Pads, tampons, menstrual underwear, and cups allow you to go about your normal life without getting blood on your clothes or cloths during your period. Tampons and cups can be inserted into your vagina, pads can be worn under underwear, and menstrual underwear can be worn instead of regular underwear on days when you have your period.
A pad (sometimes called a sanitary pad) is a thin material that is attached to your underwear. Some have “wings” or tabs that fold up the sides of your underwear to protect against leaks and stains. Some pads are made of disposable material – you use them once and throw them away. Other pads are made of cloth and can be washed and reused.
A tampon is a small cotton plug that fits into the vagina and absorbs menstrual blood. Some tampons come with an applicator that helps you insert the tampon. Tampons have strings at the end so you can easily pull them off.
Period underwear (AKA period panties) are just like regular underwear, except they have an extra layer to absorb period blood. Menstrual underwear is different for light, medium and heavy flow days. Menstrual panties can be worn alone or with a tampon or menstrual cup.
Menstrual cups are shaped like small bells or cups and are made of rubber, silicone, or soft plastic. You insert the cup into your vagina and collect the menstrual blood. Most cups are reusable – you just empty them when you need them, wash them and use them again. Other menstrual cups are disposable – you throw them away once or after one menstrual cycle.
Do not use a menstrual cup if you have an IUD. Using a menstrual cup can cause your IUD to dislodge.
Tampons and cups can’t get stuck inside you, get lost, or move to other parts of your body. Your vaginal muscles hold them in place (without you even knowing!) and they stay in your body until you release them. Most people can’t even feel a tampon or cup when it’s in the right place. You can wear tampons and cups in the water, during all kinds of sports and activities.
What type of period is right for me?
It’s completely up to you! Think about what works best for your lifestyle and your needs. It can also help to try different products or ask a friend or family member what works for them.
It is common to use different things during menstruation. For example, someone may use tampons during the day and pads at night. You can wear leaky underwear, pads, or underwear while using a tampon or cup.
Some people find it more comfortable and convenient to wear a tampon or cup in the vagina because it’s out of the way and you can’t usually feel it. Others prefer menstrual underwear and pads because they find them more comfortable than tampons and cups, or because they don’t want to insert anything into their vagina. But you can’t wear pads in menstrual underwear or in the water, and during some activities the pads can move out of place or feel uncomfortable. So, use a tampon or cup when swimming or playing sports during your period.
Many people like the convenience of disposable products like tampons and pads. These are usually easy to find in stores. Others choose reusable protection such as menstrual cups, underwear, and pads to save money and be environmentally friendly.
Do not use scented tampons, pads, vaginal deodorants or sprays – this can cause irritation and infection. Some people worry about their period, but chances are no one will be able to tell that you’re on your period. Just make sure to change pads, tampons, menstrual underwear and cups regularly.
How to use the board
Pads come in different sizes – thin (panties) when you’re not bleeding, thick (maxi or “super” pads) when you’re bleeding regularly or profusely, so you can use whichever type you feel most comfortable with.
Use the adhesive tape to attach the pad to the back of your underwear. Some reusable pads are attached with underwear clips or elastic.
Change the pads every few hours or when they are soaked with blood.
Wrap the used pad in plastic wrap or toilet paper and throw it in the trash. Flushing used pads or bandages down the toilet can clog them.