Asian Misconceptions of Pads, Tampons & Menstrual Cups: Let’s Get It Right

To use pads, tampons or menstrual cups? That is the question.

When I had my period for the first time, my mother told me to use a pad, and that’s what I’ve been using all these years because I didn’t know that we could use various other feminine hygiene products to absorb the menstrual flow. It’s thick, uncomfortable and at the back of my mind — I constantly worry if the pad was showing against my butt!

Using pads is a norm in Asian countries, because it was taught by our mother, our mother’s mother, great-grandmother and so on. However, as times have changed, women of the new generation have started to embrace the use tampons and menstrual cups instead of pads. 

I’m a virgin, can I use tampons and menstrual cups?

First of all, you should understand that the hymen is a membrane that is situated at the opening of the vagina and partially covers it. The menstrual fluid has to be able to pass through the vagina when a person starts menstruating.

As for the ‘virginity’ part, one will only lose their virginity if you have sex. While it may or may not stretch the hymen, there are numerous ways for one to ‘tear’ the hymen –  such as yoga, dancing, riding a bike and so on. Being a virgin shouldn’t limit your choice of period products. Who knows, you might even fall in love with the use of tampons or menstrual cups.

If you’re scared that it might hurt — Just relax. Your muscles tend to tense up when you are nervous, making it even harder for you to insert the tampon or menstrual cup. Simply follow the instructions and you should be alright!

Tampons VS Menstrual Cups

According to a study, tampons are popularly used by women under 41 years of age. It is great to use especially for women with an active lifestyle because it allows the user to be flexible with their outfits. For instance, you can even go swimming in the pool while wearing a tampon.

Just like pads, tampons come in various sizes and levels of absorbency. It is recommended to change your tampons at least every four to eight hours, and not more than that as you could get infections or the life-threatening toxic shock syndrome.

Meanwhile, menstrual cups are designed to collect menstrual blood rather than absorb it like tampons or pads. Although not as popular as tampons, these bell-shaped silicone products are eco-friendly and reusable as they do not contain any chemicals, bleaches or fibers that could cause sensitivity or allergic reactions. Plus, they can be safely worn up to 12 hours. Talk about convenience!

According to Dr. Michael Brook, a silicone expert at McMaster University, silicone is a green ingredient. As the silicone degrades, it goes back to its original state which is silica and silica is not hazardous.

It can be a little hard at first when you’re still trying to figure out how to insert the menstrual cup, but it is all about getting to know your body and what works for you. It’s also a great investment, considering that you will only need to spend RM 100++ for an item that can be used for years.

With that being said, we hope that you won’t be afraid to explore the many options of female hygiene products such as those that we’ve shared above. Whatever your choices may be, the important part is to keep your lady parts happy, clean and comfortable at all times!