Tampons vs Menstrual Pads: What to Choose

tampons vs pads
Choosing between tampons or pads to handle menstrual flow boils down to personal choice. Are you the kind who would rather put something up your vagina, or would you prefer to just strap a pad on your panties?

To be fair, these aren’t just the only two options when it comes to handling your period. Some women go for menstrual cups or choose an environment-friendly option.

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Then again, it can’t be denied that tampons and menstrual pads are two of the most popular options when it comes to dealing with your period. So which of the two options is the best one?

The differences are clear: you have to insert one and let the other just collect. But choosing often means going beyond how it is used. Sometimes, circumstances – heavy flow, engaging in sporty activities, etc – should also be taken into consideration.

In fact, some would suggest a combination of both depending on what you need. Then again, it’s hard to argue about this when most of the time it just comes down to what makes you feel comfortable.

But nonetheless, here are some arguments for choosing either of the two:

The Argument for Tampons

1. Size

Although pads are not ginormous, tampons aren’t as big. The small size of a tampon can be of great help to a shy person who doesn’t want everyone to know “it’s that time of the month.”

While pads can be smuggled in the safety of pockets, the shape itself is a dead giveaway when you’re seen sneaking it in. A solution to this problem is to stick one in your pocket as you really do need to make a change, depending on how heavy your flow is.

2. Invisible Evidence

There are people who are squeamish when it comes to blood. And there are some who feel that the sight of blood is unclean.

But “seeing” blood is unavoidable whichever product you use. The only advantage a tampon has over a pad is that you only see a blood-stained product when you’ve pulled the thing out.

You just have to pull down your underwear to see the mess your monthly visitor has made. And some can’t deal with that sight.

Tampons can still leave evidence, but the chances of that are less likely if you change frequently. Plus, you can forget that tampons are there whereas you are constantly reminded of a pad because you can feel the wetness.

3. Unrestricted Movement

While pads aren’t too restricting when it comes to movement, they tend to move. That in itself can be a cause for concern because a simple change that goes unnoticed can lead to outer stains.

Tampons, on the other hand, provide the freedom of movement you so desperately need, particularly when engaging in sporting activities. For instance, you won’t be too bothered about mixing blood and water when you go for a swim while using a tampon.

The Argument for Menstrual Pads

1. Underwear Protector

The idea behind a tampon is to just stick it in and forget about it for a few hours. The same could be said, but with minor differences.

With a pad, you immediately know how well everything is going because the evidence is right there when you drop your underwear. But the great thing about pad design is it covers a lot of areas.

But staining is best prevented when using pads if you actually put it in right. You have to make sure that all angles are covered.

But tampons cause staining too if you forget to change. This goes to show that staining can be an issue whichever of the two menstrual product you use.

Then again, pads come in different lengths, allowing you to choose the best one depending on flow. But no matter which product you end up with you always have to remember to change every few hours.

2. No Insertion Required

This is clearly one of the biggest advantages that pads have over tampons. Not all women relish the idea of sticking a product up their vagina.

The horror doesn’t even end with the idea: insertion is painful and removal is somewhat difficult. It also doesn’t help that there are myths being spread around tampons getting stuck in your vagina.

That is untrue and in fact, it’s quite hard for a tampon to get lost once it’s inside you. But if you just dislike the idea of having to put and pull things from your vagina, then it’s best you stick to pads.

3. No Contacting the Dreaded Toxic Shock Syndrome

Toxic shock syndrome, although rare, is a life-threatening complication caused by bacterial infections. A number of cases have been linked to the use of really absorbent tampons.

Although manufacturers have changed the formula for their products, those who don’t want to put themselves at risk can opt for pads. But bear in mind that pads, too, can put you at risk if you don’t change frequently.


There are pretty solid reasons for choosing one over the other but in the end, it all boils down to preference. And if there is a takeaway here it’s that no matter which menstrual product you end up choosing, it’s always good practice to change frequently.

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