If you’re a tween and new to the wide world of getting your period, first of all welcome. It can be a little intimidating and there’s a lot to learn, but you’ve come to a safe place. Tampons aren’t always the easiest option when you’re just starting out but the good news is that there are plenty of options when it comes to period products, from pads to period underwear. If you’re currently wondering what the best period product to use is, the answer, plain and simple, is: whatever makes you feel the most comfortable. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to dealing with your period. If you’re ready to learn more about what your options are, read on to learn more about the best tween menstrual products on the market.
Like old Disney movies or peanut butter jelly sandwiches, sanitary pads are a forever classic. Made out of absorbent material like cellulose, you peel off an adhesive backing and attach the sticky strip to the inside of your underwear, which holds it in place while it does the job of absorbing your menstrual blood. Some pads have wings, which wrap around the sides of your underwear and others don’t. Some people think that disposable pads feel like wearing a diaper while other people find them to be the most comfortable and easiest option, hands down. There are even such things as reusable pads if you don’t like the idea of creating a lot of waste. (The average menstruator will throw away an estimated 11,000 pads in their lifetime.) It is recommended that you change your pad every 3-4 hours but you can go up to 8 hours using a single pad depending on how heavy your flow is.
Fun fact: The first pads available for sale landed on the market in 1880. In the 1950s, pads used to have belts, which were used to keep them from shifting around! Read more about the history of periods here.
Period underwear are like a regular pair of underwear but with a built-in pad that absorbs period blood. They have three absorbent layers, the first one pulls moisture away from your skin using natural seaweed fiber; the second one absorbs the liquid and locks it in; and the third one keeps any liquid from spotting your clothes. You can wear them in place of a pad or a tampon, or any time when you’re expecting your period. (Their quick-dry capabilities also make them good to wear any time of the month, especially if you are prone to sweating…just call them “sweating underwear.”)
You can also use them as a form of backup protection in addition to a tampon or menstrual cup. Kt by Knix sells period underwear for teens in a variety of styles for every need or activity, including leakproof bikini, boy short, boxer brief, and the super leakproof sleepover short. There are even full-gusset bikini underwear, our fullest coverage style, which are perfect for preventing overnight leaks when you’re sleeping on your period.
Period underwear is reusable, very easy to clean and can be worn for up to eight hours. It's the perfect option for anyone who prefers a reusable option and wants to avoid leaks. In addition to period underwear, Kt by Knix makes leakproof swimwear and activewear sized specifically for busy tweens with active lifestyles.
Tampons are a cylindrical-shaped plug of cotton that is inserted into the vagina to absorb the blood flow internally. Some tampons have applicators, which are tubes on the outside of the tampon to make insertion easier, and others do not.
If you’re not sure how to put in a tampon, Kt has a simple step-by-step guide to the process you can read about. Tampons come in different levels of absorbency based on your flow. There are light tampons for light days, regular tampons for medium days and super tampons for heavy flow days. Contrary to what some people may think, using a super tampon doesn’t mean you have a bigger vagina. Tampon sizes reflect the amount of liquid they can hold, rather than the size of the tampon itself. Tampons should be changed every 4-8 hours, or whenever they are full.
Once you are ready to take a tampon out, you gently tug on the string and throw it in the garbage. Never flush a tampons, because it will not break down and it might cause plumbing issues.
Menstrual cups are made from soft silicon material that you fold and insert into the vagina. Once the cup has been properly inserted, it will expand and catch the drips of menstrual blood, hence the name cup. When you are ready to empty the cup, you can tug on the stem to pull it out, empty the blood into the toilet, wash the cup and reinsert. If you find yourself needing to empty a menstrual cup in a public washroom, you can bring a bottle of water or a disposable wipe into the stall with you, or just wipe the cup down with toilet paper before reinserting. A menstrual cup can be worn up to 12 hours on a lighter day.
Other menstrual products that will make your life easier
Heat relaxes muscles, which can help soothe the pain of menstrual cramps. You can find disposable heat pads readily available at any drugstore, or you can purchase something reusable like a hot water bottle or this sloth or toast-shaped heating pad. Either way, heating pads make having a period a little bit more bearable – and a cute reusable heating pad can make it feel a little bit more fun as well.
Advil and Tylenol are the most popular pain relievers for when cramps come calling. Aleve, Midol and Motrin are typically used to help relieve menstrual cramps. Midol makes a special formulation for teens while anyone over the age of 12 can use Aleve. Tweens under the age of 11 should be taking children’s Tylenol instead of an adult dose.
If you’re experiencing extreme period pain, it’s a good idea to talk to your caregiver and make an appointment to see a doctor.
There are also a number of pain reliever ointments that you can use to help ease menstrual cramps. Simply spread the cream or gel over the area of your body where you feel pain and the product will – fingers crossed – offer fast-acting relief. Somedays has a Cramp Cream that contains castor oil and camphor for a slight numbing sensation, Saje’s essential oil period roll-on contains lavender and chamomile for a calming effect and Control cream contains anti-spasmodic ingredients that directly addresses inflammation caused by cramps.
There you have it: all the best tween period products you need in order to go forth and bleed confidence. If you’re worried about potential leaks at school and want to learn how to build a period emergency kit, here’s how. Plus, learn all about what to expect throughout puberty and your menstrual cycle by downloading our Free Period Guide – it’s here to help!