You’ve been using pads since you started your period and you’re finally ready to try using a tampon instead. Many women love the convenience and comfort of wearing tampons. When placed correctly, you can’t feel them, and you can even go for a swim while you’re on your period.
If you’re just starting out, picking the best tampon can be a challenge. There are so many options it can feel overwhelming. Don’t worry, your friends at Rael have your back. We’re like the awesome big sister you never had.
We’ll tell you everything you need to know about how tampons work, what your options are, and what tampons are the best for beginners.
How Do Tampons Work?
It’s normal to ask this question, especially if you’ve been wearing pads since you first started your period. Tampons work by absorbing your period flow inside your vagina.
Normally, you wear a pad, which absorbs your flow once it leaves your body. A tampon is a smaller, more compact device that fits inside your vagina and absorbs your period flow by using absorbent cotton. As it fills, it expands, and is then removed when it is full.
Do Tampons Hurt?
We know what you’re thinking, “It goes where?” It can seem intimidating to use a device that fits inside your body, but once you get the hang of it, using a tampon can be a real lifesaver in certain situations (like pool parties).
When inserted and used correctly, tampons don’t hurt. In fact, you shouldn’t even be able to feel them. If you can, it probably means the tampon isn’t inserted far enough. Don’t worry, a tampon can’t get lost inside your body.
How Long Do Tampons Last?
A tampon can last up to eight hours, but it’s not recommended to use a tampon that long. The FDA recommends changing your tampon every four to eight hours, but generally, you’ll want to change them every four to six to be safe.
If you leave a tampon in too long, you could risk getting a leak, which can become a messy (and embarrassing) situation.
What About Toxic Shock Syndrome?
You might have heard about toxic shock syndrome, or “TSS.” TSS is a rare but serious condition caused by a bacterial infection. Tampon use was once associated with an increased risk of TSS, but occurrences of TSS because of tampon use are extremely rare today.
You can protect yourself from TSS by always changing your tampon every four to six hours and wearing the appropriate absorbency that fits your flow. Tampons are perfectly safe when used correctly and removed timely.
What Are the Best Tampons for Beginners?
So many choices, how can you decide which is best for a newbie? It’s pretty simple. Tampons are categorized by size and applicator type.
Let’s talk about each and find out which are new-user friendly.
Applicators are devices that help you insert a tampon into your vagina. They have a plastic or cardboard sheath that covers the tampon, and a plunger-styled wand that allows you easily push the tampon into place.
Some tampons do not come with an applicator. This means you’ll be inserting the tampon using only your fingers. This can be difficult for new users, because it may feel too intimidating to push the tampon in far enough.
There are different styles of applicators:
Plastic. Plastic applicators usually have a rounded tip that covers the end of the tampon and allows for easy insertion. Plastic is also a much easier material to help ensure you position the tampon correctly so that you don’t feel it.
If you choose a plastic applicator, make sure you choose one that is BPA-free.
Cardboard. Cardboard applicators can be more difficult to insert, unless they have a rounded tip. Many cardboard applicators do not have a rounded tip that covers the end of the tampon, which can make it hard for a beginner to use.
Rael offers cardboard applicator tampons that have a protective, rounded tip and are environmentally friendly, too.
We recommend using a BPA-free, plastic applicator tampon for your first time. These tampons glide in easily and help ensure you stay comfortable.
Tampons come in various sizes ranging from junior or “lite” to ultra. Wearing the correct tampon size is important. If you wear a tampon that is too small for your flow, you’ll risk getting a leak. If you wear a tampon that is too absorbent, you place yourself at a slightly higher risk of developing TSS.
For beginners, a light or junior tampon works best. These tampons are generally very slim, and absorbent enough to last just a few hours. This makes insertion easy and can help you remember to change your tampon in a timely fashion.
Once you’re used to wearing tampons, you’ll probably want to switch to regular absorbency tampons. These tampons are slightly larger, and can remain absorbent longer, which you will likely find more convenient.
Other Things To Consider
While applicator and size are the most important factors to consider when picking your first tampon, there are some other options that are pretty important, too.
- Organic vs. Non-Organic. Some tampons contain harsh chemicals that have been shown to be harmful to your body. Some of these tampons even release formaldehyde. Organic, pure cotton tampons are an easy way to make sure you aren’t putting these chemicals near your most delicate area.
- Environmentally friendly. Using period care items that aren’t environmentally friendly can mean excess waste in landfills. Rael offers period care items that are environmentally conscious and help reduce your carbon footprint.
- Scented tampons. When it comes to scented tampons, just say no. Scented tampons contain undisclosed fragrance ingredients that could be harmful to your body and leave you feeling irritated. There’s no need for your tampons to be scented.
Now that you’ve got a great tampon selected for your first time, you’re ready to try it.
Tips and Tricks for First Timers
The tampons you purchase will have instructions inside to help you learn how to insert them properly. However, there are a few tips and tricks that can help make the process go a bit more smoothly.
Using a tampon for the first time doesn’t always go as smoothly as planned. Be patient with yourself and expect to use a few tampons before you’re finally able to get one inserted properly. Don’t be afraid to insert the tampon far enough so that you can’t feel it. Tampons can’t get lost inside your body.
If it doesn’t work the first time you try, throw away that tampon and try again. You can also try sitting or squatting in a different position .
Use a Lubricant
Being nervous makes inserting a tampon even more difficult. Using a water-based vaginal lubricant can help make a tampon glide in easily. You’ll only need to use a small drop, which you can place on the tip of your tampon applicator, or directly on your body.
Using a lubricant won’t interfere with your tampon’s absorbency and is completely safe.
Wear a Pantyliner
Even if you’re sure you have your tampon inserted correctly, it’s a great idea to wear a pantyliner for extra protection. Since it’s your first time, you also may not know when to change your tampon, which could cause a leak.
Pantyliners are ultra thin and virtually impossible to feel, but offer enough protection to make sure a leak doesn’t cause you to have a messy situation.
Other Period Care Options
Unlike our moms and grandmothers, we have a ton of options for period care. If tampons and pads aren’t your thing, you can opt for something different.
- Menstrual cup. A menstrual cup is a small, flexible cup that you insert into your vagina to contain your menstrual flow. Menstrual cups are reusable every month and last up to 12 hours per use.
Period underwear. Period underwear are special panties that look and feel like your everyday underwear, but have an absorbent core with a waterproof lining. You can wear period underwear with other period care products, or by themselves on lighter days.
Period underwear are also a great option for overnight protection.
When it comes to period care, you’ve got options, and Rael has the very best. Our products are holistic, and care for your body so you can have an amazing period.
Using a tampon for the very first time seems a little scary, but the more you use them the more natural it will feel. Picking a tampon with a plastic, rounded tip applicator, in a light absorbency is the best option for first timers.
Don’t get frustrated if it’s difficult to use a tampon the first time. With a little practice, you’ll get the hang of it. However, if tampons aren’t for you, there are numerous other period care options available from Rael.
The Facts on Tampons—and How to Use Them Safely | FDA
Toxic shock syndrome - Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic
New Tampon Testing Reveals Undisclosed Carcinogens and Reproductive Toxins | Womens Voices.org