One STELLAR writer finds out why, for some girls, tampons are a total no go.
I am 23 years of age and for the 10 years I have had my period I have never been able to use a tampon.
When I first, er, started bleeding down there my mum gave me my first packet of pads, and even though I had heard of tampons, pads suited me just fine for the first few years.
At 16, if I ever needed emergency supplies from my friends they would always give me a tampon and I was too embarrassed to say I’d never used one, so I’d shove it to the bottom of my bag and stuff tissues down my knickers instead. Sanitary, I know.
Eventually, this became increasingly uncomfortable so reluctantly I decided to give the whole tampon thing a go. I read the instructions 10 times over and tried many different positions but it just wouldn’t go in.
Any time I tried its like my vagina would put a safety lock on – and there was no key to it.
After that I kinda resigned myself to the fact that I was some sort of tampon-fearing weirdo, and stuck solely to the slightly less hygienic habit of using sanitary pads…that is until last week, when a office discussion about periods revealed, that actually, being unable to use a tampon is fairly common.
Amongst the 20-some female staff in our office, six ‘fessed that tampons are a total no go for them, while most of the rest said a friend, or a sister has had similar issues.
I think it stems from a bad experience of trying to use them when I was a young teen, without having a clue what I was doing…
“I appreciate that tampons feel more hygienic than pads for a lot of girls, and in a sense are less hassle to use, but the application process turns me off using them,” Sarah, 25, told me. “I think it stems from a bad experience of trying to use them when I was a young teen, without having a clue what I was doing…”
Claire, 28, has experienced similar difficulties. “I find it so frustrating that I can’t use tampons,” she told me. “I always feel like they’re a much more handy and discreet option than using pads, but every time I go to use one, it’s like I just can’t. I get a mental block and it won’t go in.”
So, with so many women unable to use them, what gives?
According to beinggirl.com one of the main reasons for this is Vaginismus; a condition that causes the vagainal muscles to tense up. Basically, if you’re worried that putting a tampon in is going to hurt or feel uncomfortable, a signal goes to the muscles at the opening of your vagina and makes those muscles contract. The kicker? You won’t know this is happening, you won’t feel it; you’ll only know that you aren’t able to get a tampon in.
So is there a quick fix for gals who really want to make the switch to tampons?
Fortunately, there are a few things you can try. The NHS recommends trying relaxation and exploration techniques. These are things like breathing practices, massage and having a bath, which may help to loosen the tension enough for you to be able to insert a tampon.
In more extreme cases, physio or surgery may be required.
The important thing to remember though? Whether you can insert a tampon at lightening speed or can’t do it at all, you’re completely normal. Do what I did; have a chat with your gal pals and I’ll bet that ‘weird’ problem you have might not seem so unusual after all.
As for me, I’ll be sticking with sanitary pads for the foreseeable future.