Cartoon of tampons arranged in rows with strings dangling.

So you’ve mastered using a tampon for the first time! The next stage is working out exactly how to take it out.

If you’ve just started using tampons, you may be anxious about how you are supposed to remove them. But it’s nothing to worry about! It is pretty is easy so you’ll soon get the hang of it. You just pull on the string gently but firmly, and the tampon should come out without a hitch. Take it at your own pace, it’s fine to pull little by little if that makes you feel more at ease. It also helps to take a few deep breaths to relax before trying.

Why isn’t my tampon coming out easily?

If you feel a little resistance when you pull on the string and the tampon doesn’t come out, it may be that you need to leave it inside longer. A tampon that hasn’t absorbed much blood might not come out quite as easily as one that is lubricated with the menstrual fluids it has absorbed. This is due to friction between the tampon and your vaginal walls, so you can use a little lubricant on your index finger and apply it inside your vagina to help ease the tampon out. Or, try peeing or doing some deep breaths before removing it to relax your vaginal muscles. 

If you can’t find the string, don’t panic. You should be able to reach it by getting into a squatting position and gently putting your thumb and index finger inside your vagina. The best thing to do is calm down and take a few deep breaths. If you’re struggling, a close family-member or friend might be able to talk you through it. If you really can’t get it out, then a medical professional will be able to help – this is extremely rare though! Usually, the tampon string will be there hanging outside your body ready for easy removal. 

Remember that ideally, you should change your tampon every four hours, with eight hours being the maximum time you can safely keep one in. This might vary depending on your flow and the activities you do, though, so you may want to read more about how often to change your tampon.

What should I do if removing my tampon is hurting or feels painful

Typically, it shouldn’t hurt when you remove your tampon. If it’s been in for at least four hours and you feel discomfort when you try to pull it out, it could be that your flow and the absorption level of the tampon don’t match. 

The best way to avoid pain when removing tampons is to wear the right absorbency for your flow, and only use them when you are certain you are on your period. Until you are sure your period has started, try using a period towel or period pants instead, and do the same when your flow is tapering off at the end of your menstruation. 

For those in-between days when you’re looking for something to deal with spotting, a liner will work beautifully and give you the confidence and protection you need. 

If you continue to experience pain whenever you remove a tampon, it’s a good idea to see your doctor to check for an infection or something else that might be causing the issue.

How do I dispose of my tampon?

Try and be mindful about how you throw your used tampon away. It’s best not to flush it down the toilet as this could cause a blockage. Instead, wrap it in some toilet paper and put it in the bin. Remember to always wash your hands afterwards, then you’re good to change to a new tampon and go about your day! 

Removing and disposing of your tampons will become second nature once you’ve done it a few times! You might absolutely love using them or decide to try some other period products instead – it’s a completely personal choice. But if you would like to learn more, have a look at a few other things to be mindful of when using a tampon.

Medical disclaimer

The medical information in this article is provided as an information resource only and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please consult your doctor for guidance about a specific medical condition.

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