How to use sanitary pads, tampons, and menstrual cups?

how to use sanitary pads, tampons and menstrual cups

As industrialization took place, we have modernized almost everything used in our daily lives. From pin to planes, every bit has been updated and so is our sanitary products. Like the earlier days, now we do not have to use leaves, sacks, clothes, or even mud to deal with our monthly flows. Today we have different varieties of hygiene products to make our period cycle days less exhausting. However, if you are just entering the age of menstruating, you might not be aware of the products in the market and how to use them. Not to worry! We are here to make your journey smooth.

In this article, we will talk about sanitary pads, tampons, and menstrual cups and how to use them safely. Let’s get started!

What are sanitary pads, tampons, and menstrual cups?

Sanitary pads (sanitary napkins), tampons, and menstrual cups are some of the widely used menstrual products globally. Although there are quite a large variety of hygiene products available in the market, women usually prefer these over them as they are easy to use.

These sanitary products allow you do your daily chores hassle-free and without getting blood on your clothing or linens during your monthly cycles.

Menstrual cups and tampons are placed inside the vaginal canal, while pads are made to stick to your underwear to make a protective layer between the vagina and the clothes you are wearing.

What is a sanitary pad?

Sanitary pads are thin strips of cloth-like absorbent material that are attached to your underpants. Today almost all the pads have flaps or “wings” to grip the underwear lining to prevent any leakage and stains. You get the option of choosing between pads made of disposable material (one-time use sanitary pads) and disposable multi-use pads (made of fabric) that are reusable after washing.

What is a menstrual cup?

Menstrual cups are made of soft plastic, silicone, or rubber, which are all rash-free and skin-friendly and are constructed into the small bell or bowl shapes. The menstrual cup is inserted into the vaginal opening where it accumulates period blood. If not one-time use, these cups can be used again after emptying and washing, when needed. Note: if you are using IUD birth control, then you should not opt for a menstrual cup as it may cause the IUD to slide out of position.

What is a tampon?

Tampons have a stick-like plug structure and a made of cotton. Same as the menstrual cups, tampons are inserted inside the vagina to absorb menstrual blood. With the help of the applicator that comes with the tampons, it gets uncomplicated to insert the tampon. At the end of the tampons, there is a string attached, which makes it simple to draw them out.

Tampons and Menstrual Cups: Benefit & Myth

Benefit- The main advantage of using menstrual cups and tampons is that they can be worn easily, without making you feel a thing during a variety of sports and workouts, including water activities.

Myth- Many people believe that tampons or menstrual cups can get lost inside your body, or will not get stuck. However, this is not the case. Your vaginal muscles hold them in place till you remove them. Note: there have been instances where women forgot to remove their tampons or menstrual cups, leading to health hazards. Therefore, do not forget to change/ remove them timely.

How to use/ insert tampons?

Tampons are available in a variety of “absorbency” levels and are used according to one’s period flow. Generally, people with heavier flow go for super absorbents as it does not require them to change frequently. Secondly, it is advised to purchase a brand that provides you with a tampon applicator for easier insertion.

Inserting tampons for beginners

  • Washing your hands is the first and most important step to prevent oneself from any kind of infection.
  • Now there are three positions for which you can go for raising one leg with some support, sitting with your knees apart over a stool or toilet, or squatting. Sit in any position which you find comfortable.
  • With the help of an applicator or with your finger, push the tampon into your vaginal cavity.
  • Keep your muscles relaxed. It will be much easier to insert the tampon.
  • You can also lubricate the tip of your applicator or tampon for smooth insertion.
  • Depending on your period flow, always change your tampon between four to eight hours.
  • Tampons can be worn overnight, however, do not leave them for exceeding eight hours.
  • For removing the tampon, gently pull it out with the help of a string.
  • Do not flush the tampon. Throw it away by carefully wrapping it up.

Timely removal or changing of tampons is necessary as it can lead to toxic shock syndrome (TSS). if one is not careful with the hygiene routines, TSS can cause severe issues such as dizziness or weakness, extreme muscle aches, vomiting, sore throat, a high fever, inflammable rashes, diarrhea, etc. Although toxic shock syndrome isn’t common, one should not take any chances when it comes to health. It is advised that to avoid this situation one should use low absorbency tampons and maintain their hygiene routine of promptly changing the tampons.

Note: Inserting a tampon might make you feel uncomfortable and may also hurt you in the starting as a newbie, but try different positions and methods of insertion and see what works best for you. Yet, if your pain is on the higher end and you aren’t able to insert the tampon easily, seek medical help. There might be some underlying condition.

How to wear pads?

If you are willing to pass by tampons and move on to sanitary pads for trying an easier way to deal with your periods, then you might be thinking as to how to put on a pad? Don’t worry, we will tell you how!

Sanitary pads come basically in three different sizes, thin, regular, and thick. Thin pads are also known as the pantyliners are for the days when your period flow is low (usually beginning or the ending of the period) whereas thick pads are the “maxi pads” that are very much useful during heavy monthlies. There is no hard and fast rule as to when to use which pad. According to your comfortability, you can go for any sanitary napkin of your choice.

How to apply a pad?

  • Maintain hand hygiene by washing your hands with soap.
  • Peel off the paper layer from the back and the flaps of the pads. You will find a sticky strip beneath it.
  • Carefully stick the pad onto your underwear such that it covers your vagina. Folds the pad flaps to make sure it does not move out of its place.
  • Sanitary pads are to be changed as and when needed according to the period flow. However, it is suggested that every four to six hours you should change your sanitary napkin.
  • For disposing of, do not flush the pads as it will clog the drainage. Wrap it up fully with the paper and then throw it into the trash.

How are menstrual cups used?

Menstrual cups come in different sizes-small, medium, and large and what size one should use depends on various factors such as your age; cervix length; menstrual cup’s durability and flexibility; pelvic muscles strength; the capacity of the menstrual cup, and period flow. To know your perfect size pay a visit to your gynaecologist.

How to insert a menstrual cup?: Menstrual cups for beginners

  • Wash your hands nicely with soap- You do not want and bacterial infection afterward.
  • Get into a comfortable position- sitting with your knees apart, squatting, or raising one leg with some support.
  • Lubricating- for starters, you can grease some water-based lubricant or just water to make the smooth insertion.
  • Folding- fold the cup by squeezing it from the top to make a narrow shape for insertion.
  • Relax- relaxing will help your muscles to loosen up and you will not feel pain or uneasiness while inserting the cup.
  • Inserting- slowly insert the cup until it reaches the cervix but if in between you feel any pain, take it out and try again.
  • Positioning- when in the correct spot, let go of the cup, and it will open up itself, hence sealing to stop leakage.
  • Hours- menstrual cups can be used for eight to twelve hours or depending on your period flow.
  • Removing- to remove the cup, get hold of its stem and pull it out while squeezing it.
  • Reusable cups- menstrual cups can be used after washing and sterilizing them correctly. Always give due diligence to the instructions mentioned on the menstrual cup package to maintain a high hygiene level and avoid infection of any kind.
  • Practice- inserting the menstrual cup in its perfect place might take some time, however, if you are doing everything correctly and then also you feel pain or uneasiness of any kind take guidance from your gynaecologist as there might exist some underlying medical condition of which you are not aware of or your hymen may be blocking the opening of your vagina.

Tampons vs Sanitary pads vs Menstrual cup: which is the right choice for me?

Now you know all the popular sanitary products available in the market but, the question arises which product is best for you. You have seen how to use each feminine product and now is the time to make a decision. So which product should you go for?– we won’t be suggesting any one of them as it is all up to your preferences! You can ask and discuss it with the ladies of your family and friends and even try yourself all the different sanitary products. With this, you will also come to know all the pros and the cons of every product and how comfortable you feel in using them and while using them.

Or you can even go for different products at a different time according to your period cycle and the place you are in. Like if you are traveling for long hours then you can go for menstrual cups, however, if there isn’t any place to clean or change the cup then it can get quite messy. Moreover, many women do prefer using sanitary pads or pantyliners at night and tampons during the daytime.

According to some, wearing a tampon or menstrual cup that goes inside your vagina makes them feel comfortable as they go on doing their daily chores. Others might be comfortable in using sanitary napkins as you do not have to do the routine of inserting the product every time you use it. But one thing that can not be done while wearing the pad is water sport activities or activities that require frequent movements as some may also get rashes from the pads around the vaginal area.

The convenience of disposing of also plays a role in deciding what product to use. People turning environmental-friendly and seeking budget products go for reusable products like fabric pads and menstrual cups. However, some go for easily disposable ones as the one-time use tampons and sanitary pads.

Well Wisher’s Words

We hope this article was able to give you an overview of the frequently used menstrual products and has helped you to come to a conclusion of which product will be best for you.

Always remember that whichever hygiene product you use, do not forget to timely change them and always maintain your hygiene by washing your hands before and after you change your feminine product as it will prevent you from getting any kind of infection.

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