What is a tampon?
A tampon is among the insertion period products that are small, soft and cylindrical in shape. They are designed to be pushed into the vagina, where they act as a plug and absorb the period blood before it exits the body.
There is a string attached at the end of a tampon that sticks out of your vagina after you have put the tampon in. This is the same string that is used to pull the tampon out while removing it from your body.
Is there a certain appropriate age for using tampons for the first time?
Ideally, you can start using a tampon as soon as you get your first period, which can be as early as 10 years old or slightly less. They can give you the freedom to engage in activities like swimming while menstruating and anyone who feels comfortable using insertion menstrual products can use them at whatever age they wish to.
What should you consider when choosing your first tampon?
When choosing a tampon, it is important to consider a few factors, especially if it’s your first time. There is a wide variety available in the market and it can appear as a daunting task to make an appropriate choice.
But, with a little guidance from reliable sources, you should be able to make a choice that fits you and your body completely. So, here’s what you need to consider while choosing your first tampon:
- Size - Tampons usually come in three different sizes, though that can vary from one brand to another. There is a light flow or regular kind, which is designed to absorb less blood during your menses. So, if it’s your first day, or if you bleed light in general, you can go for this size. Then there comes the moderate to heavy flow types which have a higher absorption capacity. They are slightly thicker and are designed for your heavy flow days, so pick one if that suits you.
- Type - You will find tampons in the market which are made from synthetic materials, probably with added fragrance. It’s best to avoid this kind as they can increase your chances of getting an infection or an irritated vulva or vagina. The other kind is made of sustainable materials like organic cotton such as the Carmesi Tampons which are made of 100% organic cotton and are designed to be soft and irritation-free.
Knowledge level - Before using anything, especially products that go inside your body, it is important to do thorough research in order to figure out if it’s suitable for you. You should also be aware of the possible risks like TSS, which may happen if you leave a tampon in for longer than advised. It is also important to know the variety available so you can make an informed decision about the kind to go for.
How do you use a tampon safely?
Tampons are fairly easy to use once you get the hang of it, but there are certain things that you should keep in mind in order to use them safely:
Once you have selected a tampon that suits your needs, it’s time to start using one:
- Wash your hands - The first and foremost thing to do is wash your hands, preferably in lukewarm water with soap. This will make sure your hands are clean and germ-free and will minimize the possibility of contracting an infection.
- Push the base of the tampon with your index finger - Keep your index finger at the base of the tampon and hold it on the sides with your thumb and middle finger. This ensures the best possible grip, which facilitates easy insertion.
- Relax your muscles - If this is your first time, it is quite possible that you are feeling somewhat nervous. But, when you feel tense, your vaginal muscles also tend to contract, making insertion painful. Take a deep breath to relax and remember that this doesn’t have to be painful. If it helps, use some water to wet your vaginal area to create some lubrication for a painless and easy insertion.
- Push the tampon in - Once you are ready, push the tampon in with your index finger while using the other two for support. You will know that it’s properly inside once you can no longer feel anything but a portion of the string sticking out.
It’s very important to remember that you should not keep a tampon in for more than 8 hours, otherwise you increase your chances of getting a rare infection called the toxic shock syndrome (TSS), which can sometimes be potentially fatal. Other than that, you can change your tampons anywhere from 2 to 5 hours, depending on your flow. When removing a tampon, just follow the steps below:
- Wash your hands - Again, it is very important to wash your hands with soap and water before attempting to remove a tampon.
- Relax your muscles - Take a deep breath, relax your vaginal muscles to make the removal process easy.
- Pull the string - Gently tug at the string and keep pulling at it till the entire tampon is out. You should never rush this process, as you can end up hurting yourself or breaking the string, which can make removal more difficult.
Dispose of it safely - Once you have successfully removed the tampon, wrap it in a newspaper or biodegradable bag and throw it along with other dry waste. Never flush it down the toilet as it can result in clogging.
Does it affect your virginity?
Growing up in a society where the hymen is seen as a symbol of virginity, it is natural to have some concerns that insertion menstrual products may affect your virginity. While the tampon can stretch the hymen to an extent, it is important to remember that it has nothing to do with your virginity, which, again, is a social construct.But, if you are still concerned, it is worth noting that your virginity is only affected if you engage in sexual activities with a partner and menstrual products or even masturbation cannot affect that in any way.