Saturday, January 11, 2014

Tampons


My friend requested this post. Don't ask who! I won't tell you.
If you don't want to hear about girl problems, don't read this post. Don't complain to me how gross it is.
I wouldn't consider myself a tampon expert, but I'll tell you what I know. There's tons of blog posts/YouTube videos like this, but it might help to hear it from me, rather than someone you don't know. Also, nobody really says anything useful in YouTube videos because they're too busy laughing and being embarrassed. *cough* immature *cough*

The picture above: Playtex Gentle Glide 360.
  • The top picture:
    • Tampon on top - packageless Super size
    • Tampon on bottom - packageless Regular size
  • The bottom picture:
    • An absorbency test. How this works is someone takes the tampon and soaks it in water, to see what it looks like when it's open, and how much it might leak depending on how full it is.
    • On left: Ultra size (this one gives a good look at how they look when soaked)
    • On right: Regular size
Some warnings before you get all "I HATE PADS I WANNA TRY TAMPONS THEY SOUND SO GREAT!"
  • You are at a higher risk of getting Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) if you leave a tampon in for over 8 hours. It is recommended that you remove/replace a tampon after 8 hours. Some people say 5 hours, but tampon packages usually say 8 hours.
  • If you use the wrong brand and/or if the tampon isn't soaked when you remove it, it'll hurt. Try not to let this discourage you, especially because I'll tell you what the best brand is later in this post!
  • The tampon will expand when it soaks up your blood. When you remove it later, it will be bigger and red. Be mentally prepared to see that.
  • There will be a string hanging out of you. You will pee on it if you don't hold it up.
  • Most people let the string dangle, but if you're scared it will go up into your vagina (it does happen), you can use tape (Lacrosse body tape maybe?) to tape it to the skin nearby.
  • If you use a bad brand, the string can come out of the tampon when you remove it and the tampon will be in you, but the string won't be. In this case, you'll have to reach in and get it. To avoid this, use my preferred brand of tampon!
  • If you hate the gross, messy, wet feeling of pads, tampons may be for you.
  • If pads irritate your skin, tampons may be for you.
  • You might be able to feel the tampon inside you the first few times, but you'll get used to it.
A great resource for pad/tampon reviews, how-tos, and everything period-related: http://www.theperiodblog.com/

How to insert a tampon:
(adapted from The Period Blog's post) if you want diagrams (WAY helpful), please use this site.
  • Sit on the toilet (lid up of course) and spread legs apart. Some people like to do it in the shower (may be good the first few times). With the water turned off, I'm assuming?
  • Put your middle finger and thumb on the grip, and index finger on the plunger (the long, thin, straight part). Use your dominant hand.
  • Slide the tampon into your vagina (45 degree angle, between vertical and horizontal). Maybe you need to twist gently to help it in. You may have to use your free hand to spread apart your labia (vaginal flaps... There's two sets, the outer ones and inner ones). You also might need a hand mirror/compact. I wouldn't suggest using your phone camera, even if you're not recording (it may be saved, even when you're not recording... As customers we are in the dark and don't know).
  • Slide it in until the grip/middle finger/thumb touch your body, maybe a LITTLE further.
  • Press down the plunger so the actual tampon (bottom photo at the top of the page) is let go from the plastic/cardboard applicator, and inside you. Now pull the plastic part away from your body, and now all you've got in your hand is the plastic part.
I know this wasn't very descriptive. Use The Period Blog's "how to insert a tampon" post if you want diagrams.

Q&A
I made up all these questions. They're questions I had, and looked up the answers. (some of them are questions I've seen being asked.)
  • Where's the right hole to put it in? I can't find it. Here's a pretty helpful post by The Period Blog, titled "how to find your vaginal opening". The tampon won't go into your peehole (etc.) and what idiot is going to stick a tampon up their ass? Anyway, it sounds gross, but you need to use a mirror to look and find it. Or maybe you don't need a mirror, if you do gymnastics (ha ha). I suggest using your fingers to pull your labia (flaps) apart so you can see where the blood's coming from. The opening is at the back of the between-the-labia area.
  • What is the best tampon brand? Playtex Gentle Glide Slender is preferable (couldn't find it anywhere, lots of stunning reviews), Playtex Gentle Glide 360 is at a close second, Playtex Sport is up next. The Gentle Glide is long and thin, so it slides easier, it's better for beginners (or so I hear. That's the only one I've ever used), it's in a skirt shape so it slides out easily, regardless of whether or not it's soaked, and the string is reinforced and will never come out. If you've only used one brand of tampon, how do you know which is best? Research.
  • Some help resources for tampon stuff? Wetalk2girlzlikeyou on YouTube is great, and of course, The Period Blog.
  • When could I ever possibly need to use a tampon? When you go swimming. Your blood doesn't actually flow when you're in the water (ex. baths. Don't ask me why), but when you get out is the problem. Or maybe when you do sports at all, if you're scared the pad will move or come off.
  • What if it gets stuck when the tampon is going in? Use your blood as lubrication. If there's not enough blood to lubricate, maybe today isn't heavy enough flow to use a tampon, anyway. Also, you might need to twist.
  • There's cardboard applicators? That sounds bad. It does! I've never used one, but you'd think it would get stuck easier.
  • How do I know my tampon is full? Wear a pantiliner when you're wearing a tampon (always a good idea!) and when there's dotting on it, change your tampon. Or whenever 8 hours is up, change it.
  • I don't feel comfortable changing my tampon at school. Neither do I. Only bring pads to school, and when you're tampon is full or when 8 hours is up, take out the tampon you inserted at home before school, and put a pad on. Although, I like to bring tampons (and a mirror, I can't insert a tampon without one) to school just in case. I always like to be prepared!
  • TMI! Stop reading this then. Also, go away, old men looking for porn.
  • Can you use tampons at night? I wouldn't recommend it, even if you only sleep for 8 hours. You can't monitor it so closely in case it's leaking while you're sleeping, and what if you oversleep? Huge TSS risk, right there.
  • Can you use tampons when you're not on your period? No! Nononononono! HUGE no-no! I know it sounds like you can practice inserting tampons while you're not on your period and you can see everything clearly, minus blood. I think you should find your opening while you're not on your period, and use that experience while inserting tampons ON your period. The reason you can't use tampons when you're not on your period is that it will hurt a lot when you remove it. Tampons will work for discharge AND blood, but not discharge alone.
  • Will I not be a virgin anymore after I use a tampon? Common misconception. You might break your hymen (skin covering a part of the vaginal opening) when inserting a tampon, but that doesn't even mean you're not a virgin. Hymen or no is no longer an accurate representation of whether you're a virgin or not, as tampons, etc. can break your hymen, and sex may not.
  • Can virgins use tampons? Yes. The opening is smaller, but that doesn't mean you can't do it. It might be easier for non-virgins, but it's doable if you're a virgin.
Happy periods, everybody! Obviously, for the boys, just try to comfort us. :)

"Fun" facts: oher names for periods:
  • "Aunt Flo came to visit" (sometimes replaced with Cousin Red)
  • Menstruation
  • The crimson wave
  • That time of the month

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