Tampons: A Troubleshooting Manual

[TW: Description of tampon insertion]

The first thing I would suggest, is that you purchase a size variety box (so light, regular, and super, usually). There are so many different brands and types! I find inserting tampons easier with compact applicators (such as Tampax Pearl Compak), or with no applicator at all (O.B. which is my personal favorite). If you are more comfortable with an applicator, try for a “pearl” one, with a very smooth plastic applicator.

Only try to insert while on your period! Choose your tampon; if it’s your first time, and you did buy the variety box, it might be smart for you to use a light tampon and then wear a pad in case you soak through. Eventually you’ll get a feel for which absorbency you need at what times, and the lights are usually thinner which can be easier to insert, and less intrusive.

In the box of tampons, there should be a little pamphlet, and usually it has pictures describing the angle that you should insert at. You can try inserting it while sitting on your toilet, with one foot on the edge of the tub or toilet, or standing, squatting, etc. Follow the instructions. Make sure to relax, because it will be easier if you are relaxed! Deep breaths, don’t clench your pelvic muscles.

Make sure your hands are clean!

For both kinds of tampons (applicator/applicatorless) you have to insert it at the right angle. The best way to find it is to begin inserting and aim for the small of your back.

If using an applicator, grip it where it says to and insert it into your vagina, all the way until your fingers (still gripping where it says to!) meet your body. Then, using the plunger, push the tampon in. Remove the applicator. 

If using an applicatorless tampon, remove it from its wrapping, and pull the string so it’s hanging. Then, grip the tampon at the bottom (near the string) and insert it into your vagina, as far as you can. If it is still sticking out a little or is uncomfortable, use your finger to push it in farther.

I’m linking a video that is actually really really accurate, although I’m not a fan of the page (TW: cissexism) it’s on. Just scroll down the page for a good animated video on how to insert one!

If you are experiencing any discomfort, it’s probably because you are one of these three situations:

  • Not relaxed enough, in which case, relax more next time! Slow, deep breaths, and relax your pelvic muscles.
  • Not “lubricated” enough when inserting (not enough blood to help slide in easily); you can actually remedy this by taking a small amount of lube, like you would use for sex, and putting it on the applicator.
  • The tampon was not in far enough, and your muscles clenched around it. When looking with a mirror, you shouldn’t be able to see the tampon; you should just be able to see the string. If it’s not past the pelvic floor muscles it can be uncomfortable.

Just remember to relax, and don’t get discouraged! It can take time patience, but after practice you’ll be doing it like an old school pro. I wear nothing but tampons, and I am pretty good at inserting them, if I may say so myself… And this is coming from someone who was terrified of tampons until I was almost 17 (I’m 19 now).


  1. itsjustaperiod posted this