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Sanitary pads and tampons

Some women think sanitary pads are handier; others prefer to use tampons when having their period. What's your choice?

Sanitary pad

A sanitary pad (also called sanitary towel) is a strip of padding which you place in your panties. It has adhesive strips to keep it in place. Sanitary pads come in various thicknesses and shapes. There are also panty liners, a kind of thin sanitary pad. You often use these at the start or the end of your period, when you're not losing much blood.

Don't use panty liners outside of your periods: you then risk the chance of a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis.

Tampons

A tampon is a stick of compressed cotton wool the size of your thumb, with a string attached. A tampon goes in your vagina. Tampons come in various sizes. Use a smaller tampon at the beginning and end of your period, and a larger one in the middle. Try them out to find out what works best and is most comfortable.

Using a tampon does not mean you ‘lose your virginity’. The vaginal corona only partially covers the vagina opening, so doesn’t get ‘pierced’ by a tampon. A tampon will always go through the opening.

Changing

Change sanitary pads and tampons regularly, at least once every 8 hours and preferably more often. Don't throw them down the toilet, you might end up blocking it. Use the bin next to the toilet. It's best to use a sanitary pad during the night. You can leave it in all night. It's better not to use a tampon at night because then it’s inside you for too long.

Practising with tampons

If you want to use tampons, you should practise with them first. Lift 1 leg up, perhaps put it on the toilet seat. Relax and slowly push the tampon into your vagina, leaving the string outside. Push the tampon in as far as possible. If the tampon is fitted properly, you will not feel it. You can remove the tampon by pulling slowly on the string.

Practising with tampons

Try it out

What are you most comfortable with: tampons or sanitary pads? Try them both out, and try out different kinds and sizes. You can also alternate between the two. Tampons are handy for example when you're swimming or exercising, while sanitary pads are more practical at night.