Pharmacy Corner
Let's Talk About Your Period What Do I Need to buy for My Period?

There are so many products out there for your period, so how do you know which to choose? Basically, it’s all about your preference.2

Table 2: Products you can use for your period

Sanitary Pads
  • Usually when a girl first starts her period, a sanitary pad is the first choice because it’s less intimidating than tampons or cups. Some women still prefer pads because they find tampons or cups uncomfortable.
  • Pads come with a sticky surface on the back for it can stick to your underwear and stays in place to better absorb your period blood. They come in many sizes so you can choose a thicker one if you have a heavy period or a lighter one if the bleeding is light (usually towards the end of your period).
  • During the day, a pad should be changed every 3-4 hours or sooner if it’s full. You can sleep with it on and change them in the morning as well.
  • Some people may not like pads because the blood can get messy and feel wet. They are also bulkier and you can’t swim with them.2
  • Tampons are a preference for many women and they need to be inserted into the vagina. Here’s a link that shows you how to insert a tampon:
  • Most tampons come with an applicator to make it easier to insert and all of them have strings at the end so that you can pull them out when it’s time to change them. They also come in different sizes that can absorb different amounts of blood from your period.
  • Tampons should be changed every 4-6 hours to prevent something called Toxic Shock Syndrome. This is a rare but serious infection that can happen if you leave in your tampon for too long. Even though it’s rare, it’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms:
    • Sudden high fever
    • Diarrhea
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Body aches and pains
    • Dizziness
    • Confusion
    • Headache
    • Red eyes, mouth or throat
    • Rash on palms of your hands and soles of your feet
    • Fast pulse
  • If you experience any of these you should remove your tampon immediately and go a hospital emergency room.
  • It is better to avoid using them overnight if you sleep for more than 6 hours at a time and don’t want to get up to change them. You can use a sanitary pad or menstrual cup overnight.
  • Some women prefer tampons because they feel cleaner, you have full range of movement, you can swim with them and they are more discrete.2
Menstrual Cups
  • These are small flexible plastic cups that are inserted into the vagina to catch your blood from your period. When the cup is full you remove it, empty it in the toilet, clean it with a mild unscented oil-free soap and warm water, then re-insert it or let it air dry if you finished your period.
  • Menstrual cups can be worn for up to 12 hours and should be emptied at least twice a day.
  • There is no Toxic Shock Syndrome with this product so it is safe to use overnight.24

Myth: If you use tampons you are no longer a virgin

Some people associate being a virgin to having an intact hymen. A hymen is a thin piece of skin that covers a part of the opening of the vagina.

Inserting a tampon into the vagina will not tear the hymen because tampons are not large enough to do so; therefore using tampons does not mean you are not a virgin. Also, there are many other reasons a hymen would tear besides sexual intercourse, therefore if a woman has a tear in her hymen it doesn’t mean she is not a virgin.3