Women regard tampons as a simple and convenient alternative to using conventional pads during menstruation. A day at the pool or the beach, or while engaging in exhaustive physical activities, tampons extend protection during menstruation, cause least discomfort, ensure menstrual hygiene and facilitate easy movement just like any other day.
Is tampon right for you? How to use a tampon? How do you insert a tampon? Is there any safe buying and using guideline for tampons? Read further to find out more about used tampons and stuck tampons.
Tampons - Safe menstrual guards
History records reveal use of tampons by women, as a method to control conception has existed as early as 1550 BC. Greek and Hebrew inscriptions rightly suggest use of tampons by women to avoid contraception as well control menstruation. Materials used for tampons during the early stages were wool, paper, vegetable fibers, sponges, grass, and much later cotton.
However, the first commercial menstrual tampon was introduced in USA during the late 1920s or early 1930s. Young girls and women get to choose between the conventional sanitary napkins and tampons. The decision is purely based on the comfort level, individual preference, lifestyle and the menstrual flow.
As compared to a sanitary napkin or a pad, which has an adhesive strip that sticks on to the underwear, tampons are small sticks of soft absorbent material, which a woman needs to insert inside the vagina. The muscles of the vagina hold the tampon in its place as it absorbs menstrual blood.
The absorption rate differs depending on the style and size of the tampon. In recent times, tampon has emerged into a preferred menstrual hygiene product. The advantages cited by women are varied. The most advantageous factor with tampon use is that it facilitates conveniently engaging in activities such as dancing, swimming or running like on any other normal day.
Further women feel secure using tampons while wearing tight fitting dresses such as leotards, swimsuit or sweat pants. For some, tampons provide a major relief from the annoying blood trickling feeling that is unavoidable with sanitary napkins usage.
Tampons buying guide
Besides buying online through the Internet, you can procure tampons from natural food stores, grocery store, drugstore and even some larger supermarket chains. Cotton tampon, cotton and rayon blend tampon and organic cotton tampon are the choices available with respect to the material. The material is pressed together to form a cylinder-like shape.
If you are sensitive to chemical reactions, stay away from scented or deodorant tampons as they may cause allergic reactions. You may select an applicator tampon, which facilitates inserting into the vagina or a non-applicator tampon, which implies inserting using a clean finger.
Tampons are available in a variety of absorbencies to meet the different levels of menstrual flow you may have on different days. In USA, the FDA (Food and drug administration) which regulates making of tampons requires all tampon manufacturers to use a standard test in order to measure absorbency level and state the same on the package for consumer understanding and comparison.
This helps you to compare brands, check the absorbency level before the final selection. You can either select a pack of light absorbency tampons or super heavy absorbency tampons or pick a multi-pack, which consists of different levels of absorbencies for light and heavy flows. Super and super-plus tampons are most useful during days of heavy menstrual flow. These look thicker as the amount of absorbent material is greater.
How to insert a tampon
All packs or tampon boxes have printed instructions and a diagram describing how to insert a tampon. Even before opening the tampon pack, study the instructions first. Check the instructions related to use and disposal of tampons. Try and practice the steps in your mind before you actually begin. Repeatedly refer instructions to clear doubts if any.
- Wash hands with soap and water before opening the pack.
- Remove a tampon.
- Feel totally relaxed!
- Feeling nervous tenses up your muscles, tampon insertion becomes harder.
- Stand or sit comfortably, allow easy access to your vagina.
- Part your legs slightly and bend your knees.
- Remove the wrapper from the tampon.
- Spot the middle of the applicator and hold with your right or left hand.
- Position the applicator so that it points towards the vagina.
- Hold the tampon with the index finger at the base/string end of the tampon.
- Let the string dangle outside your vagina.
- Use your free hand to open the vagina.
- Push the tampon up.
- If the tampon is in its place you should feel comfortable.
- If not remove and repeat the process with a new tampon.
- A small amount of vaginal lubricant will help glide the tampon.
- Remove the applicator and dispose as per instructions on the pack.
- When it is time to remove the tampon, pull the strings gently.
- Depending on the menstrual flow change tampons every 4-6 hours.
- If required, change tampons more often.
- Properly dispose the used tampons as per manufacturer's instructions.
- Wash hands with soap and water immediately after disposing used tampons.
- Store unused tampons in a clean, dry place.
Incase you are unsuccessful in inserting a tampon, it is recommended to contact your health care provider. The hymen may be too small to insert a tampon. Atleast 2% of teens have a problem inserting the tampon, as the hymen is too small. In such cases, the health care provider will suggest an alternative menstrual hygiene product.
Remember to change tampons every few hours even when the flow is mild and more often when the menstrual flow is heavy. If you keep tampons in too long, it can cause health problems. Leaving tampon too long supports bacterial growth. The bacteria enter the body from inside the vagina. They mix with the bloodstream thereby releasing toxins.
Hence, generally, it is advisable to use least-absorbent tampon, as you feel compelled to change tampons frequently. It makes you feel clean and guards you from a rare yet dangerous illness called toxic shock syndrome (TSS) associated with the use of a high absorbency tampon and strains of toxin-producing bacteria. TSS, in association with tampon use, occurs most frequently in young women aged 15 to 24.
There are instances when a woman forgets to remove an old used tampon and might insert a new one. Alternatively you can face a situation where the string of the tampon is drawn in or broken. This is a cause for worry due to possible infection and the consequent removal of the stuck tampon.
If the tampon is stuck and you cannot find the string to remove it, try bearing down with your feet propped up and sitting on a toilet seat. This is likely to push the used tampon out. You can insert your fingers and remove it. Remember to relax to easen the process.
A common fear with women is that the tampon will be lost in the abdomen. This is not possible as the tampon cannot travel up the cervix to the uterus. The real cause for worry is infection, especially Toxic Shock Syndrome. Symptoms such as fever, pelvic pain, foul odor and discharge are indicative of a stuck tampon.
Symptoms of Toxic shock syndrome
- High fever - 102 degrees or higher
- Bloodshot eyes
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Severe muscle aches
- Feeling extremely weak or dizzy
- Developing rash that resembles sunburn
In case, you notice these symptoms while wearing a tampon, seek emergency medical care. Antibiotic medications, large amounts of fluids and electrolytes help bring the situation within control. Minimize risk of TSS. Change tampon every 4-6 hours, and use a tampon with lowest absorbency rate.
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