While periods are a completely normal part of life for menstruators, menstruation is still stigmatized around the world. Consequently, many menstruators do not have a holistic understanding of their period. Providing education about periods is something that we, at Aunt Flow, consider to be of utmost importance.
As such, education must start with the fundamentals: Understanding exactly how to use pads and tampons.
Whether this is your first period or you’re an experienced menstruator, here are some tips:
- Become familiar with your own body. Don’t be afraid to use a mirror and check it out down there!
- Depending on your flow, you should change your tampon or pad every 2-4 hours. Use the lowest tampon absorbency level to meet your needs. Never keep a tampon in for more than 8 hours.
- Do not flush used tampons, pads or wrappers down the toilet. Wrap the products in toilet paper and dispose of them in a trash can.
- Remove your used period products before applying a new one. You can use a tampon and pad at the same time to prevent leaking, but NEVER use more than one tampon at a time.
Reminder: Menstruation is natural! A menstrual cycle is typically 28 days. Menstruation (bleeding) can last anywhere from 4-7 days. These are natural averages, however, each body is unique. Make sure to ask questions!
Now, onto the good stuff.
How to Use a Tampon
- Sit on the toilet with your knees apart. Remove the outer, paper wrapper of the tampon.
- Hold the applicator tampon in one hand. With the string hanging down, insert the outer tube at a slight angle towards your back. Slide the applicator all the way in. Push the inner tube all the way into the outer tube until the ends of both tubes are even (this slides the tampon out of the applicator and into the right place in your body).
- Firmly hold onto the outer tube and pull it out gently, leaving the tampon inside of your body and the string hanging outside, ready for removal.
- Toss the tube into the trash. NEVER flush the tube or tampon down the toilet!
TIP: Move the string of the tampon to one side of your underwear, so that it’s easy to locate for removal.
TIP: If your tampon is inserted correctly, you should not feel it. If you do not feel it, use your finger to wiggle the tampon around, so that the tampon is in a comfortable position.
How to Use a Pad
- Wash both hands and remove the pad from the wrapper. Pull the wrapper away from the pad to expose the sticky part of the pad.
- Center the sticky side of the pad in the lowest part of your underwear (the area that goes between your legs). Be sure not to place it too far in the back or front. If your pad has wings, remove the backing and wrap them around the underside of your underwear.
- Pull your underwear back up, wiggle around and make sure that your pad is placed in a comfortable position. Wash your hands and get ready to flow forward!
TIP: Save the wrapper! You will need this for disposing of the used pad.
Used Pads: Remove the used pad before replacing it with a fresh one. Pull the pad off your underwear and roll it up in toilet paper or the wrapper from your fresh pad. Go ahead and toss it in the trash. NEVER flush pads or wrappers down the toilet.
There are different types of pads:
Liners, day pads, night pads, pads with wings, pads without wings, etc. Try a few different kinds and find the right fit for you!
Source: Planned Parenthood