How Do I Use Tampons, Pads, and Other Period Supplies?

Navigating the world of period supplies can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you’re new to it. But don’t worry, you’re not alone! Let’s break down the basics of using tampons, pads, and other period supplies so you can feel confident and comfortable during your menstrual cycle.

Tampons: A Step-by-Step Guide

Tampons are a popular choice for menstrual care, providing discretion and convenience. Here’s how to use them:

  1. Choose the Right Absorbency: Tampons come in different sizes and absorbencies. Start with the lowest absorbency that meets your needs.
  2. Wash Your Hands: Always start with clean hands to prevent introducing bacteria.
  3. Get Comfortable: Find a comfortable position. Many people find it easiest to insert a tampon while sitting on the toilet with knees apart.
  4. Unwrap the Tampon: Remove the tampon from its wrapper. If it’s an applicator tampon, hold the applicator by the grip.
  5. Insert the Tampon: Gently insert the tip of the tampon into your vagina, aiming towards your lower back. Push the applicator or tampon in until your fingers touch your body.
  6. Push the Tampon Inside: If using an applicator, push the smaller tube into the larger one. For non-applicator tampons, push it in with your finger.
  7. Remove the Applicator: Gently pull it out and dispose of it properly.
  8. Check for Comfort: You shouldn’t feel the tampon inside you. If you do, it might not be in far enough.
  9. Regularly Change Your Tampon: Change your tampon every 4-6 hours or more often if needed.
  10. Dispose of Tampons Properly: Never flush tampons down the toilet. Wrap them and throw them in the trash.

Pads: Simple and Secure

Pads are a fuss-free option for menstrual care. Here’s how to use them:

  1. Choose the Right Pad: Like tampons, pads come in various sizes and absorbencies. Pick one based on your flow and preference.
  2. Peel off the Backing: Remove the adhesive backing to reveal the sticky side.
  3. Place the Pad: Stick the pad onto your underwear, centering it so it aligns with your vaginal opening.
  4. Secure the Wings: If the pad has wings, wrap them around the sides of your underwear for extra security.
  5. Change Regularly: Change your pad every 4-8 hours, or more often if it’s saturated.
  6. Dispose of Pads Properly: Fold used pads and wrap them in toilet paper or their wrapper before disposing of them in the trash.

Menstrual Cups: A Sustainable Choice

Menstrual cups are eco-friendly. It can be worn for up to 12 hours. Here’s how to use them:

  1. Select the Right Size: Cups come in different sizes. Choose one based on your age, flow, and whether you’ve given birth vaginally.
  2. Sterilize Before First Use: Boil your cup for a few minutes before using it for the first time.
  3. Fold the Cup: There are various folding methods (like the C-fold or punch-down fold) to make insertion easier.
  4. Insert the Cup: Relax your muscles and gently slide the folded cup into your vagina, aiming horizontally and back toward your tailbone.
  5. Ensure It’s Open: Once inside, let the cup pop open. You can check by running your finger around it.
  6. Remove and Empty: Pinch the base of the cup to break the seal and gently pull it out. Empty the contents into the toilet.
  7. Rinse and Reinsert: Rinse your cup with water before reinserting it.
  8. Sterilize After Your Period: Once your period is over, sterilize the cup again for storage.
Watch this video to learn how to insert a menstrual cup in real life.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I change tampons or pads? Change your tampon or pad every 4-6 hours or more frequently if you have a heavy flow.

Can I sleep with a tampon in? Yes, but it’s recommended to use the lowest absorbency necessary and to change it right before bed and first thing in the morning.

Are menstrual cups safe? Yes, when used correctly. They’re made of medical-grade silicone, latex, or elastomer.

What if a tampon is uncomfortable to insert or remove? If a tampon is uncomfortable, it might not be inserted correctly or it could be the wrong absorbency for your flow. Relaxing your muscles can help make insertion easier. If discomfort persists, consider trying a different brand or size or switching to a different product, like a pad or menstrual cup.

Can I use pads or tampons with a light flow? Absolutely! There are specific products designed for light flow, such as light absorbency tampons or thin panty liners. It’s all about finding what’s comfortable for you.

Is it normal to feel nervous about using tampons or menstrual cups for the first time? Yes, it’s completely normal. Take your time, and remember that it gets easier with practice. If you’re very nervous, you might want to start with pads and gradually transition to other products as you become more comfortable.


  • Listen to Your Body: Choose the product that feels most comfortable for you. Everyone’s body and flow are different.
  • Maintain Hygiene: Always wash your hands before handling period products.
  • Be Prepared: Carry an extra tampon, pad, or cup, along with some wipes, for emergencies.
  • Dispose Responsibly: Always dispose of period products properly to maintain hygiene and respect the environment.
  • Seek Advice if Needed: If you’re unsure or have concerns about your menstrual health or the use of period products, don’t hesitate to consult a healthcare professional.


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