Pads or tampons – find what’s best for you!

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Which are best, tampons or sanitary pads?


It’s totally up to you. The main difference is that sanitary pads are outside your body and tampons are inside. You can choose to use a combination of different sanitary protection depending on what you’re doing, what underwear you want to wear or what your period flow is like.


What’s good about sanitary pads? 


Sanitary pads are discreet and comfortable and are attached inside your knickers. They can be good at night as the chances are you’ll sleep for longer than eight hours and that’s the maximum amount of time you can have a tampon in for.  Always® Ultra pads are slim and comfortable to wear at any time of the day or night.


What’s good about tampons?


Tampons are inserted inside of you so you get a bit more freedom when it comes to things like swimming.  


What size tampon should I use?


The absorbency you need depends on how much blood you lose and has nothing to do with your body size. The heavier your flow, the higher absorbency you need. Getting the absorbency right comes with experience, but as a guide, if a tampon needs to be changed in less than four hours, try a higher absorbency. On the other hand, if you remove a tampon and it feels a bit uncomfortable and isn’t full, try a lower absorbency. The absorbency you need will change during your period - the flow is normally heaviest during the first three days and lighter afterwards. Always choose the lowest absorbency you need.   


How often should I change a tampon?


Use the lowest absorbency tampon for your flow and change it every 4-8 hours. If you find your tampon is full before 4 hours, try the next size up. If you remove the tampon after 8 hours and still see white fibres, it’s too absorbent. Drop down one absorbency for the next time. 




• Always wash your hands before inserting a tampon


• Never insert more than one tampon


• Remember to remove your last tampon at the end of your period


Does wearing a tampon hurt?


If you put your tampon in properly, you shouldn't feel any discomfort at all. If you are tense it may hurt slightly to insert a tampon, so try to relax. When your tampon is in, if you still feel it, this usually means that you haven't inserted it far enough. This sometimes happens if your flow is light, as your vagina might be a bit dry. This is totally normal so maybe wait until your flow gets heavier before using a tampon. And remember - don’t insert a tampon unless you are on your period! 


My tampon is stuck, what do I do?


First of all try to relax and don't panic as this will make the tampon more difficult to remove. Simply squat down and put your thumb and forefinger into your vagina. Move them around and try to catch hold of the cord or tampon so you can pull it out.


If you still can’t get it, don’t just leave the tampon in there. Tampons shouldn’t be left inside your vagina for more than eight hours so go to your GP or see the practice nurse. 


Can the string break on a tampon?


This is really unlikely! But if it does, it's usually easy to reach the tampon with your fingers. Wash your hands and squat down or use the same position you used to comfortably insert the tampon, to remove it. If you still can’t get it, don’t just leave the tampon in there. Tampons shouldn’t be left inside your vagina for more than eight hours so go to your GP or see the practice nurse. 


Can a tampon get lost in my vagina?


A tampon cannot get lost. If you accidentally left one in from your last period, you’d know about it as you'd probably start to feel a bit sore and experience a discoloured, smelly discharge.


If you cannot find the tampon go to see your GP. It is important to get it out as soon as you can to reduce the risks of tampon-related TSS. 


What is TSS?   


Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a rare but serious illness caused by a bacterium called Stapylococcus aureus, which can commonly be found on the body. The majority of all Stapylococcus aureus strains do not produce toxins which can cause TSS and only very few strains do. Risk of TSS is increased with tampon use.  Most women, but not all, have a protective level of antibodies against the toxin that causes TSS.  Be sure to know the signs and symptoms of TSS if you use tampons, and remove your tampon right away and call you GP if you are using tampons and experience any of the signs or symptoms.  


To reduce the risk of tampon-related TSS we suggest you:


- use the lowest absorbency tampon to control your flow 


- use a pad instead of a tampon from time to time during your period 


Know the signs and symptoms of TSS. Some of the symptoms of TSS are much the same as the flu. The important thing is that you can become very ill, very quickly. You may not have all the symptoms, only some of them. 


The warning signs of TSS include: 


high fever 






a rash that looks like sunburn 


muscle aches 




fainting or near fainting when standing up. 


If you have any of these symptoms or in case of a sudden unexpected high fever, remove the tampon and go to see your GP immediately.  Tell them you have been using a tampon and are concerned about TSS.




If you want to know more about Toxic Shock Syndrome, take a look at