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Pads vs Tampons in a nutshell (not literally…)

Pads vs tampons. The battle rages on. But does it? Seriously? No, not really. You might prefer tampons during the day and pads at night. Some women find they use a tampon and pad at night. You could be period-product monogamous, and stick to one faithfully. There is not strict rule here.

So, let’s take a little looksie at the virtues of pads and tampons. No more versus, just the straight-out guts and glory.

Wins for pads:

  • Easy to use
  • Can be used overnight
  • Lots of options to suit your flow

Wins for tampons:

  • You can swim while using them
  • Good for active lifestyles, as they don’t move around like pads
  • No wet feeling
  • Lots of options to suit your flow

Okay, so they both have their good sides. Let’s look at downers of each...

Bummer for pads:

  • Pads can tend to move with you and require readjusting
  • They may not carry the TSS terror, but you can still get infections if you don’t change them enough
  • Not great for teeny tiny undies
  • No good for swimming

Bummer for tampons:

  • Let’s just get it out there: the TSS fear. It’s rare, but still, you don’t want to dismiss it. Always opt for the lowest absorbency tampon you can and change your tampon 3-6 times a day. Which leads us to…
  • There’s a learning curve involved. Yup, both insertion-wise and in terms of getting to know your flow so you’re using the right absorbencies. Having said that, this can easily be a pro, as you do get better acquainted with your period when using tampons.
  • Tampons aren’t great if you plan on sleeping for over 8 hours. Here’s where a day-time tampon/night-time pad situation works.

Boiling it all down, there is no right or wrong option. It’s more to do with your comfort level and needs. Your period and how you manage it should be a no-judgment zone (as should everything, really!). If you don’t feel ready for a tampon, no wuckers. Pads do a bang-up job. And if you’re a tampon lover, that’s sweet, too.

You is woman, baby. Get your pad and/or tampon-sporting goddess on and go forth.

A note on TSS...

Two types of bacteria - Staphylococcus aureus (aka, staph) and Streptococcus pyogenes (aka, strep) are believed to cause TSS, not tampons themselves. It’s not entirely understood how it occurs, but, according to South Australia Health, in rare cases the bacteria release a toxin which can case TSS in some people.

Women who use tampons during their period do have a higher risk of TSS than women who don’t, but, having said that, men and children, as well as women who use pads, can still get it. Just make sure that you: wash your hands and are super dooper diligent with cleanliness when using tampons; change your tampon regularly; are using the lowest absorbency possible to help reduce the risk. To balance the potential fear you might be feeling right now, Bustle has a great list of myths about TSS to keep things real.

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