How to Insert a Tampon - Step-by-Step Guide

A step-by-step guide to comfortably inserting a tampon

Tampon and Calendar
Nancy R. Cohen/Photodisc/Getty Images

Most women will want to use a tampon at some time. While you have options beyond using a tampon, there are some significant advantages tampons have over pads. Without the bulk of a pad, tampons can make you feel more comfortable. Especially when playing sports, swimming, or wearing form-fitting clothes. 

A properly inserted tampon should not cause any discomfort. Here's how to comfortably use tampons.

Inserting a Tampon

  1. Relax! Try not to worry about inserting the tampon right the first time. If you are tense, it will make insertion harder.
  2. The best time to practice inserting a tampon is during the heavy part of your period. The tampon should glide inside your vagina easily without any discomfort.
  3. Decide if you prefer to insert the tampon standing or sitting. If sitting is your preference, sit on the toilet. If you want to try standing, you can put your foot on the ledge of the bathtub to support yourself.
  4. Hold the tampon applicator in your right hand if you are right-handed, or left if left-handed.
  5. Use your thumb and middle finger to hold the bottom of the larger, outer tube.
  6. Point the tip of the applicator toward your vagina, facing slightly towards the back. The smaller tube should be pointed away from your body.
  7. Use your other hand to open your vagina.
  8. Place the tip of the applicator at the opening of your vagina.
  1. Gently push the smaller end of the applicator in until it is completely inside the larger outer tube. This pushes the tampon into your vagina and out of the tube.
  2. With your thumb and middle finger still on the outer tube, release the smaller tube and let the strings dangle freely.
  3. Gently pull the two tubes out together.
  1. Dispose of the applicator according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  2. When you are ready to remove the tampon, gently pull the string down and forward. The used tampon should be disposed of as per the manufacturer's instructions.

Tips and Tricks

If you are having trouble getting the tampon in, try lubricating the rounded end of the tampon with a water-based lubricant such as KY Jelly. Don't use petroleum jelly. Always read the manufacturer's instructions before using any type of tampon. For your first few times, you may also want to try getting tampons with a plastic applicator as opposed to a cardboard applicator. These can be easier to insert. You should avoid non-applicator tampons until you are comfortable. 

If the tampon feels uncomfortable it is probably not inserted far enough into your vagina. Try again with a new tampon. Do not practice when you don't have your period. Removing a dry tampon can be extremely uncomfortable.

If you don't like using tampons, you can also use sanitary pads, reusable cloth pads, a menstrual cup, or specialized underwear meant to absorb your flow.

If inserting a tampon causes pain or leaving it in causes pain, speak to your doctor. Some women with dyspareunia (painful sex) may find it difficult to insert a tampon comfortably.    

Continue Reading