What is a tampon?

Tampon with an applicator and tampon without it

Let's face it, when it comes your monthly period, there are lots of things you can’t control, but what you can control is the period protection products you choose. Choosing period protection products that allow you to stay active, like Tampax tampons, gives you the freedom to keep on doing the things you love.

But what exactly is a tampon? A tampon is a soft, absorbent cotton or rayon-based product that helps protect against leaks during your period. Unlike pads, which are worn on your underwear, tampons are actually worn inside your body. Tampons actually help stop leaks before they get the chance to leave your body. By catching your flow earlier, there’s less chance of an accident, which means you can have greater confidence to do what you want – even to go swimming!

What are Tampax tampons made of?

You may also be wondering what tampons are made of – and it’s your right to know what’s in the products you’re using. Tampax tampons are made from either organic or conventional cotton, rayon (a synthetic material which comes from trees), or a blend of the two. Our applicator tampons are made from either cardboard or BPA-free plastic.

Do tampons hurt?

They shouldn’t! If it hurts when you put a tampon in, you’re probably just nervous, which tightens up your muscles. Take a deep breath and try to relax. We recommend starting out with a plastic applicator tampon like Tampax Pearl Compak for a comfortable, smooth insertion. If you find that it hurts after you’ve inserted a tampon, there’s a good chance it’s because you didn’t insert it far enough. Not to worry. You can either use your finger to push it in further or simply remove it and try again! When your fingers are on the grip of the tampon, they should touch your skin when you’ve got it right and it shouldn’t hurt.

Can a tampon get lost inside me?

There’s no such thing as a lost tampon (unless it’s at the bottom of your bag!). The opening at the other end of your vagina is only the size of a pencil point, which is way too small for a tampon to fit through. If you think you have a stuck tampon, just relax and use your finger to find the string. Don’t worry, it’s impossible to lose a tampon!

What if a tampon gets stuck?

A Tampax tampon can’t really get stuck inside you. If you’re feeling any resistance when you try to remove it, it probably means it’s not time to take it out yet. Wait until the tampon has absorbed more fluid, but never leave it in for longer than eight hours.

What if the string breaks?

Luckily, there’s next to no chance of that ever happening. The removal cord is sewn up into the core of all Tampax tampons. If it does break, you can use your fingers to reach up and remove the tampon or make an appointment with your doctor.

Can a tampon fall out?

Nope. When properly inserted, the muscles around the entrance to the vagina will hold the tampon in place so it can’t fall out – so don’t worry! And if you’ve heard that Kegel exercises prevent your tampon from falling out, then please take no notice – this is only a myth.

Do tampons cause yeast infections?

No. When yeast infections happen, it’s usually right before your period begins, so you may mistakenly believe that your tampon is the cause of the yeast infection. But it’s not – yeast infections are caused by a form of yeast commonly found in the vagina known as Candida. The use of antibiotics, among other things, can be a factor in the development of a yeast infection.

Can tampon components cause an infection?

Your health is of the utmost importance to us, so all the materials used in Tampax tampons have been tested (and re-tested) over and over by our experts and by independent labs to ensure the safety of both the raw materials and the biocompatibility of the finished tampons. This complies with European requirements (in Europe, tampons are currently regulated by the General Product Safety Directive). A small number of people may be uniquely sensitive to materials that can be used in making tampons. In any case, if you notice an issue, make sure to consult your doctor.

Can tampons leave fibres inside my body?

Fibres can come off any tampon, but it’s unlikely. It they do, our bodies know what to do – the natural self-cleansing process of the vagina will remove these fibres within a day or two.

Can tampons cause endometriosis or cancer?

No. Tampon use is widely accepted by doctors as a safe form of menstrual protection, and there is absolutely no scientific evidence to suggest that tampons lead to the development of endometriosis or cancer. We regularly review our tampon safety information with independent experts – doctors, nurses, and other scientists – to help make sure Tampax remains a menstrual protection product that women can trust and use with confidence.

Top tips for dealing with your period

1. Do some light exercise

Low-impact exercises like stretching, yoga, walking or swimming help increase blood flow, which cuts eases cramps. Sitting still can make you feel worse, so it’s important to exercise and get your body moving. Even dancing alone in your room is a great way to lift your spirits and keep you moving!

2. Hug a hot water bottle

The warmth of a hot water bottle on your tummy is so soothing when cramps are making you miserable. It can soothe your muscles, easing your body’s discomfort and minimising cramps.

3. Drink water and stay hydrated

It might seem odd that you need to drink more water when you're feeling the most bloated, puffy, and full, but the more water you drink, the more easily you will eliminate the water building up in your body. Drink 8-10 250ml glasses of fluid (like water, juice, or milk) throughout the day, making sure to carry a water bottle with you if you’re out and about. This will help you stay hydrated throughout your busy day.

4. Eat healthy, fresh foods

Try eating more fresh fruit and green veg. You should work towards getting at least five portions of fruits and vegetables in per day. When you eat enough of the right foods, it can make all the difference and can also steer you away from the foods that can make your period symptoms worse (e.g., junk food, chocolate and salty foods). When the cravings hit, try snacking on carrots with hummus, apples with peanut butter, or blend up a smoothie. Another bonus is that fruit and veg contain lots of water, so you're filling up on the good stuff and staying hydrated at the same time.

5. Avoid caffeine

Caffeine also makes you retain water and can give you that achy, crampy, bloated feeling, so it's best to cut it out when you’re on your period. Did you know that caffeine isn't just found in coffee and tea? It's also in fizzy drinks and chocolate. Good substitutes are ginger ale (ginger helps to settle your tummy), (iced) herbal tea, or just plain water. If you're craving chocolate, opt for a small piece of dark chocolate instead of a big chocolate bar.

6. Catch up on your sleep

You need eight to nine hours of sleep per night, especially when you’re on your period. Getting enough sleep will help to you wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

7. Take notes

Being prepared is your best defence when it comes to your period. A great period tip is to record your period each month on a tracker to chart when it starts, how long it lasts, how heavy it is on each day and which side effects you experience before, during and after. After a few months, you're likely to see a pattern and you’ll find it easier to be prepared.

8. Use period protection that lets you stay active

Finding the right pantyliners, pads and tampons that provide great protection while meeting your personal needs are an important part of feeling your best. Daily use of pantyliners keep you feeling fresh and prepared before your period, and pads offer great protection during your period – especially now that there are incredibly thin pads made to move with your body. If you’re very active, consider tampons, which are worn internally. Choose the lowest absorbency necessary for your flow and be sure to change it every 4-8 hours. Many women use a combination of products to suit their specific needs, so feel free to experiment to find out what works best for you.

So, now you know our top period tips, your monthly period doesn’t have to hold you back. You can keep on being your fun, energetic self regardless of whether you’re on your period or not.

Check out Tampax’s new step-by-step guide to tampons and watch super helpful videos from a partnership with Tyla: