How to apply a tampon
It’s natural to feel a bit overwhelmed when you first try inserting a tampon, but like most things in life, it just takes a bit of practice. Trust us that after a few tries, you’ll be a tampon pro!
Tampons come in a range of sizes that have absorbency levels to suit your menstrual flow, from light to heavy and everything in between. To help you feel comfortable and protected, it’s important that you choose a tampon that matches with your typical flow at that moment of your cycle. It may help to start with a mini tampon if you’re using them for the first time. Once you have your supplies and your period starts, it’s time to give it a go!
How to use a tampon for the first time
Inserting a digital tampon is easy if you follow these instructions...
- First, wash your hands thoroughly.
- It’s a good idea to check out where the tampon is going first. With the help of a mirror, find your labia using your fingers – these are the “lips” part of your vulva on either side of the entrance to the vagina. That entrance is where you insert the tampon. Keep the mirror at hand in case you need it during the process.
- Next, remove the wrapper of your tampon and unwind the string – this is important for taking it out later.
- It helps to relax your vaginal muscles – these are the ones you use to hold pee in. What happens is that if you tighten them it’ll be much harder to insert the tampon. So, take a few breaths to shake off any nerves you might feel.
- Now hold the tampon from the bottom (at the string end) and get yourself in a comfy position – standing with one foot on the toilet lid or squatting slightly can help, but find what feels comfortable for you.
- While keeping your labia apart with one hand, hold the tampon in your other hand and place the tip at your vaginal opening. Gently push the tampon in, slanting it towards your lower back (not straight up!).
- Slowly ease the tampon into place, to the full length of your finger, with the string outside of your vagina.
- Don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. Voilà! You’re all done.
Once the tampon is inserted, you shouldn’t feel any discomfort. If there is, it could be a clue that the tampon is not in properly and you may need to push it in a bit further or take it out and try again with a fresh one. You will know when you’ve inserted a tampon in the right place because you won’t be able to feel it there. And don’t worry – a tampon can never go in too far as the entrance to the uterus (known as the cervix) is too small for it to pass through.
How to put in a tampon with an applicator
Some tampons come ready inside an applicator (plastic or cardboard) which is used to help insert the tampon into your body. With these types, instead of your fingers guiding the tampon into your vagina, they stay on the outside of your body holding the applicator. Some people prefer digital tampons, while others will rather go with applicator ones but there’s no right or wrong type, only what suits you!
- Follow steps 1 through 4 above – washing your hands, finding the entrance to your vagina, unwrapping the tampon, and relaxing. Note that some of these kinds of tampons need you to pull out the bottom half of the applicator before you start, so check the instructions on the pack to be sure.
- Hold the top part of the applicator by its base (the barrel that contains the tampon itself – there might be some ridges to help you grip it.)
- Gently insert the tampon applicator into your vagina, aiming towards your lower back. Stop when your fingers touch your body.
- Using your pointer finger, push the bottom part of the applicator (which stayed outside your body) all the way into the top barrel. This pops the tampon out of the applicator and into your vagina.
- Slowly pull out the applicator, which you can now put in the bin. Your tampon should be in the correct position, and the string trailing outside of your body.
- As always, wash your hands, then you can continue about your day!
Sometimes it can take a few tries to get your tampon to sit comfortably in the right place, especially if you’re not used to it yet! It’s absolutely fine to have a few goes until you’re happy and confident. Sometimes asking a friend or relative to talk you through it while you insert a tampon for the first time can help too.
It might also take a couple of times using tampons to decide whether you like them, or if you prefer other types of period products. Ultimately, it’s all down to personal choice and what makes you feel comfortable during your period.
If you would like to learn more, head to our Daily Intimate Care section.
The medical information in this article is provided as an information resource only and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please consult your doctor for guidance about a specific medical condition.