Use the Information on the Packet (But Don’t Take It Too Seriously)

You’ve had trouble inserting tampons. You didn’t really know where you were going. Like the excellent TV ad, you didn’t know if you were going for the “wrong hole”. But now you’ve had a look. You used a mirror, you maybe looked at a diagram, and you think you’re getting to know the territory.

So again, I’m going to mention something obvious, but important. Have a look at the tampon packet. Read the instructions carefully.

And while we’re talking about the tampon packet, choose the smallest tampons you can. Even if you have a menstrual flow like a tropical tsunami, choose the mini tampons while you are still a rookie.

Applicator or no applicator? This is very much a matter of personal preference. I know a lot of women who have found the ones with the applicator easier to learn with. If you have any reluctance to put your finger in your vagina, the applicator tampons can be a great one to start with. However, a later goal (for a lot of reasons) would be for you to feel comfortable putting your finger in your vagina – more about that in a later post.

The applicator is nice and smooth. It also takes the guesswork out of how far to put the tampon in. Overall, I would probably recommend starting with applicator tampons.

So, back to the packet. Every packet of tampons will contain instructions. There is important safety information on it about toxic shock syndrome. Please, don’t get too caught up in this. While it is important for it to be there for legal reasons – and important to go by the guidelines recommended – it’s important not to get freaked out. This is a bit like not going ahead with minor surgery due to the long list of rare and serious complications that they, by law, need to read out to you. Tampons are very safe and will not harm you when used as recommended.

The instructions will give you a number of options for position to be in when inserting the tampon.

For a beginner, there are two positions I would recommend.

One is lying down in front of a mirror with your head fully supported on pillows, so your abs are not working. (Working your abs, like with “sit ups”, can make it harder for the tampon to go in.) This position is great, because you can see where the tampon is going, and use other body cues to help it on its miniature journey (more about this in future blog posts).

The second is standing up with one foot up and rested, say on the bath (or toilet lid). This is great because it separates your legs that little bit, and changes the angle of your vagina by tucking your pelvis under a little bit.

Don’t worry too much about the diagrams on the packet. It can be really hard to picture what’s going on inside. Sometimes too much talk of angles and directions makes inserting a tampon a bit too much like a bad memory of Maths class.

So in summary:

  1. Choose a mini applicator tampon.
  2. Don’t re-read the warnings on the packet until you’re a nervous wreck.
  3. Pick one of two helpful positions – reclined (lying down with head raised) or standing with one foot up on the bathtub.

In these positions, you can more easily work out what your vaginal muscles are doing and how to get them as relaxed and easy-going as possible – the topic of the next blog post in this series.


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