If a girl’s tampon is full, it should be soft and smooth when she holds it in her hand. She can also test it by pressing on the tampon lightly, if it feels spongy and is firmer than it should be, then it’s time to change it. Tampons are designed to fit snugly inside the vagina and expand within the walls of the vulva, absorbing menstrual flow and protecting against leaks. They are regulated by the TGA as medical devices.
Girls can find tampons with or without an applicator at most supermarkets, drugstores, and online. When choosing a tampon, look for one that is labeled “flushable.” It should also be free of any visible tears or stains. Girls should also check the expiration date on the package and throw away any expired tampons.
Before inserting a tampon, girls should wash their hands with soap and water to avoid contaminating it. Girls should then sit on the toilet with their knees a little more than hip-width apart, squeeze their pelvic floor muscles and bear down as if they are trying to urinate. Next, they should insert the tampon into the vagina, making sure to get it in far enough that there’s no gap between the tampon and the top of the uterus. Some girls prefer to use a small tampon with an applicator so it goes in smoothly, while others find a larger tampon easier to slip in, especially if they have a hard time feeling the bottom of their vulva.
Once a girl is satisfied her tampon has been inserted properly, she should check her work by sitting down and placing her index finger in the vagina at the entrance to the urethra. If she notices that her tampon is pointing diagonally towards her back instead of straight up, she should push it farther into the ovary until the tip is pointing in the direction of her spine. Girls should also check the tampon for any signs of leakage or discomfort, such as a goopy feel or a rash that resembles hives.
Tampons come in different absorbency levels, so girls should choose the lowest level that works for them. Using a tampon with too high of an absorbency can cause a serious condition called toxic shock syndrome (TSS), which may lead to blood poisoning. If a girl thinks she has TSS, she should seek immediate medical care.
Girls should change their tampon every four to eight hours, even if it doesn’t appear to be full. This will help prevent TSS and other problems. If a girl is unable to easily remove a tampon or if she has pain, a fever, vomiting or any other symptoms that suggest an infection, they should visit their doctor or practice nurse for help. Girls should never flush tampons down the toilet; it’s bad for the plumbing and the environment. They should wrap up the used tampon in toilet paper and put it in a special tampon disposal box in their bathroom.