How You Should Use Tampon: Demonstration

Dealing with your monthly cycles can be a roller coaster of emotions and mess. You may be dealing with PMS, cramps, and bloating before, during and after your period. You may also be tired of changing pads, dealing with odor, and leaks onto your clothing. Tampons aren’t for everyone, but if you have made the decision to use them, this article is designed as a “how to use a tampon” real demonstration included, to give you an idea how they work. It also goes through some of the risks and things to watch out for while you are using them.

What Is a Tampon Made Of? How Does It Work?

Tampons are made of a super absorbent plug that you place into your vagina to soak up any blood from your period. They are shaped like a cylinder and have an attached string so you can pull them out. Most of them have a cardboard or plastic applicator so you can slide them in easier. The material tampons are made from are usually a cotton or rayon fiber.

Tampons are placed inside your vagina and left there a few hours and then changed as needed during the day. They should never be left in longer than eight hours or you run the risk of an infection. Also, your vagina is a closed space so they cannot get “lost” inside your body. However, you will need to get over the fear of placing your fingers near your vagina or inside if you ever need to find it.

How Do I Know What Kind to Use?

Tampons come in all shapes and sizes. They are all made of the same thing both cotton and rayon. The only difference is the type of applicator including:

  • Digital – This type of tampon comes without an applicator and you will need to use your finger to insert the tampon. You will need to be okay with placing your finger near or inside your vagina to use this kind of tampon.
  • Cardboard Applicator – This type has a cardboard applicator that comes fully extended. You just insert the tip and push it into your vagina.
  • Plastic – This type has a plastic applicator and is easier to insert into the vagina. It comes fully extended and you just insert the tip and push it in.
  • Extendable Cardboard or Plastic Applicator – These are more compact for carrying in your purse or gym bag and are comprised of a tube inside a larger tube. You open the package and pull the applicator to extend it, then insert it into your vagina and push in.

You can buy tampons in different absorbencies depending on your flow. They include:

  • Junior – These are designed for a small vaginal opening or teens.
  • Regular – These are designed for light to normal flow. They are commonly used at the end of a period as it tapers off.
  • Super/Super-Plus/Ultra – These are designed for very heavy flow, usually at the beginning to middle of your period.

It is important to use the smallest tampons that you need for your flow and do not use tampons if you are not on your period.

Instructions on How to Use a Tampon

This will complement the instructions on the package that you buy. It is important to make sure you are very relaxed before you try inserting one. Muscle tension in your vaginal opening will make it very hard to place the tampon in your vagina. Here are the instructions:

1)      Make sure your hands are clean by washing with soap and water.

2)      Make sure you choose the smaller size tampons for your first insertion. Go for either the junior or regular type. You can graduate up as you get more comfortable with wearing a tampon. You may need to use a pad with the tampon if it is not large enough. This will just help your body get used to the feeling of having something in your vagina, putting it in and taking it out.

3)      Stand or squat down with your legs apart, or you can put one foot up on the side of your bathtub or toilet. Some women even lie on their back with their knees apart and bent.

4)      Take the wrapper off the tampon and pull the string down. Extend the tube if you are using the compact type. If you have the digital type, just unwind the string. Make sure the string is on the farthest end of the tampon from your body.

5)      With the tampon in one hand, use the fingers of your other hand to open the lips around your vagina. Place the tampon at the vaginal entrance and relax your muscles. Take a deep breath. Make sure the string is on the other end away from your vagina.

6)      Point the tampon slightly toward your back and push inside. Make sure the large end of the applicator is all the way inside. Use your finger to push the applicator end up until it meets the other half. If you are using a digital tampon, push in until your finger is almost all the way inside and the tampon is at the top of your vagina.

7)      Pull the applicator or your finger out and wash your hands. Don’t ever flush the applicator. Wrap it in toilet paper before putting it in the trash can so no one sees the blood exposed on the outside. Some wrappers can be doubled as a wrap for the applicator.

8)      To remove the tampon, squat or put your leg up and just pull out by the string. Wrap it up and place it in the trash. Do not flush tampons as they may clog your toilet.

(photo courtesy of

A Few Tips:

  • Insert the tampon parallel instead of perpendicular
  • Don’t try to “practice” when you are not on your period. The vagina may be too dry for insertion.
  • You can leave tampons in while you pee or have a bowel movement. Just make sure the string is pulled forward when you wipe.
  • If you try to change your tampon before a couple of hours, it may be too dry to remove and cause pain.

Always ask your doctor, friends or mom. They may be able to help you during your annual pelvic examination with proper teaching on insertion. Here’s a video on how to use a tampon: real demonstration:

Fun Fact: Where Did Tampons Come From?

Tampons were first used by ancient civilizations that created them from a softened paper material. They are thought to date back to 2500 B.C. They were also made from soft wool lint that was tied around a wooden stick for insertion. Many different fibers were used to make tampons including grass, cotton, vegetable fiber, and sea sponge.

In 1929, the first present day tampon was created from cotton and a cardboard applicator. It was patented and sold under the name we all recognize, Tampax™. There are many different name brands of tampons on the market today and they can easily be found in your local drugstore or supermarket on the feminine products aisle.