How to insert a tampon

Tampons can be a scary thing, especially when you’ve never used one before. It can be a little daunting making the switch from pads to tampons but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t if you'd like to. We’re here to help you understand how best to use tampons, both applicator and naked. So let's get into it.

How to insert a tampon Riley

First things first, you should always wash your hands before inserting a tampon. Gotta keep those paws clean when they’re near the goods. It’s also important to know where the entrance to your vagina actually is. I know, I know, you’re like guys, that’s obvious - but you’d be surprised how many people haven’t explored their body by themselves. If you’ve never explored your body before attempting to insert a tampon, it’s not uncommon to insert the tampon into another hole instead of the vagina (yes we mean the butthole & no, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about). 

A quick tip on finding the vaginal opening is to use a hand mirror and simply spread the inner lips on the vulva. You’ll find an opening approx. 2 fingers below your urethral opening aka your pee hole. Your vaginal opening is toward the bottom of your vulva. Take a look at the illustration below:

Vulva Illustration, Riley period care

It’s so important to remember that our vaginas and vulvas are beautifully unique to us. So if yours doesn’t look very similar to the one above, then don’t worry! Everyone is different and unique in their own way. In fact, in 2008, British Artist Jamie McCartney created “The Great Wall of Vagina” by casting over 400 women's genitalia to show “normal vulva variety and combatting genital shame”. Check out a snapshot of his work below:

The great wall of vagina by Jamie McCartney

Anywho, let's get into it! When you first start to use tampons, it’s not unusual to begin with applicators because they can make the job a little easier until you gain more confidence. So let’s get started:

Applicator Tampons

Step 1: Wash your hands. Remove the applicator tampon from the wrapper. There’ll be an inner tube that you’ll need to pull down. The string should follow the inner tube and poke out from the bottom of it. Hold the applicator at the grooved ridge with your thumb and middle finger. 

Step 2: Place the rounded tip at the entrance to your vagina, pointed at a slight angle towards your lower back. Some people find sitting on the toilet or standing with one leg on the bath or toilet to be the most comfortable position to insert a tampon. 

Step 3: Push the outer tube into the vaginal opening until your finger and thumb touch the entrance of your vagina.

Step 4: Continue to hold the outer tube firmly & use your index finger to push the inner tube completely into the outer tube (sometimes you will hear a click which signals the inner tube is fully inserted). The tampon will be pushed into place meaning you are now able to remove the tube by sliding it out of the vagina. At all times your thumb and middle finger should be holding the outer tube. Once the outer tube is removed and the tampon is inserted, a small portion of the string should hang outside of the- just enough for you to be able to grab it for removal. 

Step 5: Wash your hands when finished and off you go!

Quick Tip: You shouldn't be able to feel the tampon - if it's uncomfortable then it isn't inserted far enough so you'll need to push it further into your vagina. You can do this by using your fingers or removing the tampon and starting again with another applicator tampon. Simply repeat the steps above if you’d like to start over.)


Naked Tampons - Non-Applicator Tampons

Step 1: Wash your hands. Remove the naked tampon from its wrapper and sit or stand in a comfortable position. Similar to inserting an applicator tampon, some women prefer to sit on the toilet or stand up and put one leg up on the toilet/bath to be the most comfortable position. 

Step 2:  Pull on the string at the bottom of the tampon so it hangs loose.

Step 3:  Hold the tampon in one hand and with your free hand, gently open the skin around the vaginal opening. This includes spreading the inner lips of your vulva. 

Step 4:  Find the dent in the tampon where the string is attached. Pull the string back and forth and around in a circle, to create a space for your finger. Hold the tampon with your thumb and middle finger. Using your index finger, push the tampon as high as you can into your vagina pushing towards your lower back.

Riley, inserting a tampon

Step 5: When the tampon is in right, you shouldn’t be able to feel it. If you can, you need to push it in a little bit further. Always make sure to keep the string hanging outside your body, just enough for you to grab onto so you can easily remove. Wash your hands and you're that’s it! 

Removing your tampon

It’s super important to remember that you should change your tampon every 4-6 hours depending on your flow. Some people use super tampons at the beginning of their period and change to regular as the days pass by and their flow starts to get lighter. If your tampon begins to leak or you begin to feel uncomfortable because you can now feel the tampon then it is time to change it.

When you’re removing the tampon make sure to wash your hands before you begin and then gently grab the string that was hanging outside of your body. Gently pull the string, at the slightly tilted angle you inserted the tampon, and slowly pull it out. Remember to never flush your tampons, see why from this blog post we prepared earlier ;) If you’re using Riley tampons, both the wrapper and the tampon are made from 100% organic cotton, meaning they’re biodegradable and will breakdown within 1 year, either in the compost or regular bin. 

Quick tip: Sometimes that little tampon string can be a little hard to find. If this happens to you, please don’t panic! It’s probably just slid slightly inside your vaginal opening. Gently insert your index finger & have a little feel around for it! You should be able to find the string. Gently guide the string down and out of your vagina, this’ll allow you to pull the string and remove your tampon safely. If you can’t find the string, definitely don’t insert another tampon but instead call your GP or a healthcare professional for some advice :) 

Staying cool, calm and collected is a sure way to have a seamless experience for inserting a tampon. If you’re stressed, you’re more likely to tense up(and not just your shoulders) making it more difficult and uncomfortable to insert a tampon. We know, relaxing is easier said than done, eh! But practice makes perfect!

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