Tampons: your questions answered
There's a reason that tampons are so popular: they are convenient, discreet and allow busy girls and women to get on with their lives without having to give much thought or consideration to the fact that they are menstruating. Using tampons can be a little daunting at first, but after a little time and practice they become easy to use.
Here are the most common questions and concerns about using tampons:
Q: Can tampons be used for the first period?
A: Yes, they can. Although it can be a good idea to use pads at first to get an understanding of what your menstrual flow is like.
Q: How often do I need to change a tampon?
A: Tampons should be changed every 3-4 hours, regardless of your menstrual flow. On heavy flow days, you may need to change them more often. A tampon should never be left in longer than 8 hours, as there is a small risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome.
Q: What is Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)?
A: TSS is a rare, though serious, infection that causes sudden high fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, headache, muscle pain and rash. To help prevent TSS, always wash your hands before and after inserting a tampon, change your tampon regularly, don't use a tampon overnight, and only user a Super absorbency tampon if your flow is heavy.
Q: Can my tampon fall out?
A: No, a tampon will stay in place as long as it's positioned beyond the muscles at the entrance of the vagina. You know it is correctly positioned when you can no longer feel it inside your body.
Q: Can my tampon get lost inside?
A: No, a tampon can't get lost inside, the cervix is very small and will block it. Just remember to leave the string hanging out so you can remove it easily. If you do lose the string inside, you can always easily fish it out (using clean hands).
Q: What type of tampon is best?
A: There are many types available - slim (which are easier to insert); ones with applicators; ones without; different absorbencies for different flows. There are no right or wrong tampons, it's just a matter of finding one that suits you.
Q: How does a tampon work?
A: A tampon is a cylinder of tightly packed cotton, it sits in the vagina and soaks the flow of menstrual blood before it was a chance to leave the body.
Q: Can you feel a tampon?
A: If a tampon is inserted correctly, you shouldn't be able to feel it. Generally, if you can feel an inserted tampon, you haven't inserted it far enough - remember, you can't insert it too far!
Q: Which should I use, tampons or pads?
A: It's totally up to the individual. It's about finding something that is comfortable for you. The advantage of using tampons is that they can be worn swimming. Often, girls who are using tampons for the first time, like to wear a liner as well until they feel confident about using tampons correctly.