TLYNTK (The least you need to know…)
- Pads are materials that will absorb blood after it flows out of your vagina. The pads attach to the insides of a girl’s underwear.
- Some pads have “wings” on the side that wrap around the edges of your underwear to help hold the pad in place and prevent leaks. Watch a demo of how to put one on
- Most pads are sticky on the bottom. You remove the strip that covers the sticky part, then press the pad into the crotch of your underwear. Wrap the wings around and stick them under.
- Pads should be changed every 3-4 hours during the day to prevent smells and bacteria from building up. If your pad gets full faster, change it earlier.
- Once you’ve removed the pad, wrap it in toilet paper and put it in the garbage or in the special disposal box. Don’t flush it because it won’t go down and will back up the toilet!
- There are a lot of different types of pads, thicker ones and thinner ones, more absorbent and less absorbent, depending on how heavy your period is.
- Pads are safe to wear overnight! You may want to get one that is labeled “overnight” for sleeping.
- Tampons are also popular and are different than pads because they are placed in the vagina to absorb the blood before it flows out. They should be changed often as well. Click here for an overview and more details are below.
Pads (and tampons) are not always one-size fits all. You can choose your size based on your underwear size and how much menstrual blood you lose. Click here for an example of how one company does sizing for their pads.
There are pads that are super thin and called panty-liners. They can be used at the beginning or end of your period when you’re spotting. They can also be used with tampons to prevent blood from leaking onto your underwear (see tampon section below). Then there are pads that absorb more blood and can be worn for longer amounts of time, even overnight! Some girls don’t like the very thick pads so they might use a thinner pad that is made to absorb the same amount of blood as a thick pad. There are so many options, so it may take some time for you to decide which pad is most comfortable for you. Here is a quiz to help you decide which type of pad may be right for you.
Tampons are another popular alternative. You place a tampon inside your vagina and it absorbs blood from the inside before it flows out. If it is put in correctly, you shouldn’t feel anything. Just like pads, you have to remove and replace it after a few hours. Tampons also come in different sizes and can absorb different amounts of blood.
Using a tampon doesn’t mean that you have lost your virginity! People say this because there is a thin piece of skin that partially covers the opening to the vagina called the hymen. It can stretch and may bleed when a girl first has sex. Tampons can also cause it to stretch. The hymen stretching doesn’t mean you lost your virginity. A girl is still a virgin until she has had sexual intercourse.
Putting in your first tampon can be nerve-wracking! Here is a video that explains how to do it.
It is important to change tampons every 4-6 hours. You may need to sooner if you are having a heavy period. The best tip – if you can feel the tampon – then it isn’t in correctly! You should not feel it if it is in right. If there is blood on the toilet paper when you wipe, it’s time to change it. Also, you don’t have to take out your tampon when you use the bathroom because urine and poop both come out of different holes!
There is a string at the end that you can tug on to pull it out. If a tampon is left in your vagina for too long, there may be a bad smell, discharge, and if it’s left in for a really long time can cause an infection called toxic shock syndrome.
Tampons or Pads? It really depends on you and what you are more comfortable with! But make sure that if you do use tampons, you switch to a pad for sleeping.
Just because you have your period, doesn’t mean you can’t have sex. It will be a little messier but it’s still ok! You should still use protection, and it is especially important to use condoms to prevent STIs, HIV, and pregnancy. Click here for some more tips.
There are some other products, like reusable pads and menstrual cups, which can also be used during your period. You can read more about them by clicking here.
Check out the websites and videos for more info. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have other questions about your periods.