2:39 am - 04/19/2009

Discomfort with Tampons

I'm very confused about tampons.

I purchased them years ago and tried them for about a minute, and then put them away. They were of different sizes so I chose the smallest and intended to work my way up, but they were supremely uncomfortable. I tried different ones and followed the instructions exactly, then tried a different way I thought would be more comfortable for my body. Still uncomfortable and felt WAY too big. Even the smallest, which was slightly larger than my pinky, made me feel stretched and slightly sore afterwards. So I went back to pads. This was 5 years ago.

I have heavy but short (2/3 days depending on exercise) periods, so it's never been an issue, but since I've become friends with more girls I've noticed that they all use tampons. I would like to start using tampons just for the lack of diaper quality I feel from wearing the heavy pads. The girls never used pads first and the majority of them are sexually active.

Is there anything you recommend to make tampon-wearing less uncomfortable? Or is it that they're always that uncomfortable? Will it get better when I become sexually active? (I was raped when I was very young, about 8 years ago, and haven't had sex since. My amie says that I would still be like a virgin when I became sexually active, and have to warn the guy to go very slowly. The male thing that shares a bed with me - no sex - says that if/when I become sexually active I'll be more able to switch to tampons, according to his mother, sister, experiences with his ex-girlfriends, but I doubt a guy's word.) It could just be that I'm very tight down there, but I don't know.

(By the way, I've been lurking for a while, and I know you guys probably are already aware, but you all are basically awesome.)
vdoeschallenge 19th-Apr-2009 10:00 am (UTC)
So when I first started using tampons they were very uncomfortable because I didn't get them far enough up. I was a virgin too, but I think my hymen had already broken.
I'd recommend Tampax Pearl because they are the easiest for me, but I know some people hate them. Whatever the brand put the applicator all the way in your vagina until your fingers are just inside(where you are holding onto the applicator at) and then push the plunger all the way up. You have to angle the tampon towards your back and not straight up. It still sometimes hurts when I put it in, because its not lubricated, but it does get more comfortable.
idk if it will be easier when you are sexually active. Like I said, sometimes putting it in is uncomfortable and I'm sexually active. It may become easier mentally though.
The little bit of discomfort is worth it though, because pads are way worse and give me blisters. :(
greatestofthese 19th-Apr-2009 10:15 am (UTC)
I noticed that as I've taken to a mix of shaving and laser - I have plans to laser more than just the bikini, since we own the laser ourselves - the pads are starting to give me blisters too.

Okay. I'll try that. I was very careful to angle it, but I might've gotten it wrong. I thought the tampons I tried were Tampax Pearl, as they were definitely Tampax and had applicators. (I <3 applicators.) It hurt sometimes in putting it in, but it was more walking around after - it felt far too large and I felt very stretched after I removed it. It might just be the mental ease of it, true.
vdoeschallenge 19th-Apr-2009 10:21 am (UTC)
Yeah, that's the feeling I had when I wasn't putting it in far enough. Make sure you are using the smallest size(junior or lite) and it works best when your flow is heavier. And you can't just take it out an hour later(unless your flow is that heavy) or it will hurt sooooo bad! It is so scratchy and big if it isn't filled with blood.
My mom uses kotex with cardboard applicators and I have no idea how she does that! Cardboard seems like it would be too scratchy.
I know some people in this comm swear by applicatorless tampons, but I've never tried them so I don't know how they are different. I think they might be smaller though.
greatestofthese 19th-Apr-2009 10:42 am (UTC)
I brought some of them with me to university and kept them in case I was ever out of pads/lost my mind and wanted tampons, so I have some of the Tampax junior/lites from the variety pack years ago.

Okay. I've decided to give them a shot again and I'll keep the fact that they have to be filled with blood in mind. Thank you! I'll put them in further - it still feels sickeningly uncomfortable being up so high, but if it was lower it was much MORE uncomfortable and hard to move at all, I did learn that. I guess I'll get used to it.

I'm thinking it might be psychological, which bodes ill for my future sex life. Daaaaaamn.
vdoeschallenge 19th-Apr-2009 07:30 pm (UTC)
I don't know if it bodes ill for your future sex life. As long as you aren't uncomfortable with becoming aroused you will probably be fine. Its just, it is hard to stick things in your vagina when you aren't aroused!
shirasade 19th-Apr-2009 10:25 am (UTC)
I remember the first time I tried to put in a tampon, just after I'd started getting my period when I was 12 - I was in agony and swore off the things. But, like you, I didn't like the diaper feeling of pads so after a while I tried again, kind of crouching over the toilet and trying to stay relaxed. It was easier when I was already bleeding (=lubrication) and I noticed that discomfort usually meant that I hadn't pushed it back far enough or gotten the angle wrong.

Now I'm 28, still a virgin (although my hymen is mostly gone, I think), and I even managed the switch to a menstrual cup, which is quite a bit larger than a tampon! :)
greatestofthese 19th-Apr-2009 10:46 am (UTC)
That's a gorgeous icon.

Okay. It's not so uncomfortable as it was when it was lower, it was just a sort of sickening discomfort instead of obvious discomfort. I could move with only some discomfort versus A LOT when it was lower, I just hated the stretching feeling as I walked about (it wasn't rubbing at all, it was too high up for that). I'll have to give it another go.
shirasade 19th-Apr-2009 11:24 am (UTC)
Thanks - the icon is actually a picture of one of my tattoos. :)

Because you still have discomfort: Maybe when you see your gynocologist next you could ask him/her to help you with insertion? Just so you get an idea about how it's supposed to sit.
greatestofthese 20th-Apr-2009 04:10 am (UTC)
That's good advice, thank you!
trixiefirecra 19th-Apr-2009 11:18 am (UTC)
Hi :-) I didn't wear tampons for years -- I got my period when I was 12 and started wearing tampons when I was 19. Mainly because my Mum is very against them -- she had a friend who died of Toxic Shock -- so I had to wait until I left the house to start! I tried to put them in a few times and they always hurt. Finally, one night at a friend's house, she basically instructed me to wet it with my own saliva and then hold my vagina lips apart and slide it in toward my lower back. It still hurt a bit, but it worked!

Now, I wear them religiously (but never more than 4 hours without changing). I use Playtex because I find they have such a smooth applicator, and I still wet it with my saliva beforehand.

Hope this helps. Good luck with them.
chiara_simone 19th-Apr-2009 01:23 pm (UTC)
Being a victim of rape, vaginismus would have to be a possibility. Have you tried to talk this over with a sympathetic doctor?

There's also a good LJ vaginismus comm.

Good luck! x
greatestofthese 20th-Apr-2009 04:07 am (UTC)
My family doctor is amazing but still a little uncomfortable discussing this. When I finally recalled the incident, years later, I got an STI/STD test to see if I'd caught anything, although after six years I still hadn't shown any symptoms.

Ta, thank you. I will undoubtedly look all this up.
urban_faerie_ 19th-Apr-2009 01:35 pm (UTC)
I was also just about to say that if you've been raped you could have vaginismus, an involuntary tightening of the vaginal muscles due to fear of pain. If you are still working through stuff to do with your assault, I'd mention it to your therapist. You can get physical therapy for vaginismus and most of the time in a case like yours it is even covered by insurance! vaginismus.com has some good info, but ultimately they are trying to sell you their book (which is a decent tool although I disagree with some of the methods in it). I really think that in your case if this is the problem then you need more than just a book, you could use help from a professional physical therapist and a counselor.

At any rate, know you are not alone. lots of girls have trouble with penetration. with patience and support you can work through it!

greatestofthese 20th-Apr-2009 03:49 am (UTC)
Surprisingly there was a lot of other stuff going on at the time that affected me more (and I was very lucky, really!) but I've been faintly nervous that it would affect me in the future, ie when I became sexually active. I've never heard of that but I will absolutely look it up, ta very much. If it is psychological I can make it a pet project to work through it, but I find the idea of penetration very arousing (and masturbate regularly :) ) and haven't really any connections from that to the idea of sex as I now know it. I have a feeling I'll be very emotional when I first become sexually active regardless of how much I want it and how safe I feel, but it's still not something I have a serious hang-up about, just a faint hesitation.

I'm not really worried about insurance; I have excellent coverage four times over, and I'm up in Canada. Thanks though!
unicorn667 19th-Apr-2009 02:05 pm (UTC)
I use tampons without the applicators. I find pads a lot easier to use and just got used to the diaper feeling. I always felt like I'd forget I had a tampon in! Most of my friends all use pads, a few were petrified of using a tampon. Since I don't have an applicator it makes things trickier. This could get graphic, my apologies. I stand with my legs a little apart, bend my knees and lean a little forward and slip in the tampon pointing it towards the small of my back. It hurts a little and I keep pushing until I can't push it any more. Then take a few steps, there is usually a little bit of pain but that fades very quickly. If I'm worried I take a pad with me and wear a liner. The important thing is to relax and you can spread the lips if you need to. Hope that helped :)
asunlitrose Friendly Maintainer Request :)19th-Apr-2009 02:47 pm (UTC)
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greatestofthese Re: Friendly Maintainer Request :)20th-Apr-2009 03:50 am (UTC)
Sorry, absolutely! Fixed. Thank you for letting me know.
cuteapple 19th-Apr-2009 02:52 pm (UTC)
I've been using tampons for years and still find it most comfortable to insert it laying on my back. It's not the most practical way by any means but if I'm at home, it's the best way for me to do it. It's like I can really relax because I don't need to use my legs and keep them bent funny while I'm trying to put the tampon in. That just tenses all my muscles. I also lube the tip sometimes if the entrance is a little dry.

I also have switched to cloth pads because I would get terrible diper rash from plastic pads. There are plenty of comms here on LJ and I'd recommend etsy.com for purchasing!
jenn_possible 21st-Apr-2009 01:51 am (UTC)
It really is SOOO much easier to learn to insert a tampon while lying down. Lube and plastic applicators also make things easier.
forwhataim 19th-Apr-2009 03:21 pm (UTC)
I agree that if you're uncomfortable after insertion that it's not in far enough. And that if it hurts on the way out, it's because you haven't had it in long enough (or when you upgrade past lights, that the absorbency is too high for that day. To learn how long it takes you to fill one, wear it until you start spotting or until the maximum recommended time.

It's been a long time since I used my first tampon, but I do remember insertion definitely hurt the first few periods. It wasn't just that I was a tight virgin, I think it had more to do with me not relaxing and spreading far enough. Definitely prop one of your legs up on something high or do a deep squat with legs spread wide for insertion. Breathe deep and make sure you're calm and your vaginal muscles are relaxed. Also don't insert when you're in any kind of rush until you've gotten it down. And I'm guessing if your flow is heavy you shouldn't have a problem with lubrication.

I agree that plastic is the smoother, easier applicator. Definitely put it inside so far you're almost afraid you're gonna lose it in there, ALMOST.
If you're comfortable shoving your fingers/hand inside yourself I think that might be more effective than an applicator for feeling how deep you need to put the tampon inside you.
absolved 19th-Apr-2009 04:15 pm (UTC)
Maybe try out a different brand or two? I noticed suggestions of Tampax Pearl, but for me any Tampax brand is painful for me (I'm not a virgin and have been using tampons for years). I can only use Playtex Gentle Glide.
eleora_meria 19th-Apr-2009 05:07 pm (UTC)
I find that the Tampax Pearls work out best for me. And I second/third the other girls saying that if the tampon is not in enough it will be uncomfortable.

I've also found that if the tampon is too long (some off brands I have bought are longer than the Tampax Pearls) they will hurt and make me sick in the stomach if I wear them.

For me, it works easiest to put the tampon in while I'm sitting on the toilet (as opposed to standing). The squatting position seems to help make sure I put it in at the right angle.
greatestofthese 20th-Apr-2009 04:03 am (UTC)
Thanks! I'll keep that in mind - that's probably why I felt it was a sickening sort of discomfort rather than an obvious discomfort. I must check for something smaller.
atalanta0jess 19th-Apr-2009 05:11 pm (UTC)
Firstly, I would recommend trying OB comfort plus tampons. They are applicator free, which I think makes it easier to position correctly/comfortably. Regular OBs are good too, but the comfort plus have a coating that reduces the friction, which I think makes them much more comfortable to insert.

Can you comfortably insert a finger? That might be the first step here, if you can't. Also, definitely try to relax relax relax! If you start to get stressed and freaked out, just abandon the mission and try again another time. Even if it means you're throwing out dozens of tampons. Breathe deeply, and keep your jaw loose and shoulders dropped.
greatestofthese 20th-Apr-2009 04:54 am (UTC)
I feel very stretched with a finger, and I have very slim fingers. And that's in the shower, while aroused. Two fingers were outright painful. D:

I'll try that too, thanks.
atalanta0jess 20th-Apr-2009 12:48 pm (UTC)
The shower's not actually the awesomest place for that, just because your lubrication gets all washed away. I'd recommend getting your hands on some lube and using that to help get the tampon in.
archangelbeth 19th-Apr-2009 07:45 pm (UTC)
I tried tampons once before I was sexually active, and it was uncomfortable and I swapped to pads as soon as we ran out and bought some.

The last time I used one was very much after I'd been sexually active for some time (including using contraceptive sponges), and it was okay... But I prefer pads still.

It is true -- I doubt that I got the first tampon I ever tried to be far enough up. It kept poking at the vaginal opening. After the kid -- and the contraceptive sponges -- I was more comfortable inserting that thing much further up. I could still... Hm. Not feel it. But I was aware of it, kinda? Might've just been my imagination, of course.

If you could find any http://www.gynotex.com/index.html tampons, you might find them useful? I've never tried them, though, and they may well be expensive.

carmensandra 19th-Apr-2009 10:09 pm (UTC)
Tampax PEarl is one of the largest tampons.
under_thesun 20th-Apr-2009 02:41 am (UTC)
Well, I honestly couldn't use a tampon until I became sexually active. HOWEVER, I'm a lesbian and I still haven't had penetrative sex so it wasn't "tightness." (I know a lot of lesbians do... but since I'm gay, it just wasn't a "requirement" I guess, so I haven't done it yet.) It was just me being uncomfortable with something sexual like sticking something in me. I learned eventually by lying on my bathroom floor. Now I can do it in whatever position but the first time was the hardest. Application tip: push until your fingertips are inside, then push the plunger. It should be in far enough by then :)
greatestofthese 20th-Apr-2009 04:02 am (UTC)
For clarification, the male thing I live with suggested that it would be easier psychologically since I'd be more comfortable with the awareness of my vagina, not because I was "tight", and to deal with bodily functions in general. He's actually cleverer than I often give him credit for; I feel silly that I may have made it seem like he suggested that idea rather than myself. Between yours and his advice I think I've got a clear picture on why the connection between sexual activity and tampon usage was made.

Thanks so much! I currently share a bathroom with 24 other women (and it has TWO showers) so bathroom privacy is hardly a go, but I'll shortly switch to a full-time apartment with my own room and full bathroom. I cannot wait for bathroom privacy...
under_thesun 20th-Apr-2009 07:39 am (UTC)
no problem... also, if you can just get in your bedroom by yourself and lock the door, shouldn't be a big deal then either, put a towel down if you're nervous... but yup.. private bathroom is the best thing about my living arrangement
starry3yedgrl 20th-Apr-2009 05:11 am (UTC)
I got my period pretty early on (5th grade) and didn't even try tampons until I was in like 8th grade I think. They were awful, I couldn't get them in and the one time I almost got it, it was so uncomfortable and pretty much felt like it was sliding out.

When inserted correctly, you shouldn't feel a thing. Granted, there have been times where right after putting one in, I might feel a slight weird sensation when sitting down, but that doesn't happen everytime I sit, just right after inserting one. So it might just be an air bubble maybe, or just it shifting into place. But yeah, 99.99% of the time you should feel nothing.

I wasn't really able to use tampons until a couple years later when I was more sexually experienced. I was still a virgin, but just being fingered by a guy and masturbating more....then of course when I actually did lose my virginity, it was waaaay easier to use them and never had a problem since. Part of it may be due to losing my virginity and the hymen being broken, but more than anything I think it had to do with being more familiar with my body from sex and masturbation. So it makes sense that even though your hymen may not be intact from the rape (soooo sorry to hear that BTW) you're not sexually experienced so it may just be difficult to understand how you need to insert it because that area is so foreign to you.

Another tip is to try a different tampon than you're currently trying. A lot of girls I know use tampax, and I HATE tampax. All the ones I've tried are cardboard applicators (do not slide in nearly as smooth and comfortable as plastic) and the tip of the tampon sticks out the top. I don't know about anyone else, but trying to slide a cottony tip of a tampon through a delicate vaginal canal is like two pieces of velcro....ouch! I love playtex tampons...they are plastic applicators and the applicator curves so that the tip is a rounded plastic tip, covering the tampon so it slides oh so well. I don't currently get a period with the birth control I am on, so I'm not sure what kinds playtex has right now, but try the smallest sizes and just be patient and keep trying. Also, it may be messy but practice inserting them while on your period(maybe toward the end when the flow is lighter) because trying to pull out a dry tampon when you're just practicing HURTS a lot. Good luck!
greatestofthese 20th-Apr-2009 12:47 pm (UTC)
Awesome, thanks!

I'm masturbating more, since I'm sleeping with a guy who's attracted to me/I'm attracted to (as is he masturbating more!), and will in the foreseeable future become sexually active, but there's no pressure really, which is amazing. It's a good time for me to lurk and gather information here.

Thank you so much for your advice!
darkserena 20th-Apr-2009 08:10 pm (UTC)
I only started using tampons regularly very recently (about two months ago) because my mom pretttttty much forbid me from using them so I didn't. The first month I used them for my entire period I noticed that they made me MORE crampy and I could feel them no matter what I did, but I just ignored it the best I could. Now, a month or two later they don't make me crampy and I can wear them without really telling they're there.

Granted I am sexually active and even when I first had sex I didn't experience any pain so I assume either my hymen wasn't intact by then or it never was an issue. So while it may become easier for you once you become sexually active maybe you and tampons are just not meant to be? Worth trying what's been suggested here - I find tampons to be SO much easier and cleaner than pads, and a lot less stressful. Best of luck!
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