How To Know Which Period Product Is Best For You

Pads or tampons? This is a question many people face during their monthly cycles, but in reality, the decision is more complex than that. Alternatives do exist, even if they are unknown to many.

As you may know, pads are stuck on the inside of your underwear to absorb your flow, while tampons are inserted inside of the vagina, absorbing your flow before it leaves your body. Menstrual cups and menstrual discs, also inserted inside your vagina, do not absorb but catch your menstrual flow. Period-proof underpants are another option. They consist of multiple layers of microfiber polyester to wick away moisture and prevent leaking (per University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School).

People who use tampons should be aware of the risk of toxic shock syndrome (affecting 1 in 100,000 tampon users) and take proper precautions. Tampons need to be changed every 4-8 hours. However, they may need to be avoided altogether if you have a skin infection near your genitals. Toxic shock syndrome has also been reported among users of menstrual cups, but more rarely, according to Healthline

Pros and cons of different period products

If you want to minimize your trips to the restroom, consider menstrual cups, which can be left in for up to 12 hours (per University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School). If you want a product that is easy to use and presents a low or non-existent risk of toxic shock syndrome, you may want to consider pads or period-proof underwear (per Bodyform). That being said, if you want to go swimming, you will want to look into alternatives. Tampons, menstrual cups, and menstrual discs can all be used during exercise, but only menstrual discs can be used during intercourse, according to the University of Texas.

If your main concern is cost, cups may be your best bet. According to Pandia Health, a person who uses nothing but tampons will spend nearly $2,000 over a lifetime. Discs and disposable pads are no better, as they will both run you more than $4,000. On the other hand, cups are reusable for up to 10 years and will cost less than $100 for a lifetime of use. Period-proof underpants and reusable pads may also be cost-effective. Some people find some products more comfortable than others, but this varies from person to person.

So which product is right for you? It depends on you, your lifestyle, and your priorities. Keep an open mind and explore different options. With enough trial and error, you will find the product that is best for you.