Tampon Trouble: Use Vaginal Trainers or Dilators

Well done for getting this far in the series about making using a tampon 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 furry. They are usually made of cotton or rayon, or a combination. This causes increased 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 iceblock. 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. (This is one possible condition you can have when sex hurts, but there are many other reasons as you’ll read here.)

I see a lot of women who have difficulty inserting a tampon, 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.

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. You can read more about this in my last post in this series.


  • (07) 3277 0226

  • (07) 3277 0216

  • 12 Edna St,
    Salisbury Queensland 4107

Get the eBook

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Receive the latest news on women’s health straight in your mailbox.