Most girls use sanitary pads for a while after getting their period for the first time. However, it’s only natural to get interested in using tampons instead of pads at some point. Tampons are not everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s perfectly fine. But, for some, they can be a considerably better option than pads. Before they start using tampons regularly, teen girls need to get familiar with them and learn how to put a tampon in properly.

Don’t hesitate to take your teen to the gynecologist when they first get their period. You can always count on thorough OBGYN care in Sarasota, FL, for all gynecological matters in every stage of life.

What Are Tampons?

Just like pads, tampons are designed to absorb menstrual blood during one’s period. Tampons are also made from cotton and rayon that can collect menstrual blood. The actual absorbent material that goes into the vagina is positioned inside the cardboard or plastic applicator. Basically, unused tampons appear to have two kinds of “barrels” – an outer one that holds it and the inner, thinner one, which is essentially a tube used to push the tampon inside the vagina. When the tampon is inserted, there’s a cord that will hang out of the vagina. That cord is used for easy pulling and removal of the used tampon.

Some tampon brands don’t have an applicator. These are inserted with the index finger. However, for a teen girl using a tampon for the first time, it might be better to start with ones that come with an applicator. Keep in mind that while there are pads that are also designed to collect and absorb vaginal discharge, tampons should only be used for menstrual blood.

Again, just like in the case of pads, there are different tampon sizes and absorbency levels. Which tampon sizes a girl may need will highly depend on her flow during the period, meaning it’s likely to change. The typical tampon sizes include:

  • Lite, for the very beginning and end of the period, when the flow is very light
  • Regular/Normal, often used for the middle of the period
  • Super, which is commonly used for the heaviest flow days
  • Super Plus, for really heavy flows

Young Woman Holding Menstruation Tampon in Hand

How to Put a Tampon In

It’s only natural for a teen to feel uncertain before trying to use a tampon for the first time. You can go over the instructions on how to put a tampon in that comes on the box together. Be very open with your teen daughter, and they will feel more inclined to ask questions if they have any. In general, most tampon boxes show clear illustrations when it comes to inserting them, removing them, and throwing them away.

Most women tend to insert a tampon while sitting on a toilet. However, this position may prove to be too challenging for a teen girl who’s trying to learn the technique that suits her. Therefore, it might be helpful to suggest some other positions, such as squatting or keeping one leg elevated on a stool. Also, offer the teenager a small mirror to see where the tampon has to go.

Follow these steps to insert a tampon properly:

  • Pick out the smallest tampon size for the first try
  • Make sure to wash your hands
  • Find the vaginal opening and insert the applicator inside it
  • Hold the applicator with a middle finger and a thumb, and then use your index finger to push the thin applicator tube and get the tampon inside the vagina
  • Remove the applicator and throw it away

Can You Sleep with a Tampon In?

You can sleep with a tampon in if you’re careful with how you use it. Menstrual flow tends to get heavier during the night, especially in the first couple of days of starting the period. It’s important to mention that tampons should be changed more frequently than pads when on period, e.g., every four to six hours. Some girls will have to change their regular-size tampons every two hours if their flow is heavier. Leaving a bloody tampon in for longer than eight hours can be very dangerous and even cause Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).

As we all know, the recommended sleep time range is anywhere between six and eight hours per night. In that sense, you can sleep with a tampon in for eight hours, but make sure to choose a larger tampon size with a higher absorbency level. Insert it just before going to bed and remove the used tampon first thing in the morning when you go to the bathroom.

How to Remove a Used Tampon?

As mentioned, the frequency of changing tampons will depend on the heaviness of the menstrual flow. The general practice is to change them every four to six hours, but sometimes it may be necessary to do so more often. In order to safely remove a bloody tampon, it’s essential to wash your hands and then try to relax your body and muscles as much as possible. Removing it may prove to be a tad challenging if you’re too tense.

You can sit on the toilet or squat to make this process easier. Grab the tampon string and pull it gently until it’s entirely out. Proceed to wrap the bloody tampon in toilet paper and then throw it away. Never try to flush your tampons in the toilet as they can clog it.

Female Hand Hold Tampon on Blue Background

Is It Safe for Teen Girls to Use Tampons?

There have been some false beliefs that women who never had sexual intercourse shouldn’t use tampons. If they use the right tampon size and absorbency level that fits them and change their tampons frequently, teenage girls can safely use tampons. However, a tampon simply cannot break the hymen. In that sense, there’s no reason why a teenage girl shouldn’t use them unless she simply doesn’t want to.

It’s also important to note that a tampon cannot get lost. It cannot move past the cervix, and it will always remain within the vaginal walls. The string is there to help you pull it out, but even if you cannot locate the string, you can easily remove a tampon with your fingers. Removing it with fingers might be a tad uncomfortable, but it’s nothing unusual, dangerous, or impossible.

Considering that they’re practically invisible and very compact to carry around, many girls, especially active ones, prefer to use tampons over pads. Not to mention that there’s no pad line to worry about when wearing tighter clothes. However, it’s crucial to learn and maintain proper hygienic practices when it comes to using tampons. While TSS these days is extremely rare, leaving a tampon in for too long can definitely pose a danger to one’s health. It’s essential that girls get familiar with their bodies and menstruation from the very start of this experience. That said, feel free to reach out to us at University Park OBGYN, and we can promise that teenagers and adults alike will feel perfectly comfortable during their appointments.