Period products | Pros and cons of period products

As time has evolved, the landscape of period products has changed dramatically.

These products have made our life so much easier than before.

Earlier who knew that a girl can even swim during her periods.

This is something which was considered next to impossible but see, how amazing products were invented and now I don’t think there is anything which a female can’t do during her periods.

Isn’t it?

And did you know that a woman on average undergoes through 450 periods in her lifetime?

So we must select the best product suitable for us.

In this article, we are going to compare various period products, their pros and cons and everything around them.

Keep reading to know what suits you the best.

Period products and their pros and cons

Sanitary pads

Sanitary pads/ napkins are the most used and trusted product since a very long time. 

Let’s see why or why not should you use sanitary pads as a product for your periods.

What is a sanitary pad?

period product- sanitary pad

A sanitary pad is a type of menstrual product that sticks on the inner surface of the underwear.

Mostly it comes with wings, these help the sanitary pad to stay in place while walking, running, jumping etc.

How does it work?

A sanitary pad absorbs the menstrual blood that it receives. It takes 2-3 seconds depending upon the brand to absorb. If your flow is heavy, it may take a little longer.

Once it has absorbed all the blood, you won’t feel any kind of wetness.

These days converting ‘liquid to gel’ technology is high in demand. No doubt this has given a wonderful user experience but the harsh truth is that a lot of chemicals are used while manufacturing these kinds of pads.

How to wear a sanitary pad?

  • Peel off the cover by opening both the flaps.
  • Remove the backing, it is a long piece of paper that covers the sticky back of the pad.
  • Stick the pad on the crotch area of your underwear.
  • Adjust according to you.
  • Now peel off the sticker from the wing and wrap it on both sides of your undies and you are done.

How to remove the pad?

  • Just pull off the pad from your underwear and roll it.
  • Use the packet of the fresh pad to wrap it.
  • Wrap this in a newspaper or tissue paper and throw it in the dustbin.
  • Never flush a pad because it can clog the entire toilet line and can lead to a big mess.

For how long can you use it?

According to American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), you should change your pads every 4-8 hours.

You may need to change it more often if you have heavy periods.

Don’t leave it for 12 or more hours as shown in advertisements.

Doing this can seriously compromise with your intimate hygiene and you may develop several infections.

How to choose the right sanitary pad?

The best way to select the right pad for you depends upon various factors which include

  • Flow

Usually, the flow is heavier during the initial two days and it starts decreasing after the third day onwards.

So you can use a high absorbent pad for the first two days and a little low absorbent pad for the rest of the days

  • Length/size

One size doesn’t fit all. Too long or too short pads can cause discomfort.

Choose the length of the pad according to the flow.

For the initial two days, you can use pads that have a wider back, high absorbency level and wide wings whereas for the rest of the days you can use a normal length pad with a normal absorbency level.

  • Material

Pay extra attention to the material because pads made of low-quality material can cause rashes. Go for pads that have a cotton top sheet. 

  • Odour control

Look for pads that give an odour control feature. Make sure it is not strongly scented.

Also, change your pads frequently because wearing a pad for long hours can also result in a bad odour.

Pros and cons of a sanitary pad

PROSCONS
Easy to useYou can’t swim in a pad
You can wear it overnightIt can give you rashes especially
in the summer season
It has no risk of toxic shock syndromeThey aren’t very discrete,
makes a lot of noises while changing
Comes in lots of varieties to choose fromThey are not environment friendly
Require no insertion inside the vaginaThey can shift out of place sometimes
which can irritate you
Frequent changes needed

Reusable sanitary pads

period product-reusable sanitary pad

These days reusable pads are high on demand. People have become more responsible towards the environment and because of that, some women are shifting from regular pads to reusable cloth pads.

These are made from cotton cloth which is much more comfortable and safe for the skin as compared to regular sanitary pads.

Here are some pros and cons of reusable pads

PROSCONS
Made of pure cotton cloth and therefore
do not give rashes 
Need to be washed and dried
in sunlight
They are environment friendlyNot suitable for heavy flow
Budget-friendlyThicker than normal sanitary pad 

Panty Liners 

period product- panty liner

Panty liners are very thin absorbent pads that a woman can wear during light menstrual flow or in vaginal discharge.

You must have felt that during the end days of your periods, the flow is very light and wearing a pad for light flow is nothing but wastage of pads.

Isn’t it?

Also don’t think that you don’t need to change the pad frequently because the flow is very light.

Irrespective of the flow you have to change a sanitary pad every 4-8 hours.

So to avoid wastage of pads you can wear pantyliners for light flow.

Some women also wear these regularly to avoid wetness due to vaginal discharge.

Tampons

In popularity tampons are a close second to sanitary pads, however, in India, it is not that famous as it is in western countries.

What is a tampon?

period product-tampons

Tampons are small cylindrical products made out of materials like cotton or rayon.

They are inserted inside the vagina.

They come in many forms and materials as well such as with plastic or cardboard applicators.

You can buy them in different absorbency levels from light, to regular to super. They are made of organic, chemical-free materials.

No matter the type they all come with a string at one end for easy removal.

How does it work?

A tampon is inserted inside the vagina where it absorbs menstrual blood. Once it has absorbed to its limit, you will have to take it out and reinsert a new one.

How to insert a tampon?

  • The most important thing for a first user is to relax, it’s normal to be nervous.
  • Try it out on a moderate to heavy day as inserting it into a dry place can be more difficult at first.
  • Make sure to start with clean hands and figure out what position works best for you.
  • Try sitting on the toilet with your legs open or standing with one leg raised on the toilet. 
  • With the string outside insert the top slightly inside and then push the applicator all the way in and pull out the applicator casing.
  • If you are using a tampon without an applicator push it all the way in with your fingers.
  • Make sure it should not stick out at all or it will be painful.
  • If inserted correctly, you will feel nothing at all.

How to remove a tampon?

  • Wash your hands, get back into your comfortable position.
  • Pull it out with the help of the string.
  • If it feels stuck, relax and try again or leave it in for a couple more hours as a dry tampon is slightly uncomfortable to remove.
  • Once the tampon is removed, wrap it in newspaper or toilet paper and throw it in the trash.
  • Don’t flush it because it will cause damage to your plumbing as well as the environment.

For how long you can use it?

Tampons can be worn for 4-8 hours but never more as it could result in toxic shock syndrome. TSS can be fatal.

An easy way to remember to change is to set an alarm on your phone.

This time frame means that you can wear one overnight but if you are sleeping for more than 8 hours then it might be better to stick to a pad or a menstrual cup.

If you experience a heavy flow, you can use a tampon with a pad or pantyliner for an extra layer of protection from leaks. 

How to choose the right tampon?

  • Size

The right size depends upon the flow

There are 5 types of tampons available 

  • Light/junior tampon
  • Regular tampon
  • Super tampon
  • Super plus tampon
  • Super plus extra/ ultra tampon

A table is given below that can give you an idea. 

Have a look!

Your flow typeLight/junior tamponRegular tamponSuper tamponSuper plus tamponSuper plus extra/ultra tampon
LightEvenly soakedLight white spaceSome white spacePlenty of white spaceMajority white space
Light to mediumEvenly soaked to some overflowEvenly soakedLight white spaceSome white spacePlenty of white space
MediumSome overflow on stringEvenly soakedEvenly soaked to light white spaceLight white spaceSome white space
Medium to heavySome overflow on string or underwearEvenly soaked to some overflowEvenly soakedLight white spaceSome white space to plenty of white space
HeavyHeavy overflow on string or underwearHeavy overflow on string or underwearOverflow to evenly soakedEvenly soakedEvenly soaked to light white space
Size chart-Healthline
  • Applicator

Some women find it easy to insert a tampon with the help of an applicator while some women without an applicator. 

Decide what works best for you.

Pros and cons of tampons?

PROSCONS
You can do swimmingIf left for too long it can give you
toxic shock syndrome which is even fatal
A better alternative than a pad for dancers,
players etc
Insertion and removal can be tricky
Does not give you rashesIs not 100% leak proof
You don’t feel it inside hence no irritationNot environment friendly
Expensive

Menstrual cup

Menstrual cups have gained a lot of acceptance in women. It is because of its excellent features that have made the whole experience of the period smoother than ever.

What is a menstrual cup?

period product- menstrual cup

A menstrual cup is a cup shape product that is inserted inside the vagina during menstruation.

It is made of medical-grade silicone which makes it absolutely safe to use.

It is very long-lasting. You can use a single menstrual cup for up to 10 years.

How does it work?

Your uterus has an opening known as the cervix and right underneath the cervix there is a long tunnel which is your vagina.

So this cup fits inside your vagina. Since the vagina is right underneath the uterus all the blood that comes out of your uterus gets straight in here.

After the cup gets filled you can take it out, throw the blood in the toilet, rinse the cup, and put it right back in your vagina.

Yes!

You get this right, it is reusable.

It can collect more blood as compared to pads or tampons. Hence it can be used for long hours.

Isn’t that great?

How to insert a menstrual cup?

  • Wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Relax… Calm yourself and your muscles.
  • Choose a comfortable position as per your will. Experiment and identify what works best for you.
  • Fold the tip of the cup tightly, again as per your will (types of folds shown below) whichever works best for you.
  • Insert the cup with the rim facing upwards in the vagina.
  • The cup should be placed a few inches below the cervix (it would be great if you can locate your cervix)
  • After placing the cup, rotate it a little. The fold will open on its own on rotation and it will create an airtight seal that stops leakage.
  • Listen to the pop sound, it indicates the unfolding of the cup inside the vagina. You can even feel that opening of the cup
  • Make sure the cup is not visible outside. If you find the stem long, you can cut it with a clean scissor.

And don’t worry it will stay in its place because your vaginal muscles simply won’t let them fall.

How to remove a menstrual cup?

Now comes the other tricky part.

For most beginners insertion is easy as compared to removal. 

Follow the below-given steps for smooth removal

  • Wash your hands again before removing
  • Squat down, this position relaxes you, and once you are relaxed proceed further
  • First, you have to break the seal of the cup. To do that find the stem of the cup.
  • Use the stem to guide you to the base of the menstrual cup
  • After finding the base gently pinch it, rotate it a little.
  • Pinching it will release the seal and then you can pull it out.
  • Throw the blood in the toilet, wash the cup and it is ready to be used again.

See it’s that easy

It will just take a little practice.   

For how long you can use it?

A menstrual cup can be used for 10-12 hours straight. If your flow is heavy you might need to empty it more often. 

How to choose the right cup?

  • Size

Generally, the menstrual cup comes in three sizes.

Small

It is suitable for people who are not sexually active, best for teenagers and young girls.

Medium

It is suitable for people who are sexually active but have not given birth vaginally. If you have given birth via c-section, the medium would be suitable for you.

Large 

Those who have given birth vaginally should opt for large-sized menstrual cups.

It is very important to choose the correct size because otherwise, you will get a hard time inserting the cup. Also, you can encounter a very uncomfortable experience if you put in the wrong sized menstrual cups.

You may have to try out cups from different companies to actually get the one that is most suitable for you.

  • Length

Some cups come with a long stem that overall increases the length of the cup. This stem may cause inconvenience to some women. Nowadays there are  wide varieties of cups available such as 

  1. Long step cup
  2. Short stem cup
  3. Ring stem cup
  4. Stemless cup

Choose whatever works best for you. You may have to try one or more types of the cup to conclude with your best choice. 

  • Company

Different companies use different materials and quality raw material for the manufacturing of menstrual cups. Some are soft while some are a little hard. The finishing of cups also differs for different manufacturers. So it is advisable that you carefully choose the company that you can rely upon.

  • Reusable

While I am sure most people like menstrual cups due to their reusability feature, certain menstrual cups are non-reusable. So make sure the cup which you are buying is a reusable one. Because there is no point in buying a non-reusable menstrual cup.

  • Price

Personally, I would advise going for a good quality menstrual cup even if it is more expensive than others. A menstrual cup on average lasts for about 5-10 years so it is a good long time investment.

Also, it is something that you are putting inside the most sensitive part of your body, so you need to be extra cautious about its quality.

Pros and cons of menstrual cups?

PROSCONS
It lasts overnightCan interfere with IUD
You can swim and do any physical activity
with utmost ease
Insertion and removal can be tricky
Odour-free, Rash- -freeRemoving a menstrual cup can be messy
Long-lasting and budget-friendlyDisturbs the pH level
Environment friendlyCan result in vaginal infections

Period panties

Imagine, you are on your periods but you are not wearing any tampons or a pad or a menstrual cup. You are just wearing a normal looking panty and that’s it.

Sounds a bit scary and weird.

Right? 

But you have to trust this product.

You can pair this up with a pad, tampon or a menstrual cup for extra protection against leakage.

You can also wear this if you have irregular periods and if your periods come unexpectedly.

What is a period panty?

period product-period panty

Period panties are absorbent underpants that absorb menstrual blood just like sanitary pads. 

These panties are easily washable and so they can be reused.

Seems like magic

Isn’t it?

How does it work?

Period-proof underwear is made with multiple layers of microfiber polyester which keeps moisture away from the skin and prevents leaks.

It absorbs the menstrual blood just like your regular sanitary pad.

For how long you can use it?

It depends upon your flow. You can pair these with other menstrual products for extra protection. Or you can wear them on days when you experience less menstrual flow.

It is a good idea to change it twice a day.

Pros and cons of period panties?

PROSCONS
Extremely comfortableExpensive
Reusable and long-lasting May leak in heavy flow
No special maintenanceThey contain plastic
No rashes, no chemicals

Make a choice- A quick breakdown


Sanitary padsReusable padsTamponsMenstrual cupsPeriod panties
Light flow🩸🩸🩸🩸🩸
Medium flow🩸🩸🩸🩸🩸
Heavy flow🩸🩸🩸🩸
Reusable🩸🩸🩸
Overnight protection🩸🩸🩸
Low TSS risk🩸🩸🩸🩸
Environmentally
friendly
🩸🩸🩸

Conclusion

We have discussed the pros and cons of all the period products. 

Some of you may be clear while some of you may be still confused.

But remember, there is no wrong choice for what you use as long as you make an informed decision and listen to your body.

Try various products and see what works for you and for your situation. 

With that, I hope this comparison will help you to decide the best period product for you.

At what age one can start using a menstrual cup?

From whatever age you feel comfortable, you can start using a menstrual cup. Age has got no relation to it. If you are comfortable, you can start using a menstrual cup.

Can we pass urine without removing tampon or menstrual cup?

Yes, you don’t need to remove a tampon or menstrual cup because urine come out of urethra and period products are inserted into the vagina.

Will I lose my virginity if I use a menstrual cup?

This is completely safe to use concerning virginity.
Having said that if the hymen is something, that is very important to you, you may not want to use the cup because you may tear your hymen a little while using a cup.

When or who should not use a menstrual cup?

Menstrual cups has made periods simple for so many women.
However there are few conditions under which you must not use a menstrual cup before consulting your gynecologist.
The conditions are:
1. You have delivered a baby recently.
2. You are suffering from yeast infection.
3. You have an IUD.
4. Your skin is sensitive to silicone.

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