Your go-to tampon guide - just in time for summer

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

Summer was made for wearing dresses, rompers, bikini’s and swimsuits. But many women feel a little self-conscious during summer especially when they are on their periods. A pad isn’t the most comfortable thing to wear with your bathing suit or your gym gear, that’s why tampons were invented! 

We love tampons because they are perfect to use for almost everything occasion, whether it's hiking, taking part in sports, swimming or using as your day to day leakage protection, they are discreet. However, many women are unsure of how to use them and have a lot of questions about them.

Kotex's expert Midwife and Heath Educator Sister Burgie Ireland answers our FAQ's when it comes to tampons.  

How do I use a tampon?

Prepare: Before and after inserting a tampon, always make sure your hands have been washed and are super clean. It’s also a good idea to become familiar with your body as it’s easier to insert a tampon when you know where it’s going. Get into a comfortable position (maybe try standing with one foot on the edge of the bath or the toilet), grab a small mirror, and place it between your legs and have a look. Find your labia (the lips or folds of skin covering the entrance to your vagina) and gently spread it open with your fingers to find the entrance to your vagina. This is where the tampon goes in. 

Unwrap: To unwrap the tampon hold it firmly on either side of the dotted line and twist sharply in opposite directions. Remove the bottom piece of wrapper so that the string is exposed and pull the string so that it hangs down. Hold the tampon by the string and then remove the other half of the wrapper. Once you’ve unwrapped the tampon, make sure you don’t touch it too much or place it on any surface.

Insert: Tampons should be held at the end where the string is positioned. Try to stay as relaxed as possible so that the muscles around the vagina don’t tighten. Remember to stand with one leg on the toilet seat or a chair. Slant the tampon towards your lower back and ease it into your vagina by pushing it with your index finger as far as it will go. Just make sure you keep the tampon at an angle (45 degree angle) and don’t try and push it straight. This will help make things as easy and comfortable as possible. The string should also stay outside your body, so you can easily remove the tampon later.

How do I remove a tampon?

Removing a tampon is easy. Just pull on the string at the same 45 degree angle that you inserted the tampon. If you ever lose the string (this rarely happens but it could happen) don’t panic. All you need to do is get into the squatting position and gently remove the tampon with your fingers.

Can I insert a tampon too far?

No there is no chance of this. The cervix (the opening of your uterus) is too small for a tampon to fit through so there is no need to stress about this.

How often should I change a tampon?

It is best to change your tampon every three to four hours depending on your flow. You should never leave your tampon in for more than eight hours.

Will I still be a virgin if I use a tampon?

Yes, using a tampon does not affect your virginity. The hymen that partially covers the vaginal opening (which is usually intact for girls who have not had sex) is large enough to accommodate a tampon without being affected. 

Can I leave the tampon in overnight?

Tampons should never be left in for more than eight hours. It is recommended that you use a pad while you get your beauty sleep.

Can I go swimming or play sport while I have my period?

Of course! In fact, the more active you are the less likely you are to get cramps. If you are going swimming you will need to use a tampon. It's best to insert the tampon just before you go swimming and then change it once you are out of the water.

How do I know if I am using the right size tampon?

Tampons come in different sizes to fit your flow. Every woman is unique, and your period is as well, so there are different options to choose from. Tampons usually come in three different sized tampons; mini tampons for a light flow, normal tampons for a medium flow and super for a heavy flow.

So don’t let your period stop you from experiencing everything that summer has to offer, feel confident and enjoy the holidays. 

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