Why Does Tampon Insertion Hurt?
By: Kate McCallum
Like most girls getting their periods for the first time, you have likely heard horror stories about using tampons - from leaving the tampon in for too many hours, to severe discomfort when inserting the tampon. Most girls feel unprepared to insert a tampon for the first time, and struggle to understand the difficult instructions found in tampon boxes, or the misleading advice from equally inexperienced friends. After repeated uncomfortable attempts at inserting the tampon, you might feel discouraged or confused. At Apricotton, our goal is to provide big sister advice about avoiding uncomfortable tampon encounters. We have compiled the most common reasons that you may be facing tampon troubles - and helpful solutions to resolve these issues!
Anxiety is Getting in the Way
Nervousness can cause your muscles to contract, and make inserting tampons very uncomfortable. The most effective way to ease these nerves is by taking a deep breath, reminding yourself that you are capable of doing this, and trying to insert the tampon with confidence - however many attempts it may take!
You are Inserting the Tampon at the Wrong Angle or Depth
You should not feel any pain or discomfort after inserting a tampon successfully. If you find that you are experiencing pain, it is likely that the tampon was not inserted deep enough. When inserting the tampon, your fingers should eventually come into contact with your skin - this is a good rule of thumb for proper insertion. It is also important to insert the tampon at the correct angle. A great approach is by aiming the tampon towards your lower back, rather than facing directly perpendicular to your spine. These strategies will promote comfort during and after insertion.
You Have a Light Period Flow
If you try to insert a high absorbency tampon at the beginning or end of your period, or if you have a regular light flow, you will likely suffer painful friction when inserting the tampon. The best solution to this dilemma is choosing tampons which match your flow. This may involve sizing down to a less-absorbent style of tampon.
You Are Using the Wrong Type of Tampon
While there are many big brands occupying the tampon industry, it is important to remember that everyone has different needs and preferences when it comes to tampons. You may have successfully implemented the strategies listed above, but are still facing pain during or after tampon insertion. If this is true for you, you may be experiencing skin sensitivity due to fragrances, dyes or other irritating materials in your tampon. Consider trying a more organically formulated, or fragrance free tampon - this will likely resolve your troubles.
You Are Using the Wrong Applicator Style
Just like the formulation of the tampon itself, there is no universal applicator style that works for everyone. Tampon applicators range from plastic, to cardboard to none at all! There are a variety of styles to choose from - don’t be afraid to try a variety, and determine which style makes you the most comfortable.
Don’t Get Discouraged
A common experience for young women who begin their periods is struggling to master tampon insertion, feeling frustrated, and opting for other menstrual products. While pads, diva cups and menstrual underwear are all perfectly useful items during your period, it is important to remember that tampon insertion takes practice, and challenges in the short-run should not discourage you from using tampons in the long-run. Expect that you will likely dispose of many unused tampons when practicing insertion - it is a new skill that takes time to become comfortable with.
About the Author
Kate is a business student at Western University, who enjoys hiking and canoeing in her free time. As the oldest of three sisters, Kate has a passion for sharing advice, and helping girls build a sense of self-confidence.