to relax as much as possible. 
  • Sit on the toilet with your knees apart and hold the tampon in one hand.  
  • Hold the middle of the tampon between your thumb and middle finger and keep your index finger on the thinner end of the tube where the cord extends. 
  • Use the tip of the tampon to open the vaginal folds and slowly begin sliding the barrel inside. Angle the tampon towards your back. If you insert the tampon straight up, it may be painful and won't go in. 
  • Insert the tampon as far as your middle finger and thumb go. 
  • Once the barrel is comfortably inside, hold the grip and push the absorbent part of the tampon into the vagina. 
  • Using your thumb and middle finger, pull out the barrel of the tampon and leave the string to hang out. Pulling the string can dislodge the tampon. 

How to remove the tampon? 

Once the tampon is soaked or it has been over 6 to 8 hours of wearing one, it is time to change it. Here's how you can remove the tampon: 

  • Wash your hands with soap and water. 
  • Pull the string of the tampon slowly, and the tampon gets dislodged. 
  • Carefully dispose of it in the dustbin. Do not flush down tampons in the toiler. 

How to know when to change a tampon? 

Tampons should be changed every 4 to 8 hours to prevent leakage and spotting. Avoid leaving a tampon inside for over 8 hours, as it may cause TSS. 

What are the Advantages & Disadvantages of Tampons? 

There are several advantages of using tampons. Some of these include: 

  • They are far more comfortable and convenient than sanitary pads. Using tampons gives women more freedom to lead active lives without the fear of it 'falling out'. 
  • Tampon usage makes women feel cleaner and more hygienic than sanitary pads. 
  • Tampons allow women to swim, which is impossible with pads.  
  • While pads show through pants, tampons are not visible. This gives women more confidence. 
  • Wearing a sanitary pad does increase the risk of bad odour over a couple of hours. This, however, is not seen with tampons.  
  • To wear sanitary pads, women often pick underwear that prevents leakage. With tampons, you can wear any underwear without the fear of leakage. 
  • Tampons are far more compact than pads, making them easy to carry, use and dispose of. 

A few disadvantages of tampons include: 

  • They may be difficult to use initially, especially for beginners. 
  • There is an inherent risk of developing toxic shock syndrome. 
  • Just like sanitary pads, tampons are not environment-friendly. 
  • Early users may not know when to change them or when they are soaked. 

Conclusion 

Understanding what a tampon is and how to use it safely is essential for every female using it. Tampons are absorbent products designed to manage menstrual flow discreetly and comfortably. You can ensure that you use a tampon safely and easily by following a few simple steps.  

Proper insertion is key to using tampons safely. Relaxation, correct positioning, and using a comfortable angle are all important factors to consider. Finding the best technique for you may take a few attempts, but practice and patience will lead to success. 

Learning the basics of tampons and following safe practices can help you manage your menstrual flow and enjoy greater freedom during your period. Everyone's experience is unique, so listen to your body and choose the menstrual products that work best for you.