What period products are right for me?
Period pads or tampons? What is a menstrual cup? What about reusable period pants or pads? Time to learn what feminine hygiene product is right for you…
Choosing the best feminine hygiene product for you can be difficult, especially if you’re starting your period for the first time. There are so many options to choose from, with different shapes, sizes and absorbency levels to wrap your head around. We’ve put together the ultimate guide to help you learn more about the period products currently available, so you can make the best choice for you.
What do you want to learn about?
Sanitary pads (also known as period pads)
Ultra pads, Maxi, period pads, sanitary pads – whatever you want to call them, most people have heard of this classic period product. You wear them inside your regular underwear to catch blood during your period. They are really easy to use, therefore it’s no surprise that they’re one of the most popular products available. They’re also a great choice if you’ve just started your period. To use them, you simply unwrap the pad revealing a soft, absorbent side to wear against your body and a sticky side that keeps the pad fixed in your knickers. Simple!
Pads are an accessible and cost-effective option that you can easily find in the sanitary products section at your local supermarket! When choosing a pad, it’s important to look at the absorbency level which tells you how much menstrual fluid it can hold. There are also different sizes available, such as regular and long. Some pads have ‘wings’ which means you wrap the pad around your underwear to help it stay in place, and this may help you to feel more secure. With so many options to choose from, make sure you experiment to find the one that feels the most comfortable for your body and flow!
How often should I change my sanitary pad?
You should aim to change your pad every 4 hours depending on your flow. However, some pads like night-time pads are specifically designed to be worn for longer and offer protection as you sleep. At first, it might help to set a reminder on your phone to change your pad! After a few cycles, you’ll get into a routine of knowing when you might need to take a quick trip to the toilet.
When changing your pad, just pop the used pad into the bin (never flush it down the toilet) and replace it with a fresh one! Whether at home or on the go (even without access to a bin), you can use Nana´s Roll.Press.Go to dispose of your pads hygienically and discreetly, wherever you go. Just roll your used pad in the easy-to-use wrapper from your fresh pad and seal it by pressing the sides. Then it’s completely secure and ready to be binned at the earliest opportunity, no stress.
What are panty liners?
Liners (also known as panty liners) are designed for daily wear. They offer comfortable protection for all liquids: discharge, spotting, pee, after-sex, sweat, you name it! Panty liners are a commonly used product, worn regularly by almost a third of women. It might not be obvious what the difference is between period pads and liners is at first glance – when in doubt, period pads are there to support you through your period, and liners are there for everything else your cycle might come up with! There are many different liners available so you will be able to find the right absorbency, fit and style for you.
Every person has their own daily style, so Nana’s Dailies Style range offers a liner for everyone...
- Our versatile Multistyle liners are made for all your underwear. So you can buy them safe in the knowledge that you can pop them in your drawer and wear them with whatever undies you want.
- Our Single Wrap Liners are individually wrapped, you can just pop them in your handbag and you're ready to go.
The step-up from these are our range of absorbent liners, which includes our Regular Daily Fresh liner. They’re great if you need a little more protection everyday so you can feel clean and fresh.
Putting a tampon inside your body can sound strange or difficult, but it really isn't. It's just another way to absorb your flow, and it’s used by millions of women all over the world!
Tampons are inserted into the vagina to soak up menstrual blood during your period. The small, bullet-shaped end absorbs the blood, while the string stays outside of your body so you can easily pull the tampon out when you’re ready to remove it. Some come with an applicator for easy insertion, while non-applicator tampons are inserted just using your fingers. The tampon should sit comfortably inside your vagina, and you won’t be able to feel it inside you, as long as it’s inserted correctly.
Tampons are particularly useful if you want to go swimming while on your period, so there’s no need to pack away your bikini if your period comes just before a dip in the pool! Regardless of when you decide to use a tampon, you should change it every 4-6 hours, although you can safely leave one in for up to 8 hours. Toxic shock syndrome is sometimes associated with wearing tampons, but it is extremely rare and is not caused by tampons themselves. It’s important to be hygienic by washing your hands before and after inserting tampons, choosing the lowest absorbency to match your flow, and changing your tampon regularly.
How to use a tampon
Putting in a tampon for the first time can be a little tricky, but once you get the hang of it you won’t need to even think about it again! When making your first attempt, it helps to read the instructions included in the box. It might be easier to start with a tampon of a lower absorbency that comes with an applicator, so it will be more manageable while you’re getting used to inserting it.
The most important things to remember when inserting a tampon is to find a comfortable position (perhaps standing with your knees slightly bent, or putting your foot up on the toilet seat or bath) and to try to relax!
If you want to learn more, we have written in depth about how to apply a tampon, so we can take you through it and be there every step of the way.
Eco-friendly and sustainable period products
Some of us are reconsidering the everyday choices we make, the products we use, and how sustainable they are. These ideas can turn into actions like making more sustainable food choices, using a cool reusable water bottle instead of a new plastic one every time, and thinking more about the environmental impact of our menstrual cycle.
When it comes to sustainable and eco-friendly period products, there’s a lot to consider. Things like responsible ingredient sourcing and packaging choices can really reduce their environmental impact and carbon footprint. Discover more by reading all about our approach to sustainability.
Another option is to explore reusable products like washable period pants, reusable period pads and menstrual cups. Are you interested in learning more? Keep reading to find out all the details about these alternatives.
Washable, reusable period pants
Ever wanted the freedom to just wear your normal, comfy underwear and not have to worry about your period? This is where reusable period pants come in. They look and feel just like normal underwear, with one key difference. They have a special layer that absorbs menstrual fluid so you can wear them and know you’re protected, whatever your flow is that day – they’re also an all-day solution so you don’t necessarily have to worry about changing them.
Since period pants are designed to be washed and reused, they're not only convenient for you, but they also offer a sustainable way to take care of your flow.
Reusable period pads
Another environmentally conscious option is reusable pads, which are like regular ones but instead of being single-use, they are designed to be washed then used again. They’re made from fabrics like cotton and bamboo, which are naturally absorbent and soft on your skin. They typically use wings and poppers to secure around your regular underwear. Just like regular pads, they come in different sizes and absorbencies.
Menstrual cups: A tampon alternative
Menstrual cups are an alternative to tampons; you insert them into a similar position in your vagina. However, instead of absorbing blood like a tampon, menstrual cups collect it! They are small, funnel-shaped cups made from flexible rubber or silicone. They can look a bit intimidating at first, but after practising a few times, you’ll soon get the hang of inserting your menstrual cup.
Menstrual cups are considered to be a more environmentally friendly option compared to a tampon, as you can reuse them for up to 10 years . They cost more than other period products, however, as you can reuse them, they may save you money in the long run.
How to use a menstrual cup
If you have no problems inserting a tampon, then using a menstrual cup isn’t much harder!
- Wash your hands before you begin.
- A wet menstrual cup is a lot easier to insert than a dry one, so apply a little water or some water-based lube to the rim of the cup.
- Fold your menstrual cup in half, and hold it in one hand.
- Insert it into your vagina as you would a non-applicator tampon so that it sits a few centimetres below your cervix.
- Once it’s in place, rotate it and release. The folded cup will spring open and create an airtight seal that prevents leaks.
It’s as easy as that! Just refer to the instructions that come with your menstrual cup for the best advice. As simple as the steps may seem, it can be a tricky task that often takes a few tries – not everyone manages to get it into the right position the first time and that's ok! If you’re struggling, remember to breathe, take a little break, then try again. When your cup gets full, you just need to empty the collected blood into a sink or toilet, wash or wipe the cup, then pop it back in.
How to wash your reusable period products
Reusable period products can last for a long time if you look after them properly, potentially also saving you money in the long run.
As the name suggests, you need to wash reusable pads and underwear so they’re ready for your next flow. All you need to do is rinse them in cold water, then pop them in the wash! It’s best to stay away from fabric softener and bleach as they can affect how efficiently your product works.
Menstrual cups also need washing between use, but they work a little differently to reusable period pants and pads. After you’ve emptied the blood out of your cup, you should rinse it with cold water before reinserting. If you don’t have access to water, you can wipe it clean with toilet paper. It’s a good idea to sterilise your cup after every cycle by boiling it in hot water for around 5 minutes – to keep everything safe and hygienic, you may want to have a clean pot you use just for this and not for cooking!
Which Nana product is right for me?
Nana offers a range of pads and liners that are designed to give you both great comfort and protection every day of your cycle, no matter what your flow is that day.
Pads like our Ultra Regular let your intimate area breathe by absorbing blood fast, keeping you fresh and protected, all day long.
Goodnight pads such as our Maxi Goodnight offer the maximum protection and comfort so you can sleep stress-free. They have a wider front and back and offer up to 10 hours of protection so you can feel at ease to toss and turn in your sleep. And relax... Zzzz.
For the flows outside of your period, you might want to explore Nana’s range of liners that keep you dry and fresh while giving you the protection you need. Style liners are perfect to compliment your daily style with any type of underwear, while freshness liners offer that bit more protection.
Though there are a lot of options to choose from which can feel a little overwhelming, you can be sure that you’ll be able to find ones that suit your needs! If you need a little help, then you can find all the information you need on our product pages.
How to choose the best feminine hygiene product for you
Once you’ve done your research and have a better idea of what you might like, the only thing to do is try it out! Though people you know may seem to prefer one type of product, remember that everyone is different – the “best” product is the one that works for you.
Remember you don’t need to stick to one product forever, or even for the length of a single period. All that matters is that you’re doing what feels good for your cycle and choosing the products that allow you to live fearlessly while taking care of your flow.
For more guidance on making the most of menstruation, read our articles all about living with periods.
*We tested the most common allergens known to cause skin irritation using the laboratory test method NF EN 16274 with detection limit of 2 ppm. In this test we didn't find a detectable presence of the following allergens: D-limonene, Benzyl alcohol, Linalool, Methyl 2-octynoate, Citronellol, Citral, Geraniol, Cinnamal, Anisyl alcohol, Hydroxycitronellal, Cinnamyl alcohol, Eugenol, Coumarin, Isoeugenol, Alpha-isomethyl ionone, Butylphenyl methylpropional, Amyl cinnamal, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde, Farnesol, Amylcinnamyl alcohol, Hexyl cinnamaldehyde, Benzyl benzoate, Benzyl salicylate, Benzyl cinnamate
The medical information in this article is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please consult your doctor for guidance about a specific medical condition.