Menstrual protection, which one to choose? Tampons and cups
Last week, we focused on the difference between sanitary napkins and period panties, both external protections.
Today we are going to talk about internal protections, namely tampons and cups.
What is a sanitary tampon?
It is an internal absorbent periodic protection. It is inserted into the vagina during menstruation to absorb blood . Its discreet protection allows you to bathe during your period. Contrary to popular belief, tampons can be used by women of all ages and there is no risk of this one piercing the hymen.
There are two types of tampons: with applicators and without applicators . The tampon with applicator is housed in a cardboard or plastic tube to help its insertion into the vagina. The tampon without applicator is inserted directly with the fingers into the vagina. Once in the vagina, the tampon expands to better absorb the blood.
A tampon shouldn't feel when inserted , otherwise it means it's not inserted far enough. To remove it, gently pull on the cord to get it out. You are told that there is no risk that the tampon will go up in the vagina and that you will no longer be able to recover it.
If, in very rare cases, the cord breaks, don't panic! We can always pick it up! And if you don't dare go and look for it because it seems too far away (or if you accidentally superimposed it on another stamp), you make an appointment with a professional. health, a gynecologist or midwife to help us remove it.
If there is pain or discomfort, the tampon may not be in the correct position. If this pain persists, we change the means of protection and do not hesitate to talk to a health professional , a gynecologist or a midwife.
How to choose your stamp?
To avoid finding any trace of chemical and potentially harmful substances, we advise you to choose tampons that are not bleached with chlorine (this is a common practice in order to make the cotton even whiter) and without cellulose compounds. To avoid these components, choose organic cotton tampons.
There are different sizes of buffers that correspond to different flows adapted to each and every moment of its cycle. There are three main categories of absorption on the market:
Mini for light flows
Normal for regular flows
Great for heavy flows
Our menstrual flow changes from day to day, you may change size during your cycle. If you hesitate between two sizes of tampons, start with the smaller one , if you have to change the tampon too often, go to the size above. Our period flow can change and luckily there is a solution for every flow, from light to heavy!
=> Gapianne has selected Jho's 100% organic cotton and non-chlorine bleached tampons for you, they exist for all flows and with or without applicators.
How long does protection last with a tampon?
They are changed every 4 to 6 hours maximum. To remove it, relax and pull gently on the cord, remember to use a trash can rather than the toilet to avoid clogging it.
Can we put a tampon at night?
It is not recommended to wear internal protection (tampon or cup) at night, prefer external protection such as menstrual panties or a sanitary napkin.
What is the link between a tampon and Toxic Shock Syndrome?
You've probably heard of it before, but what is Toxic Shock Syndrome? It is a serious but rare infection caused by the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria that can develop when there is stagnant blood. (Find our article on how to know if you have a toxic shock here ) . Internal hygienic protections (tampons and the cup) are associated with it, but this is also the case for external protections (towels and period panties) although the risks are reduced with these protections.
This is why it is important to change sanitary protection regularly in order to have good menstrual and intimate hygiene , this greatly limits the risk of infection.
Cups, or menstrual cups
What is a cup?
The cup has been talked about a lot in recent years, it is a more ecological alternative to tampons, because it is reusable. This menstrual cup collects menstrual flow during your period inside your vagina.
How to choose your cup?
There are several sizes, generally, they exist in S or M, this most often corresponds to whether you gave birth vaginally (M) or not (S). This can also refer to the capacity of the cup for normal flow (S) and heavy flow (M), refer to the product description before buying it to find what suits you best.
Its use is a little more complex than a tampon, therefore more difficult to put on when you start having your period. For this reason, we recommend its use if you have already tried other types of periodic protection. They are chosen in medical silicone which is a soft material and which does not present a risk of drying out the vaginal flora.
=> Gapianne has selected medical silicone cups , all very pleasant and easy to remove. These are our favourites, after all it's just a matter of taste!
How is a menstrual cup used?
It is sterilized before its first use and between each cycle, refer to the instructions for use of your cup. When you have your period, just rinse it off before putting it back on. Wash your hands well up to the wrist and your fingernails before inserting it. It may take some practice to get it right, so you can try wearing it for the first time outside of your cycle. Follow the instructions on the leaflet. In most cases, your cup needs to be moistened and folded before insertion (several folding methods exist, in S, in C, etc. refer to your instructions for use). To insert it correctly, a multitude of possibilities are available to you: standing, with one leg raised (on the bathtub, the sink or on the toilet bowl), knees bent, or squatting, lying on your bed… The important thing is to find a comfortable position to relax. Insert your fingers into your vagina to position it well, it's a habit to take. We assure you that once you have the hang of it, you can do anything with it for six hours, swimming, climbing, etc. without worrying about it!
Can you wear a menstrual cup with an IUD?
Whether your IUD is copper or hormonal, it is not recommended to wear a cup when you have an IUD. The cup has a suction effect in the vagina and can displace the IUD which can lead to possible unwanted pregnancies.
How long can you keep a menstrual cup?
You can keep it on for between 8 and 12 hours, but we advise you to keep it on for 6 hours at most to prevent the blood in your flow from stagnating for too long, this also avoids discomfort and overflows.
How to remove a menstrual cup?
The cup exerts a suction cup effect against the walls of the vagina to hold it, so to remove it, we will pinch the bottom of the cup to gently remove it. If your cup has a small stem, avoid pulling on it before pinching the bottom of the cup, this puts pressure on your perineum.
If you want to know more about menstrual panties or pads, then we invite you to visit the dedicated article.