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Teens & Tampons
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My 15 yr old daughter has tried to use tampons
unsuccessfully. This summer she will be teaching swimming
at an overnite camp and will really need to be able to use
tampons. She is not really telling me what isn't working,
I think they are sort of shooting out. Although I use them
she isn't really letting me talk her through this. Does
anyone have any great tips or hints I can pass along to
If she hasn't already been to a gynecologist for a check up
this is a perfect excuse to bring her. I urge you to find
a female gyn....that should make the whole process very
simple and smoothe.
I want to know if any parents were having difficulty
teaching your 13 years old to use tampons? She wants to
swim often. Any suggestions, books etc.
I started using tampons when I was about 13. My friend showed
me, not my mom! I think the ones with the cardboard
applicator might be easier, but the o.b. kind, without an
applicator can work also. There are instructions in the
box that are helpful. She could read those first and see what
she might be more comfortable with. Also, she could ask her
friends what they are using. My daughter isn't there
yet, but I think I will start her with the pads, partly so
she won't be afraid or disgusted by the blood. And she is shy
about her body.
I'm of two minds about tampons. On the one hand it's great to
be able to do and wear whatever you want when you have your
period, and to just continue like business as usual. On the
other hand, our periods can grant us a time of rest,
reflection and relaxation once a month. A time to nurture
ourselves and take it easy, to regroup in a way. It is a time
of cleansing. I would like to offer that option to my
daughter when she starts to menstruate. Life is stressful and
we push our bodies to the max most of the time. It's nice to
be able to say, ''sorry, I can't do that right now, I have to
take it easy today'', or whatever. Personally, if I could
build a menstrual hut in the parking lot behind my apartment
building and go there once a month for 3 days, I would be a
happy mommy! So, anyways, more things to think about. Good
luck! and congratulations to your daughter.
I missed your initial question, but the answer to the
question I think you were asking was that I taught
myself to use Tampax (at the cost of 3 or 4) with my
mother's blessing, the summer after 6th grade, so I
could go to Summer Camp hassle free. It was a little
earlier than some girls, but I had been having periods
for over a year and was ready.
My daughter seems to have taught herself without even
consulting me... sometime in 8th grade, again about a
year after starting her period.
I strongly prefer cardboard applicator or OB tampons for
the following reason: I have stood on a beach in New
England that was covered with THOUSANDS of little
plastic applicators from a sewage treatment burp
months earlier. While the water was again clean, the
beach was revolting. As every Berkeleyan knows --
plastic is forever. We never flush the cardboard
anyway...but if we did it WOULD eventually biodegrade.
Nuther Muther of a Teen
My daughter was reluctant to try tampons, even though I
use them regularly, and offered to help her with them
periodically. After over three years of menstruating, she
finally needed to try, due to a theater production she was
in (costumes, water, don't ask!). Although I use the o.b.
type myself, and discussed that no-applicator or cardboard
are definitely better environmentally, I let her start
with the plastic applicator ones because I think they are
easier for a nervous novice. We got the new Tampax compax
type (the applicator starts out nested, so it takes up
less purse space,and is less likely to accidentally
eject), in an assorted-sizes box. She's too shy to let me
in the bathroom, but we did review the instructions
together, and I emphasized the angle she should aim for
when inserting it. Like most girls, she tossed out a
couple after trying unsuccessfully. She felt pretty
hopeless, but I reassured her that there was no physical
reason she couldn't learn, and she was probably just
tense. After a warm cup of herbal tea, and more
assurances, she tried again and got it. By the next day,
she was a pro. She doesn't use them regularly, but feels
she has the option when needed.
Don't have your daughter ''practice'' when she's not
menstruating - without the moisture of the fluid, it will
be more difficult. I think mid-period, when it's
not ''gushing'', but not too dry, is easiest to start.
Also, I recommend learning with the smallest size (with a
pad, too, just-in-case).
My daughter is having trouble learning to use a tampon,
which she prefers over a sanitary napkin because she
wears a leotard for competitive gymnastics. I need to
know which tampons are easier for a teen girl to learn
to use. (The kind of tampon that I have used all these
years has not worked well for her.) I would rather not
purchase ten different kinds of tampons in order to find
out which is best! Thank you.
My daughter had success with the Playtex Slims. The others
didn't work well but I think these are geared for teens.
My daughter began using tampons with Tampax ''Satin'' (regular
size) and still prefers them to others.
Try a tampon with a plastic applicator in a junior size.
In addition, advise your daughter to use her finger in
order to understand the angle of insertion before she
needs to use the tampon.
I would say that ob's or something that doesn't have an
applicator might work better. It might be gross to her at
first, but she will be able to feel if the tampon is in right
or not and adjust it. It will also educate her about her body
and make it less of a mystery. I would also encourage her to
use the smaller ones and change more often. Though we don't
hear of TSS that often it is still a real issue, and smaller
ones are more comfortable and easier to get in.
When I use tampons I use the more expensive organic kind with
non-bleached cotton. It's worth it, I think, then again I
spend more on organic food also.
Good luck to your daughter. It does take a while to get used
to using tampons.
Try Kotex Security tampons. They make a Slender size
(although it's sometimes hard to find) which is great for
young girls, but the best part is the plastic applicator
which makes it easier to insert for many people. Un-
ecological, but easier. Good luck.
I asked my 14-years-old and she said her favorites are
Tampax Pearl Plastic (unscented). Very easy to use. She
went through several kinds earlier, and these are the
My daughter has been using tampons successfully since her very first - or
maybe second - period 5 years ago. She finds that
the ones with plastic applicators work best. Her tampon of choice is Kotex
Security. What we found was most helpful was that
I pointed to the part of the lengthy directions (the text of which I can no
longer read even with my glasses) that has the
graphic and directions of where to point the tampon upon insertion.
this page was last updated: Apr 25, 2008
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