A junior-sized tampon is the smallest size of tampon, explains the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. A tampon is a plug of absorbent material that is inserted into the vagina to absorb menstrual blood. Each type of tampon is named according to how much fluid it can absorb. With some brands of tampons, the smallest size of tampon is referred to as regular-sized or light-sized.
Females should use the smallest size of tampon available when using a tampon for the first time, explains the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. After a woman is comfortable using tampons, a larger size is appropriate if the smallest sized tampons are not absorbing fluids sufficiently and are causing leakage.
Tampons are made of cotton, rayon or a blend of these two materials. Tampons typically come with either a cardboard, plastic or extendable applicator. There are also digital tampons, which do not come with an applicator.
Tampon use increases a female's risk of developing toxic shock syndrome or toxic shock-like syndrome, according to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. Females can lessen the risk of developing these conditions by using tampons with the lowest absorbency necessary, changing tampons every four to eight hours, and avoiding overnight use of tampons while sleeping. Following the manufacturer's instructions, storing tampons in a clean, dry area, and washing hands with soap and water before and after inserting and removing a tampon are also measures females can take to prevent toxic shock syndrome. Females should be aware of the symptoms of these conditions, read the information available in the tampon box, and ask a doctor about toxic shock syndrome at medical visits.
In lieu of tampons, women can use disposable or cloth menstrual pads or silicone menstrual cups, notes the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.