What Is A Tampon?

A tampon is a plug of soft material used to absorb menstrual flow. This feminine hygiene product is inserted into the vagina during menstruation and they have been used for more than 60 years, says research.

Unlike sanitary pads or napkins, which are external protection, tampons are considered internal protection because they soak up the menstrual blood before it leaves the body.

A tampon is cylindrical in shape and it is made up of cotton, rayon or a combination of two materials.

Types of Tampons

Today, different types of tampons are available in the market. Let's throw some light at the different types of tampons available:

1. Applicator Tampons

Cardboard applicator tampons

Green up your period by using cardboard applicator tampons, which are also biodegradable. Cardboard applicator tampons are easy to adapt and inexpensive too.

Choose Eco-Friendly Tampons with Cardboard Applicators

Plastic applicator tampons

They are a little more expensive, easy to use, comfortable and are commonly available in the market. However, plastic applicators are not environment-friendly. Hence it is better to opt for the cardboard applicator tampons.

Extendable applicator tampons

They are compact, discrete and smaller in size than a typical tampon. Extend the smaller tube by pulling the applicator out to use the tampons.

2. Non-Applicator or Digital Tampons

These tampons are same as applicator tampons, but they come without an applicator and they are shorter and a little wider. Use your clean hands to insert or push the tampon into your vagina.

Tampon Size Chart

Tampons fall under four different size categories depending upon the menstrual flow. Each tampon has a different absorbency factor. Picking the wrong type of tampon can make you feel uncomfortable. Let's have a look at what works for you:


Use this tampon when the menstrual flow is less, for example, the last or second last day of your period. It absorbs approximately 6 grams or less of menstrual blood.


You can use this on the first or second day of your periods when your menstrual flow is heavy. It absorbs approximately 6-9 grams.


This is for women who have a heavy menstrual flow and they hold 9-12 grams of menstrual flow.


These tampons are used when the menstrual flow is heavier than usual. It holds 12-15 grams of blood.

In simple words, a large-sized tampon can be used when the flow is heavy whereas, a small-sized tampon works best when the menstrual flow is light.

Using a super-sized tampon when your flow is light, for example, the last day of your period, can dry out the vagina, which can make you feel uncomfortable and you may even feel your tampon. Hence, choosing the right size of the tampon on different days of your menstrual cycle is extremely important.

Things You Should Know About Tampons

1. How To Use A Tampon?

Using a tampon is easy. First, wash your hands properly because you are going to handle a very sensitive part of your body.

Second, select which tampon size do you want to use. This completely depends on the menstrual flow.

Next, get into a comfortable position. You can either sit with your knees apart on the toilet seat or squat down.

Hold the tampon correctly between your thumb and the middle finger, at the midpoint of the tampon.

Next, at the end of the applicator where the string comes out, place your index finger and slowly insert the top portion of the tampon into the vagina and push it up a few inches until your fingers touch your body.

Once the inner tube is pushed inside, pull away from the applicator or the plastic part.

Lastly, make sure you are not uncomfortable and you should not be able to feel the tampon inside you.

2. How To Remove A Tampon?

Removing a tampon is easy if done correctly. Sit on a toilet seat comfortably and pull out the string firmly and the tampon will come out easily.

3. How Long Can You Keep A Tampon In?

You can use a tampon for maximum of 8 hours. If you know that you are going to sleep for more than 8 hours, then it is better to switch to a sanitary pad.

4. How often Should You Change Your Tampon?

It is advised to change your tampon every 4 to 8 hours. Changing it 3-4 times a day may help prevent a rare, but dangerous disease called toxic shock syndrome.

Change Your Tampons Frequently to Reduce the Risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome

5. Can You Swim With A Tampon?

Yes, you can swim with a tampon. However, it is better to change the tampon once you exit the water.

6. Can You Sleep With A Tampon In?

Yes, tampons will give you full protection and will stay in place while you are asleep. However, if you know that you will be sleeping for more than 8 hours, it is better to use a sanitary pad.

7. Can You Urinate With A Tampon In?

Yes, a tampon won't block the flow of urine. A tampon is inserted into the vagina, whereas urethra, the opening to your bladder is above the vagina.

As the urine flows out of the body, some of it may get on the tampon string. You can hold the string to the side when you pee to avoid it from getting wet.

8. Can Tampons Be Flushed?

No, flushing a tampon is not an ideal way to dispose of it. You can wrap it in a toilet paper and toss it in the trash can.

Are Tampons Available In India?

Tampons are available in India, but they are not as popular as sanitary pads. They are available in the medical stores, or you can easily order it online. Always prefer the unscented tampon over the scented variety.


  1. Impact of Currently Marketed Tampons and Menstrual Cups on Staphylococcus aureus Growth and Toxic Shock Syndrome Toxin 1 Production In Vitro - (https://aem.asm.org/content/84/12/e00351-18)
  2. Toxic shock syndrome, tampons and laboratory standard–setting - (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5436965/)
  3. Clinical Safety-in-Use Study of a New Tampon Design - (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1852271/)
  4. A Question for Women's Health: Chemicals in Feminine Hygiene Products and Personal Lubricants - (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3948026/)
  5. Study of Vaginal Microflora and Epithelium in Women Using a Tampon with an Apertured Film Cover Compared with Those in Women Using a Commercial Tampon with a Cover of Nonwoven Fleece - (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1865837/)
  6. Impact of Advertising on Tampon Wear-time Practices - (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4664207/)
  7. Effects of tampons and menses on the composition and diversity of vaginal microbial communities over time. - (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23398859)

Latest Publications and Research on Top 8 Things You Should Know About Tampons

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