Pads (sometimes called sanitary pads) are narrow pieces of material that you stick to your underwear. Some have “wings” or flaps that fold over the sides of your underwear to protect against leaks and stains. Some pads are made out of disposable materials – you use them once and throw them away. Other pads are made from fabric, and can be washed and reused.
Pads come in different sizes – they can be thin for when you’re not bleeding much (pantyliners), regular, or thick for heavier bleeding (“maxi” or “super” pads). You can use whichever kind feels most comfortable to you.
- Stick the pad in your underwear using the sticky strip on the back. Some reusable pads are held in place with snaps or the elastic in your underwear.
- Change your pad every few hours, or when it’s soaked with blood.
- Wrap used pads in the wrapper or toilet paper and throw them in the bin. Flushing used pads or wrappers down the toilet will clog it up.
Tampons are little plugs made of cotton that fit inside your vagina and soak up menstrual blood. Some tampons come with an applicator that helps you put in the tampon. Tampons have a string attached to the end, so you can easily pull them out.
Menstrual cups are shaped like little bells or bowls, and they’re made of rubber, silicone, or soft plastic. You wear the cup inside your vagina, and it collects menstrual blood. Most cups are reusable – you just empty it, wash it and use it again. Other cups are disposable – you throw it away after one use or one period cycle.
Be aware: tampons and cups can stretch and even break your hymen (a membrane that sits at the opening of the vagina and partially covers it, breaking it means ‘’losing your virginity’’).