Did you know that the average woman uses around 10,000 sanitary products in her lifetime? It only makes total sense for scientists and experts to research on the right menstrual care methods to use, particularly the answer to the age-old question of whether it’s best use tampons, sanitary pads, or a menstrual cup.
Here’s the lowdown on these three menstrual management techniques and how they stack up for optimum protection and comfort:
Also known as sanitary napkins or menstrual pads, these pads were among the earliest forms of feminine hygiene, providing various lengths and absorbency levels. Their top advantages are the following:
- Protect against underwear stains – Since they cover so much of the underwear they’re stuck on, pads are a good answer to staining.
- No insertion necessary – You don’t have to worry about painful inserts as well as difficult tampon removal.
- Safe for overnight use – Pads can be used longer than you can tampons safely, meaning they’re your best bet for overnight use.
- No toxic shock syndrome – But while pads aren’t linked to TSS, they can also put you at risk for other infections if you fail to change them every three to four hours or when you don’t regularly replace used underwear.
On the other hand, they have their drawbacks:
- Visibility – Pad lines can show through your pants and this can be an issue if you like to stay hush-hush about your menstrual business.
- Less freedom of movement and flexibility – Pads are less freeing than tampons, particularly if you want to swim or be more physically active.
- More waste – They’re thicker, longer, and typically use more material than tampons, so there’s more environmental waste. It doesn’t help if you’re not disposing of your used pads the proper way!
A menstrual management option since the 1930s, tampons are the most popular choice for women younger than age 41, according to a study. Like pads, they’re offered in different sizes as well as levels of absorbency, and they are recommended to be changed every four to eight house. Here are their main advantages:
- Small and compact – They’re tiny and can be easily smuggled to the bathroom without a fuss. Even those with an applicator can fit into your pocket.
- No wet, uneasy feeling – This works best for those who are quite squeamish about blood or the idea of it flowing outside the body. Tampons eliminate the sensation of something wet oozing out of your lady parts. Somehow they can make you forget you’re on your period.
- Freedom to move – This is a huge pro if you’re the active type, such as if you regularly swim and want to be more confident that something won’t be leaking all over your bathing suit.
Like pads, tampons have their disadvantages:
- You might forget about them – Given their massive invisibility once they’re already inserted, there’s a real danger of forgetting about tampons altogether, which can lead to accidental leakage and the next disadvantage on this list.
- Toxic shock syndrome – While rare, this staph infection most commonly occurs with “super absorbent” type, which encourages bacteria to collect around the tampon.
- Wrong size and type – Tampons aren’t a one-size-fits-all, so you have to figure out what’s best for your specific flow. There are different types of applicators, too.
- Insertion issues – It’s not every day that you insert foreign matter up your delicate part, so it can be pretty tricky to insert a tampon and get the angle right if you’re a beginner or haven’t used one in a long time.
Read this Seventeen feature for girls’ candid revelations on their pad and tampon experiences!
We recently featured this pad and tampon alternative on the blog, highlighting how this small, funnel-shaped cup can hold the most amount of blood among the three choices and emerges as an eco-friendly choice since it can be reused over and over again. Depending on your period flow, these cups made of rubber or silicone can be worn for up to about 12 hours.
Perhaps the biggest challenge for anyone looking to use a menstrual cup involves figuring out the right size, inserting and taking it out, and doing proper aftercare to stop bacterial accumulation and keep it clean.
Now that we’ve discussed the pros and cons, do you plan to stick to your tried-and-tested period product, or are you keen on some change? Let us know in the comments!
Sara Bishop grew up in Queensland and lives on the Gold Coast with her husband Luke and their three children. She started working at age 14 and has performed administration, research, and advisory roles throughout her career. She has helped lead multiple companies, including a construction firm and a sales and marketing agency. She loves snowboarding, spending time at the beach, and hanging out with friends. She is the force behind Perfect Timing, a women’s wellness service that delivers customised parcels filled with feminine products to transform THAT time of the month into THE time of the month. Learn more on this page.
Posted December 3rd at 3:55am