Why Does it Hurt to Insert a Tampon?

We've all been there--every so often we feel the tampon as we insert it, and not in a good way! But pain every time you insert a tampon is NOT normal. In this blog, I will discuss some common reasons for pain with inserting a tampon. These are:

1. Wrong angle! Your vagina does not extend straight upwards or straight backwards; rather, it is at an angle of about 60 degrees. Plus, there are sensitive structures like your urethra and your clitoris that don’t particularly like to be smushed, especially up against your pubic bone (ouch!).

What to do: When you insert the tampon, be sure to angle it upwards AND backwards. Best way to figure out your particular angle? Insert your finger!

2. Too dry/wrong size: Tampons are meant to be highly absorbent, so if you are trying to insert one at the beginning of your period, there may not be enough menstrual fluid to provide lubrication.

What to do: To help with this, apply a tiny amount of lubricant to the end of the tampon, and be sure you are using the lowest absorbency you need. In other words, unless your periods come on like Niagara Falls, you probably don’t need super plus on the first day!

3. Nerves: if this is your first time, you may be a little nervous. When we are nervous, our muscles tend to tighten up. This tightening can also affect the muscles of our pelvic floor, which surround the vagina. If these muscles are tight, they can make inserting a tampon difficult, or even impossible. This tightening can also happen when we are preoccupied or in a rush.

What to do: To help with your nerves, prepare yourself by getting familiar with your anatomy; look at your vulva in a mirror so that you know where to insert the tampon. Insert your finger to get a feel for your particular vaginal canal angle. Get in a comfortable position, which for many people is sitting on the toilet; another position is standing with 1 leg up (think Captain Morgan). And finally, breathe. Diaphragmatic breathing is an amazing and effective way to calm your nerves while relaxing your pelvic floor muscles.

Still having pain? Stay tuned for my next blog, and talk to your doctor!

Need help figuring out diaphragmatic breathing? Check out my YouTube video, Breathing Basics:

I wish you all a happy, healthy weekend! Stay tuned next week for a deeper dive into pain with insertion!

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