Tampon Tips for Teens (And Other New Users)

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The tampon is one of the most convenient and one of the oldest women's feminine hygiene products. 

 Women have recognized the convenience of tampons for centuries. In fact, there is historical records showing that the ancient Egyptians were the first to use tampons. These tampons were made out of softened papyrus.

Fortunately, today’s women have better tampons to choose from than those first disposable tampons made from softened papyrus.

If you are a teen who is just getting used to having a period (and all the symptoms that come with it) a device like a tampon can be intimidating. 

Are Tampons uncomfortable to use?

The key to comfortable, secure protection during your period is proper insertion of the tampon in your vagina. Don’t worry if you don’t get it right the first time, it might take a few tries before you get a comfortable fit –- just keep trying and soon you’ll have a comfortable, secure fit every time! Tampons soak up menstrual blood internally before it leaves your vagina. Make sure to follow the instructions for tampon insertion that come in each package of tampons.

What about the applicator?

Most tampons come with applicators that help make it easier to insert them into your vagina. Tampon applicators may be made of cardboard or plastic. Always make sure to remove the tampon applicator from your vagina after inserting your tampon.

Every four to eight hours, depending on your flow, you need to change your tampon. All tampons come with a string on the end that you can pull on to remove used tampons.

Can a tampon get lost in my vagina?

Some girls and teens worry that a tampon could get lost in the vagina, or that it could slip into the uterus.

Don’t worry, tampons cannot get lost in the vagina or slip through the cervix and into the uterus. The small cervical opening allows menstrual blood pass through into the vagina but is not large enough to allow a tampon to enter the uterus.

Can I go swimming with a tampon?

Girls who enjoy swimming can continue to enjoy the activity even during menstruation by wearing tampons. Water won’t go in your vagina, and with tampons, you can feel free to go swimming even with your period.

Are there any risks ?

If you decide to use tampons during your period, the most important thing you need to remember is to use the proper absorbency tampon. That means using a tampon with the lowest level of absorbency for your flow. All tampons manufactured in the U.S. use standard absorbency guidelines.

Most girls and women can use tampons throughout their reproductive years without any problems. However, failure to change tampons often enough or using tampons with a higher than required absorbency label can put you at risk of developing toxic shock syndrome or TSS –- a rare and dangerous disease.

See also: How to Insert a Tampon

Updated by Andrea Chisholm MD


Getting Your Period; GirlsHealth.gov; http://girlshealth.gov/body/period.htm; accessed 12/30/2015.

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