Some people prefer tampons, some prefer pads. It is up to you to decide which suits you best. Some women would switch between using tampons during the day, or if they were doing any physical activity, and then use pads during the evening and while they were in bed. Some women, if they are having a particularly heavy period, would use both tampons and pads at the same time.
Tampons absorb menstrual blood, but they work from inside the vagina. A tampon is also made of absorbent material, but it’s pressed tight into a small cylinder shape. The question all girls wonder is — how do you put them in? Some tampons have applicators, which are plastic or cardboard tubes that help put the tampon in place. Other tampons can be inserted using your fingers. Generally there are instructions in/on the box they come in. Tampons can be used comfortably while exercising and even swimming. Change them every 4-8 hours.
Sanitary pads are rectangles of absorbent material that you stick to the inside of your underwear. Some have extra material on the sides (called “wings”) that fold over the edges of your underwear to better hold the pad in place and prevent leakage. Sometimes, pads are called sanitary pads or sanitary napkins. There are different absorbencies which means different thicknesses in pads for a heavy flow or a light flow (at first even the thin ones will feel awkward and bulky). Sanitary pads need to be changed every 2-6 hours.
It’s best to try out both, if only for the experience. Even if pads don’t appeal to you, you might find tampons uncomfortable. And even if tampons don’t appeal to you, keep a box handy if you ever happen to go swimming while on your period.
Pads are easier but tampons are still great too! If you are having trouble you may want to ask your mom, a sister, or a friend that has started her period. Pick someone you trust. It may seem awkward at first, but it won’t be because every girl gets her period. Even if you use tampons it is recommended to wear a pad to bed because with tampons you have have to change them every 2-6 hours. Most teenagers normally sleep for more than eight hours so it is recommended that you wear a pad to bed.
Please see our post on menstrual cups for more info on these amazing inventions!