Tampons, pads, liners; there’s plenty of options, but which should you use and when?
I was 15 when I started my period. A late bloomer. It came out of no-where when I was on school camp and I found myself in a porta loo freaking out. One of my friends offered me a tampon because it was all she had with her. A tampon?! My mum had always used pads religiously and I had never really considered the alternatives. To add to my dismay, it didn’t have an applicator, which for a first-timer was intimidating. Sheepishly, I stuck it up my vagina and winced as it hurt. The whole experience really scarred me but taught me a lot about how I wanted to manage my period moving forward.
For a while I thought I would become a devout pad user but they simply didn’t fit my active lifestyle at the time. I played a lot of sports and swam for the county so tampons soon became my go-to product, simply for the physical freedom they offered me.
I also suffered with urinary tract infections throughout my late teen years, which I believe was linked to using superabsorbent tampons for fear of leaking at school. Thankfully, I quickly worked out which absorbency type I needed for each stage of my period and found comfort in applicators.
Before I went on the contraceptive pill my periods were quite heavy at the beginning, so I would usually combine a tampon with a pad for extra protection. Towards the end when it’s much lighter I revert to the trusty pad and for daily use, especially if there is spotting between my periods, liners are my friend.
When travelling, but particularly for camping, I also find pads work better for me. I worry less that I’ll need to change it in the middle of a field with no where to dispose of it. Whereas, worst case scenario, I can at least wrap a pad up in the packaging it comes in and stick it in my bag until I find a bin.
If I’m flying, I always carry some tampons and pads in my hand luggage, and preferably in my purse so it’s really accessible. Who needs the stress of having to mess around in the overhead locker when ‘Aunt Flo’ calls? I have definitely been caught short before and had to use toilet paper rolled up and stuffed in my underwear (come on, we’ve all been there).
Night time is the deal breaker for me when it comes to choosing between pads and tampons. I have crisp, white, Laura Ashley bed sheets and ‘ain’t nobody got time’ for waking up to blood stained sheets. There’s no shame in it whatsoever, just the effort in having to change the bed. So, start, tampons, end, pads. And, if particularly heavy, I combine both.
Tampons should be changed every four to eight hours. So, if I’ve had a heavy night out and am planning on spending the entire following day with my head under the duvet without so much as venturing out for a bacon sarnie, I go with a pad every time. No question. (Although, I do eventually have to drag my sorry behind out of bed at some point as pads need changing too).
I met my now long-term boyfriend online (yes, I’m one of those) but when I was dating I would always opt for tampons. I felt they were more discreet and would cover me in case one of them was a little too friendly and went in for a cheeky bum grab. Needless to say, those types of men never got a second chance, but my dating memoirs call for an entirely different type of blog. I digress…
As you now know, I use tampons and pads in equal measure and being able to pick and choose makes my life much easier as, even though there are some similarities, no two periods are ever the same. After all, there is no such thing as a regular period.
If I were to offer any advice on what to use, it would be, don’t listen to every piece of advice on what to use and when. That may sound silly (given I am writing a blog about what to use and when – ha) but honestly, you know your period better than anyone. Different situations call for different products but ultimately there are no rules when it comes to that time of the month. Choose whatever works for you. I can only tell you about my experience.
What do you prefer? Pads or tampons?
Daisy, from Bath.