Pads, Tampons, or Menstrual Cups?

Have you ever used pads, tampons or cups?

Are you thinking about making a transition from pads to any of them?

Before you make your decision, you should research extensively before using because you will use this product monthly near your reproductive system.

Almost all of us start our period journey by using pads. However, tampons and menstrual cups have become quite popular.

Vaginal Insertion     
Collect or Absorb      
Capacity(ml)  Changing Time (hours)Physical Activities  Eco-friendly

We are all more or less familiar with sanitary pads. For many of us, it’s the first sanitary product we used.

Pads are cotton absorbents that are placed in the underwear. They absorb the released menstrual blood. There are many types of pads. They have an adhesive back that is attached to our underwear. Pads should be changed every 4-6 hours.


  • Good absorption
  • Has many variations for different flows
  • If you have inflammation or vaginal issues, pads are the safest option
  • Least chances of TSS
  • It’s easy to check if the pad has been filled
  • Widely available


  • Can be uncomfortable, especially during heavy flows
  • Not suited for physical activities especially swimming
  • Prone to shift in the underwear and cause leaking
  • Some pads have chemicals that cause disruption to reproductive organs
  • Non-reusable pads aren’t environment friendly

While tampons have been quite popular in the West for decades, it has started making waves in the East recently. Despite popular belief, tampons do not interfere with ‘virginity’.

The tampon is a cylinder-shaped cotton product that collects period blood. It is inserted into the vaginal opening. It has a string at the end for easy pulling. Once inserted, the cotton soaks the period blood. You need to pull the string to take it out and dispose of it.

They can absorb 3-12 ml depending on the size. You must take them out after 4 hours to avoid risks of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) which can be fatal.


  • Since it’s inserted inside your vagina, you can move around freely
  • If properly inserted, it can’t be felt
  • Matches well with any type of underwear or clothing
  • Ideal for swimming, traveling, running, or exercising
  • Easy to carry


  • The plastic applicator or cover is bad for the environment
  • The highest chance of TSS
  • Can soak up healthy bacteria and ruin vaginal pH
  • It’s hard to tell if the tampon has been filled before the routine changing time
  • Unsoaked tampons are painful to take out
  • Low-level tampons can cause inflammation in some cases
Menstrual Cup

Menstrual cups are now the most talked-about sanitary product. It’s a silicone conical product that is inserted into the vagina and collects the menstrual blood. Pads and tampons collect blood by absorbing but menstrual cups accumulate the blood.

You need to take out the cup every 6 hours and empty the blood. You can keep it in for 12 hours maximum. It’s a reusable product that needs to be washed according to the manual. Cups can last up to 5-10 years depending on the brand.


  • Once inserted properly, you can’t feel it
  • Easy to move around in and you can perform any physical activity, e.g., swimming
  • They can last up to 6-12 hours
  • Doesn’t absorb blood so vaginal pH remains the same
  • Has the least chance of leakage
  • Doesn’t cause period odor
  • Even though one cup costs more than one pad or tampon, it will last for years so it’s cheaper in the long run
  • Better for the environment


  • They can be harder to find in some places
  • The first few times can be messy since it’s a learning phase
  • Unless taken out properly, the collected blood can spill
  • Needs to be cleaned after every use

At the end of the day, the choice depends on your flow and comfort. You can also use both a tampon and pad or menstrual cup and pad together at the same time.

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