Period Products: The Great Debate On Pads, Tampons and Menstrual Cups

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pads VS. Tampons VS. Menstrual cups
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Products used during menstruation or period are called menstrual hygiene products. These include sanitary napkins or pads, tampons, pantyliners, menstrual cups and period panties. Women’s sanitation products are either disposable or reusable.

Two specific types of hygiene products exist: providing external protection and internal protection. External protection includes pads and panty liners applied to the underwear crotch, absorbs the menstrual flow after leaving the body. 

While internal protection, such as a tampon or menstrual cup, is placed into the vagina to trap or contain the menstrual flow until leaving the body. Some people prefer internal protection because they can’t feel it, and it’s easier to use while being active.

There exists an age-old question of Pads VS. Tampons VS. Menstrual Cups. If you’re likely to wake up in sheets that look like a crime scene, then large winged pads are possibly at the top of your list of period products. But when the sticky back pulls on your pubes, it’s back to the tampons again.

Today you will find reusable cups, washable sheets, and period panties, among other items. Here take a look at all the pros and cons of the most common hygiene items.

Pads VS. Tampons VS. Menstrual Cups

Why menstrual cups? 

All you need to know about menstrual cups, from what they are and how to use them, including their types are right here!  

Pros and cons of menstrual cup

For all those environment-sensitive ladies, menstrual cups will be your best friend because: 

  • Lower prices and fewer pollution from landfills. 
  • Some cups are designed for long-term usage – even years – and have substantial cost savings over tampons and pads. 
  • Because you can reuse them, there is less waste to clog our landfills and fewer trees murdered to produce paper-based alternatives. 
  • Bear in mind that some of the cups are intended to be disposable.

Pros and cons of tampons

These look like little cotton plugs or cylindrical pads that fit inside your vagina and soak up your menstrual blood. Some come with an applicator that lets you place them inside your vagina. 

Here’s all you need to know about tampons

Pros 

You don’t need to be a tampon user to notice the pros. Their size makes them small enough to fit into a pocket or the palms of your hand, so they are comfortable to carry around and are discreet (not that menstrual bleeding is something to be ashamed of).

Other pros:

  • You can swim when wearing tampons.
  • You don’t have to worry that they’re visible, minus the whole issue of strings in the bathing suit. 
  • When inserted properly, you can barely feel them.
  • Tampons can also provide relief from menstrual cramps to some. 

Cons 

The biggest drawback of wearing tampons is the possibility of toxic shock syndrome. It is an uncommon but life-threatening complication because of some kinds of bacteria. It was mainly associated with the use of super-absorbent tampons.

To reduce the chance of TTS

  • Use the lowest absorbency tampon you can.
  • Change it regularly.
  • Alternate between tampons and pads when the flow is light.
  • Stop wearing a single tampon all night long.

Other disadvantages

  • Inserting them can be uncomfortable, particularly when you try a different one.
  • Finding the best size and form for your flow requires some trial and error (i.e. there may be spills).
  • They have a massive environmental impact, with a gazillion tampons and their packaging ending up in landfills every year.
  • It can irritate and dry your vagina occasionally, making it prickly and unpleasant.

Tampons can also come with and without a fragrance. There’s no need for deodorant in the tampon, however, because changing them will typically get rid of any smell. 

Chemicals in fragrant tampons can irritate the vagina and may cause an allergic reaction. 

Selecting the perfect period product for yourself

Navigating your way through this debate of pad vs tampons vs menstrual cups is indeed difficult and we end up going back to the product that we regularly use without trying out the other alternatives. 

It is up to you to select a form of period protection. Try switching back and forth depending on:

  • Your budget 
  • Where you’re going to be 
  • Blood flow
  • Day or night 

Some girls prefer tampons because they’re easy to carry in bags or pockets. Tampons and cups are also beneficial for girls who play sports like swimming, you can’t wear a pad in the pool.

pads VS. Tampons VS. Menstrual cups

Some girls like pads because they are easy to use and also easier to remember when to change them because you see them every time you use the loo. And some girls with heavy cycles use tampons with pads or pantyliners for extra protection.

Free bleeding 

Listen up people, getting to the Pads VS. Tampons VS. Menstrual cups can be a bit tedious. Isn’t it better to let your body be and just let it flow?

Free bleeding is having a period without the use of tampons, pads, or any other barrier. While people have been doing this for years, the free bleeding movement has been getting media coverage since Kiran Gandhi ran the London Marathon while free bleeding in 2015.

But it can be a cause for concern, particularly if you’re going out to the public.

Gender-neutral period products 

Gender-neutral menstrual supplies are a thing. 

Let’s face it: most menstrual goods are very feminine-centric, spanning from packaging and advertising to incompatibility with boxers. If you menstruate but don’t identify as female, this may trigger some very uncomfortable feelings of dysphoria and general discomfort.

Best feminine hygiene products 

Sanitary pads

Stayfree and whisper are one of the top-rated sanitary pad brands, which are budget-friendly and widely used by a lot of menstruators these days. 

Other environment alternatives have also been established in the past 5 years, ‘Carmesi’ is one such brand that uses corn and bamboo for manufacturing the sanitary napkins. ‘Azah’ is another such brand that has 100% cotton pads. 

Tampons 

Sirona, O.b. Pro comfort and Floh are three brands that provide up to 8 hours of comfort and hassle-free disposal of tampons. 

Menstrual Cups 

Sirona is an award-winning brand that is known for providing solution products for ‘hassle-free/ignored and unaddressed’ period problems. 

Its FDA approved menstrual cup is soft and flexible and can hold up to 8-12 hours of blood flow. 

In the end, it all depends on the users as to what kind of product they wish to use. With the increased income disparities, women in marginalised areas find it very difficult to maintain menstrual hygiene. Also, some women may have severe cramping or diseases like PCOS. Hence, the solution to this never-ending is very subjective.