Everything you wanted to know about tampons...
What is a tampon?
A tampon is, very simply, a cylinder of cotton or any absorbent material made to be inserted into the vagina during menstruation. Some have applicators, or tube like devices that are used to aid in the insertion into the vagina. Some have no applicator and are made to be inserted using your index finger.
Who can use tampons?
Any girl or woman that has begun to menstruate for the first time can use a tampon. You can use a tampon if you're a virgin, and it won't, no matter what anyone says, take away your virginity. Only having sex can do that. Only rarely, is anyone not able to use a tampon. If you're a virgin, you'll still be able to slip the tampon in the hole in the hymen (it has to have a hole, how else would blood be able to come out!?) And if you don't have a hymen (most girls' are broken by sports or activity long before sex), it may or may not be a little easier.
What are the different kinds of tampons and what about absorbency?
There are two basic types of tampons. Those that have an applicator, and those that don't. Of the ones that have the applicator, you have two choices: a plastic applicator or a cardboard applicator. All of the plastic applicators have a rounded and closed tip that completely surrounds the actual tampon, whereas cardboard applicators can be the same, or have the tampon exposed at the end acting as the tip. Most girls who are starting to use tampons for the first time side with the plastic applicator - they're a lot easier to get in!
The applicator is made up of two parts, the larger cylinder is the outer tube, which will be inserted into your vagina, and houses the tampon. The smaller tube the one with the string hanging out is used to push the tampon out of the outer tube and into your vagina. You push the small tube into the larger tube, and this releases the tampon.
As for absorbency, you have many to choose from: lite, regular, super, super plus, and ultra. Lites absorb the least amount (less than 6 grams) (5 grams equals one teaspoon).
Regulars absorb 6-9 grams, Supers absorb 9-12 grams, Super Plus absorb
12-15 grams, and Ultra absorb 15-18 grams. Choose a tampon based on your flow:
The size of your tampon has nothing to do with the size of your
vagina. It's purely based on flow. Even virgins can use the largest size tampon right from the start and have no trouble. Remember, you need to use the smallest absorbency you can that can control your flow, which reduces the risk of TSS. The right absorbency is one that you can leave in for 4-6 hours. If in 4-6 hours your tampon leaks, change to the next higher absorbanyc. If you take out the tampon after 6 hours and there's still a lot of white fiber showing, change the the next lowest level. And never leave a tampon in for more than 8 hours. This increases the risk of TSS.
What is TSS, and how do I avoid it?
TSS, or Toxic Shock Syndrome, is caused by the common bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, which live harmlessly on the skin, in the nose, armpit, and vagina. In rare cases strains of these bacteria produce harmful toxins (poisons) that causee TSS. Anyone can get TSS, men, women, children, but about half the cases consist of women using tampons. This is due, speculation, to the tampon providing a breeding ground for the bacteria, and the longer you leave one in, the more harmful it can become, and same with absorbency. If you're using too high an absorbency, the tampon also becomes an easier breeding ground for the bacteria. Change your tampons at least every 8 hours, and use the lowest absorbency tampon possible to control your flow. There is no such thing as a TSS free tampon! TSS doesn't come form the tampon! - TSS comes from bacteria that's already in your vagina! Warning signs of TSS include: a sudden high fever, vomiting, a sunburn-like rash, diarrhoea, fainting or near fainting, muscle aches, dizziness, and confusion. If you have some of these symptoms and are using a tampon, remove it and consult your doctor ASAP!
Ok, so I know about tampons, now how to I insert one?
Tampon insertion is something that most girls will learn with time. The more you do it, the more comfortable you become, and the easier it is.
1. First, choose a tampon. If you're a beginner, it's a good idea to start out with a plastic applicator tampon. Slender or slim sizes are the best for first time users, and regular or lite absorbency can also help. However the size of the tampon doesn't have to do with the size of your vaginanonly with how heavy/light your period is. Most girls starting to use tampons find that the lite or regular absorbancies are easier, as the tampon is smaller around. I like Playtex Gentle Glide (you can get them in slender now) or Tampax Pearl.
2. Find a time when you have a moderate flow. When your flow is moderate, the tampon will slip in easier than if you have a light flow. Also, make sure that you have enough time, won't be bothered, and won't feel rushed. You want to be as comfortable and relaxed as possible.
3. Unwrap the tampon. Examine it, look it over. The petals on the end should be rounded. The string should be hanging out the bottom of the lower tube. Gently pull on the string to make sure that it's attached. You should also try practicing pushing the tampon out of the applicator. Hold onto the grip (the part at the bottom of the larger tube, it usually has some sort of ridges or somewhere to put your fingers. Hold the applicator with your thumb and middle finger so that the tip of the applicator is pointed toward you. Using your index finger, Push the small bottom tube into the larger tube (that larger tube contains the tampon)and see how the tampon is pushed out through the outer tube. Once you're familiar with what it looks like, how to hold it, and how it works, you're ready for insertion.
4. Take out a new tampon, unwrap it, and check it over. Get into a comfortable postition, either standing with your knees slightly bent and outward, standing with one leg up on the toilet or bathtub, or sitting on the toilet with knees spread apart. I like standing with my knees bent. RELAX. This is VERY KEY! If you are tense AT ALL, your vagina will tense up and it'll be harder to insert the tampon. Hold the tampon with your thumb and middle finger on the grip, with the tip aimed toward you and place the tip at the opening of your vagina. DO NOT PUSH THE SMALL TUBE YET!
5. Slowly guide the applicator into your vagina, by holding onto the grip rings not by pushing on the small tube. You want to keep going in until your fingers that are on the grip come in contact with your body. You want the entire outer tube to be inside, leaving only the grip part and the small tube outside. As you insert aim the tampon toward your lower back. You vagina slants up at about 45 degrees, so push the tampon up at an angle, not straigt up. Don't worry, you can't push too far. When the outer tube is completely inside, with only the grip and the small tube on the outside, you're ready to push the small tube.
6. Slowly push the small tube into the larger tube making sure you still are holding the grip at the opening of the vagina. One of the largest mistakes that most girls make when using tampons for the first time is that they take out the larger tube as they push the smaller one. You want to make sure that the larger tube doesn't come out at all as you push the small tube in. You want the tampon to end up at the top of your vagina (it can't get lost - there's nowhere for it to go) and not at the bottom near the outside. I can't stress this enough, as it was what I was doing wrong: make sure you hold the larger tube all the way in your body until the smaller tube is completely inside it. Only then, when the small tube is inside the large one, and the grip is the only thing (besides the string) that's outside of your body, should you begin to remove the applicator.
7. Slowly pull the applicator out at the same 45 degree angle you put it in. When it's out you should only have the string hanging outside of your body. You shouldn't be able to feel the tampon AT ALL. If it feels uncomfortable, you didn't push it in far enough. Remove this tampon and try again with a new one. It took me a couple to get it right, so don't worry if you have to try it a couple times.
8. Throw away the applicator, and wrapper, and that's it! You inserted a tampon!
Choose the same position you used to insert the tampon. Grasp the sting between your thumb and index finger, and pull steadily down at the same angle you inserted the tampon at. It should slide out easily. If it doesn't, it hasn't absorbed enough fluid yet. Either switch to a lower absorbency, or leave the next one in longer (no longer than 8 hours). You can check to see if it's time to change by just giving the string a gentle tug. If it stays in place, it's not yet time to change, but when it is time to change, you'll find it'll slide out easily.
Use the smallest size tampon to start - regular or lite, slender or slim
Start out with a Plastic Applicator
Take your time and RELAX
Push it in at an angle so the tip is pointing to your lower back
Remember to hold the grip at the entrance to your vagina while you push the small tube. DON'T pull out the larger tube as you push the smaller one
Remove your tampon by pulling down at the same angle you used to insert it
Change every 4-6 hours. If you remove your tampon in this time and it has a lot of white fiber showing, switch to a lower absorbency (or leave it in longer) if it leaks in this time switch to the next higher absorbency.
Change at least every 8 hours.
Use the lowest absorbency you can.
Virgins can use tampons. And NO NO NO, using a tampon DOES NOT take away your virginity!
Hope this helps all you first timers. If you still have questions, please PM me. I'm seriously here to help!!!