Teens & Tampons

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Teen daughter having trouble using tampons

April 2006

My 15 yr old daughter has tried to use tampons unsuccessfully. This summer she will be teaching swimming at an overnite camp and will really need to be able to use tampons. She is not really telling me what isn't working, I think they are sort of shooting out. Although I use them she isn't really letting me talk her through this. Does anyone have any great tips or hints I can pass along to her? anon mom

If she hasn't already been to a gynecologist for a check up this is a perfect excuse to bring her. I urge you to find a female gyn....that should make the whole process very simple and smoothe. been there

13-year-old having trouble using a tampon

Jan 2004

I want to know if any parents were having difficulty teaching your 13 years old to use tampons? She wants to swim often. Any suggestions, books etc. alix

I started using tampons when I was about 13. My friend showed me, not my mom! I think the ones with the cardboard applicator might be easier, but the o.b. kind, without an applicator can work also. There are instructions in the box that are helpful. She could read those first and see what she might be more comfortable with. Also, she could ask her friends what they are using. My daughter isn't there yet, but I think I will start her with the pads, partly so she won't be afraid or disgusted by the blood. And she is shy about her body.

I'm of two minds about tampons. On the one hand it's great to be able to do and wear whatever you want when you have your period, and to just continue like business as usual. On the other hand, our periods can grant us a time of rest, reflection and relaxation once a month. A time to nurture ourselves and take it easy, to regroup in a way. It is a time of cleansing. I would like to offer that option to my daughter when she starts to menstruate. Life is stressful and we push our bodies to the max most of the time. It's nice to be able to say, ''sorry, I can't do that right now, I have to take it easy today'', or whatever. Personally, if I could build a menstrual hut in the parking lot behind my apartment building and go there once a month for 3 days, I would be a happy mommy! So, anyways, more things to think about. Good luck! and congratulations to your daughter. anon

I missed your initial question, but the answer to the question I think you were asking was that I taught myself to use Tampax (at the cost of 3 or 4) with my mother's blessing, the summer after 6th grade, so I could go to Summer Camp hassle free. It was a little earlier than some girls, but I had been having periods for over a year and was ready.

My daughter seems to have taught herself without even consulting me... sometime in 8th grade, again about a year after starting her period.

I strongly prefer cardboard applicator or OB tampons for the following reason: I have stood on a beach in New England that was covered with THOUSANDS of little plastic applicators from a sewage treatment burp months earlier. While the water was again clean, the beach was revolting. As every Berkeleyan knows -- plastic is forever. We never flush the cardboard anyway...but if we did it WOULD eventually biodegrade. Good luck! Nuther Muther of a Teen

My daughter was reluctant to try tampons, even though I use them regularly, and offered to help her with them periodically. After over three years of menstruating, she finally needed to try, due to a theater production she was in (costumes, water, don't ask!). Although I use the o.b. type myself, and discussed that no-applicator or cardboard are definitely better environmentally, I let her start with the plastic applicator ones because I think they are easier for a nervous novice. We got the new Tampax compax type (the applicator starts out nested, so it takes up less purse space,and is less likely to accidentally eject), in an assorted-sizes box. She's too shy to let me in the bathroom, but we did review the instructions together, and I emphasized the angle she should aim for when inserting it. Like most girls, she tossed out a couple after trying unsuccessfully. She felt pretty hopeless, but I reassured her that there was no physical reason she couldn't learn, and she was probably just tense. After a warm cup of herbal tea, and more assurances, she tried again and got it. By the next day, she was a pro. She doesn't use them regularly, but feels she has the option when needed.

Don't have your daughter ''practice'' when she's not menstruating - without the moisture of the fluid, it will be more difficult. I think mid-period, when it's not ''gushing'', but not too dry, is easiest to start. Also, I recommend learning with the smallest size (with a pad, too, just-in-case). Good luck!

Trouble Learning to Use a Tampon

May 2003

My daughter is having trouble learning to use a tampon, which she prefers over a sanitary napkin because she wears a leotard for competitive gymnastics. I need to know which tampons are easier for a teen girl to learn to use. (The kind of tampon that I have used all these years has not worked well for her.) I would rather not purchase ten different kinds of tampons in order to find out which is best! Thank you.


My daughter had success with the Playtex Slims. The others didn't work well but I think these are geared for teens. Judy
My daughter began using tampons with Tampax ''Satin'' (regular size) and still prefers them to others. Good luck!
Try a tampon with a plastic applicator in a junior size. In addition, advise your daughter to use her finger in order to understand the angle of insertion before she needs to use the tampon. anonymous
I would say that ob's or something that doesn't have an applicator might work better. It might be gross to her at first, but she will be able to feel if the tampon is in right or not and adjust it. It will also educate her about her body and make it less of a mystery. I would also encourage her to use the smaller ones and change more often. Though we don't hear of TSS that often it is still a real issue, and smaller ones are more comfortable and easier to get in. When I use tampons I use the more expensive organic kind with non-bleached cotton. It's worth it, I think, then again I spend more on organic food also. Good luck to your daughter. It does take a while to get used to using tampons. anon
Try Kotex Security tampons. They make a Slender size (although it's sometimes hard to find) which is great for young girls, but the best part is the plastic applicator which makes it easier to insert for many people. Un- ecological, but easier. Good luck. Anon
I asked my 14-years-old and she said her favorites are Tampax Pearl Plastic (unscented). Very easy to use. She went through several kinds earlier, and these are the easiest. anon
My daughter has been using tampons successfully since her very first - or maybe second - period 5 years ago. She finds that the ones with plastic applicators work best. Her tampon of choice is Kotex Security. What we found was most helpful was that I pointed to the part of the lengthy directions (the text of which I can no longer read even with my glasses) that has the graphic and directions of where to point the tampon upon insertion. anonymous