Perhaps one of the most asked questions – and not just from young girls! Once mastered, it’s a skill that’s second nature – it’s just getting there that can be tricky.
Wash your hands thoroughly. Twist open the plastic wrapper and discard the bottom half of the wrapper, then pull out the string and discard the top half of the wrapper in a bin.
Hold the tampon with your index or middle finger at the base (string end) and get into a comfortable position. You can sit on the toilet, stand with one foot on the edge of the toilet or bathtub, squat, or even lie down. Whatever works for you.
Exhale and concentrate on relaxing your muscles. Some women like to spread their labia with their spare hand, otherwise just gently push the tampon up into your vagina, towards your tailbone. Keep pushing it up with your index or middle finger until you can no longer feel it. Check the string is hanging out, wash your hands and you’re done!
To remove the tampon, again, focus on relaxing. Sit on the toilet with your knees well apart, get a firm grip of the string and gently tug down at the same angle it went in. Don’t pull straight down as that won’t work.
And finally, remember it can take practice. If you don’t get it the first time, have a go another day.
The first tip is to relax. Sounds easy we know, but being nervous usually means you’re clenching all your muscles, including the incredibly strong pelvic floor muscle that runs between your pubic and tail bones. It’s the muscle you use when you stop the flow of urine on the loo – give it a go so you know which it is. If it’s clenched, the chances of getting a tampon in or out are seriously hindered!
The next tip is to be clear about where it’s going. Sounds obvious, but we often make assumptions. Note too, the angle the tampon needs to go to be comfortable. Many people try and push straight up – which is uncomfortable and unsuccessful. You need to angle it towards your tailbone. If you’re not sure, try inserting your finger without a tampon so you can feel exactly where it’s meant to go.
Finally, a dab of water-based lubricant, such as KY Jelly often helps on those first few goes. Don’t use petroleum-based products, like Vaseline, as these repel liquids and could cause your tampon to leak as well as irritate sensitive skin.