the tampon challenge

the tampon challenge

Written by: Little Miss I'm Just A Girl



Time to read 3 min

At the complicated age that is 16, only joining the period club a few months prior to my first holiday in what seemed like forever, I was about to get an even bigger challenge thrown at me.

Still getting to grips with my cycle routine, it wasn’t a massive surprise getting my period when I wasn’t expecting. The real shock came when my period rocked a couple of days into my holiday. This meant I’d need to use a tampon so I could actually use the pool and not crisp up in the sun sitting at the side constantly.

The pool combined with a waterpark trip booked, I knew what needed to be done. It was time.

The fear of anything going remotely close to my vagina was very much at an all-time high, and I had just gotten to grips with my period pads (wings every time). Tampons had always scared me, which was only heightened when toxic shock syndrome was spoken about through my school. It got myself and a lot of my mates terrified. Periods and sex were still such a taboo subject, which is very disappointing looking back now. I’m hoping that my embarrassing story can help show that you’re not alone in this, and it’s not an easy road to go down!

The embarrassment of the situation began with myself, my mum and dad taking a stroll to a nearby corner shop to find some tampons. My sister didn’t join us on the holiday and my mum’s period is like clockwork, so she knew she didn’t need to bring any products with her. What are the (bloody) chances.

Even though my dad didn’t speak to me much about the situation, I knew that he was supportive and the fact he came to the shops to look for the rogue box of tampons gave me peace of mind that he had my back.

The search was successful, a lonesome pack of Tampax was secured from the only shop nearby. Now it was time for the real work.

My mum asked me if I was okay with using them and if I wanted her help. Of course, I lied. I was too awkward to ask for help, so I went to the bathroom, locked the door, and hoped for the best.

The Tampax box featured what could only be described as a novella on how to use the tampon. Looking back, I think I must have been too thrown by the mountain of instructions to read them properly or understand anything!

This was proved by me using up almost an entire box, just trying to get ONE in! My body felt like it was rejecting the tampon, and halfway through the struggle I was contemplating staying in the hotel room for the rest of the holiday.

My first mistake was completely disregarding the applicator altogether as I was under the impression that I had to push out the whole tampon. This meant I was left trying to insert a very, very, very, dry tampon. I did contemplate whether I could get away with leaving it halfway up there… the struggle was real. Trying to do this in a variety of awkward squats and positions should have earned me a medal. At one point I tried to a combination of pushing the tampon out of the applicator whilst inserting, would not recommend. As it was an applicator tampon (respect to the girlies who can use ones without) all I needed to do was push up the applicator AFTER getting it all in there, and then crack on. Oh how I wish I realised this sooner.

It is also incredibly hard to do the one thing they advise when inserting a tampon, which is relax! I don’t think any person on their period is ever relaxed, let alone a 16 year old.

45 minutes later with two tampons left, I had finally won the battle between myself and that silly little stick. Was the waterpark worth the tampon trauma? Kind of. Am I glad I have the option to use them now if I have to? Absolutely.

The lesson learned with this is, it’s always okay to ask for help, it’s not an easy process, and just take your time with it, as well as reading the instructions properly!

The struggle a lot of girls and women have with tampons is not spoken on enough at all. Even after having my period for nearly 10 years now, I can still struggle with tampons from time to time.

Fortunately, online guides on how to insert tampons are available to those with internet access. 

Little Miss I'm Just A Girl