It’s a controversial topic that is hotly debated on Twitter (#TeamPads vs #TeamTampon) and elsewhere on the internet.
So what’s the deal? Who wins in the debate of tampons vs pads? Which is better?
What’s the difference between Tampons and Pads?
Both of these menstrual products are designed to absorb menstrual fluid during a woman’s period, but that is where the similarity ends.
Pads are cotton pads on adhesive strips, sometimes with wings, that adhere to panties and absorb the flow.
Tampons are little cylindrical bullet-shaped hunks of cotton that you insert inside your vagina with an applicator or your finger. Tampons absorb the flow from the inside.
- No need to stick anything inside you.
- Protects clothes and panties well.
- Pads make some ladies feel more secure, pads have your back.
- Pads can be worn longer so they can go all night.
- Pads are super easy to use.
- Pads can be worn before you start your period if you think it may arrive.
- Pads can cause chafing (so-called pad rash).
- Pads can gather or bunch up.
- Pads can shift around.
- Pads can be bulky and make you feel like they can be seen through your clothes.
- Pads may have an odor if worn for too long. Yuck.
- Easy to conceal, very discreet.
- You can swim while wearing tampons.
- Tampons are not visible under clothes.
- Can get pee on the string or leak from the string.
- Tampons are drying and can change the pH of your vagina.
- Tampons change the delicate balance of your vagina and can increase the risk of yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis and even TSS.
- Tampons can be uncomfortable.
- Can’t be worn during light flow or beforehand in anticipation of your period.
Which is better in this ‘pads vs tampons’ battle?
It depends on how one defines better. If healthier is better, pads win.
Pads are healthier for the things they ‘don’t’ do. Pads do not dry out the vagina. Drying out the vagina with a tampon changes the pH balance and alters the ratios of beneficial organisms in the vagina.
Did you know that around 35 percent of the fluid a tampon absorbs is natural vaginal secretions and moisture, and only 65 percent is menstrual blood?
Natural vaginal secretions and moisture protect and balance the environment of the vagina. This is also why women should not use douches or harsh cleaners in their vagina.
When the balance of bacteria is altered, it allows harmful bacteria to take over. Harmful bacteria may be the candid organism that causes yeast infections, or any number of bacteria that cause bacterial vaginosis, another common infection for the lady parts.
Tampons should be changed every 4 to 6 hours or there is a risk of TSS also known as Toxic shock syndrome. The reason tampons increase this risk is because the tampon, combined with menstrual blood creates a favorable environment for the organism to grow.
The vagina’s natural defense against Staphylococcus aureus, the organism that causes TSS, is the beneficial lactobacilli. Since tampons disrupt the balance of vaginal flora in a negative way, there is less of the beneficial bacteria to protect the vagina.
Basically, women need moisture in their vagina to allow healthy organisms to thrive. This Lactobacilli also maintains an acidic pH balance in the vagina, which is a good thing because the acidic pH wards off yeast infections and other bacterial infections.
So while it is true that it is rare to get TSS, yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis are all too common.
75% of women in America will have at least one yeast infection in her lifetime, many women have several or even recurring yeast infections.
When it comes to discreetness, tampons win this round of tampons vs pads battle.
Tampons are small and they go inside, so they are less likely to be seen or noticed. Women can sneak one into their purse or pocket, and head for the restroom with no one being the wiser.
Also, a huge bonus point for tampons is that women have the opportunity to swim while on their period if they simply put a good tampon for swimming in their bag.
It is a Woman’s Choice
The choice, ultimately, is up to each individual woman. But that choice should be made based on solid facts, not information given to the masses via the huge budgets of the disposable pad and tampon companies who profit from women using their products.
The companies are required to place the warning about TSS on the side of tampon boxes, but it is doubtful women will ever see a notice saying the tampon also absorbs significant amounts of beneficial vaginal fluid and alters flora negatively.
They won’t do that. They are most likely interested in profits, not your personal health. Sorry, ladies, that is harsh, but it seems to be the case. When choosing between pads and tampons, REALLY, keep your health in mind first and foremost!
There are Options
Maybe some women do not realize there are other options available. There are silicone menstrual cups, popular options include Diva cup or Lunette cup, which collect fluid, do not dry the vagina nor change the pH, and do not create an environment for bacteria to grow.
If the idea of a menstrual cup is new to you, you might think it’s kind of…gross. But let’s be real here, pulling a bloody wad of cotton from your vagina is no picnic either. Just sayin’
If you’re really not convinced about the menstrual cup just yet, then perhaps try switching from regular pads to reusable period pads?
Final Verdict for Pads: 8/10
Final Verdict for Tampons: 6/10
Well, there you have it. I hope this tampons vs pads article will help you decide what route is best for you.