Starting your period as a pre-teen or teenager can be an exciting but overwhelming time. There are so many different sanitary products to choose from and it can be daunting when it is your first time using them.
Don’t worry we’ve got you covered with this breakdown of what each sanitary product is, how it is you use them and where you can get them! This way you can make an informed decision about what sanitary product is best for you!
Here is a breakdown of different sanitary products for teens…
Typically referred to as pads. These are most young girls go to for when they first start their period. There are many different brands of sanitary pads and they come in different sizes and thickness to suit you and your period.
Sanitary pads are a absorbent piece of material that you stick on to the inside of your underwear. The pad then absorbs your period blood.
The different options for pads depend how heavy your period is. They range from light to extra heavy, so choose which one best suits your typical flow. There are also night time pads so you don’t have to worry about your period overnight!
It is recommended you change your sanitary pad every 4-8 hours depending on how heavy your period is.
Sanitary pads can be bought in super markets, pharmacies and in some news agents and even petrol stations! Always website have a great step by step guide on how to use your pad.
Some decide to move on to tampons after they have been using sanitary pads for a while or some choose to just stick with pads, the choice is completely yours! Many people who play sports or those who swim favour tampons when on their period as they offer more protection when playing sports and are more discreet.
Tampons are designed to absorb blood the same as pads however the tampon absorbs the blood before it leaves your body unlike pads which absorb the blood outside the body. You use a tampon by placing it inside the vaginal canal, once you have inserted it correctly, the tampon is held in place by the vagina and expands as it soaks up menstrual blood.
Same as with pads, you choose your tampon based on your flow. It is recommended you change your tampon every 4-8 hours, just like with a pad.
Tampax.co.uk have a great step by step guide on how to insert tampons as well. Don’t be intimidated by tampons. They can be a little awkward to insert at first but just relax and take your time when using them.
You can purchase Tampons in your local supermarket, pharmacies, and most newsagents and petrol stations, just like with pads!
Panty liners are used for a whole host of different reasons! They can be used for vaginal discharge, light bleeding, spotting and everything in between!
Panty liners are great for use during your period – they’re idea for those days that you period is coming to an end and is quite light as you mightn’t need a full pad – as well as during the weeks you are not on your period. They catch fluids and discharge that you might be worried about getting on to your underwear. They work the same way as a pad, they are just smaller and thinner.
You can get them in all the same shops that you get your pads and tampons!
If you are looking for a more sustainable and most cost efficient sanitary product the menstrual cup is a great choice.
The menstrual cup is inserted into the vagina while you are on your period. It works by collecting blood rather than absorbing it, as is the case with tampons and pads.
They are typically made from flexible medical grade silicone, latex, or thermoplastic. When you need to change it you simply remove it, wash it and it will be ready for use again!
We have more details on menstrual cups here.
Another type of sustainable sanitary products that are great for teens are period pants.
Period pants are washable, reusable underwear designed to replace pads and tampons, or be worn with tampons and cups for extra protection. Basically, they look and feel just like your regular undies.
Period pants are still relatively newish to the market, so they are not as easy to purchase, but that’s changing all the time. The initial cost output of them is also significantly higher. Boots sell Thinx Period-Proof Underwear, which cost €41.99 for one pair. ASOS also sell them.
When you add up the cost of pads and tampons over time they do provide a good saving. But you also need to consider the fact that you’ll probably need at least 2 pairs to see you though a period as you’ll need to change them every few hours like a pad and wash them.
If you experience quite heavy periods or are constantly worried about leakage during your heavy days, it might be an idea to invest in one pair of period pants to provide you some peace of mind as you can use them with other sanitary products too.
Starting your period can be quite overwhelming for teens and then also trying to navigate all the different sanitary products can be a lot too.
Just know that there’s no pressure to get it right straight away. Experiment with different products and brands until you find the right combination for you.