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How do I put in a tampon?

Using a tampon is easier with some preparation, the right products and accurate information–we’re here for all of it!

If you’ve felt intimidated or confused about tampons, that’s perfectly normal! It can take time to be comfortable using them.

Good news: We’ve got some great resources. Here’s what you need to know.

Choose the right one for you

Selecting a tampon is all about what’s best suited to your personal needs and preferences. Some people like tampons with tampon applicators and some prefer those without.

Choose an option that is most appropriate for your flow, whether it’s light, regular, or heavy. If your flow fluctuates during your period, stock up on a variety. 

Leaving tampons in for too long can lead to bacterial overgrowth that leads to toxic shock syndrome. That’s why it’s recommended to choose the lightest absorbency tampon possible. 

Step-by-step instructions

It’s easiest to put in a tampon when you’re comfortable. 

Some prefer to sit on the toilet with their knees shoulder-width apart. Others prefer to stand or prop up one leg on a higher surface. There’s no single, correct position; it depends on what makes putting in tampons easiest for you.

How to put in a tampon with a traditional applicator 

With clean hands, remove the tampon from the wrapper carefully. You’ll want to make sure the tampon and applicator stay together.  

Your applicator should have a wider tube and a thinner tube. These tubes form the applicator and will not stay inside you once you’ve inserted the tampon.  

Gently, and without pulling the tubes completely apart, pull the two tubes away from each other to fully extend the applicator.  

The grip is the section between the two pieces of your applicator. Pinch the grip with two fingers, typically your thumb and middle finger. If this motion is painful or uncomfortable, consider using a tampon insertion aid like TINA.

Put the tip of the applicator into your vaginal opening. Position the wider end of your tampon applicator at your vaginal opening. Put the applicator inside you until your gripping fingers touch your body. 

Push up the thinner end of the applicator until you meet your other fingers at the grip. This motion will push the tampon into place. Then you can remove the applicator from your body and dispose of it properly. 

The tampon string should be hanging outside your body so you can use it to remove the tampon.

Wash your hands and go about your day!

How to put in a tampon without an applicator

Tampons also come without applicators. Some people prefer them because you use your index finger to put them in; using a finger offers more flexibility than tube-shaped applicators. 

Just like a tampon with an applicator, it can take time, patience and practice to use those without applicators. They also follow the same first few steps:

Start with clean hands, get comfortable and unwrap the tampon. 

Locate the tampon string. It will be right up against the tampon. Holding the string, twist it to make an indent in the bottom of the tampon. That’s where you’ll position your finger to insert the tampon.

Use your free hand to gently move the skin of your vagina away while you hold the tampon with your thumb and middle finger.

Using your index finger, push the tampon inside your vagina as you angle it toward your back. Push in the tampon until you reach the base of your finger. 

You’ll know you’ve got the right angle and depth when you don’t feel the tampon. 

The tampon string should be hanging outside your body so you can use it to remove the tampon.

Wash your hands and go about your day!

What if I’m not able to put in a tampon?

If you can’t put in a tampon, a tampon insertion aid may help. 

You may need some assistance because you’re new to tampons and don’t have the hang of them yet. You may have a disability that limits your mobility or grip (like arthritis). Putting in tampons also can be tough if you can’t reach over your belly.  

It’s possible to eliminate those challenges with a tampon insertion aid

An aid helps you put in tampons at the right angle and depth, every time. It offers more comfort, consistency and confidence without leaks or stress.

​​What questions and concerns do you have about putting in a tampon?
Feel free to contact us or share your experiences with the TINA community.

  1. FDA. The Facts on Tampons—and How to Use Them Safely. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. 2020 September 30. [cited 2023 March 8]. Available from:

  2. CTanya Tantry, MD. Tampons Without Applicators: A How-To Guide. Flo. 2020 April 24. [cited 2023 March 8] Available from:

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