Tampons, pads, and cups — sometimes called sanitation products which soak or gather the blood which releases from your vagina during your period.
Table of Contents
What are pads, tampons, and menstrual cups?
Pads, tampons, and cups will let you go about your normal life during your period, without getting blood on your sheets or clothes. Cups and Tampons go inside your vagina, and pads are worn in your underwear.
Pads are a narrow piece of material that you stick to your underwear. Some have flaps or wings that fold over the sides of your underwear to protect against leaks and stains. Some pads are made out of disposable materials, once you use them and then throw them away. Other pads are made from fabric, and can also be washed and reused.
Tampons are small plugs made of cotton that adjust inside your vagina and absorbs menstrual blood. Some tampons come with an applicator that helps you put in an easy way in the tampon. Tampons have a string fixed to the end, so you can simply pull them out.
Menstrual cups are shaped like small bells or bowls, and they’re made of soft plastic, rubber, or silicone. You wear the cup inside your vagina, and it gathers menstrual blood. Most of the cups are reusable, you just empty it when you need to, clean it, and use it again. Other cups are disposable when you throw it away after one use or one period cycle.
Tampons and cups can’t get stuck, get lost inside you, or move to another part of your body. The muscles in your vagina hold them in place and they stay inside your body until you take them out. Most people don’t feel tampons or cups at all when they’re in the right spot. You can wear tampons and cups in the water, and while playing all kinds of sports and activities.
What kind of period protection is right for me?
It’s totally up to you! Think about your lifestyle and what will best fit your needs. It’s also helpful to try another product or ask a friend or family member what works for them.
It’s usual to use different things at different times during your period. For example, someone might use tampons during the day and pads at night. You can also wear a pad or pantyliner while you’re using a tampon or cup, for backup prevention in case of leaks.
Some people think wearing a tampon or cup inside your vagina is more comfortable and convenient because it’s out of the way and you usually can’t feel it. Others feel like pads are more comfortable than tampons or cups, or they favor pads because they don’t want to put an object in their vagina. But you can’t wear a pad in water, and they can move aside from place or feel awkward during some activities. So use a tampon or cup when you’re swimming or while playing sports during your period.
Many people like the comfort of products that you use once and throw away, like tampons and disposable pads. these are easily available in the stores too. Others choose reusable protection, like menstrual cups or fabric pads, because they can help in saving money and they’re better for the environment.
Don’t use fragrant tampons or pads, vaginal deodorants, or douches they can lead to infection or irritation. Some people worry about the way of their period smells, but chances are that no one will be able to tell that you have your period. Just make sure to change your pad, tampon, or cup always.
How to use pads
Pads come in different sizes they can be thin for when you’re not bleeding much regular, or thick for heavier bleeding. You can use whichever type of feels most comfortable to you.
- Stick the pad in your undergarment using the sticky strip on the back. Some reusable pads are held in place with the elastic in your underwear.
- Change your pad away every few hours, or when it’s absorbed with blood.
- Wrap used pads in the wrapper and throw them in the trash. Flushing used pads or wrappers down in the toilet will clog it up.
How to use tampons
Tampons come in different “sizes” (absorbencies), like regular, lite, and super. It’s best to use the lightest absorbency that lasts you a few hours. Some tampons come with applicators small sticks made of cardboard or plastic that help you put the tampon in your vagina. And some tampons if you don’t have an applicator, so you just put them in with your finger.
- Wash your hands and get into a restful position. You can sit, put one leg up, or sit on the toilet with your knees.
- Push the tampon into your vagina using the applicator or your finger, depending on what kind of tampon you have.
- Inserting a tampon in your vagina is a more restful position if you’re relaxed. Using tampons with rounded, smooth applicators might make it easier. You can also put a little bit of Oilon the tip of the tampon. If you’re having any problem, ask someone you trust (like your mom, sister, or another person you trust who has used tampons before) to show you how to do that.
- Take the wrapper and applicator in the trash don’t flush them.
- It’s best to change your tampon every 5-8 hours. Don’t leave your tampon in for more than 8 hours in a day. You can wear a tampon overnight while sleeping, but put it in right before bed and change it as soon as you get up in the morning.
- Tampons have a string toward one side that hangs out of your vagina. You take the tampon out by delicately pulling the string. It’s less demanding to take your tampon out when it’s wet from retaining the maximum measure of the period stream it can.
- Wrap used tampons in toilet paper and throw them into the trash. don’t flush them.
If a tampon is in your vagina for a very long time it can cause an illness called toxic shock syndrome. TSS is really rare but dangerous. If you’re using a tampon and have vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, a sore throat, dizziness, faintness or weakness, and a sunburn-type rash, take out the tampon immediately and call your doctor right away. To help prevent TSS, use the lowest absorbency tampon you can and change your tampon every 5-8 hours or as often as needed.
Putting in a tampon normally doesn’t hurt, but it may take some practice in the beginning. Try different types until you figure out what you like the best, but don’t wear tampons unless you’re literally having your period.
If putting in a tampon is very painful, talk to a doctor or nurse about it. You might have a medical condition, or it may be that your hymen is covering the opening to your vagina. Either way, a doctor or nurse can help you to figure out why it’s causing pain and figure out what to do about it.
How to use menstrual cups
There are different types of cups, and they all come with specific step-by-step instructions and pictures. Cups may look kind of big, but most of the people can’t feel them once they’re in.
- Wash your hands and get into a restful position. You can sit in a squat position, put one leg up, or sit on the toilet with your knees apart.
- Squeeze or fold the cup so it becomes narrow, and slide it into your vagina with your fingers. Read the instructions that came with your cup to figure out the best way to squeeze it and how to use it and place the cup.
- Putting a cup in your vagina is more restful if you’re relaxed. If you’re having any trouble, ask someone you trust (like your mom, sister, or another person you trust) to show you how to put it in your vagina.
- Some cups need to be put deep into your vagina, near your cervix. If your cup is uncomfortable or in the wrong position, take it out and try again.
- You can wear a menstrual cup for 8-12 hours at a time, or until it’s full.
- Some menstrual cups have a little stem that helps you to pull on to take it out. Other cups are removed by hooking a finger around the rim, squeezing it, and pulling it out.
- Most cups are reusable: you use the same cup again and again. Empty it into the sink, toilet, or shower drain, and wash it out before reusing it. If you’re in a public place where you can’t wash your cup, just empty it and put it back in. You can wash it later when you’re using a private bathroom or at home. Always follow the cleaning and storage instructions that came with your cup.
- Other cups are disposable: you throw them away after using once, or one period. Wrap these cups in their wrapper or toilet paper and throw them away don’t flush them down in the toilet.
Putting in a cup will not hurt, but it might take some practice in the beginning. It may even take a couple of periods until you feel like you’ve got the right position it. You can wear a pad as a backup in case your cup leaks, but you can’t wear a cup and a tampon simultaneously.
If putting in a cup is very painful, talk to a doctor or nurse about it. You might have a medical condition, or it may be that your hymen is covering the opening to your vagina. Either way, a doctor or nurse can help you, why it’s causing pain and figure out what to do about it.