Period Talk: How to Use a Tampon
Talking about periods is sometimes uncomfortable for parents and/or girls. Pediatric and adolescent gynecologist, Dr. Shanna Combs, is here to help with her Period Talk series. In this episode she shares simple tips for using a tampon during your period.
Meet the speaker
So you might be wondering why I'm holding a pad and a tampon? Well, one of the things I wanted to talk about in our period talk today is what products to use? So first and foremost, the question I always get, "well, should I use this or should I use that? Or should I use this? And truthfully the question, the answer is, you should use what you feel most comfortable with.
There's a lot of myths associated with tampons. One of the biggest ones is that if you use a tampon, it means that you're not a virgin anymore because you've broken the hymen. Truth of the matter is, the only thing that makes you not a virgin anymore, is having sex. So yes, you can use a tampon even if you haven't had sex.
It's a little weird. It's a little awkward. You have to be a little comfortable with yourself. So, tampons. They have cardboard ones, they have plastic ones, they have ones without applicators, ones with applicators, all different kinds. And a lot of times you just have to find what works for you. As far as a tampon, they're all about the same style. So, most tampons are an applicator and they have a little string on the end of it so you can get it out of the vagina. What you may or may not be able to see on this tampon is there's a cotton portion inside. Guess what, the whole thing doesn't stay in your vagina. And yes, I've had patients and friends who all try that at one point in their life, where they thought the tampon applicator stayed in the vagina. In reality, the tampon applicator is just a way to get the tampon in your vagina. One of the things I point out is you want to be comfortable when you're placing a tampon. One of the easiest ways to be comfortable is in the bathroom by yourself sitting on the toilet. When you sit on the toilet, it relaxes the vaginal muscle. And yes, the vagina has muscles. That's how babies get here. So you want to sit in a nice relaxed place. And of course, before placing a tampon you want to wash your hands. When you place the tampon, usually, what I tell people to do is you have to separate the lips also known as the labia down there. When you push the tampon, this part, into your vagina everybody thinks of going straight up, when in reality, our vaginas go a little backwards. So you want to think of going towards your tailbone. Once you place the tampon in the vagina, it's got a little plunger effect that pushes the tampon out. And then that part stays in the vagina and the applicator goes in the trash. You don't want to leave this in the vagina, it'd be a little uncomfortable. At the end is a little string that hangs out just a little bit so you have something to grab a hold of when you want to take it out. When it's time to come out. You pull on it, and it's out. That's a tampon.
So one of the questions I get about tampons is how long you should leave them in. And honestly, most of the time you want to not leave them in any longer than eight hours. So a good rule of thumb is less than six to eight. Now sometimes you may have heavier bleeding where the blood is soaked through the tampon and you have blood leaking out and you may need to change it sooner. If that's the case, you may need to consider a different size of tampon so that you don't have to change it as often.