Pads Vs. Tampons Vs. Menstrual Cups – Which One Should You Choose?

Pads Vs. Tampons Vs. Menstrual Cups – Which Is Best For You?

Pads Vs. Tampons Vs. Menstrual cups, which one is best? Let’s look at everything there is to know about menstrual hygiene products!

First, there were pads, and all the women in the world happily threw away their brown-stained cloth napkins and embraced the no-mess, disposable goodness of sanitary pads.Over the years pads grew slimmer, sprouted wings, and came in a variety of materials that turned ‘liquid’ to gel, all to make your period experience easier.

But swimming was still not very comfortable with a pad on, neither was wearing a thong. Some women complained of rashes and chaffing and others didn’t think pads were working for them.Then came tampons, finger sized, even neater than pads and even less messy. After a few tries, women loved these and even claimed that they didn’t even feel like there was anything “in there”.Periods got over sooner because the tampons soaked up all the blood. Alas! It also soaked up some required lubrication that the vaginal walls produce.

To fix this issue, the menstrual cup was born! Made from non-toxic silicone, the menstrual cup was greeted with apprehension. Putting a cup in a delicate place seemed a little daunting, after all. However, once used, more women embraced the cup.

Pads, Tampons or Menstrual Cups – Which is Better for You?

Pads, Tampons or Menstrual Cups – Which is Better for You?

With so many choices of pads, tampons and menstrual cups, where does that leave us – other than confused! Which is best for me?

Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of the three and decide for ourselves, shall we?

Pros and Cons of Sanitary Pads

Don’t like the feeling of shoving anything up your precious hoo-ha, then let’s see you nod yes for pads.

Yes Yes


1. No Painful Insertion

A lot of women do not like the idea of having anything ‘artificial’ going up their vaginas. Yes, even women who have had giant babies come out of them are a bit iffy with the idea of soaking up period blood from the inside. This is one main reason that pads are still ruling the sanitary hygiene market.

2. No Staining

Well, if you wear your pad for like a day and a half or if you wear underwear that doesn’t hold it in place, you could expect some staining. But pads are meant to cover the crotch-area of your panty, keeping stains away. P{lus, they definitely absorb more and better than cloth pads of the same size and/or thickness.

3. No TSS

Pads do not pose the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome as they do not absorb the lubrication from your vagina and allows for the natural flow of menstrual blood.Toxic Shock Syndrome is a bacterial Infection that can be caused if a tampon is left inside for too long, absorbing the natural lubricants that protect your vagina from infections.


1. Bleach

Pads contain bleach which could lead to cancer. Of course, you don’t get cancer right away but if you are going to be using pads for 20-30 years, the low levels of chemical contaminants like dioxin could lead to cervical cancer or ovarian cancer down the line

2. Risk of Infection

If not changed often, you could develop an infection.

3. Rash

If you are physically active through the day, the constant chaffing between your legs could give you a pesky rash.

4. Not Environment-friendly

Pads are not biodegradable and take about 500 years to fully decompose!

Did you know: The average woman uses approximately 10,000 sanitary pads during her lifetime!

Pros and Cons of Tampons

If you are the kind that refuses to let your period control you and would much rather go for a swim or wear those sexy thongs during your period,

you are most likely to steer towards tampons. Don’t mind the initial discomfort on insertion if it means not feeling like you are wearing a diaper for 5 days?


1. No Blood Outside

If you are squeamish about blood, you’d appreciate that tampons soak up blood before it has the chance to come out of your vagina.

This way you do not have to deal with period blood in your panties every time you need to pee or             change.

2. Discreet

Not like you should be ashamed of your period but tampons are so sleek and small that they can be carried around easily. Especially when you need to sneak past co-workers to change them. They can easily be put into your pocket.

3. Comfort

Tampons once inserted, can hardly be felt, according to women who use them. You can easily go about your tasks, rest assured that little bullet shaped thing inside of you is soaking up all your menstrual blood. Just don’t forget about them completely!

4. Lesser Period Days

A lot of women claim that using tampons reduces bleeding days. This is perhaps because it soaks up the blood as soon as it drains from the cervix. A liner is all you need on the 4th day.


1. TSS

One of the biggest deal breakers of tampons is that they may lead to TSS. This is because they could potentially soak up your vagina’s natural lubrication, causing dryness or even UTI’S(Urinary Tract Infections).

2. First-time Struggle

First-time tampon users may find it hard to insert them, even after squatting, lying down or lunging to find the right way to insert them. Some women also feel discomfort or pain during insertion.

3. Peeing Struggle

While tampons are in your vagina and in no way should block your urethra, a full tampon may sometimes push against your vaginal wall, making your pee stream a little thinner. Not a real problem but it happens!

4. Contains Bleach

Tampons, like pads, contain bleach which could be harmful. They also have layers of absorbent material that could shred and stick to the lining of the vaginal walls.

WATCH: Absorbency Test for Pads and Tampons – Which is Better?

Pros and Cons of Menstrual Cups

Don’t want the constant reminder that your period is on but also want to be environment-friendly and save yourself from infection? You may want to try using menstrual cups.

sure why not


1. No TSS

Unlike tampons, menstrual cups do not soak up anything, they merely collect period blood getting drained from the cervix.

2. No Chemicals

Menstrual cups contain no bleaches or chemicals or fibres, making them less of a risk than pads and tampons.

3. Fewer Changes

Women that use menstrual cups said they had to change them less than while using pads and tampons. This is because the cup has a capacity to collect about 30 ml of blood. The average woman bleeds about 40-60 ml of blood per period.

4. Non-messy Period- sex

Since the cup directly collects blood, the first few inches of the vagina are relatively blood-free. This means that you can get jiggy with it, without the mess!

5. Environment- Friendly

Because one cup can be used for at least 6 -10 months, menstrual cups are the most environment-friendly sanitary product.


1. Insertion

Many women shied away from using menstrual cups because they found that insertion is more difficult than tampons. However, the cups are made from soft, flexible material and with the right education can be inserted easily.

2. Cleaning

Cleaning menstrual cups is a little cumbersome considering one needs to sterilize the cup after every change to avoid any chance of infection. Besides, using soap is not recommended for an easy way out.

WATCH: A Simple Home Test Can Show You How Much Fluid Menstrual Cups Collect Versus How Much A Tampon Absorbs

How to Choose a Menstrual Hygiene Product

There! Now you have everything in front of you, all you need to do is make the choice!Here are a few quick considerations that can help you make the decision:

  1. If you are going to indulge in any physical activity such as swimming or exercising, pads may not be the most comfortable choice. Consider using a tampon or a cup based on how comfortable you feel.
  2. If your flow is heavy, you may want to consider menstrual cups instead of using several pads as cups collect up to 30 ml of period blood.
  3. If you are travelling and will not be able to change easily, a tampon or a menstrual cup may serve you better than pads.
  4. If you are already suffering from an infection like vaginismus, inserting a cup or tampon may be difficult, or painful. In such a case, pads may be better.
  5. A lot of women in India feel that menstrual cups are too expensive. However, if you consider that you will be using just one cup for 6-10 months, they are actually cheaper than pads or tampons. However, if you prefer spending your money in small bursts instead of a larger amount at once, pads and tampons may be your choice.

What To Do When Your Tampon or Menstrual Cup Gets Stuck

It would take a lot of force (and really long fingers!) to lodge a tampon or cup so deep in your vagina that it gets stuck and you cannot remove it!

However, there are a lot of instances when a tampon or menstrual cup gets stuck:

  • When you wear and forget about it, a tampon or cup can gget stuck in you. This usually happens towards the end of your periods, when you don’t need to change it as often.
  • If the strong of the tampon gets lost or breaks, it can make it impossible to remove the tampon.
  • A cup can get stuck if it is not inserted properly. Usually as the cup fills up, gravity will work its magic and reposition the cup. But this may not always happen.
  • If you forget you are wearing a product and have sex, a tampon or cup can get stuck inside you. As unbelievable as that sounds, it is true and has happened to people!

Whichever be your case, here are a few tips to remove lodged menstruation products.

How to Remove Stuck Tampon

There is nothing to be afraid or ashamed of in a stuck tampon. First get that thing straight, because you being tense is actually going to worsen the situation. Then, follow these steps:

  • Wash your hands clean, and squat on the floor. If required, take a warm shower to calm yourself down.
  • Insert a finger to first locate the lost tampon string. Tug on it lightly, and try not to pull the tampon out in one swift motion.
  • If you cannot locate the string, try to insert your finger deeper and feel around for the tampon. Sometimes it gets lodged beyond your cervix (although this is very rare).
  • Once you locate the tampon, insert a second finger inside and try to grab the tampon. Wriggle it out of your vagina. Do NOT pull it out in one motion.
  • Sometimes a tampon may remain dry if you use it towards the end of your period, when your flow is low. such a tampon may be difficult to remove. Use a lube or petroleum jelly to help dislodge such a tampon.

If you feel uncomfortable inserting two fingers inside, you may have to try and extend your finger deeper, so you can touch the top of the tampon and just push it down.

In a worst case scenario, you might have to go to your gynaec or trusted physician.

NOTE: Never try to poke sharp object inside to remove your tampon, in your bid to avoid the embarassment of going to a doctor. Safety first, embarassment/shame/guilt later. Nothing is more precious than your health!

How to Remove a Stuck Menstrual Cup

For the novice, managing a menstrual cup can be a bit of a task. Especially since it involves a bit of physics. A menstrual cup basically holds in place on the principle of suction:

if inserted correctly, a menstrual cup creates vaccuum in your birth canal, and that is what holds it in place. So essentially, the core step of removing the cup is to ‘break the seal’ – i.e. to break this vaccuum.

Break the seal by either squeezing the base or the rim of the cup. Then slowly wriggle the cup out. If you are unable to break the seal, try rotating the cup in place to ‘loosen’ it up from it’s lodged space.

Again – in case you are just unable to remove the cup, visit your gynaec or physician at the earliest. Never use any foreign objects to remove your cup.

Whatever you do choose, make sure that you wash your hands before and after changing to keep infections and illnesses away.

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