Does Wearing a Tampon Hurt the First Time?
Updated: Jan 16
One of the most common questions girls have about tampons is whether or not wearing a tampon will hurt. While you shouldn't be able to feel a tampon at all when it's fully inserted, putting a tampon in can be uncomfortable. Even Kotex, one of the top-selling tampon brands, admits that using a tampon can hurt the first time, but adds “it shouldn't be bad.”
So can using a tampon hurt?
Kotex also says that if tampons hurt, the user must not be putting them in correctly. The website's answer section goes on to say that while it may take several tries to insert a tampon without experiencing pain or discomfort, eventually the new user will get the hang of it. One piece of advice even suggests buying two boxes so the first one can be used for practice.
Many girls are led to believe that wearing a tampon is just something that you have to do and get used to. And most women who use tampons will agree, you do get used to it, and inserting a tampon gets much easier and more comfortable over time. But it's certainly not something anyone has to do.
Why can using a tampon hurt?
There are actually several causes for discomfort when inserting a tampon. One factor is vaginal dryness. If a person's flow is too light, the vagina may not be wet enough to allow the tampon to slide in. Another reason is the hymen may be thicker than normal, preventing the tampon from being able to pass. Inserting a tampon can also be more uncomfortable if used without an applicator.
(And anytime there's a discussion about starting to wear tampons, it's important to bring up one potential problem. Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a rare but very serious condition that can result from wearing tampons, especially if worn for more than 4 hours or at higher absorbency levels. Again, although it's very rare, a girl should always be fully informed before deciding to wear a tampon.)
What are other options if I don't want to use a tampon?
It's interesting to know that tampons actually predate modern, adhesive-back pads, which may explain their popularity. However, in recent years pads have become far more sophisticated. With period panties now available, the advantages that used to be exclusively for tampons (such as the ability to wear them in water), are no longer so exclusive.
Pads are more versatile and discrete than ever, making them a viable alternative to tampons. And with the additional comfort and protection of period panties – such as our line of teen period underwear – girls no longer need to worry about a pad slipping out of place or causing leaks.
The choice to wear tampons or pads should be exactly that – a choice. If a girl is uncomfortable with tampons, either in theory or in practice, she shouldn't be pressured into using them. The truth of the matter is that tampons can be somewhat painful at first, and there is a learning curve involved in using them. Wearing a tampon isn't a rite of passage, it's one of many options that a girl should only turn to if and when she wants to.