Believe it or not, on average woman uses about 10,000 sanitary products (be it pads, tampons and menstrual cups)  during her lifetime! Well, menstruation is normal and over time there were and are many sanitary products for women to help us get through the blooming phase hassle-free. First and foremost, there were pads which saved women worldwide from the brown-stained cloth napkins. Then came tampons, the disposable goodness of sanitary pads and recently came menstrual cups, made from non-toxic silicone, the menstrual cup was greeted with apprehension. And this brought us to the ultimate question, which one is better between pads, tampons and menstrual cups?!

To answer this question, our lovely ladies from Beauty Insider Malaysia put all three of these life-saving sanitary products to test and compare each one based on their pros and cons. Well, whichever of these feminine options are your preference, it is extremely important to make sure that your vagina and hands are clean before adding and changing your product of choice to prevent infections. And it is also important that women are educated about our options cuz it can seriously help manage menstrual cycle better! So, without ado here a comprehensive comparison between pads, tampons and menstrual cups!

Sanitary Pads

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Also, known as sanitary napkins or menstrual pads, sanitary pads are one of the oldest and longest lasting forms of feminine hygiene product. In fact, to date, it is the most widely used sanitary product. They come in various lengths and absorbency levels, and shape and sizes too! Pads are often preferred by women on light-flow days or for when they might be spotting between periods. Below are the highs and lows of the good ol’ sanitary pads. 

Pros of Sanitary Pads

  1. Requires No Painful Insertion-  If you don like the idea of having anything ‘artificial’ going in your vagina, then pads are the best choice for you. And it is also most probably why pads are still ruling the sanitary hygiene market.
  2.  Doesn’t Cause Staining- Pads are the safest option that causes very very minimal leakage or none at all! But make sure to wear proper underwear that can hold it in place, if not you could expect some staining. Nevertheless, pads, in general, are meant to cover the crotch-area keeping stains away. 
  3. Safe and Hygienic to Use-  One of the main benefits of pads is that it doesn’t pose the risk of any vaginal syndromes or illness. They are 100% safe to use and allows the menstrual blood to flow naturally. That said, make sure to change your pad at least 2-3 times a day to prevent bacterial infection. 

Cons of Sanitary Pads

  1. You Can’t Do Many Activities- Okay, one of the main drawbacks of pads is that you can’t do much wearing them. Like you can’t do swimming, running or anything that can move your pad from its places. If you put too much pressure pads can shift out of place and wrinkle up in the centre when you’re moving.
  2. Have Higger Environmental Impact- Did you know ads are not biodegradable? Yes, each pad can take about 500 years to fully decompose!
  3. Can Cause Vaginal Infection- You must change your pads every 6 hours! If not changed often, you could develop an infection.


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Tampons are the most popular choice of feminine protection for younger women especially aged between 21-28. Young women often choose tampons because it gives them greater physical freedom during their period. Like sanitary pads, tampons also come in various sizes and levels of absorbency. If you are using tampons, make sure to change it at least every four to eight hours, using the least absorbent type to manage the menstrual flow. Below are the advantages and disadvantages of tampons.

Pros of Tampons

  1. Very Minimum Leakage- If you have a very heavy flow, then tampons should be your best friend. Tampons can soak up blood before it has the chance to come out of your vagina. This way you do not have to deal with period blood in your panties every time you need to pee or change.
  2. Easy to Carry Around- Not that you need to hide or be ashamed of your period but unlike pads or menstrual cups, tampons are so sleek and small that they can be carried around easily anywhere. They can fit in any bags and pockets and make life easier especially when you need to sneak past co-workers to change them.
  3. Lesser Period Days- OK, this is not scientifically proven but many women who tested out tampons claim that using tampons reduced their bleeding days. We don’t far of this is true but it could very much be because tampons soak up the blood as soon as it drains from the cervix means there will be less blood.

Cons of Tampons

  1. Comfort- Tampons can be uncomfortable to use especially if you are a first time user. It can be a tad bit hard to insert them and some women also feel discomfort or pain during insertion. However, once you successful insert it, then you can hardly feel any pain. 
  2. Makes Peeing Hard-  Tampons are technically in your vagina but in no way, it will block your urethra. However, that said an unchanged full tampon may sometimes push against your vaginal wall, making your pee stream a little thinner. Not a real problem but it happens if you are unhygienic!!!

Menstrual Cups

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Believe it or not, menstrual cups have been around as long as tampons but are just not as widely used by women. There are two types of menstrual cups: The first is a soft, flexible, disposable cup that resembles a diaphragm. The second is a bell-shaped cup made of rubber (latex) or silicone that can be reused after a thorough cleaning. Both types of menstrual cups are designed to collect menstrual fluid for disposal later. Below are more details about menstrual cups. 

Pros of Menstrual Cups

  1. Free From Chemicals- In general, menstrual cups contain no bleaches or chemicals or fibres, making them less of a risk compared to pads and tampons.
  2. Don’t Need to Change Constantly– This is most probably the best part of menstrual menstrual cups that you don’t have to change them as often as you change pads and tampons. This is because the cup has the capacity to collect about 30 ml of blood. On average, a woman bleeds about 40-60 ml of blood per period.
  3. Allows You to Have Sex- Yes, you heard us right! Since the cup directly collects blood, the first few inches of the vagina are relatively blood-free. This means that you can still have fun with your partner without it turning into a ‘bloody’ mess!

Cons of Menstrual Cups

  1. Difficult Insertion-  Many women said that insertion od menstrual cup is more difficult than tampons. However, the cups are made from a soft, flexible material so it won’t pain. All you need is practise and with the right education, it can be inserted easily.
  2. Cleaning- Now, unlike pads and tampons, menstrual cups can be re-use if you know how to clean it properly. Cleaning menstrual cups is a little tedious as you need to sterilize the cup after every change to avoid any chance of infection. Besides, washing it with harsh soap or liquid is not recommended as it can be very harmful to the vagina.

So, Between Pads, Tampons and Menstrual Cups- Who Won?! 

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There is honestly no clear winner because of these sanitary product has its own set of goods and bads. Based, on your individual needs and preference pick the one that you think suits you the best. No matter, which product you choose, maintaining personal hygiene is extremely important and crucial to minimise the risk of bacterial and fungus infection! The ultimate goal is to feel comfortable and cosy when your body is doing its monthly duty!