Tampons Sizes - Which one is right for you?

Tampons Sizes - Which one is right for you?

Choosing the right size of tampon sizes can be confusing, especially if you are new to using tampons.

Tampons range in size from those suitable for using when you first start to use a tampon through to larger tampons with greater absorbency for a heavier flow.

Why choose a tampon?

Tampons offer the benefit of absorbing menstrual flow internally rather than sanitary pads which absorb flow externally. This means they are better for water-based activities such as swimming or other exercises such as running or going to the gym as pads may move around int he underwear, absorb sweat and generally make you feel hotter. There will also be less odour when wearing a tampon or menstrual cup than a sanitary pad.

Tampons are also smaller than menstrual cups so tend to be easier to insert if you are new to using internal period products.

Tampons are left in when you pee, so they only need to be touched to be inserted and removed and applicator tampons can also help with making tampons even easier to insert. Applicators are generally made of plastic or cardboard. Plastic applicators can be easier to insert but cardboard applicators are more environmentally friendly.

How often should I change my tampon?

Most manufacturers recommend you change your tampon every 4 to 6 hours. 

What tampon size should I choose?

Tampons come in a range of sizes.

You should always wear the lowest absorbency tampon possible for your flow on that day. This means you will need a range of tampon sizes for different days depending on your flow.

Teens and people new to using tampons will usually use the smallest tampon available to start with. If you find the smaller tampon is not absorbing all your menstrual flow and you are experiencing leaking (with regular changing, every 4 to 6 hours) then move up to a greater absorbency tampon. While you are getting to know your flow of different days of your cycle, it's a good idea to wear a cloth or disposable pad as a backup.

A guide for selecting the correct tampon for your flow;

Common names


Approx. equivalent


Junior / Slender

< 6g

~ 1 teaspoon

Suitable for very light spotting.

Mini / Light

6 - 9g

~ 1.5 teaspoons

Suitable for light flow or the last days of your period.


9 - 12g

~ 2 teaspoons

Suitable for medium flow. good for most days of your periods unless you have a particularly heavy flow.


12 - 15g

~ 2.5 teaspoons

Suitable for heavy flow. Provide extra absorption usually for the first days of heavy periods.

Super Plus / Ultra / Extra

15 - 18g

~ 3+ teaspoons

Suitable if you experience extra heavy bleeding at the beginning of your periods or if you have been diagnosed with Menorrhagia.


Will using a tampon hurt?

It can be daunting using a tampon for the first time. For some people, a tampon may break the hymen when first inserted and cause discomfort. If you are concerned about this opt for a tampon with an applicator, use the smallest tampon possible and look for brands that may have a "slim" tampon style. You can also use a small amount of water-based lubricant to aid with insertion and be sure to relax, take it slow and give yourself a break if it becomes too much.

If possible, it's also a good idea to get used to using a tampon the cycle before you need to use one so that you aren't stressed about using something new with an activity coming up.

When can a heavy flow tampon be used?

Super or heavy flow tampons should be used sparingly and reserved only for particularly heavy days if you experience leaking or breakthrough bleeding in under 4 hours with a regular tampon.

Heavy flow tampons should never be used for a regular or light flow to increase the recommended wear time of a tampon as this significantly increases your risk of contracting Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)

Source: https://www.tga.gov.au/publication/guidance-regulation-tampons-australia  

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