I Can’t Get A Tampon In! Is There Something Wrong With Me?

can't use a tampon

Um… where does this go?!! | Source: ShutterStock

Hi Heather,

So, I’ve had my period twice. The first time I just used pads but they’re kind of annoying, so I wanted to try a tampon for the first time. My mom told me to read the instructions inside the box, so I tried to do what they said. BIG PROBLEM. It hurt!

I tried so many times in different positions, but I would breakdown crying every time. My mom said there could be something wrong with me. Am I too small, or not ready? Or am I just not doing it right? And should putting a tampon in really hurt that bad? HELP!!!!

First things first: you need to relax, girl! Although I can’t say for sure (because I’m not your doctor), I doubt that there’s something wrong with you. Tampons seem so easy to use, but for a lot of girls, they really aren’t that easy. This is actually a totally normal situation, so no need to freak out just yet – especially since it sounds like you’ve only tried this a few times.

Are you a virgin? If so, that’s probably why you’re having a lot of trouble here. Your vagina isn’t used to having a foreign object in it, so it’s something your body has to adjust to. The other reason you’re probably having trouble is because you seem really nervous and stressed out about the whole issue. It sounds to me like you tried the first time, and it hurt – so obviously, you weren’t exactly thrilled about trying it again, and your body tensed up. That reaction is completely normal.

Girl Meditating

Annnnd relax… | Source: ShutterStock

But that’s exactly why it’s so important to remain calm and relaxed while attempting to inset a tampon. Feeling that nervous about doing it is going to make your body (and down there region) tense up. That’s going to make things tighter down there, and naturally, it’s going to hurt and cause you some pain and pressure.

Pick a time to try this when you’re feeling calm. Sit in a comfortable position with your legs spread wide, and try using a mirror so that you can see exactly what’s happening. Inset a small tampon (for the first time, you should try a light or regular one so that it’s not as difficult) very slowly. If you start to tense up, take a deep breath and calm yourself down again. If you get it in, you might feel a little pressure at first, but eventually you should get used to it. Give yourself a few times to try this – if it doesn’t work right away, don’t get frustrated. That’s only going to tense you up more.

If you’re feeling a really serious pain when trying to inset a tampon, go to a gynecologist. A doctor is the only one who can find out if there’s really something wrong going on. But before you do that, try just relaxing. You’ll be surprised to find out that will probably work.

take care,

What’s on your mind? Heather can help! Send her your question at heather@gurl.com

The complete guide to your period options

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  • Cat

    I had trouble with tampons for a really long time so i tried a bunch of different positions and sizes and i read something that said to try lube or vasaline and being i dont have lube i tried vasaline and it worked great !!!

  • Kayla

    I started my period around 11 years old. I could NEVER use tampons. Ever! When I turned 15 I started having sex. Therefore got used to having objects in me. I started using things to masturbate with too. After a while of having sex. I can NOW wear tampons. I’m 16. I’m not saying go have sex you’ll be able to wear tampons bc I also have a friend who’s a virgin. She’s been wearing MAXI yea the big ones maxi tampons since she was like 13. I think it depends on the person. Now I rlly like tampons. When u use tampons you should NOT FEEL PAIN WALKING, SITTING, BENDING. Ect. I emphasize that because that means it’s not in CORRECTLY. You shouldn’t feel that it’s even there.

  • rashmi

    hi , I used o.b pro comfort tampon for the first time , i didnt want to miss my swimming , but it pained whenever i sneezed or try to sit down .

  • Natalia

    I also had that problem the gyn told me I was just smaller than normal (she barely put her pinky in and it was excruciating) and said trying the smallest tampon with lube may work, although I haven’t tried yet since I haven’t worked up the courage. But definitely ask a gynecologist, it made me feel so much better by having a professional opinion on why I was having trouble. Hopefully I’ll be able to get them to work in the future if I keep trying

    • Karry

      I wanted to share my experience with you because your story sounds exactly like mine. I also could not insert a tampon and after seeing my gyn about it she said that I was smaller than normal. She hardly got her pinky finger in before I had to tell her to stop. I was given the same advice however it still was painful. I wondered how on earth I was ever going to be able to have sex. Eventually I got to the point where I wanted to have sex with my boyfriend and it felt like I was being stabbed in the vagina. After this I saw a urologist/gynecologist and she referred me to pelvic floor physical therapist because of a condition called vaginismus or dyspareunia. I wanted to share with you my story because I went on for the next two years of my life thinking that my vagina was just “too small” and that I would never be able to effectively use a tampon or have sex. I hope that this information does not scare you, hopefully this is not the case, I just felt compelled to share my story with you since there are a lot of people that struggle with these issues and think that there is just something wrong with them and do not know that it is a treatable condition.

  • Marion

    I use tampons since I’m 16 now, I put it in wrong without noticing and sat down now I’m in excruciating pain bellow, is this normal should I be concerned???? HELP PLEASE

  • Anaya Williams

    I started using them when I was 17. I was like that’s it I’ve had enough of pads I’m going to use tampons and I’m going to put it in right. So I tried at first it hurt kind of but I didn’t give up, next thing I know it was all the way in. I was so proud of myself and so happy. I chose tampons over pads any day, they’re easy for me to use, its all I ever use.

  • becky

    Been to doc several times told some girls vaginas are a sml percentage where ever I put tampon I feel I even can tell when full a abnormal but happens.I love to sleep nude with husband period or not pads out of question. Also keeps me hotter on period as if not already

  • Briana

    Hi, I have just started with tampons and I get the tampon in, but it hurts when I walk or bend down. Please help me.

    • rashmi

      hi , i used tampon today for the first time, im also having same problem .ant walk ,cant bend or sit ,if i sneeze it hurts ,

  • Rachel

    I’ve had my period for about two years now and I’ve used pads. Recently I’ve been wanting to use tampons because I play volleyball. It hurts me to use tampons but I think I just need to get a smaller size.

  • Zoey

    If you go to stick a tampon in for the first time but don’t push it all the way in why does it still hurt from trying to put it in afterward when you don’t even have one in? Will I get pregnant from it?

    • Jessica

      No you will not get pregnant from it there is no chance whatsoever of that happening

  • Rebecca

    I had the same problem and my gyn told me to use a little lotion on the tampon (without perfume!) and now I can apply any tampon I want. Even the big ones in case my period is very heavy.

  • Amelia

    I had the same problem. I even had one of my close girlfriends help me try to put it in and it hurt like hell. Turns out I had a really really thick hymen, and my doctor told me I had to have it surgically removed because if anything had tried to push its way up there, I would have suffered from incessant bleeding. Call your doctor and have it checked out!

  • Fiona

    I’m 16 and I got my first period when I was around 12 or 13 and I could never use tampons and I thought there was something wrong with me because I could never use one. I hadn’t tried for a while so I tried again a couple of months ago using a lil let teen tampon and I got it in pretty much straight away! Now I’m using tampax and it is a hell of a lot nicer than using pads. So basically, I spent a few years thinking I would never be able to use a tampon but now I can, so don’t give up! Eventually I’m sure you can do it. But even if you can’t it doesn’t matter.. My aunt and a couple of my mums friends who are in their 30’s 40’s and 50’s can’t use a tampon and they’ve all had children vaginally so don’t worry if you can’t, you’re not the only one, it’s completely normal!

  • jennniger

    it also depends on what kind of tampon you use.

  • Shawna

    Unfortunately, some people WILL judge you for not using a tampon. It’s horrible, but that is the reality you will have to deal with if you admit to others that you don’t use them. I am not telling you this to shame you if you use pads exclusively, but so that you are prepared for the reaction. Steel yourself. Uncool people do exist in this world. People who are uncool, lack basic human empathy, take pleasure in hurting others, and who really don’t care about you as much as they may claim will judge you for using a pad instead of a tampon. They will also judge you for other things, too. They will always find some degree of dissatisfaction with you no matter how you try to please them, so don’t bother. Steel yourself, take what they have to say with a fake smile and a polite nod of the head, and then continue wearing a pad if that is what you know is right for you. No one has the right to dictate whether you should wear a tampon, pad, or cup. No one knows your body and how it responds to each as well as you do. Wear a pad if that is what is right for you. Wear a tampon if that is what is right for. And remember. Haters are going to hate, no matter what. Haters who judge you by what you use when you’re on your period are the lowest and shallowest kind.

    But for those who do want to use tampons, this article has good advice.


  • Cassie

    I have heard that sometimes your hymen can contribute to the pain of inserting a tampon.

    Breaking the hymen can be MONSTROUSLY painful (As I found out recently) and it takes patience to break it in comfortably. I say, you don’t have to use a tampon until you’re ready. No one is going to judge you for it.

    • greeneyes

      I agree. I have been trying to use tampons since I’ve had my hymen broke/stretched and I know it will take a while. I definitely know that I couldn’t use a tampon before, I was way too small. And if someone judges you for what period products you use that is just wrong beyond all means.