What are tampons, pads, menstrual cups and period underwear?
Under the umbrella of “feminine hygiene products”, you’d find tampons, pads, menstrual cups and period underwear. They are designed to collect or absorb your flow and keep you dry, comfortable and able to go about your day even as you are bleeding like a leaky faucet.
Among these, pads and period underwear are non-invasive period products, meaning you don’t need to insert them into your vagina to use them. Tampons and pads, on the other hand, require insertion to be able to function.
- Pads - They are also known as sanitary pads or sanitary napkins and are made from a thin stretch of absorbent material that should be stuck on your underwear. It sits in your panty gusset and absorbs your menstrual flow. Some pads also come with wings to better protect you from leaks, like the Carmesi Sensitive Sanitary Pad. It’s made of sustainable materials which are better for the environment, as compared to conventional synthetic pads. There are also some reusable cloth pads in the market that you need to wash and reuse.
- Tampons - Tampons, like the Carmesi Tampons, are small plugs of cotton that need to be inserted into your vagina to absorb your flow. Synthetic tampons can cause irritation and rashes, which is why our tampon is made of 100% organic cotton. Tampons come with a string attached to the end so you can pull them out when you need to change.
- Menstrual Cups - Usually made of medical-grade silicone, menstrual cups are shaped like a cup or bell. They can be folded in certain ways and inserted into your vagina, where it opens up and collects your period blood. You can take them out, empty the blood, wash it and put it back inside. There are also disposable menstrual cups in the market, but reusable ones like the Carmesi Menstrual Cup can last you up to 10 years and are more economical and safer for the environment.
- Period Underwear - The Carmesi Overnight Underwear is a type of disposable period underwear that you can wear overnight for a comfortable sleep. There are also washable period underwear in the market that you can clean and reuse. You don’t need to wear other period products like pads or tampons along with period underwear because it’s designed to absorb your flow in a similar manner without leaking onto your clothes.
How do you know which one would be right for you?
When picking out a period product, consider your lifestyle and what will best suit your requirements. Trying different items or asking a friend or family member what works for them might also be beneficial in helping you decide. During your period, it's typical to utilise various things at different periods, like how some women prefer to use a pad or pantyliner in addition to cups and tampons to protect themselves from leakage.
Some people believe that wearing a tampon or cup within your vaginal canal is more relaxing and comfortable since it is out of the way and you don't notice it. Others prefer period underwear or pads over tampons or cups because they may not be comfortable putting something inside their vaginal canal.
However, you can't wear period underwear or a pad in the water, and pads might shift about and be uncomfortable during certain activities like yoga or hiking. When swimming or participating in sports during your period, use a tampon or a cup if you happen to be on your period.
Many individuals prefer the convenience of goods like tampons and disposable pads, which are used once and then thrown away. These are also frequently easy to come across in retail outlets and don't require the hassle of washing or cleaning. But, these may not be an economical option for you or you may be looking for more sustainable options. Choose reusable protection, such as menstruation cups, period underwear, or cloth pads in that case.
Using scented tampons or pads can cause rashes, irritation, and infection, which is why they are best avoided. In fact, it's always better to pick pads made out of natural sources rather than synthetic ones.
Some individuals may still pick out scented products because they are concerned about how their period smells, but in reality, no one will be able to tell whether you are on your period. Simply remember to replace your pad, tampon, period underwear, or cup on time to prevent the chance of infections and leakages.
Guide to using pads
- Peel back the sticker attached to the back of your pad and stick it to the gusset of your panty.
- If your pad comes with wings, peel back those stickers and place the wings around the gusset so that they stick firmly.
- It’s advisable to change your pad every four to six hours, depending on your flow. Pick a bigger, more absorbent pad if you have a heavy flow.
- To dispose of your pad, wrap it in a piece of paper or in the disposable bag if it came with your pad before throwing it.
Guide to using tampons
- Before anything else, wash your hands with soap and water and peel open the tampon from its wrapper.
- Sit in a comfortable position like squatting or with one leg up on the toilet.
- Holding the tampon with your thumb, index finger and middle finger, push it up inside your vagina in a way that it goes as deep as your finger can. Let the string hang and rest on your panty. You can use this string to pull out your tampon later during removal.
- If you feel like it, you can use a water-based lube to make insertion more comfortable.
- Make sure to change your tampon every 4-8 hours and to never keep it in for longer than 8 hours. You can risk TSS if you keep your tampon in for longer than advised.
- When disposing of a tampon, wrap them in a piece of paper and throw them in the trash instead of flushing them down the toilet, which can clog your pipes.
Guide to using menstrual cups
- Wash your hands with soap and water before you handle the menstrual cup to keep it free from germs.
- If it’s at the beginning of your cycle, sterilise your cup before inserting it by letting it sit in boiling water for a few minutes.
- Fold the cup however it works for you before attempting to insert it. You can also use some lube to make insertion more comfortable but always stick to water-based lube to avoid damaging the cup.
- Sit in a comfortable position, relax and push the folded cup inside your vagina. Once it’s inside, wait for it to pop open or use a finger to help it open up.
- Empty the cup every 4-8 hours depending on your flow, and you can keep it inside for up to 12 hours.
- Empty its contents into the toilet or sink and wash it with a dedicated cup wash like the Carmesi Menstrual Cup Wash to keep it germ-free and clean.
- Reinsert the cup and repeat the above steps till your period is over. At the end of your cycle, wash it and sterilize it before storing it away in a cloth pouch.
Guide to using period underwear
- If you’re using disposable period underwear, simply put it on like regular underwear and go about your day or hit the bed.
- If your period underwear is reusable, you would require to wash it before reusing it. Follow the washing instructions that came with your period underwear.