The Complete Guide To Your Period Options

Period Options

Hope she's got something in her purse!

So, it’s that time of the month, and even though you really only lose about 4-6 tablespoons of blood during your period, it can seem like a never-ending crimson tide. That said, we want you to be able to handle your period without becoming the main character in an epicly  embarrassing story. (Red stains on your gym shorts? Been there. Not fun.)

Pads and tampons are your most obvious options when it comes to protection, but there are a couple more that you might know about and want to consider, too. Here’s the 411 on all the products you could be using.

Read it, then decide what’s best for you!



Pads (or, as your grandma calls them, Sanitary Napkins)

Pads are made of absorbent material and stick onto the inside of your underwear, like an extra lining. If they sound like a diaper, we swear they’re not. There are tons of different pad options out there – you can buy really long ones, or shorter ones, and companies now make them super thin. Obviously, if you’ve got a heavy period, go for the ones marked “heavy,” regular is “regular,” and if it’s really, really light? Panty liners are tiny and you can barely even feel you’re wearing them.

Pads might be a little bit uncomfortable at times, but they can also be worn for longer than a tampon, and there’s no risk of getting Toxic Shock Syndrome (more on that later). They’re super easy to use, and if you’re not comfortable sticking something into your body down there, these are the perfect option. Just please don’t wear them when you go swimming: trust us on this one!



Tampons are essentially tubes of cotton that you insert into your vagina to absorb your flow. Sometimes tampons feel a little strange when you first use them or first insert them, but most girls get used to them really fast and soon can’t feel them at all. And if anybody tells you that you can lose your virginity by using a tampon? They’re full of it. You can only lose your V-card by having sex, and um, inserting a tampon isn’t sex!

If you’re comfortable inserting a tampon, go for it! You can swim with a tampon on (super helpful for the summertime) and they’re easy to dispose of. Just like pads, they come in a variety of sizes depending on your flow: usually light, regular or super. Oh, and using a super tampon doesn’t mean anything other than a heavy flow. It doesn’t like, have a cape or anything!

If tampons are your thing, just make sure you’re changing them at least once every eight hours. If you keep them in too long, you risk getting Toxic Shock Syndrome. TSS is rare, but it’s potentially fatal and can happen quickly. Even without the threat of TSS, tampons can’t hold as much of your flow as a pad can, so make sure you’re keeping an eye on it.


Cloth Pads

Do these sound like basically the same thing as a regular pad? Well, that’s because they kind of are, except cloth pads are environmentally friendly and reusable. It might sound gross at first, but it’s perfectly sanitary and a totally healthy option. Cloth pads are actually cheaper than regular ones, since you don’t have to buy them as frequently, and they’re allergen, chemical and perfume-free. You can choose from a variety of sizes, just like disposable pads.

The only downside to cloth pads is that washing them takes some time, and is kind of icky if you don’t like blood. Also, you’re less likely to find them in stores than disposable pads. But if you’re looking for a way to be good to the Earth, these are a great choice.


Menstrual Cup

It might sound like an ancient idea, but it really isn’t. A menstrual cup is a disposable or reusable, small bell-like cup that gets inserted into your vagina to catch menstrual flow. It’s worn just like a diaphragm (sitting over the cervix) and it’s flexible.

Menstrual cups can be worn while you’re having sex and they don’t have any risk of TSS. The only thing with these is that they can be messy: removing them and inserting them without spilling might take a while to nail down. Also, while reusable ones last for ten years, they’re pretty expensive.


If You’re Not Getting Your Period:

If you’re well into puberty, and you haven’t gotten your first period yet; or if you stopped getting your period out of no where there could be a few reasons why. Some girls naturally just bleed way less than other girls, so they don’t even really notice their period, and that’s totally normal, but generally, not getting your period means something’s wrong. Girls who are underweight, which is unhealthy, won’t get their period because their body is too malnourished. Excessive exercise can also cause your period to stop.

Missing your period could also be because your pregnant or because you’re under way too much stress. If you’ve stopped getting your period, or you haven’t gotten it yet, go see your doctor. She’ll get you sorted out in no time.


Which period option are you using? Let us know in the comments.

Posted in: Fast Facts, Health Facts, Help&Advice
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  • evelyn

    I finsld my period weird all my friends acts depressed and are mad when they have their period cause they say it huts but for me I just have blood no pain… there something wrong with me

  • salamatu

    When I have my cramps I cry alot n pray toGod for it to stop I have really serious cramps to e extent tthat I puke about 3 times in a year I use sanitary pads n they r really confotable

  • Joscelia

    I’m 13 and I’m ok with my period. But my cramps are the worst. And on some days I cry and pray to god that it goes away. I use pads but mostly tampons…. No one can see it and you can’t feel it.

  • Val

    My period is regular but my cramps aren’t. Sometimes I don’t get any at all or I get a slight pinch, but other times it is hell. They make me cry and even throw up. I don’t know anyone else with this problem and I was wondering if this is normal. It only happens two or three times per year but I can’t go anywhere for a whole week, sometimes more, as my cramps start before my period. Does anyone else get cramps bad enough to make them throw up? If anyone could reply with answers or solutions it would be much appreciated! Thanks!

  • Elizabeth

    I live off of using Softcups. They are the best and easiest form of period products on the market. I too have always had problems with tampons hurting. Or they leaked or felt like they were falling out. I looked into things like the diva cup and the sanitary level did not seem very highly. Also I loose things very easy. That would be something easy to loose. The only thing with softcups is that they are getting harder to find and they are not cheap. But if you change your pad every couple hours like your supposed to neither are they. Not to mention I have had problems for years with leaking or getting blood spots on my bed. I have been actively been using softcup for 5 years. As long as I could find them. Also those of you with boyfriends or sexual partners will find they are a godsend.

  • Kay

    Mannn… ever since I got deeper into my twenties.. ( early mid now Im 23) but i never had cramps that were impossible to get rid of! I have my period right now and I woke up cramping today.. off and on they would go away and then get intense ( TMI alert) after I go to the bathroom nothin much happens but I really am prayin to God I dont have no kind of cysts or anything because I am too young and wanna have kids in the future. I was wondering if as you get older can your period change along with your body?

  • lauren

    You can’t wear a Menstrual cup when you’re having sex. You can use a cervical cap AS a menstrual cup and wear that during sex, but you DEFINITELY cannot use a cup during vaginal intercourse. Please get your information right!

  • Jay

    You’ve got a LOT wrong about menstrual cups.

    Menstrual cups are not worn like a diaphragm (similar options like softcups are worn like a diaphragm, and diaphragms can be worn as menstrual cups), menstrual cups can be worn during sexual activity but not during vaginal intercourse (softcups and diaphragms can be worn during sex). Menstrual cups aren’t expensive, they are the cheapest sanitary product available on the market today – the initial cost is high but as they last for 10 years they work out incredibly cheap. Also menstrual cups are NOT messy – the blood stays in the cup until you empty it, they don’t leak like tampons or pads either, so far less messy.

    As well as no risk of TSS menstrual cups also don’t lead to vaginal infections, increased cramps, increased bleeding, and don’t contain harmful substances like tampons – as cups are safer and cleaner than tampons it means unlike tampons they can be worn for 12 hours, with any flow, overnight, before your period, and no need to alternate with pads so they’re far more convenient. Cups are also easier to use once you learn how.

  • Laura

    Ok. So I’m 19. I’ve been using pads ever since puberty, but I HAVE to find another option, because I’m going into marine biology at college next year, And I’ll need to swim, and I have a very heavy period.
    However, every time I’ve tried to use them (with or without the box instructions) I’ve failed. And I don’t know why, possibly the wrong place? Or is it normal for it to hurt?
    I can’t find a proper hole anywhere! And when i try various places the instructions say, it hurts so much i have to stop.
    And with all the talk about how easy it is, now I’m worried.
    I can’t ask my mom, it’s too awkward at this age, and we’re not on good terms.

    • Manda15

      This isn’t for everyone so I don’t know if you’ll agree, but you could see about going on the pill. Some pills can stop menstrual periods all together. I”m in high school and I have an irregular and usually heavy period. I did some research on the pill and it can help alot with cramps, acne, etc. However it does have some risks so its more of personal choice.

      • Missy

        Have a question I, have a condition of stomach ulcer & hernias to. I, am on my period about done but really cramping I, was wondering, if the pressure on them making it to cramp or just the pressure, of my normal cycle. The cramp is in the upper stomach. Thanks,