Should I Use Pads, Tampons, or Menstrual Cups?
The choice is yours. Women can use sanitary pads, tampons, or menstrual cups to absorb their menstrual flow. Many women use different ones at different times during menstruation. There are a wide variety of pads and tampons. Some are for lighter flows. Some are for heavier flows. Some are made of cotton or ogranic cotton. Some are made of rayon or a blend of cotton and rayon. The best way to choose what is best for you is to try different products or ask a friend or family member what works best for her.
Most pads stay in place by sticking inside the underwear. You should change the pad every few hours, or when it is soaked with fluid. You may want to use a thicker pad at night when you sleep.
Tampons and menstrual cups fit inside the vagina. They are held in place by the walls of the vagina. Putting a tampon or menstrual cup in your vagina shouldn't be painful. But it may take some practice. Many tampons come with applicators that are inserted into the vagina to help put the tampon in the right place. Menstrual cups and certain types of tampons are inserted with the fingers.
Tampons have a string that hangs out of the vagina. Pulling the string gently removes the tampon. Some menstrual cups have a "stem" that can be pulled for removal. Others are removed by hooking a finger around the rim. Some cups are emptied, washed, and used again. Other cups are thrown away. You should empty or change your cup a few times a day.
It's important to change your tampon every 3 to 4 hours. It's safest to use the least absorbent tampon you need. If a tampon is left in place for a long time it can cause a rare illness called toxic shock syndrome. If you vomit and develop a high fever, diarrhea, muscle aches, sore throat, dizziness, faintness or weakness, and a sunburn-type rash while using a tampon, take it out and see your health care provider immediately.