“Can Tampons Get Stuck Inside me?” Our Top Tips to Feeling Confident using different Period Products
Period pads, Tampons or Menstrual Cups- There are so many so many products out thereIt is common to feel confused around exactly how each period product works. The instructions on how to use the products are less than crystal clear. Once more, very little time is spent on how to actually use or insert period products when we are taught about periods in school. We are never told about the tips and techniques which actually might help us find the ‘right angle’ or ensure our pads actually stay on our underwear for the entire day! So today, we will explore some tips to use period pads, tampons and menstrual cups.
The Sanitary PadFrom my experience pads pose the least number of problems when it comes to use, but that does not mean they come without any challenges! First, you have to decide what type of pad to use. Disposable or reusable? Winged or non-winged? When that decision has been made you can get going. Pads are used by placing the sticky side onto your underwear or sticking the wings around the underwear.
- Make sure it is on the right way round: the larger side should sit at the back and the smaller at the front. This will make sure it is less likely to slip off are get bundled up.
- Learn from your flow: Knowing your flow will help make sure you change it before it leaks!
- Dispose of disposable sanitary pads by putting them in the bin (never in the toilet!). But if you are using a reusable sanitary pad you simply place it in your ziplock bag and then wash it with your laundry.
Exercising can be a great way to reduce your painful menstrual symptoms.. Not only will it make you feel better, by realising powerful feel-good endorphins, it can really relive cramping. While we know exercising might not appeal you to right now, and a bar of galaxy in front of the television probably sounds way better, trust us. Try a walk around the block, a light jog or some yoga, for a lighter form of exercise. If all else fails then pop on your favourite songs and have a solo dance party, you are a dancing queen after all.
Next up we have Tampons!So tampons differ from pads mainly due to the fact they are inserted rather than worn in underwear. The guidelines on how to insert a tampon usually focus on a very confusing diagram which is pretty difficult to relate to., Tampons are inserted either using an applicator or just your finger. They should sit so the string is still visible, and when inserted correctly you should not feel it at all.
- Get to know your vagina: Practice finding your vagina without using a tampon. Get a mirror and have a look down there or using your finger to practise inserting (remember to wash your hands before and after!). By doing this, you will feel more confident when you try to insert the tampon.
- Practice makes perfect: Secondly, practice! Whether that is using a tampon or just your finger. Try different positions, like squatting, one leg up on the toilet, sitting on the toilet, standing bending over…the list could go on. Try what works for you and what feels most easy!
- Remember to breathe: Inserted a tampon is much easier when you are relaxed and your body is not tensed up. Put some music on or take 4 breaths in and 4 breaths out to try and ensure you are not tensing!
Finally, we have the menstrual cup!
The cup is one of the more modern options available to us today but also one of the trickier to use. A cup is made from medical silicon and is worn, then taken out and emptied before inserting again.
The cup is inserted by folding it and squeezing it together so it is easier to insert. To fold you can fold in half or press on the middle of the cup before folding inwards. Insert the cup using your hand and rotate the cup as you insert to ensure it can open back up. When inserted it should sit below the cervix. It should feel comfortable. When feeling around the cup with your finger there should be no gaps and you should feel no folds or indents on the base of the cup. When taking the cup out, you need to break the suction seal before removing. Slight pull the stem of the cup and use your stomach muscles to push the cup down gently. Insert your finger and press on the base of the cup to break the seal. You should then be able to remove the cup without resistance. In between wears simply rinse the cup with water and reinsert.
Although the cup may seem daunting, a few key tips may help you feel more comfortable using the product.
- Practice, Practice, Practice: It is important to get used the using the cup. Practice inserting it and give yourself the time to do so (not before you have to leave for work!). Try different positions and locations and repeat the inserting and taking out process so you feel confident using it! Some positions which may work include sitting on the toilet, squatting, placing one leg on the toilet, simply standing or trying these positions in the shower!
- Breathe: It is really important to stay calm and relax when inserting and removing the cup. Put some music on, mediate beforehand or take some deep breaths in. Do not panic if you think the cup is not easily coming out simply take deep breathes and try again- you will get there!
- Lube it up! Try using a little bit of water based lube, inserting in the shower or rinsing it slightly with warm water to help with insertion.
- Every vagina is different: The length of everyone vagina varies. You should make sure you are not placing the cup too high up the vagina as it will leak. If you have to place the cup lower in your vagina you can trim the stem of the cup so that it is more comfortable.
- Do not stress if the cup is not for you: The cup may just be too much of a hassle or not the right product for you and that is fine! Don’t stress! There are many more product options out there including other reusable and sustainable products
If you want to read our other blogs or find our more about our work (including our work against period poverty internationally and a comfortable period pad in the UK)