Problems using tampons?

This is more common than you might think! Many women choose not to use them. They may find tampons difficult to use at the outset, when they first start using them, or problems using tampons may develop even when they used to find them fine to use before.

To work out likely causes of the problem – and therefore the solutions – we need to look at the main symptoms.

Problems Using Tampons: I can’t get the tampon to go in!

Many young women, when they first start using tampons, find that getting them in is not as simple as it seems in the instructions in the tampon packet! You might find you try every position they recommend: sitting on the toilet seat, standing with one leg up on the toilet seat, or lying down, and nothing seems to make a difference. You start wondering whether you are trying to put it in the right place…if only there was a map of the territory!


Study a map of the area – that is, a lifelike picture or photograph of the vulva! These are available in wonderful educational books such as The V Book and A New View of A Woman’s Body. Even better, take a closer look at the actual territory in question: use a large hand mirror to have a look at your own vulva! (Alternatively, lying in front of the mirror door of your wardrobe works well.) This may sound very ”1970s women’s lib”, but believe it or not, the feminists started encouraging women to do this for a good reason! If you don’t know what your vulva looks like, how are you going to know what’s normal for you? Finally, you need to investigate the territory. Have a look and see where the vaginal opening is. Experiment with gently inserting your finger. If you can insert your finger, you know where you’re going when you start to use tampons.

Problems Using Tampons: I know where my vagina is, but it just plain hurts to put the tampon in!

This is incredibly common in the women I see. I see women of all ages who describe how, when they first started to use tampons, it was painful and difficult. Some of them never persisted because they were so put off by this. Don’t worry! You’re not alone. If you do find it hurts, you probably have what is known as ‘’high-tone pelvic floor muscles’’. This means your pelvic floor muscles are too tense at rest, in the same way as someone working on the computer too much has high-tone neck and shoulder muscles. This makes them sore, tight and tense. No wonder the tampon won’t go in!


Sometimes pushing your tummy out gently when you try to push it in will help. But if it doesn’t, don’t push it! You would benefit from seeing a pelvic floor physiotherapist specialising in pelvic floor pain. (This is our forte here at Equilibria!) You may have what is known as vaginismus, which is spasm of the pelvic floor muscles. This has many causes and you need the help and guidance of an expert.

Watch this space for Part II: When tampons won’t stay in.

Problems using tampons is very common in the women I see. Make an appointment with me at Equilibria if this is a problem for you.



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