Illustration of feminine hygiene products on a supermarket shelf - Libresse

Are you at the point when you know you’d like to start using tampons? Then it’s worth knowing the facts about them first, before deciding which ones might be right for you.

Before you choose, let’s dispel a few myths first. Tampons are easy to insert once you’ve got the hang of it, and you can use them whatever your age and flow. Some women find them more practical for certain types of physical activity – especially wearing tampons for swimming – and a convenient and easy way to deal with periods. So how do tampons compare with the alternatives? Well panty pads are just as absorbent and effective, but you may prefer the familiarity of a sanitary pad, finding tampons tricky to insert and remove. Although for most women this does give easier with practice. Unlike menstrual cups that collect menstrual blood, tampons absorb it, which means they are less messy to use. Menstrual cups can also be extra tricky to insert and remove. Period pants look like regular underwear but absorb menstrual blood. And you have to buy lots of pairs if you don’t want to spend every evening of your period rinsing them out.

Deciding whether tampons are right for you is very much a personal choice. Some women use tampons for their convenience and the fact that they’re discreet. While others prefer them because they don’t like the sensation of passing blood or the visible reminder on their sanitary pad when they go to the bathroom. Tampons are also a great option if you lead an active lifestyle or take part in activities or wear tight-fitting sportswear. And they make swimming much easier too.

Illustration of different feminine hygiene products - Libresse

But tampons don’t suit everyone. You may find panty pads easier to use. And while it’s a very rare condition, you may be concerned about the very tiny risk of toxic shock syndrome associated with using tampons [insert link], and decide to stick with pads. Whether you use tampons or pads, they are both equally effective and hygienic when you get the hang of them, so the best thing is to try both and then go for whichever feels the most convenient and comfortable for you.

Some women wear a combination of tampon and sanitary pad for extra protection. This might be a good idea if your periods are very heavy, or when you’re first trying tampons and working out which absorbency is the right one for you. And even if you prefer tampons, make sure you always have some pads for nighttime use. The longest you can wear a tampon is eight hours, so unless you’re good at getting yourself up in time to change it, wearing a tampon at night is not a good idea. If you’re expecting your period but it hasn’t started yet, use a pad, not a tampon. Once your period starts you can switch to tampons.

All Libresse tampons have excellent absorbency, with wavy grooves that channel the blood into the core, meaning no annoying leaks. And their slim design and rounded top make them easy to insert. But they aren’t one size fits all. In fact, Libresse Discreet tampons come in different sizes – Mini, Normal and Super – so finding the right one for you will depend on your flow. With Mini for a very light flow and Super being for a heavy flow, you should always use the lowest absorbency tampon for your particular flow (i.e., don’t use a tampon that’s more absorbent than you actually need). Tampons should be changed roughly every four hours, and the longest you can leave one inside you is eight hours.

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