Menstrual Product Resources

Menstrual Product Resources

How to Decide What Menstrual Product is Best for You

  • The truth of the matter is you don’t have to just pick one. You can use different products based on your needs. That means you can use a cup during the day, and then period underwear when you sleep. Or you can use tampons during the day, and then pads when you sleep. Or you can use pads during the day, tampons when swimming, and discs overnight. It’s truly up to your comfort and needs. Some things to consider is your physical activity level, chronic illness, sustainability, experience with product use and gender dysphoria, what is more cost efficient for you, how easy it is for you to use, your access to change it if needed, and how long you will need to go before you will have access to change it. All these things effect use of menstrual products. Learn more about how all these fit into the most common menstrual products below.

How to Use Menstrual Pads

Instructions

  • Unwrap the pad and remove the paper that covers the adhesive on the back.
  • Stick the pad in your underwear, using the adhesive, making sure to place the pad where no blood will be able to leak around it, adhesive side down.
  • If your pad has wings, remove the paper that covers the adhesive on the wings, and wrap them around the crotch of your panties to hold the pad in place.
  • Be sure to change the pad every 3-4 hours, or when it’s soaked with blood, whichever comes first.
  • When disposing of the pad, be sure to wrap it in the wrapper or toilet paper and discard them into the trash. Flushing of menstrual pads or wrappers can clog or otherwise mess up toilets.

Tips

  • Not changing your pad often enough can cause odor from bacterial growth.
  • Size selection can be important to ensure the best experience possible with pads. Pantyliners or thin/regular pads can be used when your bleeding is much lighter, with maxi, super, or overnight pads being used when your bleeding is much heavier.
  • If you start to believe that your bleeding is getting too heavy, your period suddenly becomes much heavier than is normal for you, becomes irregular, or starts to increase in frequency seek a medical professional.

How to Use Tampons

Instructions

  • Wash your hands and get into a position that works for you. This can be squatting, one leg up on a surface, or sitting on the toilet.
  • If your tampon is a kind with an applicator, push the applicator into the vagina, and then push the end of the applicator until the tampon fully exits the applicator. If the tampon does not have an applicator, make sure the string is detached and hanging down for easier grasp, put the end with the string on your finger, and push the other end into the vagina until it stops at a comfortable place.
  • Throw the applicator and the wrapper into the trash and wash your hands again.
  • Be mindful of how long the tampon has been inserted. You should never have a tampon in for longer than 8 hours. However, if you change the tampon before it has fully absorbed, removal of the tampon can cause discomfort.
  • Tampons are safe to sleep in, as long as you don’t leave it in past 8 hours.
  • When it is time to remove the tampon, get into the position above that works best for you. Relax as much as possible and pull the tampon out by the string.
  • Wrap the used tampon in toilet paper and throw it in the trash. Don’t forget to wash your hands.

Tips

  • Size selection matters for tampons, as well. Select a tampon size that will work best for your size and flow.
  • Flushing tampons can be very bad for a toilet, can cause it to overflow, and generally isn’t good for the sewage system. Make sure not to flush your tampon.
  • Be extremely mindful of how long you have had a tampon in. While Toxic Shock Syndrome is rare, it can be very serious and can be caused by leaving a tampon in for too long.
  • Tampon usage is not supposed to hurt, but it can take some time and practice to figure out. If you feel like you are too dry, it is okay to apply a little bit of lubricant around the applicator before application.
  • If you go to put in a tampon and find that it is very painful or uncomfortable, use a different method for now, and seek a medical professional.

How to Use Reusable Menstrual Pads

Instructions

  • Choose the correct absorbency and size for you and your flow.
  • As with regular pads, change out every four to six hours.
  • Take the reusable pad and place onto your underwear with the soft/absorbent side up.
  • Snap the wings around the crotch of your underwear and check to make sure it is secure.
  • After removal, rinse your pad and then toss into a wet bag (a waterproof bag that can hold wet items) until you are ready to wash.
  • Stick all the used pads into a washable laundry bag and put in the washer.
  • Wash with cold water with a gentle or delicate cycle, and it is recommended that you use a mild and fragrance-free detergent.
  • Do NOT use fabric softeners, as the conditioners can make your pads less absorbent.
  • If you are in a time crunch, you can tumble dry on low heat, but it’s recommended that you air dry your pads.

Tips

  • While some say that reusable pads can last longer, watch for wear and tear on your pads and make sure to dispose of them if they start to wear down.
  • Reusable pads can save you money in the long run, but make sure that you have access to a good means to clean them and care for them.

How to Use Menstrual Discs

Instructions

  • Wash your hands and get into a position that is comfortable for you, such as squatting, putting one leg on the counter, or sitting on the toilet.
  • To insert a menstrual disc, fold the disc in half and push it with your fingers, angling it down and back towards your tailbone, all the way up the vaginal canal so that it rests behind your pubic bone and at the base of your cervix.
  • You can leave the disc in for up to 12 hours.
  • Wash your hands before removal and get back into a comfortable position. Slide your finger into the vagina, until you feel the front edge of the disc. You can then hook your finger under the rim to break the seal and slowly pull it out. If possible, keep the disc parallel to the floor as you remove it to not spill the contents. Empty the contents into the toilet.
  • Wrap the used disc in toilet paper and throw it away.

Tips

  • Menstrual discs are advertised as the only insertable menstrual option that can be used during intercourse. It does not protect from STIs or pregnancy, but the disc collects your period in a soft bag that will not cause you or your partner discomfort during intercourse. However, you should still use protection and only do what you are comfortable doing.
  • Discs can be preferred by those who exercise or engage in sports, as it is the least likely to slip during activity.
  • Engaging your pelvic floor muscles a little bit can help during the removal process.
  • If your disc is inserted correctly, you shouldn’t be able to feel it throughout the day.
  • Menstrual discs, in general, are not reusable. Once you have placed the disc in and collected flow, you should not try to reuse the disc.

How to Use Period Underwear

Instructions

  • Find the fit and absorbency that is right for you.
  • You wear period underwear like you would any other pair of underwear, as in some can be worn all day. But if you start to notice leaking or are wearing a pair with lighter absorbency and start to experience a heavier flow, you might have to change to a new pair, or utilize another menstrual care option.
  • After use, make sure to rinse your period underwear in cold water and store in a wet bag (a waterproof bag that can hold wet items) until you are ready to wash them.
  • Put your period panties into a washable laundry bag and wash on a delicate or gentle cycle with cold water, preferably using a mild and fragrance-free detergent.
  • Do NOT use fabric softener, as it can lessen the absorbency of the underwear.
  • Lay underwear flat or hang dry.

Tips

  • You can utilize period underwear for all your menstrual needs, or as a safeguard for leaks while using other menstrual products.
  • Make sure to get as many pair as you will need to make it through your entire cycle, if this is the method that you choose.
  • If taken care of well, period panties can last for around 2 years of use.