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Best Ways to Help A Tampon Go In Step 5

Posted: Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 2:06:59 PM EST by Alyssa Tait

Pick the Best Time of Month to Practise

Last post I mentioned that using lots of lubricant on the tampon helps when it feels like the tampon just won't go in. This may seem obvious, but most women I speak to haven't tried it.

So here is a second tip that may seem obvious, but again, many women are not doing.

Pick the right time of month to practise putting in a tampon in order to maximise your chance of success.

(Of course, some of the steps I have talked about can be helpful at any time. Exploring the territory of the vulva, for example, is best all month round when you are not bleeding, as it can make things easier to see.)

But once you are up to actually practising putting the tampon in, it is best to practise this the heaviest days of your period. You want the flow to be well and truly flowing. You can't ride the rapids unless there's some decent flow in the river - you'll end up getting stuck on the rocks!

For many women, the days of heaviest flow are days 1 and 2. (Day 1 is the first day of your period.) For others, the flow starts slowly, and day 1 is too "dry". For these women, it might be days 2 and 3. For lots of women I know, the flow is slowing right down by day 3, so that might not be your best bet.

Another thing to keep in mind is discomfort. If you have an enormous amount of pain with your period, you may want to try before this really sets in. Or, you may want to have a good amount of pain relief on board. Otherwise, your body can feel a bit defensive. It's already in pain, and it's having to experience something new it is apprehensive about. It's better for your body to feel comfortable in order to "trust" the new experience of putting in a tampon.

You can learn more about learning to trust your body, and retraining your brain when it comes to pain, in my e-book Outsmart Your Pain.

Countless patients who use tampons have told me they have trouble using them later in their period when the flow starts to dry up. (Stick with pads on the whole from that point, I say.)

But the point is that if women who are able to use tampons have some difficulty when the flow eases, then start when you have a decent flow going.

To keep reading about more ways to make inserting tampons easier, watch this space for the next post about getting over your squeamishness.

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About Alyssa Tait

Alyssa runs Equilibria Physiotherapy & Nutrition, a clinic focusing on integrative solutions for pelvic health issues including all types of pelvic pain, bladder and bowel control issues, fertility, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Alyssa’s website www.equilibriahealth.com.au is an information hub related to all things relating to the function of the female pelvis.

She aims to help as many people as possible restore balance to their pelvis through education, effective treatment and empowering lifestyle choices.

Alyssa enjoys playing the clarinet and rollerblading, though (much to the gratitude of her patients), not while she is consulting.

Connect with Alyssa  |  Facebook  |  Google Plus | linkedin | Twitter

Best Ways to Help A Tampon Go In Step 7

Posted: Tuesday, August 2, 2016 at 7:46:49 AM EST by Alyssa Tait

Use Your Finger

The idea of putting your finger inside the vagina may not be very appealing. But before you skip this blog post in disgust, just hear me out.

You've been having trouble putting in a tampon, despite getting familiar with the landscape down there, trying different positions, relaxing your pelvic floor (vaginal) muscles, lubricating the tampon like crazy, picking the best time of month to practise and managing any negative emotions.

Maybe the "ick factor" is still there, and putting your finger in your vagina is the last thing you feel like doing.

But trust me: if you have got to this point, and haven't had any success yet, practising with your finger could be the "game-changer" you need.

When I was a young teenager struggling with periods, I remember something my sister said to me:

"You should be able to put your own finger in the vagina. That is just something every girl should be comfortable doing."

My sister must have been all of sixteen. Still, these wise words have stayed with me, and I think of them now every time a patient tells me she can't put her finger in her vagina. Or won't.

There's a few things we girls learn as we grow up. We learn to wipe front to back. We learn not to wash the vulva with soap. We learn to count the days between our periods to give us the best chance of predicting when the next period is coming. We learn to feel our breasts on the first day of the month, to recognise what's normal for us, so we can be alert to any changes that might need to be checked.

These are all skills we need as women.

And this is an important one to add to the list: to comfortably insert your finger in your vagina. This is an important way to have knowledge of your own body. It empowers you by making you familiar with yourself. Don't forget, your vaginal muscles are "The Guardians of the Gate". They need to know when to guard, and when to be at ease. If they don't have a chance to be at ease, they will overreact by being in "guarding mode" all the time. They will try to "close the gate" even for a light breeze.

Your finger is the equivalent of "a light breeze". Allowing the gates to open for a light breeze is a starting point for choosing to open the gates for other visitors (for example, someone else's finger, or penis, or a speculum to have an important health check or Pap smear).

So now I'd like to suggest you go back to Step I, Look and You Will Find, and repeat all the steps with the aim of inserting your finger in the vagina.

Three more things.

Cut your nails (obvious). Wash your hands before and after (double obvious).

And/or - wear latex gloves (if not allergic). No need to wear gloves of course - but for some women this creates the mental barrier they need to give it a try. Over time, progress to no gloves.

Has being able to insert your finger into your vagina helped you? I'd love to hear from you in the Comments.

The next post in this series (an 18+ post - please get parental permission if under 18) - can be found here.

 

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About Alyssa Tait

Alyssa runs Equilibria Physiotherapy & Nutrition, a clinic focusing on integrative solutions for pelvic health issues including all types of pelvic pain, bladder and bowel control issues, fertility, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Alyssa’s website www.equilibriahealth.com.au is an information hub related to all things relating to the function of the female pelvis.

She aims to help as many people as possible restore balance to their pelvis through education, effective treatment and empowering lifestyle choices.

Alyssa enjoys playing the clarinet and rollerblading, though (much to the gratitude of her patients), not while she is consulting.

Connect with Alyssa  |  Facebook  |  Google Plus | linkedin | Twitter

Best Ways to Help a Tampon Go In Step 8

Posted: Tuesday, August 2, 2016 at 7:49:26 AM EST by Alyssa Tait

Don't Feel Weird About Using a Sex Toy to Help Your Tampon Problem 

Firstly, this is an 18+ post.

If you do not fall into this category, please go get your at-least-eighteen-year-old-mother and respectfully ask her permission for you to read this together. However, my target group for this post is the woman over eighteen who, despite her best efforts and my expert advice (starting with my first tampon blog), struggles to use tampons comfortably.

Let’s start with a technicality.

The term “sex toy” can be very offputting for some. I do wish there was another name for sex toys. (Though some of them deserve a tacky name like that.)

For the purpose of this blog, could we call them Attraction Contraptions? Objects d’ Heart? Mojo Gizmos? A Love Science Appliance? Not exactly catchy. Now I know why they are simply “sex toys”.

Apparently the word “dildo” is from the Italian “diletto”, or “delight”.

I would like to suggest in this post you become a dabbler in sex toys – a Diletto Dilettante, if you will.

I would firstly like to get it straight that I am not making an overall judgment on sex toys, for good or for bad. I am simply suggesting that in the scenario of having difficulty with tampons, they should not be discounted. They could after all be a useful tool.

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At first blush - perhaps literally? - suggesting the use of sex toys when you are struggling with inserting tampons may seem like a bad joke.

The mere sight of them (or even thought of them) may be enough to make you recoil.

But trust me. There is good theory behind this apparently crazy idea.

What we need to do is to help the idea of using tampons stop being threatening. We need tampons to become a friend instead of a foe. My sex therapist friends tell me that for some women, using sex toys can help develop "friendlier feelings" in this area. If you read my post about the Empress in charge of the Guardians of the Gate, this concept will be familiar. We are looking for ways to turn the cranky Empress into a purring pussycat. And sex toys do have an excellent track record of doing this for women.

I am certainly not an expert. But if you are just a little open to the idea, becoming familiar with a vibrator, for example, may help develop some positive experience with the landscape.

Some vibrators are very small, discreet and tasteful. (And if that's not your style, there are plenty of other styles as well!) The advantage of the small vibrators is that they can be used to develop awareness of pleasurable sensations anywhere around the vulva, but they can also be inserted in the vagina. (Perhaps it's better to think of this as the vibrator "being embraced by the vagina"?) In fact, there are sets that double as vibrators and dilators – the topic of my next blog post in the series – like this one.

A number of my patients with difficulty inserting tampons, inserting their finger, or allowing entry of a penis tell me something interesting.

All of a sudden, the difficulties evaporate (or at least improve) after orgasm.

This makes sense; when you are aroused, the vagina expands. The silky tent roof we have talked about before becomes billowy and even more flexible, creating lots of space. So becoming aroused - with or without a sex toy, of course - can be a marvelous preparation to experimenting with inserting a tampon.

You're almost there! The ninth blog post in this ten-part series can be found right here.

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About Alyssa Tait

Alyssa runs Equilibria Physiotherapy & Nutrition, a clinic focusing on integrative solutions for pelvic health issues including all types of pelvic pain, bladder and bowel control issues, fertility, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Alyssa’s website www.equilibriahealth.com.au is an information hub related to all things relating to the function of the female pelvis.

She aims to help as many people as possible restore balance to their pelvis through education, effective treatment and empowering lifestyle choices.

Alyssa enjoys playing the clarinet and rollerblading, though (much to the gratitude of her patients), not while she is consulting.

Connect with Alyssa  |  Facebook  |  Google Plus | linkedin | Twitter

Ten Ways to Make Using Your Vaginal Dilators Less Unappealing

Posted: Wednesday, June 17, 2015 at 12:57:08 PM EST by Alyssa Tait

Get Acquainted With Them

In vaginismus and painful sex, using dilators is often part of your rehab program.

Let’s face it, anything unfamiliar can be a bit scary. A new experience is always a bit daunting, even when it’s positive. And it makes sense from an evolutionary sense to be cautious when encountering a new object, even if it ends up being good for you.

It’s natural to feel some trepidation about starting work with your dilators.

As it is, you’re probably feeling a bit nervous or anxious already. You have been experiencing difficulty using tampons and possibly painful sex, and your super smart brain is working overtime to warn you of any other possible dangers out there.

(It’s great to have the ultra-developed brain of a human being, which learns from experience and tries to look out for you. But this is one situation where you’re going to have to convince your brain you’re in no danger of harm, and that trying something new – using dilators – is actually going to help you.)

I’ve already talked about how naming your dilators can help. Another important step in convincing your brain that using dilators is actually ok is to get acquainted with them.

Get to know your dilators! Get a bit more familiar with them!

This uses a concept known among psychologists and pain therapists as “graded exposure”.

Graded exposure is the opposite of throwing yourself in the deep end. It’s just dipping your toe in the water, realising that the water is a bit cold but won’t kill you, and gradually dipping more and more of your body in. This way, you get used to it. You don’t think you can do it when you start, but you take small steps to give you confidence.

What are some things you can do to get acquainted with dilators?

One of the best things you can do to get to know any object is just to hold it.

When you are just using your eyes, your brain works overtime in dreaming up all kinds of intimidating thoughts. If you use your other senses, such as touch, it takes away that sense of a “foreign object”.

So take out your dilator kit, and hold them one at a time. Start with the smallest.  Feel how smooth it is. Feel its temperature.

Place it against the skin of your arm to get a sense of how it feels to the body.

You can do this as gradually as you like. You may want to keep the bigger ones hidden away for a while if they are psyching you out. There is no reason you need to store all the dilators together. You can even start by just keeping the small one somewhere you see it, like your underwear drawer, so that your brain gets lots of “incidental exposure”.

There is research showing that if you have seen a stranger before – without realising – when you next see them you unconsciously rate them as more friendly. I can’t see why dilators would be any different! The more you see them, the less scary they will be.

Even more powerful would be to store them with something appealing, unexpected or humorous.

You could store your dilator in your sock drawer, in a zany sock or a lacy stocking. This will automatically make your brain have more positive associations with it.

You could use it as a jewellery or ring stand on your dresser.

You could keep them with your knitting needles. (Even casting on a few stitches to them while they’re waiting to be used, in your favourite colour yarn).

Or even in a bowl of fake fruit on your dresser!

These suggestions might sound silly, but that’s exactly why they work. They shock the brain into a different mode and remove the “threat” associated with the dilators. In pain science, this is called “homuncular refreshment”. It’s a legitimate technique!

So think like the experts.

Start yourself on some graded exposure to dilators, using homuncular refreshment!

More about graded exposure in the next instalment. In the meantime, you might want to refresh your memory on some other cute ideas of getting used to your dilators in my first post in this series.

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About Alyssa Tait

Alyssa runs Equilibria Physiotherapy & Nutrition, a clinic focusing on integrative solutions for pelvic health issues including all types of pelvic pain, bladder and bowel control issues, fertility, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Alyssa’s website www.equilibriahealth.com.au is an information hub related to all things relating to the function of the female pelvis.

She aims to help as many people as possible restore balance to their pelvis through education, effective treatment and empowering lifestyle choices.

Alyssa enjoys playing the clarinet and rollerblading, though (much to the gratitude of her patients), not while she is consulting.

Connect with Alyssa  |  Facebook  |  Google Plus | linkedin | Twitter

Best Ways to Help a Tampon Go In Step 9

Posted: Tuesday, August 2, 2016 at 7:52:39 AM EST by Alyssa Tait

Use Vaginal Trainers or Dilators

Well done for getting this far in the series about making tampons easier! If you have missed any of the episodes on this channel, start here at the first post and work your way through.

If you are still having troubles, it may be worth changing tack a little. It may be worth trying something other than a tampon in order to achieve the goal of being able to use tampons. What am I talking about? Let me explain.

A tampon is designed to be absorbent. That’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? But this fact may actually be part of the difficulty you have. Tampons are kind of fuzzy and furry. They are usually made of cotton or rayon, or a combination. The unintended effect of this is to increase friction. When you try to put the tampon in, it might feel slightly scratchy. It might feel like it’s dragging the skin inside.

Now imagine you had a tampon shaped object that was perfectly smooth. Smooth and flat, like glass or ice. There’s a reason it’s easiest to ice skate on ice, not grass! Smooth, flat surfaces like glass or ice are a lot more slippery and cause less friction.

Now, I’m not suggesting you try to insert an “icypole” or “Popsicle”. But I do have good news. There are these things called dilators, which are tube-shaped objects usually made of very smooth plastic. They are designed exactly for this purpose – to allow the vagina to comfortably expand. They are used for certain medical conditions, including vaginismus and vaginal agenesis.

I see a lot of women who have difficulty inserting tampons, and we work together on a “dilator program” – gradually learning to insert a dilator with relaxed muscles, and keep the muscles relaxed. Over time, they progress to larger dilators as each one gets easier. Most women find using tampons easy after doing this program.

Freaked out about the concept of vaginal dilators? Click here to start reading my blog post series about Ways to Make Your Dilators Less Unappealing.

Vaginal dilators are easy to get online. It’s just usually a case of “too many choices”! A pelvic floor physiotherapist is the best health professional to give you advice on what to choose.

And here is the finish line! Click here for the final post in this blog series.

Best Ways to Help a Tampon Go In Step 10

Posted: Monday, February 29, 2016 at 1:02:00 PM EST by Alyssa Tait

Time to fix the issue once and for all!

I hope you have been following this series about solutions for the problem of being unable to put a tampon in. If not, head straight back to the start to not miss a thing!

I have devoted 9 individual blog posts to different tips to make it easier to put a tampon in, including using a mirror, picking the best position, relaxing your pelvic floor muscles, not being squeamish, using your finger, lubricating the tampon like crazy, picking the best time of your period, considering using a "sex toy" to help, and using vaginal dilators as trainers.

But I've kept the best one for last!

(Mainly because if the other tips have worked so far, you won't need this one - but this is the most sure-fire way to solve the problem if the other tips haven't worked yet!)

My very best tip on solving the problem of being unable to put a tampon in is this:                 

Work with an expert.

This may sound strange - even outlandish - but let me explain.

If you just can't get that reverse park, you would work with a driving instructor, wouldn't you?

If you can't get the technique naturally when learning butterfly, you would ask for the expertise of a swimming teacher, wouldn't you?

The problem is, as young girls and women, we often don't have an obvious "expert" on women's issues at our fingertips. We might be too embarrassed to ask our friends, assuming they can all do it already. We might be too intimidated to ask the doctor. This goes for whether the problem is putting in a tampon or successfully having sex with penetration - getting a penis in the vagina.

Well, great news.

There are experts out there - they are called pelvic floor physiotherapists.

We not only understand the anatomy of the area in detail, but we have the experience to help you overcome these problems that other health professionals may lack. Best of all, we are a pretty nice bunch of people! (I'm not just saying this. Most pelvic floor physiotherapists move into this field because of a great compassion for women with these troubles. Many women's health physios even have first-hand experience with all sorts of women's troubles. While we won't spill the beans on that, it does give us a lot of understanding and you will find that we put you at ease.)

So don't be nervous! Find a pelvic floor physiotherapist to help you with this. Helping women successfully put tampons in is part of our job description. Wherever you live, you can ring your national physiotherapy organisation and ask how to find a pelvic floor physiotherapist with the training and experience to help you.

If you are in or near (or can get to) Brisbane, Australia, I would be more than happy to help you overcome this problem and put it behind you so it stops interfering with your life!

Make an appointment without delay!

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About Alyssa Tait

Alyssa runs Equilibria Physiotherapy & Nutrition, a clinic focusing on integrative solutions for pelvic health issues including all types of pelvic pain, bladder and bowel control issues, fertility, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Alyssa’s website www.equilibriahealth.com.au is an information hub related to all things relating to the function of the female pelvis.

She aims to help as many people as possible restore balance to their pelvis through education, effective treatment and empowering lifestyle choices.

Alyssa enjoys playing the clarinet and rollerblading, though (much to the gratitude of her patients), not while she is consulting.

Connect with Alyssa  |  Facebook  |  Google Plus | linkedin | Twitter
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