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A woman holding up a menstrual cup in one hand and a tampon in the other

The Best Tampons & Menstrual Cups for Vaginismus

Periods can suck. While cramps, headaches, and breakouts (oh, my!) are some of the most common symptoms during that ‘time of the month,’ many people don’t talk about how pain with vaginal penetration (aka vaginismus) can make the simple act of inserting a tampon or menstrual cup unbearably painful.

If you struggle with vaginismus, putting anything in your vagina may not be an option. But for many individuals, smaller products can be more manageable. So we roamed down drugstore aisles, scrolled the Internet, and made countless calls to ‘feminine hygiene’ companies to find the smallest, thinnest tampons and menstrual cups on the market.

Without further ado, here’s a list of menstrual products that might be worth experimenting with.

The thinnest applicator-free tampons

If you’re looking for the smallest tampon on the market, you’ll want to go applicator-free. While this style isn’t most commonly talked about, feminine products sans applicators have less waste and a smaller circumference since you’re eliminating the added bulk inherent in the applicator.

#1: Cora The Comfort Fit Tampon- Applicator Free Regular

  • At the smallest circumference of 31.42-37.7mm, this product is made with 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton, without pesticides, dioxins, fragrance, or chlorine. You can also sign up for Cora’s subscription program, so you don’t need to worry about running to the store between cycles.

#2: Veeda 100% Natural Cotton Applicator Free Tampons Regular

  • This 100% biodegradable, hypoallergenic, and gynaecologically tested non-applicator tampon is 34.56-37.7mm in circumference. Have sensitive skin? Veeda uses cotton that is grown naturally, not manufactured or altered. Their tampons and pads are gently cleansed with oxygen and are chlorine-free.

The thinnest tampons with an applicator

#1: o.b. Organic™ Regular with Plant-Based Applicator

  • With a circumference of 36.13-39.27mm, this product is made from 100% organic cotton and is free from chlorine, fragrances, and dyes. Made over 50 years ago by German gynecologist Dr. Judith Esser, o.b. Tampons were made to be comfortable, discrete, and protective!

#2: Tampax Light

  • A household name when it comes to feminine products, the Tampax size ‘light,’ no matter the line (Tampax Pearl, Radiant, Pure, & Cardboard), all hail the same circumference at 37.7mm.

#3: Cora The Comfort Fit Tampon Regular

  • In addition to being one of the thinnest tampons on the market at a 42.41mm circumference, every purchase from this women-owned company provides period products and body literacy resources to people who might otherwise go without.
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Menstrual cups with the smallest circumference

Dread the idea of changing your tampon every few hours? Try a menstrual cup for long-lasting, leak-free living. Not to mention, it’s a more minimalist way to stop your flow than stuffing your overnight bag with pads and tampons.

#1: The Hello Cup™ Average Cervix Cup Small

  • Made in New Zealand with the highest quality medical-grade TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) available, the Hello Cup is 1.5 inches wide and 2.20 inches long. Not only is it hypoallergenic and recyclable, but they are also free of silicone, rubber, latex, or BPAs and can last for up to 5 years.

#2: Hannah Cup Extra Small

  • Made with 100% Medical Grade Soft Silicone, this non-toxic & BPA Free cup is 1.45 inches wide, and 2.51 inches long. It can be worn for up to 12 hours, making it the perfect menstrual cup for day-to-night wear.

#3: Saalt Teen Menstrual Cup

  • This cup holds a 1-2 tampon capacity for light to normal flow, at only 1.46 inches wide and 2.56 inches long. Although its packaging says ‘teen,’ anyone who experiences pain from vaginal penetration can benefit from the Saalt Teen cup, no matter the age so long as it feels comfortable for your body.

If inserting even the smallest tampon or menstrual cup remains painful, we’ve got you. Pelvic floor muscle dysfunction is common in those who experience pain with vaginal penetration, and whether your goals are to be able to insert a penis, toy, speculum, or tampon, a comprehensive physical therapy program will help you achieve your goals.

To uncover what might be causing your pain with vaginal penetration and start getting relief with evidence-based treatments, book an appointment with a pelvic floor PT at Origin.

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Madison Reynolds

Madison Reynolds is a freelance writer and publicist in Los Angeles. She’s combined her love of all things health, wellness, and pop culture to tell stories for brands and talent. When she’s not glued to her laptop, you can find her rewatching Sex & the City, practicing yoga, or trying out a new coffee shop.

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