Period Products| Sanitary Pads, Menstrual Cups & Tampons
We all know about the popular debate surrounding different kinds of period products. If you’re prone to waking up to sheets that resemble a crime scene, then the biggest pad with wings is probably at the top of your shopping list.
But, today you can find reusable cups, washable pads, and period-proof panties, among a wide range of other period products.
Read this article to have a look at all the pros and cons of some of the most popular menstrual products.
Pads are rectangles of absorbent materials that stick to the inside of your underwear. They are the most used period product in India. Here is a look at some of the pros and cons of using sanitary pads, and why it is time to move on.
You’re best friend during heavy periods and those messy nights.
They are available in different sizes to accommodate to the changes in your flow and activities.
They carry almost no risk of TTS (Toxic shock syndrome is a rare, life-threatening complication of certain types of bacterial infections).
You can wear them overnight.
You don’t need to insert anything.
Relatively cheaper if you have budget constraints
It’s more likely to be visible under clothing or sliding in case you use them wrongly, Not that there is something to hide here but you don’t want to feel self conscious all day, right?
You can’t swim or get in the pool in them.
There’s the environmental factor, as pads are not sustainable. Though reusable options are now available.
They can shift out of place and wrinkle up in the center when you’re moving.
You can’t wear them in thongs or G-strings, if that’s your thing.
When to use sanitary pads?
If you have heavy flows, especially during the night, find tampons hard to insert or uncomfortable to wear and you are not constantly on the move.
These little cotton cylindrical pads that fit inside your vagina are currently all the new rage in India. They come in different absorbances to accommodate light to heavy period flows.
Easy to carry and dispose.
You can swim in them.
You don’t have to worry about them being visible (minus the whole issue of tampon strings in swimsuits).
You can’t feel them when they’re in properly.
The biggest downside to wearing tampons is the risk of toxic shock syndrome (TTS). This is mainly due to the use of super absorbent tampons. Today, It’s not that big of a threat because of the ban on such products. But for precautionary reasons you should-
Use the lowest absorbency tampon you can.
Change your tampon frequently.
Alternate between tampons and pads when your flow is light.
Avoid wearing a single tampon all night.
Other than this you might also face these issues-
Inserting them can be uncomfortable, especially when trying a new one.
Finding the right size and type for your flow takes some trial and error
Like sanitary pads, they have a big environmental impact, with millions of tampons and their packaging creating a vast amount of waste.
They can sometimes irritate and dry out your vagina, making it itchy and uncomfortable.
When should you use tampons?
You are working out or otherwise on the move, heading to the beach or a pool party or you need something you can throw in your pocket.
This product is shaking things up for women all around the world!
Menstrual cups are flexible cups made of medical-grade silicone that you wear inside your vagina to catch menstrual blood. It’s important to note that different cups have different shelf life. Some can be used for 10 years, some for 5 and some less than that. So be sure to read the label to know how long can you use the same cup.
Like other menstrual products, cups have their pros and cons, but the pros are pretty impressive.
For starters, Cups are reusable: just rinse, sterilize and wear them again! Being reusable means you save a lot of money. An Indian women spends upto Rs.300/month in buying pads and tampons. On the contrary, cups range from Rs.300 and go upto 1500 depending on the size, brand, etc, and yet you can use the same for 3-10 years!
This also means less landfill waste and fewer trees being cut down to make paper-based options and packaging.
They can be worn for up to 12 hours at a time.
You can buy them in a variety of colors, sizes, and styles.
You can wear them with anything.
You can swim in them.
They don’t disturb your vaginal pH.
You can’t feel them once they’re in properly.
They generally result in less period smell (yeah, you know what that is).
That’s a lot of pros in the cup’s favor, but it’s not all rainbows and unicorns.
Insertion and removal of the cup can get difficult or painful if you don’t know how to do it. So make sure you see videos before using a cup.
Things can get messy because you have to use your fingers to fish it out of your vagina, then clear the liquid collected and rinse it.
If your periods are heavy, then you might have to empty the cup within 8 hours.
You may have trouble with fitting the cup if you have fibroids.
You’ll need to give it a thorough sterilization (boiling in hot water) after each cycle
Though cheaper in the long term, the initial cost is quite high depending upon the brand
Cups are made of silicon, so if you are allergic to silicon (which is rare), in that case a menstrual cup is no the right choice for you
When should you use menstrual cups?
You have a little extra cash in hand for long term investment, are a beach/water baby, love to get inside the pool or like to wear thongs or G-strings then a menstrual cup is the best option for you!
This is just the tip of an iceberg. Yes, there are still more options- Padded Underwear, Reusable Cloth Pads, sponge tamponsand more!
Managing your periods is about more than tampons vs. pads vs Cups. You’ve got options, and at the end of the day it’s your period, your prerogative. Choose products according to your comfort, budget, convenience, and any other variables that matter to you when choosing your products. But don’t restrict yourself from trying out new products just because of the social stigmas that are attached to them. You don’t have to stick to one kind of product, mix it up a little to accommodate the stages of your cycle.