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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  • swimmingchick05

    I prefer tampons because I hate the diaper-feeling pads give me.
    If you haven’t gotten your period yet do not worry!!! I know someone who got their at age 15! You will get yours soon trust me!!!

  • hehehehe

    so…i am 13 and a half, and i haven’t had my first period yet, and it’s kinda FREAKING ME OUT…and so PLEASE tell me if this is normal, and PLEASE be honest. THANK YOU. BTW, i’m asian, so does this have to do anything with my period? :-s

  • Jenny

    Ok so I got mine when I was 11 and I wore pads the first 3 times (i get mine late and it only last 4 days and I don’t have cramps or anything. I know lucky right.) But then it got heavier only a little and I now were tampons (if y’all think its gross you proboly never had sec or any where near it) 🙂 (:

  • seawind

    i use pads , but i want to start tampons because you can swim while wearing them.But i dont know how to ask my mom for Tampons.My mom says using tampons is a bad I think I should at least try them.How can I ask my Mom?

  • Tes

    I have been using pads since I was like twelve. Now I have started to want to use tampons, but the problem is, every time I try to put one is I can’t seem to figure out where it goes in. Help!

  • Matilda

    I use tampons for the majority of my period with panty liners, so if they leak a bit, it won’t stain my underwear. On some days when I am sticking around at home I will use a pad, but not if I plan on going out because they feel so diaper-ish.I was super embarrassed to talk about periods with my mom or my sisters, so I pretty much figured things out on my own.Tampons really aren’t hard to use, I started using them when a few months after my first period, but it takes a few tries to figure all the ins and outs of wearing them.

    You can learn how to insert tampons from the instruction page in the box of tampons. Basically spread your legs, and tilt your pelvis however feels comfortable to insert it. If it tries to fall out or isn’t comfortable in, use your finger to push it farther up. Then when its ready to come out, spread legs and tilt pelvis (whatever was comfortable going in) and using the string gently pull it out. As long as you have a sewer system and fairly good plumbing you can flush the tampon away, but if you have plumbing problems or a septic system you should wrap it up in toilet paper and put it in the trashcan.

    For me using tampons was a no brainer, the bulkiness of pads was annoying, plus the uncertainty it possibly leaking if it got misaligned. Plus, I did a lot of sports and all that movement made me super self conscious of leakage. I feel way more comfortable when using tampons and a lot more confident during the day that there isn’t a red stain on my pants.

  • AnnaMarie

    I can only use tampons and cups, because pads, in any form, give me a large, painful, blistering rash down there, from the blood constantly touching my overly sensitive skin.

  • Jessica

    Wow, I literally just got mine on Monday for the first time. I don’t like pads because they make you feel all warm and sticky and wet “down there” so I’ve been using tampons.

  • Sapphire

    I am 13, and I use pads my mum wont let me use tampons and I have never heard of the cups. i started my period when I was 12.

    • khrishell

      Sapphire , i believe you should stick with pads ! tampons are just gross in my oinion but once you get older then you can try it . and you still might not want to mess with tampons

    • Adriana

      Tampons are a great alternative to pads if you are athletic or really just hate using pads. It might take a few tries to insert it correctly and even then I suggest using a panty liner just in case. I was lucky that my mom was understanding about this stuff. I started my period when I was ten and finally had enough of wearing pads so I just asked if I could use tampons and her answer was yes. It was a bit uncomfortable to ask but I just kept remembering that it was my body and the products I use for my period is my desicsion and no one elses.

  • Jane

    Cups ARE NOT messy at all – you have to be pretty clumsy to spill anything anywhere, although it can take some getting used to they’re FAR easier and less mess than tampons or pads as they don’t leak, they’re smooth so go in easy, and only have to be changed every 12 hours. With no risk of TSS, infections or dioxin it also means they can be worn safely overnight and before your period too. FAR better than tampons or pads!

  • secret

    tampons do not hurt you if you put them in correctly, it is not like fingering your self and, tampons have instructions inside of the feels weird at first but you get used to it and barely now it is there. o and people stop saying bad things about tampons you are giving them the wrong idea let them decided what they think for themselves

  • Anonymous

    I personalty prefer pads because sticking that up there just gives me the creeps.

  • Aggie

    I’m soo not using tampons.ewww-for me it’s a bit gross

  • Lisa

    Wearing a tampon is soo not like fingering yourself lol. It’s not pleasurable, at least not for me 0_0

  • Sara

    I heard that in Asia it’s very rare to use tampons but they have very advanced pads. My mom’s from Mexico and she hates that I use tampons. When I went to a gynecologist in Mexico she told me that it’s also very rare there to find people who wear tampons, especially among older women.

  • Vivy

    I got my period 6 years ago and personally I use pads over tampons unless swimming, but I’m going to have to look into the cup now! Oh and btw to those with the tampon comments, there’s nothing scary or uncomfortable about them, they’re awesome, and putting one is not at all “like fingering yourself.” The packaging includes instructions that are easy to follow and accurate.

  • Grace

    PADS!!! 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Wait, now i’m scared.. I’m well into puberty and still haven’t gotten my period. I had (m-worded) with water once. does that mean I have water inside of me and can’t get my period?

    • Parker1994

      No sometimes your period just comes later in to puberty. Dont worry it will come.

  • anonymous

    thank you for all the info i have only just started and i’m still a bit confused on what you can use i want to use a tampon but i’m to scared it will hurt and one of my friends said that using a tampon is like figuring yourself :/

    • Emily

      Using a tampon will only hurt if you don’t put it in properly. The first time I used one I put it in at a weird angle and it hurt like hell, but then I tried again and it didn’t hurt at all. It’s not like fingering yourself, you won’t feel anything as long as you follow the instructions on the packet.

  • libby

    thamk you so mutch for this info! i have not gotten my period yet but i want to be prepared for when it dose come . 🙂 if you know what i mean by ready and reading this passage helped mr deside if i wanted to use pads or tampons ? but i dont know how to use a tampon can u help by telling me how ? Thank u so mutch <3 libby 🙂