Tampon How To's
WARNING: Content might be too graphic or descriptive. Once upon a time, I was scheduled to live in Boracay for a month. Being a girl, I knew that I would, at one point in that month, get a visit from the Red Fairy. I felt very uncomfortable with the idea of traipsing around with an ultra maximum sanitary pad in my bikini and so just in case, I bought a box of tampons. I can't remember where I bought them three years ago but I remember the brand was generic and it was called Best Buy. Luckily, I had a stepmom who grew up in the US and so I asked her for tips on how to use a tampon. And so the day finally came. At first I wore a pad but was extremely uncomfortable. It was scorching hot that summer! So I tried it out and let's just say, I never looked back.
You see, with tampons, you don't feel like you're sitting on a pillow the whole day. You feel cleaner and fresher and even smell better! You also don't get stains (if you're vigilant in changing your tampons regularly). In fact, I can wear a thong underneath my white miniskirt on my heaviest day! And if you, for some reason, accidentally spill the contents of your bag in front of a very cute guy, you don't have to suffer the embarrassment of him picking up your maxi pad because guys have no idea what a tampon (even though it's wrapped) looks like!
Here in Manila, we rarely see tampons in groceries or supermarkets. The brand that I usually see is OB in Shopwise, Libis. I was told that this is not the best kind of tampon and it's very hard to use as it doesn't have an 'applicator' and therefore, you need to use your fingers to insert the tampon. I suggest that you buy either Kotex or Tampax because these brands have 'applicators.' I know that S&R Pricemart carries them. Rustan's Express Lane in Forbes carries them (as a lot of expats, who use tampons, live in the area) too.
I, on the other hand, get my stock from the US. Whenever I have relatives going on a business trip or friends coming home from a vacation, I always ask them to bring home a box of 72 (pcs) of Tampax Pearl in Regular (or Super) Absorbency. Now I think it would be easier to let you know how to put a tampon on if we know the parts. Below is the illustration of a tampon with numbers pertaining to the different parts. In the drawing, 14 refers to the outer tube. The outer tube houses the tampon. 15 refers to the applicator. When you push the applicator, the applicator goes inside the outer tube and pushes the tampon out of the tube. Lastly, 12 refers to the string which is attached to the tampon. You pull the string to withdraw the tampon from your body. Now here comes the tricky part. Putting the tampon inside your body. Trust me, it's not even tricky! It's very easy. The very first step is to relax! The more you tense up, the harder it will be. Once you are ready, lift one leg up, placing your foot on the edge of the bath tub or on top of the toilet (toilet seat down, of course!) With your middle finger and thumb, hold the bottom of the outer tube. Your index finger should easily reach the end of the applicator. Position the tampon at 90 degrees (meaning, straight up) at the opening of your vagina and slowly insert the outer tube. You're probably squirming now but trust me, it's painless. In fact, virgins need not fear that they'll suddenly be hymenally challenged! (Oh, and contrary to popular belief of the misinformed, no, you do not lose your virginity when you use a tampon!). Then, with your index finger, push the applicator upwards. As stated before, this action will push the tampon into your body. With your middle finger and thumb still at the bottom of the outer tube, slowly and gently pull out the tube. You'll notice that a piece of string is dangling. Don't worry, that's meant to be so that it is easier for you to pull out the tampon later. Now here's an important tip. If you feel a little discomfort, that means you placed the tampon wrong. Don't be discouraged with the little discomfort. Just pull out the tampon and try again with another. If you got it right, you're all set.
First off, use a tampon with the lowest absorbency that matches the flow of your period. For instance, don't use a super absorbent tampon on your last day where your flow isn't strong. Next, I suggest though that you place a pantyliner in your underwear. Once there are drops of blood, it means you're ready to change into another tampon. Changing of tampons depend on the flow of your period. But never, ever leave a tampon inside you for more than 6 hours! Otherwise, you'd subject yourself to Toxic Shock Syndrome. (Click on the link to read more about Toxic Shock Syndrome). Also, always alternate with tampons and sanitary pads. Use tampons during the day and sanitary pads when you go to sleep. Anyone else here who uses tampons? Share your tips and experiences.
*Additional image from Youngwomenshealth.org