GL's Guide to Pads and Tampons

Walking down the feminine hygiene aisle at your grocery store can be totally overwhelming. With all the different brands, sizes and types, what does everything really mean anyway? GL’s got your guide to panty-liners, pads and tampons. 

These thin little guys are good for when you are expecting your period or when you have only a little spotting. The same is good for the end of your cycle, when there is so little blood you don’t need a tampon. For girls with heavier flows, they can be used in addition to a tampon to take an extra step against leakage.

Winged vs. wingless Pads
“Winged” pads have two extra pieces of fabric that is sticky on one side. You fold these around your underwear. The wings help keep the pad from moving around, so they’re great for sports and sleeping. But wingless pads can be worn more discreetly.

Pads: Scented vs. unscented
Choosing to use scented (deodorized) or unscented pads is really a matter of personal preference. Even though it’s highly unlikely that anyone would be able to smell your flow without a scented pad, it makes some girls uncomfortable. So if you want to smell powder fresh, try it. A word of caution: A lot of girls can get irritated from the extra chemicals in scented products, so shy away if you have sensitive skin or are prone to rashes.

Pads: Disposable vs. eco-friendly reusable
To most of us, the idea of reusable sounds gross! When the pad comes off, you want to throw it out and get the gross thing away from you ASAP. But think about how much paper you throw away during one period. Green versions can be washed and reused, and save you a lot of money. But since they don’t use adhesive, they might be a bit more complicated to put on.

Overnight protection
Even though your flow slows down while you’re sleeping, a regular pad may not be enough. Between your body being horizontal and tossing and turning, the chance for leakage is high. There are many different types of pads that come up higher in the front and back. You can try ones made for overnight, long, super-long or maxi.

Tampons: Scented vs. unscented
Same deal as pads, it’s all a matter of what you prefer. But since there is even less of a chance of odor with tampons than a pad, there’s not much reason to go for scented. If it makes you feel more comfortable not to smell blood while changing your tampon, scented is an option made available to you.

Tampons: With or without an applicator
Most of us are used to tampons with an applicator: the plastic or cardboard tube used to make putting the tampon in easier. These are best for girls just starting to use tampons and are the best kind for learning how to insert a tampon. But there are also tampons that consist of just the tubular absorbent fabric and string. You insert these with your fingers only, and eliminate plastic or cardboard waste. Though smaller, more discreet and green, they take a little time to get used to.

For both pads and tampons, the basic three absorbencies in which products come in are light, regular and heavy. Depending on your flow, gauge what amount of protection you might need. Most brands come in a multi-pack that offers all three for you to switch up during your period. Particularly with tampons, it’s always best to match your flow with the appropriate absorbency.


by Brittany Berger | 2/1/2016