When a teenage girl has her first period, she can safely begin using tampons right away. Age has no bearing on use. How does a parent introduce tampons to a teenager? Simply follow the steps listed below:
1. Buy a box of Tampax Pearl tampons, or a similar brand. A plastic applicator will aid insertion and is more user friendly than cardboard. In general, starting with a “mini” or “light” size is also helpful.
2. Take one tampon from the box and demonstrate the motion of popping the tampon out of the plastic applicator.
3. Give your teenager a handheld mirror to help her visualize what she’s doing.
4. Dip the insertion end of a new tampon into Vaseline.
5. Have your teenager attempt to place the tampon; she may prefer to do this in private. With one hand, she should part the labia; the other hand can be used to insert the tampon.
6. If the tampon feels uncomfortable, then she has probably placed it too low inside the vaginal introitus. If this is the case, she should attempt to reposition the tampon higher up.
7. Once your teen can comfortably insert a tampon, remind her that tampons should be changed at least every four hours and not left inside for excessively long periods of time. Changing tampons frequently helps to prevent rare complications of use, such as toxic shock.
8. If a teenage girl remains unable to insert a tampon, consider scheduling a visit with a gynecologist to rule out conditions like a septate hymen.