With several feminine hygiene and sanitary products making to the market such as tampons, menstrual cups, reuable sanitary pads and whatnot, women have started exploring their options beyond just sanitary napkins. Here, in this article, we are going to inform you ladies all about tampons, its usage, types, how to insert and remove a tampon, its disposal, how safe a tampon is, its precautions, etc.

Let’s get started!

What Is A Tampon?

It has long been used in the western world. It is inserted into the vagina to absorb menstrual flow when women undergo their menstrual cycle. They are cylindrical in shape and can be made up of cotton, rayon, or a blend of the two. Slowly, tampons are making their way to Indian markets as well since the advantages they offer as compared to pads are huge.

Types of Tampons

We can divide it based on different criteria. Two major criteria available are:

Criteria 1: Tampon Absorbency Levels

Before you buy a tampon, you can check its absorbency level on the packet. The absorbency level may vary from brand to brand. However, these are some standard levels:

  • Light absorbency
  • Regular absorbency
  • Super absorbency
  • Super Plus absorbency

Many first time users are often confused as to how to decide the right tampon size. As a general rule, the heavier your period is, the bigger your tampon should be. In most of the menstrual cycles, the menstrual flow goes on decreasing. Thus, it is recommended for women that as your flow becomes lighter, you use the one with less absorbency to avoid any chances of toxic shock syndrome (TSS).

Criteria 2: With Or Without Applicator

There are two basic types available: digital tampons and applicator tampons.

There are two types of applicators available:

Plastic applicators generally offer the smoothest entry and are great for first-timers.

Cardboard applicator’s shape is the same as that of their plastic counterparts, but are more environmentally friendly. They tend to be harder to insert than plastic applicators but can be a  good choice if you are on a budget or want an easy way to help out the environment.

Finally, there are tampons without an applicator. These are inserted into the vagina with fingers. This can be messy and tricky for a beginner. They are also the cheapest and smallest option.

If you are using a tampon for the first time, it is preferred that you use it with an applicator.

How To Use A Tampon?

Step 1: Wash your hands firstly and get into a comfortable position. You can either squat, put one leg up, or sit on the toilet with your knees apart.

Step 2: If you are using it with an applicator, gently insert the applicator into your vagina. Hold the applicator plunger with help of your thumb and middle finger. Place the applicator tip into your vagina. Now, gently slide it all the way into your vagina until your fingers touch your body.

Step 3: Then, push the plunger all the way up. This will release the tampon. Gently pull out the applicator. The tampon should now be inserted at its precise place with a string hanging outside.

Remember, inserting it in your vagina is more comfortable and easy if you’re relaxed. If your muscles are tensed, getting it in might turn into an uphill task.

Advantages of using Tampons

  • The biggest advantage is that you can go swimming.
  • This menstrual product is not as messy as sanitary napkins.
  • Lets you sleep in any position you like during periods.
  • No fear of getting lost as it has a string attached to it.
  • Removing it is easy as it involves pulling a string only.
  • You don’t have to remove it to pee. Simply hold the string to a side and you are ready to go.

Disadvantages Of Tampons

The one and most talked about disadvantage is the toxic shock syndrome. However, it is avoidable if you are careful and follow the guidelines of the product well.

Toxic Shock Syndrome

It is a medical condition caused by a bacterial infection when the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus gets into the bloodstream and produces toxins.

It has been linked to superabsorbent tampon usage by menstruating women. Thus, it is advisable to use the ones with lower absorbency and change it at regular intervals.

Symptoms of toxic shock syndrome include:

  • fever
  • low blood pressure
  • a headache
  • muscle aches
  • diarrhoea
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • rash
  • a sore throat
  • seizures

How to dispose of a Tampon?

To dispose of, throw the wrapper and applicator in the trash. Once you’ve used the tampon, you can wrap it up in a paper or use the disposal bags. Using disposal bags have their own advantages over using normal plastic bags or paper.

Disposal bags are considered a more hygienic option. They are not only leak-proof and tear-proof but also lock the odour and are easy to carry.

Can you use a tampon overnight?

It is considered a best practice to change the tampon every 4-8 hours. Don’t leave it in for more than 8 hours or you may develop toxic shock syndrome.

You can wear a tampon overnight, but put it in right before bed and change it as soon as you get up in the morning to avoid any medical condition.

Can Tampon Get Lost in Vagina?

Some ladies worry that a tampon might get lost in the vagina, or that it could slip into the uterus. It is not possible as the small cervical opening only allows menstrual blood to pass through into the vagina and is not large enough to allow a tampon to enter the uterus.

Can’t find the string of your tampon?  Don’t worry. When you put a tampon in your vagina, it will stay in your vagina until you take it out. Simply squat on the floor and try pushing it downwards. You can also use your fingers to locate it and pull it outwards later.

A product of any brand comes with its set of instructions. Read the guidelines carefully to know about the product, its usage and precautionary steps to avoid any medical condition, including TSS in the future.

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