Pads, tampons, period underwear and cups- also known as feminine hygiene products or menstrual hygiene products- let you go about your everyday life during your period without getting blood on your clothes or sheets.
There are two types of menstrual products: external protection and internal protection. External protection includes pads and panty liners that are attached to the crutch of underpants to absorb the Menstrual flow after it leaves your body. Internal protection like tampons and Menstrual cups are inserted into the vagina to catch or absorb the Menstrual flow before it leaves your body.
Pads or sanitary napkins are narrow pieces of material that stick to your underwear. Some of these have wings or flaps that fold over the sides of your underwear and prevent leaks. Most pads are made of disposable material and can be thrown away after use. However, there are also reusable options like fabric pads that can be washed and reused.
Tampons are little plugs made of cotton inserted inside the vagina and soak up the Menstrual blood. Some tampons come with an applicator that helps you put in the tampon. Tampons have an attached string to the end so that you can pull them out easily after use.
Period underwear or period panties are just like regular underwear, except they have extra layers of fabric that absorb the menstrual flow. They are in different kinds for light, medium or heavy flow days.
Menstrual cups are shaped like little bowls or bells and are made of rubber or silicone. The cup fits inside the vagina and collects menstrual blood. Most of these cups are reusable and must be emptied and washed before reuse, and some are disposable and have to be thrown after one use or period cycle.
Are internal and external forms of period products safe?
Both internal and external period products approved by the FDA (Federal Food and Drug Administration) are considered safe. There is a risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome when using tampons, but the risk is very low. If you follow the directions on the tampon package, change your tampon frequently and use them intermittently. Proper menstrual hygiene management can help avoid any infections during menstruation.
What type of period protection is right for me?
Make your decision about which type of period product to use based on whatever you are most comfortable with! Trying different products and asking a friend or close family member can also help.
You can also use different products at different times during your period. For example, some people use cups in the morning and period underwear or pads at night. Some feel that wearing internal protection is more comfortable and convenient because they are out of the way, and you cannot feel it. Others think external protection is more comfortable and don't want to put an object in their vagina.
If you are active in sports, you might prefer using tampons or cups on your periods. Many people are now turning to reusable options as they are more environmental-friendly and sustainable.
In conclusion, what you use depends entirely on you. Just make sure not to use scented tampons or pads, vaginal deodorants or douches- these can lead to infection or irritation. Some people worry about the smell of their periods but chances are that no one will be able to tell you that you have your period. Menstrual hygiene management involves making sure to change your period product often.
Does internal period protection affect your virginity?
First, let's start by saying that virginity is a social construct, and it means different things to different people. For some, "losing your virginity" means that you have never had penetrative sex. For others, it includes not being involved in other sexual activities like oral sex or anal sex.
One of the common teenage problems in girls is they worry that wearing internal period protection will affect their hymen, but this is not true.
Most teenagers can simply insert the tampon through the opening of the hymen. Suppose you can't get the tampon into your vagina. You might be anxious and not put it in at the right angle, or you might have been born with a "micro perforate hymen," which is an extremely small opening into the vagina. Make an appointment with your Gynaecologist if insertion of a tampon is impossible after multiple attempts.
Even though wearing tampons has no effect on your hymen or "virginity," certain cultures, religions, and families have distinct conceptions of "virginity" and do not allow women to use tampons until they are married.