Anonymous said: I've been using pads for about 5 years now. I hate them with a passion and I really, really want to start using tampons. As many girls find, however, I cannot. I just can't get the damn thing up there. Several times it has happened that once it gets to a certain point (or maybe after I've been trying too long) I start to feel incredibly light-headed, dizzy, my vision gets black and blurry, and I feel like I'm going to faint, which I've done before so I know what it feels like. (con't)
(con’t) The first time it happened I actually thought I was dying. It usually takes at least 10 minutes for me to even be able to see clearly again. Any time this DOESN’T happen, I just can’t get it up there. I feel like I’m not deep enough? I’ve tried EVERYTHING. Squatting, sitting, standing, coating it in Vaseline, “taking a deep breath” (trust me, I’m relaxed). I’ve never been to the gyno and I’m generally uncomfortable talking about this kind of thing. (con’t)
(con’t) I feel like I might have an unperforated hymen? But I feel silly assuming this. What else could be wrong with me? What do you think it is? I really really REALLY don’t want to go to the gyno…. But I also don’t want to have to use pads for the rest of my life. Also I *masturbate* so unless I’m doing that wrong, something here just doesn’t fit. Please help me!!!!
(same anon who just sent you three messages) Also I’m a virgin, if that makes a difference.
Oof. Anon, I am so sorry that you are having so much trouble with this. That sounds absolutely awful.
It really does sound like you have tried everything…. Which sucks so much, because it seems like you have taken every bit of advice out there.
What would I suggest?
- right now while you aren’t on your period, squat on the floor in your room/bathroom (somewhere with good lighting) and angle the mirror and inspect your vagina—what do you see? do you see an opening? is it fully open? or is it only partially open?
- while still using the mirror, put a little bit of water-based lube on your finger (DON’T use vaseline! vaseline is a major no-no—you can get lube for cheap at Target or Wal-mart) and try inserting your finger
**you might want to try this during a masturbation session/after a masturbation session (do you masturbate by vaginal penetration, or by clitoral stimulation? because the former would mean your hymen is not necessarily imperforate but the latter would leave that as an option)
—how far can you get your finger inside?
—if there is pain, where is it? around the labia? at the vaginal opening? just inside? really deep inside?
—if you can get in without pain, feel around inside and get to know your insides
If you can easily insert a finger or two without pain, then that’s a sign that this is purely period related and likely not a problem with your hymen. Most people have hymens that stretch (although not everyone does—I couldn’t insert super sized tampons or fingers because of my hymen until after it ripped my first time).
If the pain is deeper inside, and you feel like it’s an issue where you can’t insert the tampon because your vagina is not deep enough, it could be a situation of your cervix changing position and making it hard for you to insert. The cervix changes from hard to soft throughout the cycle, and it also moves position (higher up is during ovulation, I believe, and lower down post ovulation) but it also changes position depending on sexual arousal. That’s how things like penises can fit into vaginas—they change length depending on arousal.
As for other things that could be going on? Here’s an ask I answered on that a few weeks ago! (Not that I want to redirect you or anything, but all of that pretty much seems to apply here).
There are alternatives to the disposable pads in the store actually, although they can be a little scary when you first think about them. Re-useable pads! They are really scary, I know, but I’ve heard really good things about them. For the time being, while you figure out what’s going on that is preventing you from using tampons, you might want to try out re-useable pads. No insertion required but definitely more comfortable (I hear they breathe better than plastic-y pads from the store). I can’t use pads either because they make my crotch break out, and I am going to invest in a few of these (I recently started using a menstrual cup, but was previously using tampons exclusively).
One other thing you can try is getting different brands of tampons. Compact tampons (like Tampax Compaks) can be easier to handle and insert. Those were the first tampons I had real success with (because they aren’t so long and awkward). My favorite tampon brand, though, is OB tampons! I’ve been using them for about 3 years and they are so much easier. They aren’t as long, they don’t have an applicator, and they are super easy to insert.
As always, though, I am gonna say that seeing a gynecologist is a good idea here. Or even just asking a general practitioner. I know it’s really scary, but it’s something that you are gonna have to learn…. Especially if you become sexually active, it’s really important to be able to go talk to a gyno (and ask for things like STD testing and such). It’s a part of having to deal with a vagina and vaginal help.
I know it’s really scary…… I actually have my first real gyno visit (to deal with my own vaginal pain) coming up in two weeks. I can tell you, even being someone who is comfy with talking about my vagina and what’s happening down-town, I am STILL super nervous and scared.
If you want, I can give you some tips on making a gyno appointment and talking with/seeing a gyno. Ok? It’s scary but it’s definitely do-able, and this might be a situation where you need to do it.
Go ahead and give my advice a shot, and then maybe come back and tell me how it goes. I can help you, and I’m always here for you Anon (even if I am out of town, and having trouble getting the chance to respond).
You got this, ok? <3