Ask Shelley: Should I Be Using Pads Or Tampons During My Period?

"Are there certain products that suit certain people or types of period?"

Periods and puberty are totally natural, but often totally confusing too. If you’re worried, curious, or questioning something in this area, we’ve got you. Nurse, midwife and all-round puberty expert Shelley is on hand to answer all your burning questions.

What should I be using when I’m on my period? Some of my friends use tampons, but most of them use pads, and now some of them started using menstrual cups as well. How do you know what you should use? Are there certain products that suit certain people or types of period?

Anon, 13

Shelley says:

Whatever is right for you is best to use and learning what is right for you comes from trying to use it! Take in to account your access to toilet facilities, your income, and how comfortable you are with your body and bodily fluids right now. Usually people who menstruate start by using pads and may move on to tampons later in life. Talk to a parent or a friend who has already had their period about what they use, try that with their instruction, and then go from there.

You can also find written instructions within the packaging, and videos online (be careful what you enter in to the search bar!) if you don’t feel comfortable asking someone. There are also different sizes of pads and tampons depending on how heavy your period is, and tampons can come with or without applicators. There are also more environmentally friendly options such as menstrual cups (they are not that daunting, trust me), “period underwear” and reusable pads and panty liners. PLEASE always remember when using tampons to change them frequently, as this is a foreign body inside your body, and can cause infection if left in situ too long. The average recommended time between changes is 4 hours.


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