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If tampons cause you pain, you are not alone.

Discomfort is the most common reason people don't use tampons.

It’s time to ditch the discomfort and manage your period your way. (1)

Tampons don’t work for everyone because the one-size-fits-all version was invented more than 90 years ago. The tampons we see today have seen very few design changes and weren't made to work for you.

That can make for a pretty uncomfortable experience every month.

We’re lucky that TINA’s online community is honest about what parts of their tampon experiences work and which don’t. Below we share some of the most pressing questions we receive on this topic and answer them.

Why does my tampon feel uncomfortable?

Your tampon may feel uncomfortable because of the following:

  • a condition that limits your reach, flexibility, or dexterity 
  • the unique angle of your uterus
  • the length of your nails
  • the difficulty of choosing the right size tampon
  • a challenge inserting tampons at the correct angle or depth
  • vaginal dryness.

Sometimes people feel discouraged when they experience pain with tampons. Good news: we can minimize the frustration with some suggestions on how to ease the discomfort.

Why does my tampon go in sideways?

Sometimes tampons can knock into your vaginal wall or cervix because it’s tough to find the correct angle to insert it. That can be the case for experienced and first-time tampon users. A tampon can go in sideways if you:

  • you have a tilted uterus, causing it to be a challenge to get the angle “just right”
  • you knock into the vaginal wall
  • you hit the cervix, causing a natural reaction that causes you to “bear down” and tilt the tampon (3)
  • have rheumatoid arthritis that affects the joints in your fingers, hands and wrists, making it difficult to pinch and grip the tampon
  • have a condition that limits your mobility or reach.

Pro tip: if you notice when you remove the tampon that only half of it has absorbed fluids, you may have been inserted it at the wrong angle.

Use a tampon insertion aid to find the correct angle every time.

A device called TINA (Tampon Insertion Aid) helps insert tampons. It's designed to ensure that you insert tampons at the correct angle and depth, and to make insertion comfortable and consistent.

Why won't my tampon go in?

We often get asked: “Why does it feel like something is blocking my tampon from going in?”

The vagina is a muscle. It contracts, loosens and weakens, which some people experience with conditions like vaginismus or tight pelvic floor muscles. That can affect how it feels to insert and wear tampons.

A condition called vaginismus causes pain and discomfort during penetration because the vaginal muscles involuntarily contract due to a tight pelvic floor, trauma, or sexual anxiety (4). It's more common during sex but can happen with tampon insertion.

You also have muscles that span the bottom of the pelvis and support pelvic organs, including the bladder, bowels, and uterus (5). It can be challenging or uncomfortable to insert tampons if those muscles are too tight or too loose.

Vaginal muscles also can be tight because of the following:

  • a recent vaginal childbirth
  • an episiotomy (a surgical cut made at the opening of the vagina to ease childbirth) or other surgery
  • intense exercise
  • heavy lifting.

Talk to a specialist about problems inserting tampons.

Medical experts can help you address pain during penetration, give you detailed information about pelvic floor disorders and connect you with a pelvic floor therapist.

Why is it painful to insert a tampon at the end of my period?

Vaginal dryness can make inserting a tampon uncomfortable toward the end of your period.

Try a lubricant or vaginal moisturizer.

If you experience vaginal dryness during your menstrual cycle that makes it tough to use tampons, try the following:

  • a lubricant or vaginal moisturizer (your doctor can point you to safe ingredients)
  • switching to a panty liner (pantiliner)
  • using a tampon insertion aid.

Why does my tampon hurt when I walk?

Your body knows if you haven’t inserted a tampon deeply enough because it may try to push out the tampon when you move or walk.

That’s why the depth of the tampon matters. You need to insert the tampon deep enough to go past the pelvic floor nerve endings.

Inserting to the proper depth also can be a problem for first-time tampon users, or for those whose mobility is limited due to body size, rheumatoid arthritis, or other conditions that affect movement.

Get the right depth–and be more comfortable and active.

With some assistance from TINA, you can get the correct depth every time you insert a tampon--without needing to bend, reach and use a “pinch grip.”

TINA completely shifts movement to your upper arm, reduces pain and ensures you don’t need to “double-check” your tampon. You'll be comfortable and active with less effort and concern.

What questions and concerns do you have about using and inserting tampons? Share your thoughts and experiences with us!

  1. Borowski, Ann, "Are American women turning to reusable and greener menstrual products due to health and environmental pollution concerns?" (2011). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. [cited 6 January 2023] Accessed from:  https://scholarworks.rit.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=1547&context=theses

  2. Partin, Alan. Surgical Management of Differences of Sexual Differentiation and Cloacal and Anorectal Malformations. [cited 6 January 2023] Accessed from:  https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/vagina

  3. Why do tampons go sideways? Supported Moms. 23 May 2016. [cited 6 January 2023] Accessed from:  https://supportedmums.com/why-do-tampons-go-sideways/#:~:text=the%20cervix%20deflects%20the%20tampon%20sideways&text=The%20cervix%20is%20the%20size,accident%20when%20inserting%20a%20tampon

  4. Langdale, Tara. When Your Tampon Won't Go In, What’s Going on? VuVa Tech. 02 Jan 2020. [cited 2022 June 29] Accessed from:  https://www.vuvatech.com/blogs/care/tampon-wont-go-in

  5. Pelvic floor muscles. Continence Foundation of Australia. 27 May 2022. [cited 6 January 2023] Accessed from:  https://www.continence.org.au/about-continence/continence-health/pelvic-floor

  6. TAMPS. How to avoid tampon leaks? [cited 6 January 2023] Accessed from:  https://tampax.co.uk/en-gb/tampon-truths/how-to-avoid-tampon-leaks/

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