What is a tampon?

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Get to know what is menstrual tampon and give it a try during your next period cycle. Use OB guide to help you through your first attempt of using a tampon.
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With a plethora of feminine hygiene products available in the market, we are spoilt for choice. Tampons are a convenient period management product that, unlike pads, are inserted into the vaginal opening to soak up the menstrual fluid during your periods.

What is a tampon?

Tampons are disposable period products made using highly absorbent materials, pressed into a small, cylindrical shape. Think of a small plug that fits snugly inside your vagina that soaks up your menstrual blood.

Just like pads, period tampons come in different sizes or “absorbing strengths” to be used depending upon your menstrual flow. There are tampons for a light flow, regular flow, and heavy flow. Most young girls begin with sanitary napkins during their initial few periods. But many of them later switch over to tampons for sheer convenience. With vaginal tampons, you can participate in sports, gym class and even go swimming.

What are tampons made from?

Tampons have undergone a tremendous transformation and today’s robust tampons are made using super absorbent ingredients such as cotton fibres, rayon fibres or sometimes, a combination of the two.The rayon fibres that are used in the manufacture of tampons are cellulose material derived from wood pulp and the cotton fibres are obtained from plants. These materials are densely compressed together into a cylindrical shape and the tampon expands upon coming in contact with menstrual fluid. As a result, a tampon comfortably fits between the walls of your vagina and absorbs your period blood effectively and efficiently.

Tampons have a long history of usage by women all around the world. They have been in use for thousands of years now and the early tampons were made using natural materials such as papyrus, natural sponges, tightly wrapped rags of clothes etc.

How are tampons used?

Using Tampons can be really daunting in the beginning. But rest assured that it is no rocket science. It is simply a matter of practice. And no, they cannot get lost inside you. Your cervical opening is too small to let a tampon pass through. So, there is nothing to worry about, really.

You can simply use your fingers to insert them in place. They also have a small string attached to them that makes removing them easier. Some tampons also come with plastic or cardboard applicators that help you insert the tampons correctly

In the beginning, if you are not feeling confident in using tampons, you can use period panties or panty liners for additional protection from staining. Once you get used to it, they really do make your periods much more comfortable and hassle-free.

How to insert or remove a tampon?

If you are thinking about using tampons during your periods, it is important to first choose the correct tampon for your menstrual flow. Begin with tampons that offer light absorbency and see how many hours it lasts you and then you decide whether you feel the need to upgrade to a higher absorbency.

You can use the following steps to insert your tampon correctly:

  • First and foremost, make sure your hands are squeaky clean.
  • Sit in a position that is comfortable for you. Inserting tampons is easier if you squat or sit on the toilet seat with your legs wide apart or simply put one of your legs up and rest it comfortably on a stool or even the toilet seat.
  • Remove the outer packaging of your tampon and depending upon the kind of tampon that you’ve opted for, use your fingers or applicator to gently push the tampon inside your vagina.

You will find that pushing the tampon in your vagina is a lot easier when you are relaxed. If it is your first time using a tampon, choose a tampon with an applicator to aid the process. If you are still unsure about how to insert a tampon, ask your mom, your elder sister, your cousin, or anyone that you trust and knows how to use a tampon.

Removing a used tampon is fairly easy too. Tampons come with a small string attached to them, when it is time to change your tampon, gently tug at the string to pull the used tampon out. The string is strong enough not to break while removing the tampon. To dispose off the tampon, similar to sanitary napkin disposal, wrap it up in toilet paper and throw it into the garbage bin. You should never flush your tampons as they can clog the toilet.

How to know when to change a tampon?

It is advisable to change your tampons every 4-8 hours. Leaving your tampons in for longer durations can lead to toxic shock syndrome (TSS) which is a rare but extremely dangerous illness. Using tampons with lower absorbency and changing them often is the safest way of using tampons.

Why use tampons?

The USP of tampons lies in the convenience that they offer. Owing to their small size, tampons are easier to carry around in your bag or purse and once they are properly inserted, you cannot even feel them inside you. Easy to carry and easy to use, tampons make your periods comfortable and hassle-free. Due to their small size, they are a lot easier to dispose of too. You can also go through this video that will help you understand and decide if you want to use tampons - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6d-3vEYVhNY&list=PLVkJaDwx7yJopSGXPIJRO3... . If you have decided to use tampons, Stayfree® also has range of tampons. JNTL Consumer Health (India) Private Limited (Stayfree’s parent company) markets and distributes tampons under the brand name “OB tampons” in India which is the largest brand in the segment. You can purchase this online or at any pharmacy store near you.

Key Takeaway

Some girls prefer using sanitary napkins while others swear by the comfort afforded by tampons. They allow you to be physically active during your periods, without having to worry about staining your clothes. Sanitary pads, tampons, period panties, menstrual cups – the kind of period product that you use depends upon your menstrual flow and is your personal choice. If you are unsure about anything, talk to someone you trust and try out various products to make an informed choice.

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