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    Pads vs Tampons; Let’s Chat

    Tampons vs pads; lets end this debate once and for all.
    • Neha Pande
    • Editorial
    Updated at - 2021-09-30,14:57 IST
    choose, pads or tampons

    Let’s break the silence and chat about menstruation; are pads better than tampons or are tampons superior to pads. There has always been myths surrounding the two. People who love pads often say that tampons are harmful whereas people who love tampons say pads are inconvenient and hefty. But before we start talking about and debating which one is better; how about we delve into a bit of history about both.

    A Quick History Lesson 

    The first pad can be dated back to 10th century in Ancient Greece, where women used to use rag clothes as pads. It is not unheard that women in ancient times used rags, cotton, sheep’s wool, rabbit fur and even grass in their underwear to stop the flow of their menstrual blood from dripping.

    The first absorbent sanitary pad was made in France where nurses used wood pulp bandages which were later discarded. This was later commercialised by the industry. Later wings and scented pads came into being and was mass manufactured.

    periods and health

    The first tampon can be dated back to 15th Century BCE to  the ‘Papyrus Ebers’ which is the world’s oldest printed medical document. It talks about Egyptian women using papyrus tampons. In 1931 the first modern tampons were patented by Dr. Earle Haas. This patent was later bought bought by Gertrude Tendich who sold the first Tampax product in 1936.

    Today’s tampons have a day and night difference to the old tampons just like how modern pads are completely different to the old ones. In 2020, tampons have become so much more absorbent, versatile, and smaller than ever for women’s comfort.


    Menstrual pads are usually made up of an absorbent material like cotton or super absorbent polymer. The design of pads is quite simple as they are designed to stick on to the inside of your underwear. Pads come in various sizes for your own comfort; for heavy or light periods. People usually change their pads according to their flow but it’s better to keep changing your pads every 3-4 hours.

    pros and cons of pads


    Easy to use

    Pads are extremely easy to use as all you have to do is stick them on. If your pad is full you can always tell it by just giving it a small peek and just like that you can easily change as well as discard the old pad; simple and easy.

    No Risk Of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TTS)

    Pads have almost no risk of developing TTS. There have been studies that show the risk of developing TSS is lower in women who use menstrual pads as it has almost no chemicals in it.

    May Be Better For Heavy Periods 

    Though tampons also come in various flow sizes yet pads are considered better for heavy periods. It is far easier to keep a check of your menstrual hygiene with pads as changing pads many times in a day is easier than changing tampons.

    Period supplies


    Size Of The Pads

    The pads unlike tampons are big and way less discreet than tampons. They are quite visible in some clothes like a body on dress or something which is more figure hugging. Even carrying them around can be difficult if you are carry a small purse. 

    Given the stigma about periods; some girls are a bit shy carrying around a pad so the size can be an issue.

    Active Wear

    Though some pads are labelled as ultra thin or active wear yet most pads are not comfortable if you are doing anything active for a long time. They are likely to get soaked in sweat or get itchy. 

    They are can move around

    Imagine wearing a pad and going for a long run; or something more realistic like having cramps and squirming on your bed. Unlike tampons which are inserted and unlikely to move; Pads can move around or shift out of place which can stain your clothes.


    Tampons are tiny cylindrical objects which you insert inside your vagina. It is usually made out of cotton, rayon, or a mix of both. You usually insert it inside using you hands or an applicator; usually people use hands. The usually bloom up as they absorb the blood and you can take it out pulling it out with it’s string. 

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    pros and cons of tampons


    Size Of The Tampons

    Tampons are small and portable; you can easily carry a tampon in your purse or pocket. You can not see at all; it is not that prominent. So; if you are shy carrying a pad around you can easily carry a tampon with you.


    A big advantage tampons have over pads is that they are absolutely invisible. Unlike bulky pads which may show under some types of clothing items; Tampons are absolutely with a tiny string hanging out which doesn’t show at all in any type of clothing. You can even wear a bikini if you want and you will be perfectly fine.

    Active Wear 

    Tampons are definitely a better option than pads when it comes doing any active activity. If you want to workout or go on a long run; pads can still stain you but tampons won’t due to their application area. You can even you swimming with tampons and it will be alright.

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    May Irritate The Vaginal Area

    Since tampons are inserted they can irritate or dry out your vagina more than pads. Tampons are usually not recommended for overnight use due to the drying and irritable factors. You should not have and especially not forget you tampons inside for a long time as it will irritate your vagina and can even cause an infection, like a UTI. 


    Tampons are a bit harder to use than pads since they are inserted inside. If you have a bit of an issue with blood and get irked easily then putting them in and taking them out can be a bit of a fuss. Though some tampons come with an applicators still it is a bit more fuss than pads.

    Can Have A Risk of toxic shock syndrome (TTS)

    A big disadvantage of tampons and the weapon used against tampons in a debate is that it has a risk of developing toxic shock syndrome (TSS). Though it is rare yet it may happen.

    pros and cons of menstural products

    It is more of a personal preference; there may be situations where pads are better an there may be situations where tampons rule over pads. You can use both; tampons for a short duration where you know carrying a tampon is better. You can use pads where you know you’ll be busy the whole day and can’t manage the irritation of a tampon.

    They both have amazing pros yet weighing cons; it mostly comes down to lifestyle and convenience. So choose wisely; not blindly.


    Stay tuned to HerZindagi for more educational yet fun articles like this. 

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