How to Insert a Tampon: 15 Steps & More Tips

Using a tampon for the first time can seem like a daunting task. No matter your age, it is a huge step to take. It is perfectly normal to be nervous or apprehensive. Once you have decided that you want to use tampons, take a deep breath and follow these steps. Inserting a tampon will be much easier than you ever thought it could be.

How to Put In a Tampon Step by Step

Step 1

Educate yourself about the benefits and dangers of using tampons. One benefit is that they allow you more freedom to participate in activities like swimming and exercising. Many women feel much “cleaner” and comfortable when they use a tampon instead of a sanitary pad. Be aware that Toxic Shock Syndrome is a health risk. (See Resources for information.) Speak with your doctor or medical practitioner if you have any additional questions.

Step 2

Choose the correct type of tampon. Tampons can have plastic or cardboard applicators, or none at all. Tampons with plastic applicators may be easier to use until you get the hang of inserting them. Tampons also have different absorbency levels. Always use the lowest level of absorbency, which reduces the risk of medical problems. You will have to check your tampons frequently until you get a feel for how heavy or light your flow is for the brand you selected. It may feel as if you are wasting the tampons, but your health is more important. Also, smaller tampons (those used for lighter flows) are easier to insert than the “super” tampons made for heavier days.

Step 3

Familiarize yourself with your anatomy. It’s your body, and it’s perfectly OK to know where “everything” is. Leave nothing to chance and take a good look at yourself. Using a mirror is an excellent way to see everything in that area of your body. If you are uncomfortable using a mirror, several books are available about the anatomical structure of a woman’s body. To use a tampon, you must know where your labia is located, as well as your vaginal canal. Remember that your vaginal canal is not straight up-and-down; it is positioned diagonally. Knowing this will make inserting a tampon much easier and more comfortable.

Step 4

Look over the tampon carefully. Make sure it is still sealed in the wrapper before using it. Feel free to take it apart and thoroughly investigate its different parts. If you are using tampons with an applicator, there will be two tubes that fit together. These tubes slide inside each other when you insert the tampon. There will also be the tampon itself. A string will be attached to the end of the tampon. If you take it apart, be sure to throw it away. You do not want to transfer any additional germs into your vaginal canal.

Step 5

Wash your hands extremely well before inserting the tampon. Good hygiene is essential to not contaminating the tampon and your body with germs and bacteria.

Step 6

Relax! Inserting a tampon is much easier if your mind and body are both relaxed. Trying wiggling your toes while you inserting. This will help your pelvic muscles relax, making inserting the tampon easier and more comfortable.

Step 7

Find a comfortable position. Try standing with your knees bent and about shoulder-width apart. You can sit with one thigh on the toilet seat and your legs parted. This may be easier, because you will be better able to keep your balance. You can also stand with one foot resting on the toilet seat or bathtub. Try different positions. Whichever one feels the most comfortable is the best position for you to be in.

Step 8

Hold the larger tube of the tampon between your middle finger and your thumb. Try to only touch the applicator with your fingers. Some brands of tampons have small ridges on the larger tube to show you where to hold the tampon.

Step 9

Place the tampon at the entrance of your vagina. You may need to move back your labia (the inner “lips”) to find your vaginal opening. Place your index (pointer) finger on the end of the smaller tube, where the string is located.

Step 10

Gently push the larger tube into your vagina. Remember to angle up and at a diagonal so it will be more comfortable for you. Keep pushing the tampon until you touch your body. Be sure you are relaxed as you do this. If it is uncomfortable, spread your legs a bit wider. If it is extremely uncomfortable, start over. It may take several tries. Once the larger tube is inside your vagina, keep holding it with your thumb and middle finger.

Step 11

Push the smaller tube into the larger tube (already in your vagina) with your index (pointer) finger. Continue to push until your index finger reaches your thumb and middle finger. If it is uncomfortable, the tampon probably wasn’t inserted completely. Remove it, throw it away and begin the process over again.

Step 12

Pull the entire applicator out of your vagina. Make sure you have removed both tubes and the string is not inside your vagina. You will use the string to take the used tampon out. If you did not remove both tubes or the string is inside your vagina, do not panic. Gently insert your index finger inside your vagina and pull out the tube or the string. Stay relaxed, and this will be much easier for you to do. There should not be any discomfort. If there is, remove the tampon by pulling on the string. Throw it away and start over again. You may feel as if your vagina is trying to “spit out” the tampon; this is normal. The muscles that cause this feeling are actually holding the tampon in place. This unusual sensation will go away in a few moments, once your vagina becomes accustomed to the tampon. If the feeling does not go away, remove the tampon and begin again.

Step 13

Discard the applicator. Some applicators are flushable and others are not. If you are using an applicator that is not flushable, wrap it in toilet tissue and place in the trash.

Step 14

Wash your hands thoroughly when you are finished. Be careful not to spread germs and bacteria.

Step 15

Remember that the first time inserting a tampon is the most difficult. The more often you do it, the easier it will be.

Below is a video to explain you how to use tampons without hurting yourself:


Change your tampon often. Follow the guidelines in the package insert. If in doubt, remove the tampon –even if the recommended time has not passed. Consider wearing a pad or panty liner until you are sure what absorbency level is best for you on any given day.


Never use a tampon for more than 8 hours. This increases the risk of developing Toxic Shock Syndrome. Do not give up. It may sound difficult, but once you get the hang of it, it will be easy to do.