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‘Can You Sleep with a Tampon In?’ And 21 Other FAQs About Tampons Answered

You’re about to have your period but are still not decided on the feminine hygiene product to use. You can opt for pads, menstrual cups or tampons. Below are the answers to some questions you might have about tampons by Tanya Tantry, practicing ob-gyn and medical consultant at Flo. They ought to be helpful in your decision to choose a hygiene product that’s suitable for you.
A tampon

How do tampons work?

Tampons are a means of hygiene that you insert inside your vagina. They work by absorbing fluids including menstrual blood. If you choose and use correctly, it can be the best mean of hygiene for you. It is recommended to renew a tampon every 4 to 8 hours in order to avoid toxic shock syndrome.

How to start using a tampon?

You don't need any special preparation for using a tampon. You can use it as soon as you get your first period, even if you are a virgin or not. Proper insertion is important for comfortable usage and avoiding any possible leaks. 

What is the best age to start using tampons?

Actually, there is no minimum age to start using a tampon. You may start using them as soon as you have the first menstruation. You can use them if you are a virgin as well. However, make sure that you have chosen a proper size and learned how to insert and take it out correctly.

Does it hurt to use tampons for the first time?

You can experience slight discomfort while inserting the tampon for the first time. However, if you choose the right size and insert it correctly, you won’t feel any pain or feel the tampon at all.

How to choose the right tampon size?

The tampon size depends on its absorbency level which varies from junior to super plus. To choose the right tampon size you should take into account such issues like how heavy your flow is, whether you are a virgin and whether you have gone through vaginal labor or not.

Choose a small one if you haven’t yet had vaginal labor or if you’re still a virgin. It’s important to note that if the size of the tampon is right, you will not feel it during any activities throughout the day or at night.

How to use a tampon?

If you have decided to use tampons during your period, first familiarize yourself with its pros and cons. Choose a proper size and absorbance rate depending on your flow. Learn how to insert and replace it properly. 

Generally, try to choose a tampon with the lowest possible absorbance. Remember the most important rule; don't forget to change tampons every 4 to 8 hours in order to avoid the possibility of toxic shock syndrome.

How to insert a tampon?

Here’s how to put a tampon in: 

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Find a comfortable position (sitting on the toilet, standing knees open or standing one foot on the toilet).
  3. Hold the tampon between your index finger and thumb of one hand.
  4. Use the other hand to open the labia (the folds around the entrance of your vagina).
  5. Insert the top, thicker part of the applicator into the vagina.
  6. Press thinner half of the applicator upward your index finger.
  7. Pull out the applicator.

How to take a tampon out?

You should not leave a tampon in for more than six - eight hours because you increase the risk of getting TSS (toxic shock syndrome). Here are the steps to remove a tampon:

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Pull on the string. 
  3. Choose a comfortable position (sit or squat, or lie down).
  4. Insert a single finger while exhaling and try to feel your cervix than move backwards and try to catch the tampon. Remember that things like tampons and condoms may get stuck backwards (in posterior fornix) towards your spine.
  5. Call your doctor if can't take a tampon out.

A tampon hurts when I take it out. Is it normal?

You may experience some type of discomfort when you take a tampon out but it should not hurt. Make sure the size of the tampon you have chosen is right for you. Contact your doctor if the symptoms persist.

How long can I keep a tampon inside?

You should change your tampon every 4 to 8 hours if you have medium intensity flow. Take care of yourself through proper hygiene and don't let the tampon to be inside for more than 8 hours.

Does a tampon absorb water if you go swimming on your period?

Tampons and menstrual cups are very useful feminine sanitary products. They will absorb or collect all the menstrual blood before it can leak into the water. But a tampon doesn’t absorb water from the swimming pool if it is inserted properly. When you finish swimming, you should remove the used tampon and insert a new one.

Can I use a tampon if I'm a virgin?

Any girl that has period can use a tampon. If the right size of tampons is chosen, it doesn't make you lose your virginity since the hymen has one or more holes to let blood through naturally. Sometimes, however, the hymen hole is too small for a tampon. Consult a doctor to find out what hygiene product options will suit you best.

Is it normal to never use a tampon?

There are many feminine hygiene products available on the market nowadays. You are free to choose the product that best fits your needs. That is why it’s absolutely okay to never use a tampon.

Is it comfortable to use tampons?

Tampons are very popular hygiene products. If you correctly choose the size and insert it properly, you should not feel any discomfort. You actually should not feel it at all if the size is proper and it is inserted correctly.

What are the pros and cons of tampons?

Tampons are very popular female hygiene products. A tampon is inserted in the vagina and absorbs menstrual blood. Tampons are small in size, cause no wet feeling and allow for freedom of movement. You can not worry about leaking while training or going to the swimming pool if you use a tampon. Thus using tampons doesn’t let your period interfere with your lifestyle.

Conversely, if general rules of hygiene are not followed or if the tampon is left in the vagina for more than 8 hours, they can put you at risk of toxic shock syndrome. Some women find it difficult to insert them and forget to change it when needed. However, if you choose and insert it properly, it will not bring you any discomfort. When you change tampons in time, they are safe. 

Can I sleep with a tampon?

You can sleep with a tampon. However, keep in mind that you cannot keep a tampon in for more than eight hours. You should, therefore, insert it right before you go to bed and replace immediately after waking up.

Do tampons dry you up?

Tampons do not dry you up. Tampons work by absorbing menstrual blood and do not dry up your vagina. A tampon will expand after soaking up the menstrual blood and should be removed every 4 to 8 hours.

How to convince your mother to let you use tampons?

Talk to your mother about all the pros and cons of tampons. Explain to her why you want to switch to using tampons and why your current hygiene option doesn't suit you. Tell her that you can use tampons if you are a virgin. Convince her that you know how to choose, insert, and use tampons. Be respectful and make a list of arguments to use before starting the conversation.

What are the risks of using tampons?

Tampons are generally safe to use. But there are still some of the risks of using tampons such as the toxic shock syndrome. Though it sounds threatening, it is rare with around 1 to 2 individuals in every 100 000 women. 

Sometimes tampons can get stuck inside. But if you choose, insert and change a tampon correctly, you will avoid these risks for sure.

How common is toxic shock syndrome?

Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a very serious condition. The good news is that it is very rare nowadays. Tampons have the highest risk of causing TSS among all the feminine sanitary products. For tampons, the TSS incidence is around 1 to 2 individuals in every 100 000 women. Remember to follow simple hygiene rules like changing your tampon every 4 to 8 hours and you will reduce the risk of TSS. 

How to avoid leaks with a tampon?

In order to avoid leaks while using tampons, follow some simple recommendations. Choose the right size and absorbency level of a tampon depending on your period flow. Insert a tampon properly and change it every 4 to 8 hours.

Are tampons better than pads?

Every hygiene product has its own pros and cons and it's up to a woman to choose her option. Some of the benefits of tampons or pads may suit one woman and not suit another. The main qualities you have to compare are safety, risks of leaking, and comfort.

If you choose either a pad or a tampon correctly, you will feel comfortable and reduce the risks of leaking. As for the safety, sanitary pads have almost no risk of TSS whereas tampons have a higher risk of TSS about 1 to 2 individuals in every100 000 which is actually not so often.

There are various feminine sanitary products to choose from, among which are tampons. They are comfortable and do a good job of absorbing menstrual blood during your period. However, they also have some disadvantages, chief of which is the slight chance of developing toxic shock syndrome.

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