You know what tampons and pads are for, but do you know which meets your needs better?
Scroll the gallery to learn more about their differences, and how the overnight period panties and menstrual cup worked for us.
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A version of this article first appeared in CLEO September 2017.
Image: Pablo Hidalgo/123RF.com
Ease of use: May cause discomfort at first try as you’ve got to slide it into your vagina. However, all it takes is some practice, and you can buy tampons with applicators which are easier to insert
Duration: Can be worn for four to eight hours. Anything more can cause odour and irritation, and prolonged wear has also been associated with Toxic Shock Syndrome, a life-threatening bacterial infection
Comfort: When used correctly, you won’t feel a thing. It’s a good option for when you want to exercise or swim
Hygiene: You sometimes get blood on your fingers while inserting it into
Internal effects: Some users say that tampons worsen their cramps, but there is no scientific basis for this. This could be because a tampon high up in the vagina may hit the cervix, which can intensify period pains
Image: Yulia Grogoryeva/123RF.com
Ease of use: Just stick it on your underwear and you’re good to go
Duration: Should be changed every three to four hours to prevent odour and bacterial growth
Comfort: While some people liken it to wearing a diaper, others aren’t too bothered by it, so it all boils down to personal preference. However, a pad can limit the type of activities you do
Hygiene: Since you don’t have direct contact with your vagina when using it, your fingers stay clean
Internal effects: None
“I tried the overnight period panties and felt like I was wearing adult diapers.”
“Let’s face it, nobody likes waking up to stained bedsheets. And as someone who has a pretty heavy flow during the first two days of her period, I lost count of the number of times I’ve woken up in the middle of the night just to do a quick clean up.
So I was pretty excited to give overnight period panties a go, despite looking like adult diapers on first impression. After putting them on, I realised two things: 1) It’s super high-waisted (but I supposed it’s for extra protection at the back) and 2) it was so skimpy that my butt cheeks were hanging out of the panties, so I became really skeptical as to whether they’re truly leakproof.
Thankfully, there’s none of that crackling sound when I was walking about and most importantly, I woke up to stain-free sheets. The built-in pad was super absorbent as well, so it didn’t feel uncomfortable even though my flow was rather heavy that night. Awkwardness be damned – I’m wearing these to bed whenever Aunt Flo visits.”
Sophie Hong, Seniore Features Writer
“I tried the menstrual cup and it worked perfectly… until it got stuck.”
“I was going for an outdoor expedition, and figured it was the perfect chance for me to try the menstrual cup as I didn’t want to experience leaks without access to toilets. Also, since the cup can be worn for up to 12 hours, it’s perfect for inconvenient situations.
Insertion took a while because I had to figure out how to fold it right, but it was generally a painless procedure. The cup worked perfectly and there was no leakage. I couldn’t feel a thing, and I’m not sure if it was a coincidence but my menstrual cramps, usually excruciating, were bearable.
When it was time to take the cup out, I pinched the base to release the seal but it refused to budge. Over time, my frustration turned to panic, and because I wasn’t as relaxed as I should be, removal ended up taking close to half an hour.
The experience scarred me for a while, but I eventually took to using it again. It’s an excellent investment and all it requires is some practice.”
Adora Wong, Writer
Image: Pablo Hidalgo/123RF.com