In this section, we’ll compare pads, pantiliners, tampons, and menstrual cups.
Back in the day, the options for pads were very limited. Women wore bulky pads attached to belts that were strapped into place.
Thankfully, we’ve come a long way since then! Today there are many different products for both light and heavy flows. Many of these products are easy and convenient to use and make your period as comfortable as possible.
You can check out the tutorials to learn how to use each of these products.
Some girls find it easiest to start with pads until they have become more comfortable with their periods but you can use tampons or menstrual cups from your very first period if you like.
Whatever you choose to use is completely up to you! The choice is yours :)!
Pantiliners are designed to absorb vaginal discharge and meant to keep you feeling fresh throughout the day. They are stick on to your panties in the same way that pads do. There are a variety of pantiliners available and they come in a wide range of sizes, lengths, and shapes (including thong) so you can choose one that best fits your needs and preferences.
You can also wear pantiliners for:
- As a tampon back up to catch leaks
- At the end of your period when your period is light or when you are unsure if your period has stopped
- When you are expecting your period so you don’t stain your panties when you start your period
- If you have an irregular cycle and your period may come unexpectedly
Pads are worn on your panties and designed to absorb your period. They come in many different shapes, sizes, and a range of absorbencies to fit your needs and preferences.
There are two main types of pads:
- Thin or Ultra thin pads
- Maxi pads (which are thicker)
With today’s technology, thin or ultra thin pads offer the same great protection (if not better!) as maxi pads. Some women prefer maxi pads because they fit closer to the body but when worn with snug fit panties, thin pads offer the same close fit.
There are two main pad designs:
- Pads with wings
- Wingless pads
Wings wrap around the sides of your underwear to help the pad stay in place and protect the sides of your underwear when you move around. Wingless pads work best with boyshort style panties.
Tampons are designed to be worn inside your body in the vaginal canal. The expand to fit your shape as it absorbs your period. Sometimes they leak so it’s a good idea to wear a pantiliner too.When inserted correctly, you can’t feel the tampon inside you. This is one of the reasons some girls prefer tampons especially those active in sports.
There are two types of tampons:
- Applicator : Made of cardboard or plastic that helps guide the tampon into place
- Non-applicator : Tampon is inserted using your hand
Tampon come in a variety of absorbencies but you should always choose the lowest absorbency to avoid risk of TSS. Tampons can only be worn for a maximum of 8 hours. If you are sleeping with a tampon, you need to make sure you wake up in time to change it.
Tampons are removed by pulling on the string and sliding the tampon out. Do not flush the used tampon.
Menstrual cups are small soft cups designed to be worn inside your body. Unlike tampons, menstrual cups collect period fluid and are reusable.
They are offered in a couple of sizes and since it is held in place by the vaginal canal, most menstrual cups are one size fits most.
They can be worn for up to 12 hours and when inserted correctly, you won’t be able to feel it. It’s long wear time and comfort are some of the many reasons athletes and busy women choose to wear a menstrual cup.
There are two types of menstrual cups:
- Menstrual Cup that sits at the base of your vaginal canal such as the DivaCup, KeeperCup, MoonCup
- Menstrual Cup that sits below your cervix such as the Instead SoftCup
|Where is it worn?||On panties||On panties||Inside body, vaginal canal||Inside body, vaginal canal|
|Absorbs or Collects?||Absorbs||Absorbs||Absorbs||Collects|
|At what time in your cycle can you wear it?||Anytime||Anytime||Only when you have a flow**||Anytime|
|How long can you wear it for?||–||–||Max 8 hours||Max 12 hours|
|Can you wear it swimming?||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Can you it be worn during intercourse?||–||–||No||Yes, only the Instead SoftCup|
|Risk of TSS?||No||No||Yes||No|
*Price depends on brand. Generally, pantiliners are cheaper per unit, pads and tampons are comparable, and menstrual cups cost more, however most are reusable and only a one-time cost.
**This means you cannot put in a tampon when you are expecting your period and haven’t started bleeding yet. This is because there is nothing to absorb.
You may be interested in: