Tampons typically are a soft wad or plug of cotton used to absorb menstrual flow. Tampons have been available in the world for over 60 years. However, in India use of tampons has not been very popular. One of the primary reasons is the use of cloth or sanitary pads is far more prevalent, and also because the cost of tampons is slightly higher as compared to regular sanitary pads.
To explain further, tampons are a hygiene product for females, to be used during menstruation. It is an alternative to sanitary napkins. But a sanitary napkin is a product that is used externally to be fixed on the panty, and tampons are an internally used feminine hygiene product. It is to be inserted inside the vagina, and it absorbs the menstrual flow from within.
Tampons are commonly made of cotton, or may also be available in rayon or a combination of both, they are cylindrical in shape to make insertion and retention easy. As opposed to earlier times, in India tampons can now be easily purchased at any well-stocked medical store, alternatively, you can also order them from any renowned online portals.
How to use tampons
Since the usage of tampons in India has increased only recently, there may be slight apprehension or confusion regarding it Using a tampon is surprisingly easy. The first step is to relax and keep anxiety at bay. It is important to ensure your hands are sanitized and clean since you would be touching delicate parts of your body. You can use it while sitting on a toilet seat with knees apart, you may also squat to insert it. Hold the tampon in the middle, and keep the string end on the outer side. Now gently use your index finger to insert the tampon inside your vagina. Once the inner tube has reached inside the vagina you can only feel the strings.
Ideally, a properly inserted tampon should not be felt at all. If you still feel the tampon, then push it slightly further inside. To remove the tampon, simply tug at the strings and the tampon will come out easily.
Special care has to be taken to ensure you change your tampon every 4-8 hours. Leaving a tampon on for longer than 8 hours can put you at a health risk.
Choosing the right tampon
Another factor that is important to keep in mind is the selection of the right tampon. Tampons are available in various options depending on their absorption capacities.
The commonly available options are Super Plus, Super, Regular and Mini
Super Plus: This variant is recommended for women having very heavy menstrual flow. It is the best option for the first two days which tend to have the heaviest flow. Most tampons absorb around 12-15 grams of blood.
Super: This option is recommended for women who have heavy flow on their first two days of menstruation. Most tampons absorb around 10-12 grams of blood.
Regular: This can be used on days of regular menstrual flow. Regular-sized tampons often hold up to 6-9 grams of menstrual blood. It can be used on the second or third of your periods.
Light/ Mini: These tampons are specifically created for days of light periods. They are smaller and can carry very little amount of menstrual flow. Mini or light tampons are designed to absorb approximately up to 6 grams of menstrual flow.
Advantages of using tampons
Can be used for a long period of time
Regular sanitary pads need to be replaced every two hours or so for hygienic reasons. But tampons once inserted can stay intact for as long as 8 hours. So you can remain worry-free for up to 6-8 hours. Unlike sanitary pads, tampons can be used for many hours and hence becomes more practical for long and busy days.
Allows you to indulge in activities like swimming or gymming
One cannot even imagine getting into a pool with a sanitary pad on, or the discomfort of working out in a gym wearing a pad. Using a tampon you can very comfortably go for a swimming session or work out at the gym without having to worry about discomfort or staining or anything showing on your clothes. However, it is advisable to change your tampon after stepping out of the pool.
You can get a good night’s sleep with a tampon
Sleeping at night with a sanitary pad comes with a huge risk of it shifting or getting drenched. The result inevitably is stained clothes, bed sheets and everything around it! Thankfully a tampon once inserted properly doesn’t even feel like anything, and hence the fear of it shifting out of place doesn’t arise. Apart from that you can get restful sleep for up tp 8 hours without any worry. Of course, if you are planning on sleeping for longer than 8 hours, you might have to consider taking a break to change your tampon.
Things to know about using a tampon
Tampons do not affect your urination process
It is inserted inside the vagina and hence does not come in the way of the urethra or the opening for urination. Besides a tampon puts no pressure or causes no trouble, you can urinate like you normally do
Disposing of a tampon
Similar to sanitary pads, tampons also must never be flushed in the toilet. You can easily dispose of them by wrapping them in paper and throwing the same in a dustbin.
Toxic Shock Syndrome
This is an extremely rare complication of having worn a tampon for far too long. A simple solution to keep this complication at bay is to regularly change your tampon every 6-8 hours.
While there are various tampon options available, one must opt for natural or cotton tampons. Not only are they easy on the body, they are also environmentally friendly. They are biodegradable and can be used without any guilt.
Choose unscented tampons
Tampons like cotton unscented ones are a better option as compared to scented ones, as there may be a minor chance that a scented tampon may irritate the inner lining of the vagina.
Using tampons is far more convenient, environment friendly and even easier for you. Despite being a relatively new concept in India, we can be reassured that tampons have been used safely across the globe for over 6 decades and we must make that better choice too.
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