Periods. It is every woman’s bane of existence. But most girls anticipate the day they get their periods. It is a vital and natural part of life but the reason why it is terrible as it was described because every month, a woman’s cycle occurs. From the premenstrual syndrome (PMS), in which women experience anxiety, rapid fluctuations of moods (such as irritability, anger, and depression), they are also ore sensitive thus the breakdowns. Some women may also experience withdrawal from socializing, poor concentration, trouble in sleeping or insomnia, and of course, food cravings.
After that horrid premenstrual syndrome, the period finally begins. It usually last an average of 5 to 7 days, depending on the person. Periods are a pain – that is a known fact. From the horrible cramps, along with lower back pressure (which feels like someone is sitting on top of the lower back or the hips wanting to dislocate itself from the spine), the bloating, endometriosis, nausea, headaches, tender breasts, to the extreme fatigue – period is hell, and women has to go through this every month!
Besides the previously mentioned horrible factors during a woman’ menstrual cycle, women must know the torture of not having to wear their favorite white pants! Just when they thought all th pain is enough well they have to suffer from being self-conscious due to the fear or anxiety of leaking behind. It is one of the most embarrassing things that could probably happen especially in front of a huge crowd and no one even bothers to inform them and cover them up.
This is why it is really important to wear the best period products to avoid leakage, and to have the favorite pair of underwear be ruined!
What are Some Examples of Period Products?
But despite having your period, this does not mean that it should interfere with your life and you should go about your day! In this segment, you will know some period products and their functions which will help you feel comfortable, dry, in accordance of your preferences. This will also help you with narrowing down your preferences such as how rigorous and the kind of activity you will be doing, the price of the product, the convenience, and how it would impact the environment.
Pads. Coming in first is one of the most common period products. Pads are made of cotton with an adhesive on the other side to stick to the underwear. The cotton part is used for absorbing the blood, and the used pad will be thrown away. Before throwing it away, it must be rolled and be wrapped in toilet paper then thrown in a sanitary bin instead of flushing it in a toilet.
- Price: Packs of pads usually has a price range of $2 up to $4. The price depends on the type, brand, and the number of product in a pack.
- Pros: Pads are easy to use since they are after all the basic period product before you can try experimenting with other products. Pads are available in almost every store.
- Cons: Pads may be convenient but these products are single-use items that must be thrown right away after a few hours of using it.
Reusable Pads. These are also pads but unlike the usual ones, these are made out of fabric which can be washed and reused. These reusable pads are made fabric cotton or bamboo fiber which are very absorbent. Instead of adhesives, they hav snap buttons on the wings which can go around the underwear to secure. Before wearing it again, after using this pad, you must rinse it, soak it in water with soap overnight to get rid of the bacteria and some blood residues, then wash it again. Ensure that these are thoroughly cleaned to not give rise of pathogenic bacteria.
- Price: Since reusable pads are made of cloth and hab buttons for security, these cost more than the typical pads. The price range would go from $12 up to $35 which depends on how absorbent the pad is and what brand is it.
- Pros: Similar to disposable pads, they are also convenient and easy to use. They are sustainable since it is reusable after washing it. You can also save more money despite being expensive since it can be used for a longer time and for your next cycles.
- Cons: Since they are reusable, it requires more work in rinsing, soaking, washing, and drying them between uses.
Tampons. These are rod-shaped cottons with a string attached to one end. A tampon is inserted in the vagina in order to soak the blood and after a few hours, you can pull it out using the string. Its size varies depending on how heavy your period is.
- Price: Packs of tampons usually cost around $4 up to $9 depending on the brand, the size, and the number a pack contains.
- Pros: Tampons are small and convenient which can fit your purse or even your pocket, nicely. Tampons also allows you to go swimming withou worrying about any leakages unlike other period products.
- Cons: Since tampons are made up of cotton, and the vagina has a warm temperature, combining it together – a good breeding ground for bacteria thus leading to toxic shock syndrome (TSS). This is a bacterial infection that can lead to damage in the organs. It is important to keep in mind that before inserting a tampon, you must wash your hands, use a tampon with the lowest absorbency, do not wear your tampon over 6 hours, change it, and do not wear one when you go to sleep.
Menstrual Cups. Yes. there are such a thing for periods. Menstrual cups are soft, easily foldable, and made up of rubber or medical-grade silicon that can be inserted in the vagina to catch the period blood. Unlike other products, these can be used up to 8 or 12 hours, then it must be taken out, emptied, rinsed and sanitized, then reused.
- Price: Menstrual cups are quite expensive with a price range between $35 to $50 since these products are made of materials that could last for several years amd are reusable. Despite its price, it is still worth it and can help you save more money than having to buy tampons or pads every month.
- Pros: If menstrual cups are inserted correctly, it will feel comfortable and period blood are less likely to spill and leak through, which makes cups suitable for vigorous activities such as exercising, dancing, and also swimming. Using menstrual cups is also great for the environment since it lessens the amount of menstrual products you dispose.
- Cons: Menstrual cups are kind of tricky for beginners since it is hard to insert it, but practice can make it easier and there are also some tutorials in the internet that can guide you. Another con about menstrual cups is that if you are a squeamish person, the cleaning part might freak you out.
Period Underwear. These have the appearance of your usual underwear but this is more basorbent. Instead of using tampons or pads, you can use, period underwear if you are opting for a more comfortable way of undergoing your period. This can be used for light and heavy flows.
- Price: Period underwear usually costs around $25 to $45, which greatly depends on the brand or the type.
- Pros: This is another convenient and comfortable period product since it feels as if wearing regular underwear. These are also sustainable and can be reused after washing it in between uses.
- Cons: You may require buying more of this to have a collection to get through your period and not have to buy other products when you get your period. It is still recommended to still wear pads or tampons on your heavy flows along with your period underwear to ensure that you will not suffer any leaks.
Soft Tampons. These are similar to tampons but they do not have any strings.
- Price: The price of soft tampons usually costs around $35 for a pack.
- Pros: These are stringless, so if you are having intercourse, it would not interfere.
- Cons: soft tampons are stringless which makes them difficult to remove.
How Do you Use Pads Step by Step?
Pads can vary in size and correlated to this is their level of absorbency. Thin pads (pantyliners) are for light flows, regular, or long and thicker pads are for your heavy flows and for overnight use.
If you just got your period and have no idea how to wear a pad, you can rely on these steps to show you how to use a pad.
Step 1: Taking a pad from the pack, peel the adhesive protector and stick the sticky side of the pad to your underwear. Some pads have wings for extra security and there are reusable pads that have buttons for security.
Step 2: After every few hours, change your pads or when it is completely soaked.
Step 3: Dispose of your used pads by rolling it then wrapping it with toilet paper to ensure that it would not unfold itself. After using it, throw it in the trash bin instead of flushing it in the toilet – this will clog the toilet.
How to Put in Tampons?
Step 1: Always remember that before inserting a tampon inside, you must wash your hands first to avoid the risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS). Get into a comfortable position – try squatting by putting one leg up on the toilet seat or you can also sit on the toilet, knees apart.
Step 2: Insert the tampon in your vagina using an applicator or with just your fingers. Remember, inserting a tampon inside the vagina is easier if you are relaxed. You can try applying some lubricant to the tip of the tampon for easier insertion or maybe you can ask someone you trust (your mom, sister, or someone you trust with experience with tampons), to walk you through inserting a tampon in your vagina.
Step 3: Throw both the wrapper and applicator in the bin not the toilet.
Step 4: Change your tampon after a few hours and not go beyond 8 hours. You can wear them overnight but only wear it before going to bed then remove it immediately after you wake up.
Step 5: In taking out your tampon, you can pull it out gently using a string attached to the tampon. It is easier to take the tampon out while it is still wet due to absorbing the maximum amount of blood it can contain.
Step 6: Just like pads, when disposing it, you must wrap the used tampons with toilet paper and throw them away in the trash can, not flushing it in the toilet.
How to Insert a Menstrual Cup?
Most people are intimidate with using menstrual cups because they appear big but experienced menstrual cup users could not feel it once it is inside. Here are the steps to walk you through inserting a menstrual cup.
Step 1: Remember to wash your hands and sanitize the menstrual cup you are going to use. Get in a comfortable position – either squat, put one leg up, or sit on the toilet, knees apart.
Step 2: Fold the cup until it is narrow, and fold it again to form a U-shape, then insert it slowly inside your vagina gently. Just like inserting a tampon, inserting a menstrual cup will be easier if you are in a comfortable position. If you need guidance, ask someone you trust (your mom, sister, or a trusted person who has experience with menstrual cups)
Step 3: There are some cups that can be placed in the part of the vagina but some cups might have to be placed in higher areas such as the cervix. If you feel uncomfortable with the cup, it must be placed in a wrong way. Try taking it out and insert it once again.
Step 4: Unlike pads and tampons, menstrual cups can be worn for longer hours before taking it out. But if you have heavier flows, take it out once it is full.
Step 5: Some cups have a stem at the bottom to help you pull it out easier, but there are some cups that do not have a stem so you need to hook a finger around its rim, squeeze it to narrow it down, then pull it out.
Step 6: Cleaning/Disposing
- Reusable cups: For reusable cups, empty the blood out into the toilet, and wash it out, make sure it is completely sanitized before inserting it inside again. If you are in a place where you cannot really clean your cup, simply empty it, and put it inside again. Just wash the cup later if you are home or in a private restroom. Make sure to follow the directions for cleaning and storing your cup from the manual it came with.
- Disposable cups: Since some cups are disposable, throw them after using it once. Wrap the cup with their wrapper or toilet papers, then throw it in the trash bin not flushing it in the toilet.
Which Way do Always Pads Go?
If you are a beginner or just have your period, it might be tricky to get your hand on period products and this segment will help you with wearing pads correctly.
- Always remember, when wearing your pad, it must be placed at the center of your underwear (the area that goes between the legs) to avoid any leakage in the side of the underwear, or the back.
- There are no specifics with which end of a regular pad is should be placed on the front side or the back side, just simply place it in the center.
- If you are wearing pads meant for overnight wear, it is longer and the other end is wider, this wide part is meant for sticking onto the back part of the underwear or the part that covers the butt.
How do you Sleep on your Period with a Pad?
There are no rules when it comes to sleeping while wearing pads. But if you are really worried about leaking and staining your bedsheets especially on days when you have heavier flows, lay over a dark-colored towel on top of the bedsheet. Make sure that the towel is large enough to ensure the regardless of your sleeping position or movement you make when you shift positions, can ensure that it will protect your bedsheets if you leak.
Also make sure that you are comfortable to ease up the cramps.
How do I Quietly Open a Pad?
It may be embarrassing for you to open your pad especially in a public restroom because some people might hear it (although there is nothing to be worried about since periods are natural) so here are some tips to help you with opening your pads quietly.
- Instead of peeling the initial tape of the wrapper, simply insert your finger between the open folds and slice both the sealed part (the side with ridges or rough edges) of the wrapper, open. It would make much of a noise than unfolding it. Just do it quickly.
- Simply open the first fold, then repeat the first step with the other end to completely unfold the pad.
- After that, simply peel off the pad from the wrapper then you can proceed with sticking it to your underwear then wear it.
Can I Swim on my Period with a Pad?
There are some instances wherein you still want to swim even if you have your period and that is totally fine! However, DO NOT wear any pads when you decide to swim, here are some reasons why:
- The adhesive of a pad will not withstand water especially if it is totally submerged. The pad that you are wearing will gradually detach itself from your swimwear and you might not even notice. If you don’t notice it right away, well, prepare yourself to have an embarrassing moment added to your list when it starts floating around the pool or the beach
- Since it is worn outside the vagina, only catching the blood from outside, considering that it could have been soaked before you get in the water, once submerged, the blood will diffuse into the pool and would probably be visible. Another embarrassing moment!
- It will be uncomfortable for you since not only that it absorbs your period, but it will also absorb the water from where you are swimming in, and it will feel heavy.
Instead of wearing pads, wear tampons or menstrual cups instead. The water would not go inside your vagina and the tampon or menstrual cup inside will remain intact regardless of the movement you move so it will guarantee you safe from embarrassing moments.
How do I Shower on My Period?
There are some frequently asked questions about showering while on period and the answer is yes, you can shower while your on your period and it is a must to maintain your hygiene since periods can attract bacteria especially if you do not clean yourself down there.
When taking a shower, the best way is to clean the areas around your vagina with warm water. The vagina is an organ that can clean itself by secreting mucus that could clean dead cells and menstrual fluids which is why it is not really necessary to use soaps, you can still use them but use mild ones and only use soap around the vagina, NOT INSIDE IT since the vagina is acidic and soap will only irritate it.
Make sure to rinse or wipe your vagina starting from front to the back. DO NOT spray water inside it because it will harm its pH balance.
Not bathing when you have your period is a complete hoax because hygiene is extremely important. Make sure to practice good hygiene to avoid any infections such as urinary tract infction (UTI) or other diseases.