Tampons and pads are the most commonly used menstrual products. The choice between tampons and pads is a personal one but there are some advantages and disadvantages to both.
I started out using sanitary pads as that was the norm around me and felt tampons were uncomfortable and mainly for white people
Tampons are more discreet and comfortable but carry a slight risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS).
Pads, also known as sanitary napkins, carry no such risk but tend to be bulkier and inconvenient. As they are non-biodegradable, their use is not environmentally friendly.
For their first period or experience with menstruation, most young girls prefer to use pads, as they tend to be bit more user-friendly. They are available in many sizes and types and they stick onto the inside of the underwear. Some of them have extra wings on the sides, which keep the pad even more firmly in place. Pads can be changed as needed and this depends on the heaviness of the blood flow, but a general rule of thumb is to change them every four hours or so. This will ensure odor free protection, with odor being one of the disadvantages of using pads.
As time went by i noticed that i usually developed a rash around my private region when i used sanitary pads. I first started applying talcum powder by the sides where i felt the nylon from the wings caused discomfort. This usually prevented the itchiness for a few hours.
I later discovered applying petroleum jelly was more helpful for me.
The biggest disadvantage is the disposal of pads. When staying at friend’s place or a new environment disposing pads could be a worry especially when you do not wish to announce your period. They should be wrapped in paper and placed in the trash if there is no special disposal box. You may use old newspapers to wrap them as well as they are discreet. Flushing pads down the toilet should not be done, as they tend to block the drains and cause a lot of problems.
Tampons however may be flushed.
A major difference between tampons and pads is that tampons are much more convenient once the use of them has been mastered. It is not difficult but may be a bit daunting at first, as they must be inserted into the vagina. Once inserted correctly, they are comfortable, convenient and discreet in that they are easier to carry around and odor-free. Swimming with a tampon is not a problem, and playing sports becomes easier and more comfortable.
There is a disadvantage to using tampons, and that is the slight risk of contracting TSS, which is a very rare syndrome that is caused by the growth of bacteria in the tampon. The bacteria can enter the bloodstream and cause a potentially fatal illness. This usually only happens when the tampon is not changed for a long period of time, such as 24 hours.
Oh yea! Another discomfort, you have to take off the tampon to pee and insert a new one to avoid risk of an infection.
One of the fears of using a tampon is that it will somehow get lost in the vagina. This is a groundless fear, as the opening of the cervix is too small for a tampon to pass through. Some women prefer to use both tampons and pads in order to decrease the risk of leakage, especially when the period is at its heaviest, which is usually in the first couple of days.
Tampons are more expensive than sanitary pads. The average price is about N700 for a pack of 20 depending on the brand. Sanitary pads cost about N300 for a pack of 8.
Tampons are available in the following range of absorbencies:
Absorbency Name Absorbency Range Menstrual Flow
Mini/Junior 6 grams Light
Regular 6 – 9 grams Normal
Super 9 – 12 grams Moderate
Super Plus 12 – 15 grams Heavy
Ultra 15 – 18 grams Very Heavy
Sanitary Pads are available in the following range of Absorbencies:
- Regular, Super, Thick, Thin, Ultra Thin, Overnight, Daytime, Night Time, Light Days
Sanitary Pads are available in the following range of Styles:
- With Wings, Contour, Curved, Straight, Tapered, Pantiliners, Wrapped
Sanitary Pads are available in the following Lengths
- Regular, Long, Extra Long, Slander, Tonga