Although not yet entirely sufficient, humans have developed several tools to more efficiently manage menstruation. These include pads, tampons, menstrual cups, menstrual underwear, and menstrual sponges.This is a brief introduction to the world of tampons. It will provide more details for tampon users about those cotton plugs we are inserting into our bodies, and easy instructions for first time users. Even if you are not interested in using tampons, it’s best to be well informed to keep your options open.
The World of Tampons
✔️ Tampon 101
There are numerous tampons in the world. Let’s start the journey to find the perfect tampon for you.
The tampon that’s easy to use, perfect for your menstrual flow, fits your philosophical standards, or one that you simply prefer...what is your tampon of choice?
- Applicator vs Non-applicator
An applicator is a tool to more easily insert the tampon into the vagina.
Many tampons have different shaped applicators. Pick the one that fits you best.
There are also non-applicator tampons that are inserted using your fingers. Also known as “digital tampons”, these tampons can be challenging to use for beginners but can be more convenient and comfortable for those with experience. They are also more eco-friendly as the applicator does not need to be disposed of.
- The Shape of the Tampon
- Rolled shape: A shape that absorbs well due to the large surface area
- Rigid shape: A shape that's easy to insert and causes less discomfort
- ‘Opening’ shape: A shape to prevent menstrual blood from leaking
- By Absorbency
- Light: Absorbs less than 6 grams
- Regular: Absorbs from 6 to 9 grams
- Super: Absorbs from 9 to 12 grams
- Super plus: Absorbs from 12 to 18 grams
- Ultra: Absorbs more than 18 grams
✔️ Clarifying Misconceptions About Tampons
- What if the tampon gets lost inside?
Tampons do not get stuck inside nor disappear. The tampon is not able to move to a different part of the body nor is there a possibility that it will get stuck. The cervix at the end of the vagina has just a really small opening that discharges menstrual blood. You can remove the tampon at any time by pulling on the string. The string on the tampon will not fall off easily. Even if it does fall off, you can remove the tampon using your fingers.
- Aren’t tampons for adults only?
There is no age limit for tampons. Tampons can be purchased and used by anyone going through menstruation.
- Will I lose my virginity if I use a tampon?
The “hymen”, which is attributed to virginity, is more like an elastic collar of tissue, rather than a thick, breakable barrier. It is also not an indicator of whether or not one has had sexual intercourse. For some people the hymen could be broken by mistake in the process of inserting the tampon. However, breaking of the hymen is very common and can occur at any time in daily life, not just during penetration.
✔️ Using a Tampon
- Wash your hands
- Go to a private and comfortable space
- Find your vaginal opening.
- Hold the tampon firmly and line it up with the vaginal opening.
- Slowly insert the upper half of the applicator into the vagina.
- Press the bottom of the applicator with your index finger to insert the absorbent part of the tampon. (2-3. Digital tampons are inserted into the vagina using your finger)
- Remove the applicator from the vagina.
- Know when to remove a tampon.
- Pull the string at one end of the tampon.
- Wrap it in tissue and throw it away in the trash.
✔️ TIP. Safe Use of Tampons
✔️ Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)
-is an infection caused by toxins from Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, or Clostridium Sordellii bacteria penetrating the bloodstream. It is a rare but serious condition that can be life-threatening.
- Over half of Toxic Shock Syndrome cases occur in women using tampons during menstruation. Using tampons that are highly absorbent for a long time can dry out the vaginal wall, creating a higher chance for infections if there are any wounds. A warm tampon that has absorbed blood can be the base for bacterial growth.
- Follow the recommended insertion time for your tampons to prevent TSS. Tampons should not stay inside the body for more than 8 hours. Change tampons every 4 to 6 hours. Try not to use tampons over night.
- The tampon is an insertable menstruation management tool that is easy to use.
- Follow the safety measures when using tampons to avoid complications such as Toxic Shock Syndrome.