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How to insert tampons
by TeenHelp January 6th 2016, 05:48 PM

How to insert tampons

By Cassie (Cassado)

Tampons can be described as cotton plugs that are inserted into the vagina to absorb menstrual flow before it leaves the body. Learning how to use tampons can be a stressful experience. There are so many different brands and levels of absorbency to choose from, and putting them in can seem daunting.

Choosing tampons
There are a lot of brands to choose from, and different colors stand for different things. Generally, purple tampons are for light flow, yellow are for regular, green are for super, orange are super plus, and dark purple are ultra. These colors can be seen on the wrapping or in the lettering on a tampon box. For instance, tampons for regular flow might have a yellow "R" all over the wrapping to symbolize that it is used for a regular flow. Not all brands use colors to differentiate, but most do. Always check the box so you know what absorbency you are purchasing. When choosing tampons, brand and scent do not matter. It is all personal preference, and you will develop your own personal preference after learning how to use tampons. Beginners should use tampons for a light flow. It is also recommended to use tampons with a plastic applicator. Cardboard applicators or OB tampons (tampons without an applicator) are not recommended. Cardboard applicators are not ideal for beginners because they can be slightly painful and they do not go in as easily as the plastic applicators do. Plastic applicators are a lot smoother than cardboard ones. OB tampons aren't ideal because they are harder to insert than tampons with applicators.

How do tampons work?
Unwrap a tampon so you can allow yourself to get familiar with it. The bigger tube holds the tampon inside of it. This is the part that will be inserted into your vagina. Toward the end of the tube, there is a grip to rest your fingers on for insertion. The smaller tube, or the plunger, holds the tampon string and allows you to push the cotton through when pushed. When inserted, the tampon absorbs menstrual flow and expands as it does so. For a visual, take a tampon and put it into a cup of water so you can watch it expand.

Getting familiar with your body
Use a mirror and your fingers to get familiar with your body. This will help you figure out where you insert the tampon. Don't be afraid to do some exploring. The outside of your body is your vulva. Your vagina is inside your body. Your vaginal opening can be found in the middle of your inner lips. Use your fingers to spread them apart and take a look at your vaginal opening. This is where you will insert the tampon.


Inserting a tampon
While you're still learning, only insert tampons while you're bleeding at your heaviest. The blood will act as a lubricant. Do not insert a tampon if you are not bleeding. Removing a tampon if you've inserted it when you're not bleeding is extremely painful.

First, wash your hands and unwrap the tampon. Remember to relax. If you're not relaxed, the muscles in your body can tense up and make it harder to insert the tampon. Find a position that is comfortable for you. Some people put one foot up on the toilet, some squat, stand, or lie on their backs. Use the fingers of one of your hands to spread your inner lips out of the way. You can also feel around or use a mirror so you can remember where you're inserting it. Hold the grip of the tampon with your thumb and index finger, and begin inserting it at an angle up and toward your back. Insert it until your thumb and index finger are touching the outside of your body, then use the plunger to insert the cotton into your vagina. Put the applicator back into the wrapper and throw it away.

If you inserted the tampon right, you should not feel it. If you can feel it, carefully remove it and try again with a new tampon. It might take you several tries to insert it successfully, but that's okay. Removal might be a little painful since the tampon is new, but it will be a lot less painful since your tampon is used for a lighter flow.

To prevent leaks, wear a liner underneath. You can also wear a pad underneath. Wearing a pad underneath is especially convenient for school, because you can take the tampon out and already have a pad ready for use. You don't have to worry about the noise of opening a new pad or tampon.

Removing a tampon
Tampons should be removed between four to eight hours, or when full. It is not recommended to use one for longer than eight hours, so do not sleep with a tampon if you sleep for longer than eight hours. To see if it is time to remove your tampon, tug lightly on the string. If it is full, the tampon will move and if it is not full, it won't move. If it is ready to be removed, pull on the string until it is no longer inside of your body. Removing your tampon might feel different, but it should not hurt. Wrap it up and throw it away. Do not flush it down the toilet.

Toxic Shock Syndrome
Toxic Shock Syndrome, or TSS, is a rare, but fatal medical condition that results from an abundance of a bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus. Symptoms are sudden and can include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, headaches, or seizures. TSS is most commonly associated with people who use super absorbency tampons. However, cases of TSS drastically decreased after a particular tampon brand was taken off the market. TSS can also affect men and children who have been exposed to this bacteria. People with open wounds can be exposed, as can people who are recovering from surgery. The risk of TSS is higher when tampons are in longer, which is why tampons shouldn't be in for more than eight hours.

Remember, it is normal to feel nervous the first time you insert a tampon; however, it does get easier. One of the benefits of using tampons is that you don't need to let menstruation stop you from doing the things that you enjoy. You can swim or undertake other activities without having to worry. Once you have learnt how to insert a tampon, you can then go about your daily activities with a newfound confidence without feeling limited.
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