If you’re like me and you find yourself switching between pads and tampons, then you’ll understand that they both have their advantages and disadvantages. For example, I will be *punishing* myself if I choose to wear tampons during the last few days of my period due to the fact that tampons tend to DRY out your vagina and I would be bleeding less, so you can already imagine how painful that would be for me and my delicate vagina.
Tampons and pads are two of the most popular menstrual products and there is an age-old debate about which is better during that time of the month. We have listed out a few pros and cons of each, to help you decide for yourself.
Tampons are little cotton cylindrical pads that fit right into your vagina. They can be inserted with your hands or with an applicator, and they come in different absorbencies to accommodate light to heavy periods.
1. Tampons are small, need I say more?
One of the biggest advantages of tampons is how small and discreet they are (not that you should be ashamed of menstruating, but you get the point.) Their size makes them portable enough to fit into the tiniest purse, pocket and so on.
2. Tampons are practically invincible
Tampons will always win over pads for this point alone. Pads looove attention; they are so bulky and can be seen if you were tight or even loose clothing. Tampons on the other hand can’t be seen and can barely be felt when inserted properly (except for the little string, which is also invincible tbh.)
3. You can go swimming in them and actually feel comfortable
Tampons are one of the very few menstrual products you can swim with. Asides from swimming, you can actively engage in sports and other stressful activities without the worry of your pad moving around.
1. Inserting tampons can be uncomfortable
The first time I wore a tampon, I didn’t. I tried again a year later and then I got the hang of it. Unlike menstrual pads which only need to be stuck on your underwear, tampons are harder to use. Although most tampons come with applicators that make insertion easier, tampons can be quite difficult to insert but it gets easier once you get used to it.
2. Finding the right type and size for your flow isn’t easy
Like I mentioned at the beginning of this article, tampons come in different absorbencies to accommodate light to heavy periods, so finding the right size and type takes some trial and error. I went from using Super to Regular to Super and then back to Regular.
3. Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)
One of the biggest disadvantages of using tampons is the risk of developing toxic shock syndrome (TSS). It’s a rare but life-threatening complication of certain types of bacterial infections.
4. You have to know when to change your tampons
If you have really heavy flow, tampons may not be the best choice for you (unless you find the right type and size.) You also have to be mindful of changing your tampons frequently, nothing later than 6-8 hours. The thing that annoys me most with tampons is, I sometimes get this intuition that it is time to change my tampon, and unlike pads, once you take it out, you absolutely cannot insert them back in (ew). I have had many instances were I thought my tampon was full and took it out just to see that it wasn’t. I have also had other instances were I thought my tampon wasn’t full and ended up staining myself. With tampons, it’s harder to tell when it’s time to change, unlike with pads.
5. Tampons can irritate and dry out your vag
Tampons are more likely to irritate and dry out your vagina, than menstrual pads. You also don’t want to wear your tampons overnight. The longer you have your tampon in, the more likely it is to irritate your vagina or cause an infection, like a UTI.
You should opt for Tampons if:
- You have a beach event or a pool party
- You are busy and on the move
Most menstrual pads are made of absorbent material and are designed to stick on to your underwear. Pads come in different sizes for heavy and light periods and should be changed every 3-4 hours.
1. Pads may be better for heavy periods
Women who have heavy periods have to change their menstrual hygiene products more often than others. Changing pads many times in a day is easier than tampons, as I have already established.
2. Pads are easy to use (plus you can wear them overnight)
Pads are easier to use than tampons, you don’t need to insert anything and you can wear them overnight. When your pad is full, you can easily take a quick peek to be sure, unlike with tampons.
3. Almost no risk of toxic shock syndrome
There is almost no risk of developing TTS when using menstrual pads.
1. Pads are less discreet
Pads are way too visible, especially under certain types of clothing. You can’t wear pads when you’re wearing certain dresses, pants and even skirts. For people who prefer a more discreet option, tampons are the way to go.
2. Pads tend to move out of place
Once tampons are inserted, they are unlikely to move. Pads can shift out of place and sadly stain your clothes (the WORST.)
3. You can’t wear them in thongs or G-strings
Wearing pads just doesn’t make you feel sexy. When you have to wear one, you just know its time to bring out the Grandma panties, and not like there’s anything wrong with that (I mean, comfort is key) but with tampons, you can wear all the slutty underwear you like.
4. You can’t swim in them
While pads can be worn for most activities, you don’t have to be a genius to know that you can’t swim while wearing one, unless you want to put yourself in a very uncomfortable situation.
You should opt for pads if:
- You find tampons hard to insert or uncomfortable to wear
- You have heavy flow and value waking up in clean sheets
At the end of the day, we have options. Asides from tampons and pads, there is also menstrual cups and even free bleeding. When it comes down to your period, its your prerogative. Before deciding on a menstrual hygiene product, consider your convenience, budget, and of course, your comfort. Try out different options to find what works best for you.