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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Pads or Tampons? Advantages and Disadvantages

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Every girl faces the dilemma of making choices at some points in their lives. For some it’s the clothes to wear, whether to keep their hair up or down, colour of lipstick to wear, heels or flats, pads or tampons. The truth is, while one works for some, it doesn’t work for others.

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So it’s all about choosing what works best for you. Pads are rectangular absorbent products you put on your pant to absorb menstrual blood. Some of them extra materials on the side called wings to help keep the pad in place. They are referred to as sanitary pads as well.

Tampons are cylindrical absorbent material products formed and pressed in the shape of a cylinder that is inserted into the vagina to absorb blood. Some of them have plastic inserting sticks to help push it in while others don’t and require you using your fingers.

They have string like materials that help you remove them from the vagina for disposal. There are many myths regarding both pads and tampons. The most famous myth about tampons is that they dis-virgin girls or can get lost in the body.

The most famous myth about pads is that they make you smell. Well spoiler alert! They are just what they are, myths.

A tampon can’t dis-virgin you because the hymen is already perforated to help menstrual blood flow through and that’s where the tampon is inserted. They also can’t get lost in your body because the shape and size of the cervix won’t permit it to.

The pad doesn’t make you smell. It does smell when left for a long time, longer than advised, in which case yes it smells. But not as bad as rumoured to. And you should never even let it stay on long enough for it to smell.

Now that the myths are out of the way, it’s important to know that they both have their advantages and its left to you to decide what you can or can’t handle.



  1. Protection against stained underwear: unless not worn properly, saturated or not held in place well, pads prevent underwear spotting. This is because if fully covers the underwear.
  2. No insertion needed: some girls find it uncomfortable having their fingers or tampons being inserted in their vaginas. Pads are not inserted but worn on the underwear.
  3. Can be worn overnight: the biggest advantage pads have over tampons is that they can be worn for a longer period of time without fear of bacteria and infections associated with tampons and their therefore the best choice to sleep with.


  1. Visibility: the pad lines may be visible through your underwear whilst this is no biggie to some girls, it’s a big deal for others.
  2. Less freedom: wearing pads may be uncomfortable sometimes and keep you confined to a spot and stops you from engaging in some activities. Also, unlike tampons, they can’t be used to go swimming.
  3. Can be irritating to some: some girls do not like the reminder that it’s that time of the month (besides the agonizing pain of cramps). Pads are constant reminders anytime you visit the toilet because it’s literally staring at you in the face.



  1. Size: Tampons are smaller than pads in size and can actually stay well-hidden for those who don’t want their business public. They are also really portable as they can be put and carried in small bags or even shoved in the pocket.
  2. No wetness or irritating view: unless you pull the tampon out from the vagina, you don’t see it when you visit the toilet and you are saved from the sight and reminder of your period.
  3. Freedom of movement: tampons definitely provide freedom of movement because of the absence of the wet and sticky feeling associated with pads. They could also be worn to go swimming.
  4. They are more comfortable: because you don’t feel the tampons you forget there’s something soaking you up. This makes them more comfortable to wear and doesn’t reduce one’s self esteem like pads may do to some people.


  1. You may forget about them: not seeing your tampons may be an advantage to prevent sore eyes, but it’s also a disadvantage because you may forget they’re there and leave them in longer than they should be in for which could be very dangerous.
  2. Fitting: like everything being inserted into the vagina, fitting matters. If it’s too big it’s uncomfortable and too small will not soak up as much as it should and won’t cover the entire cervix area
  3. Toxic shock syndrome: if tampons are left in for too long, it gives bacteria time to grow and they may get into your body and your blood stream causing toxic shock syndrome.

Remember, among the two options there is no right or wrong answer but it’s just a matter of choosing what works best for you.

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Disclaimer: This article is purely informative & educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

Asmau Mohammed
I am a medical student and I love discussing all things health related. I also love being a health or lifestyle coach.

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