Pads are the flat pumps of the period world – reliable, timeless, comfortable, and easy to stash in your handbag.
We know that pads don’t sound particularly glamorous. Less so when your mum calls them ‘sanitary towels’ (ew). And even less so when signs urge you not to put ‘sanitary napkins’ (ew, ew, ew) down the loo.
But trust us, they’re cooler and cleverer than they look. Their sticky strips hold them to your underwear, so they don’t move around during the day and risk staining your knickers – and lots of modern pads have fancy design features to lock in fluids, prevent leaks, neutralise odours and make you a nice cup of tea.
Ok, not the last thing.
How should I use them?
It’s pretty common for most girls to start with pads and then experiment with tampons when they are more comfortable with their period.
But some people are Team Tampon from day one, others are Team Pad their whole life, and a lot of people switch between the two depending on their flow or their mood. It’s just about finding out what works best for you.
Which ones should I use?
Pads come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.
Most pads have a little droplet icon on the packet to indicate how absorbent they are (these icons are usually blue rather than red, which make them look more like tears than blood, but that’s a battle for another day. There are sometimes tears, tbh).
Maxi pads are great if you have a heavy period or want to wear a pad overnight. While they might look intimidatingly large, they are highly absorbent which means that you don’t have to worry about leaking on your nice sheets.
- Pads come in a whole range of absorbencies, from thin ones for a light flow to maxi pads for heavy days, and night time.
- If you have a very light period or just want some extra protection with a tampon, maybe try a pantyliner.
- Wings are extra material on the sides that you can fold over the edge of your knickers to make sure your pad doesn’t slip around.
- It’s good to change your pad every three to four hours during the day, to avoid leaks and keep everything comfy.
Unlike tampons, there’s no problem with wearing a higher absorbency than you need, although thinner pads will probably make you feel more comfortable and less like you’re wearing a nappy.
It might sound a bit pad-antic but we promise, it’s worth finding the best fit for you.
Wings or no wings?
Wings refer to the extra material on the sides that you can fold them over the edge of your knickers, to make sure your pad doesn’t slip around. Some people manage fine without them, but you might find the pad moves around or bunches up a bit – which can be less than ideal while you’re busy slaying all day.
So spread your wings and you will fly. Not your pad.
How often should I change my pad?
It’s a good idea to change your pad every three to four hours. If you have a heavy period, this will avoid the chance of leakage and put your mind at ease – and even if you have a light period, a fresh pad will probably just feel more comfortable. Comfort is queen, guys.
While the word ‘panty’ might make you want to vom (us too), don’t hold this against pantyliners. They are exactly like a regular pad, just thinner and smaller, which makes them incredibly useful as an inbetween option. Like the flip-flops of the period world! But less noisy.
Very light period? Pop on a pantyliner. Worried your tampon will leak? A pantyliner can give a bit of extra protection. Last few days of your period a bit unpredictable? Try a pantyliner! Find you have a lot of discharge? Pantyliner.
Impossible geography homework? Pantyliner.
Where do I start?
Be pad-venturous*! Don’t feel you have to stick with the first type of pad your mum/friend/school nurse hands you – try out some different types to see which one you love best.
*yes, that was another pad-related pun. We have no shame – and nor should you.
It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome.
Image: Kate Borrill