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What Do I Do If Tampons Hurt?

By Kelly Ferguson
Updated Feb 08, 2024
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Many women enjoy the freedom that wearing tampons during a menstrual period provides, but for others, tampons hurt or feel generally uncomfortable. This pain or discomfort may occur either while the tampon is inserted and removed or while wearing it throughout the day. Some possible solutions for this problem include standing or sitting in a different position while inserting the tampon, using a different tampon size or applicator type, and consulting the instructions inside the box to make sure that the tampon is placed correctly.

While months or years of practice inserting and removing tampons usually helps to eliminate any pain, young women who have just begun using tampons frequently report that tampons hurt at least a little. This may be because inexperienced users try to insert tampons at the wrong angle. Make sure to look inside the tampon box for diagrams and instructions on how to find the correct angle and use the specific type of tampon you have purchased, as some applicator styles function differently from others. The instructions should also describe how deep the tampon should rest. Some women find it painful or uncomfortable when the tampon is not inserted far enough, and find that a small adjustment can fix the situation.

Young women who have found that regular tampons hurt may be better suited to start out with the smallest tampon size available in their preferred brand. Experimenting with the different applicator types, such as cardboard, petal-tip plastic, and applicator-free tampons, can also make a difference. Many tampon manufacturers advise that if tampons hurt too much during insertion, adding a little personal lubricant to the tip and edges of the applicator can help. They do recommend, however, not to use petroleum jelly products.

Wearing tampons should not hurt once you get past the initial learning curve, but even for a first time, the pain should not be severe. If you feel the pain is more than a little bit uncomfortable, ask your doctor for an examination to make sure you do not have any underlying problems, such as a yeast infection or something else that may be causing the pain. It is also probably a good idea to consult your doctor if wearing tampons is still painful even after making sure that you have been using the tampons correctly and trying various ways to make the experience more pleasant, because he or she may be able to recommend another solution.

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Discussion Comments
By burcinc — On Apr 08, 2014

I agree that a well inserted tampon that is of the right size should not hurt. If it does, it's either too large or it hasn't been inserted far enough. I don't even feel my tampon when it is inserted properly.

Although this is not very common, some women may actually forget that they have a tampon inside and attempt to insert a second one. If someone who normally uses tampons without problems experiences pain and a foul smell while inserting a tampon, she should make sure that there isn't an old one in there. This may sound crazy but it happens.

By ZipLine — On Apr 07, 2014

I had a little bit of pain when I first started using tampons. Using a personal lubricant helped greatly. Not only does a lubricant protect from irritation but it also makes it easier to slide the tampon in. I think I experienced pain in the beginning because of the irritation I caused while inserting the tampon.

By ddljohn — On Apr 07, 2014

Tampons should never hurt. If someone experiences persistent pain and discomfort from the smallest size tampons, then I'd say that tampons are not suitable for that person.

Especially young girls and those who are not sexually active are more likely to experience pain with tampons. Although some women say that one gets used to using tampons with time, I don't believe that tampons are suitable for everyone. I think that young girls should use pads as they are easier to use, comfortable and more hygienic.

By Lostnfound — On Apr 02, 2014

I'd say use one of the "slender" regular tampons with a plastic applicator. It's much easier on the vaginal tissues, which can become a little sensitive from using cardboard applicators. I never did learn to use the kind with no applicator, although I knew girls who did.

Probably one of the most common issues is because the tampon is a much higher absorbency than the current flow needs. Sometimes, a woman will use a super absorbency tampon out of an abundance of caution, in anticipation her flow will get heavier throughout the day. She should still pick the tampon that best fits with her flow at that time, and use a pad for backup. I do that, anyway.

And changing positions when inserting the tampon never hurts, either. Sometimes, it's all about the angle.

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