Your 101 guide to... Tampons

July 28, 2020

Keep your questions coming, Moxettes – we’re here to help you get through your period as easily as possible. Here’s the latest and greatest in the things you’re asking most about when it comes to tampons...

How do I insert a tampon?

Here’s our easy step-by-step ‘how to’:

  1. Before you do anything, wash your hands!
  2. Unwrap the tampon and unravel the string, trying to handle the body of it as little as possible (we recommend take the bottom part of the wrapper off first, hold the base of the tampon where it meets the string, then take the top part of the wrapper off).
  3. Get into a comfy position - squat, sit on the toilet seat, stand with knees apart or stand with one leg up on a chair/bath/toilet seat.
  4. Using your free hand, open your outer labia (index and middle fingers work best) and whilst holding the tampon at the base, gently insert it into the vagina, angled towards your lower back. Top tip: breathe out and relax! This will help relax your pelvic floors and will make insertion easier.
  5. Insert the tampon to roughly the full length of your finger - make sure that it is through the vaginal canal and actually sitting past the vaginal opening. Ensure that the string is hanging outside of your vagina.

Each pack of tampons you buy should come with  an instruction leaflet - we strongly recommending reading this prior to use and keeping it handy for future reference.

 

How do I remove a tampon?

Easy! Once it's time to remove, gently pull on the string to slide the tampon out of your vagina. Wrap it in loo paper and dispose of it thoughtfully in a rubbish or sanitary bin (don't flush 'em!).

 

Do tampons hurt?

You might feel slight discomfort when inserted, particularly if the vagina is quite dry. Try relaxing your pelvic floors muscles, tack some deep breaths, and use a bit of water to lubricate your vagina to help with insertion.

If inserted correctly, you shouldn't feel you're wearing a tampon. If you feel any discomfort, try pushing it up further (or lower it slightly, via a gentle pull on the string - it might be too high), or rotate it with your index finger until it feels like it's in a comfortable place.

 

How do I know what size is for me?

Tampons come in varying sizes and the names can change depending on what country you're in - for the purpose of this guide, we'll use Australian variants, which are Mini, Regular and Super.

  • Mini = generally the smallest tampon size, for light flow. Approx. 6-9g absorbency
  • Regular = medium sized tampon, for medium flow. Approx. 11g absorbency
  • Super = larger sized tampons, for heavier flow. Approx. 14g absorbency

First timers tend to start off with Mini tampons, as they are the smallest in the range and arguably easier to insert. Those who have given birth may find that they have a heavier flow and a weaker pelvic floor, hence why Super tampons may be more suitable. Either way, it's really important to use the LOWEST POSSIBLE for your flow.

How long can you leave it in for?

You can leave a tampon in for up to 8 hours at a time (never more), but depending on your flow, you might need to change it more frequently.

ever ever leave it in for longer. You might need to change it sooner if you have a heavier flow, or on the first couple of days of your period. You might feel a 'full' sensation when it's time to change your tampon, or, it might start to leak, which might mean that it has absorbed all it can.

 

How often should I change your tampon?

At least every 8 hours, if not sooner if you have a heavier flow. Never leave a tampon in for longer than 8 hours at a time.

 

Why does it hurt when I pull my tampon out?

If you feel resistance or discomfort when pulling your tampon out, it might be because:

  • the tampon is 'full' and has expanded for absorption (though removing this kind of tampon shouldn't hurt)
  • it hasn't been left in long enough, and therefore hasn't absorbed much at all (though again, you should never leave a tampon in for longer than 8 hours at a time) - a 'dry' tampon can cause friction and might be uncomfortable to remove
  • you're using too high an absorbency for your flow and again, might mean that much of the tampon remains dry, causing friction upon removal - try using a lower absorbency

 

Can you sleep with a tampon in?

Technically you can, but we strongly recommend not to, as tampons should not be worn for longer than 8 hours at a time and often need to be changed more frequently. We highly recommend sleeping with an overnight pad, instead, so you can sleep soundly and not worry about having to wake up to change your tampon.

 

Can you pee with a tampon in?

Absolutely! You might want to 'tuck' the string out of the way, but you pee through your urethra, which, if you have a vagina, is a separate (and much much smaller) opening. Tampons go inside the vagina instead.

 

Can you masturbate with a tampon in?

You sure can! Though we'd recommend not using any toys or devices inside the vagina if you have a tampon in - best to remove your tampon first.

 

Can you have sex with a tampon in?

Sex means different things to different people but for the sake of this question, let's break it down a little... you can engage in foreplay or external play (touching, kissing, etc) with a tampon in, but if you're going to have any kind of penetrative sex, you should definitely take your tampon out first.

Are tampons safe?

The short answer is, yes - although tampon use has been associated with Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). TSS is an extremely rare but very serious disease that may cause death. You can read more about TSS, HERE. It's important to always read and keep the instructions and precautions that come with tampons prior to use in order to help minimise your risk, but please discontinue use and seek medical help immediately if you feel TSS symptoms such as a high fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, faintness, dizziness, weakness of confusion, develop a sunburn-like rash or headahces/muscular pains.

 

Can you flush tampons?

Nope - they can easily clog drains/pipes and end up in our waterways, and so they're best wrapped up in toilet paper and appropriately disposed of in a sanitary or rubbish bin. 

 

Can you wear tampons for discharge?

No, tampons should only be used inside the vagina to absorb menstrual flow on the days when you are bleeding. Discharge is a completely normal bodily function (and, a sign that your body is working as it should be. More on discharge from our The Moxie Periodic Table resident Gyno, Dr. Pav, HERE) but if you're concerned about it, you might want to wear a panty liner, instead.

 

Can a tampon get lost inside you?

The short answer is, no - there's nowhere for it to go! The cervix is the top of your vagina and so a tampon can't travel into your abdomen or anything like that. I also can't voluntarily make its way into your cervix, either. Use the string to help locate the tampon but if you really are 'stuck', so to speak, you might need to see a Doc.

 

Are organic or non-organic products better for you?

We’re just gonna call it, Moxettes – there is a LOT of talk and marketing puffery around this, but there is no solid evidence to suggest that either is ‘better for you’, health wise. There are no scientifically proven ‘health benefits’ associated with using a product made of a particular fibre. Both organic and non-organic tampons carry the same risks associated with their use (i.e. Toxic Shock Syndrome). It really comes down to personal preference. Tampons are very heavily regulated in countries like Australia, where all tampons on the market must comply with very strict standards in order to be sold.

 

Can organic tampons or pads make my period shorter?

Put simply, no. This isn’t a thing. Don't believe the hype!

 

Do tampons expire?

We recommend using tampons within five years of purchase and keeping them away from moisture.

 

 

Anything we missed, or still want to know more? Shoot us a note at info@moxie.com.au and we'll do our best to help.

In the meantime, explore The Moxie Periodic Table for all your period questions, answered.

(PS - Moxie tamps were recently rated as AUSTRALIA'S BEST TAMPONS by Finder.com.au - HOORAY!)