Period Products: How to know which ones are best for you?

Period Products

Period products can be very confusing because there are so many options, from pads to tampons to menstrual cups to sponges and everything in between. To help you decide which one might be best for you, here’s a guide to all the different types of period products and their benefits and drawbacks. The more you know about your options, the easier it will be to find the period product that works best for you!

What is Menstrual Cup

A menstrual cup is a bell-shaped cup made from rubber or silicone. It’s inserted into your vagina during menstruation, and it collects blood instead of absorbing it like traditional tampons do. Most menstrual cups can be reused month after month. When your period is over, just wash your cup with soap and water, boil it in a pot of water on your stovetop for 5–10 minutes, or place it in an electric steamer until it's completely clean. You can then store it until next month's cycle begins!

Advantages of Menstrual Cup

Cups have a number of advantages over tampons and pads. For one, they’re reusable, so once you buy a cup you don’t have to spend money on more cups again. Second, there’s no risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome from using a cup as opposed to tampons. And third, many people feel more comfortable using a cup since it doesn’t contain absorbent material that can dry out vaginal tissues or irritate them as is common with pads and pantyliners. That being said, menstrual cups aren’t right for everyone; because they come in contact with menstrual blood, some people prefer products that don't touch their blood like tampons or pads do.

Disadvantages of Menstrual Cup

Although menstrual cups can be cheaper in long term, they may not be ideal for every person because of their disadvantages. Menstrual cups require maintenance, meaning that you must clean them before and after each use. They may be difficult to use if you have a strong flow since they could leak around or over your cup. If these disadvantages don’t sound like something that would affect your decision on whether or not to get a cup, continue reading; we’ll cover some other factors that should influence your purchase. But if they’re deal-breakers for you—no pun intended—you might want to stick with traditional pads and tampons until period products improve or another option becomes available.

What is Intra-Uterine Device (IUD)

An IUD is a long-acting reversible contraceptive that is implanted into your uterus by a doctor. The hormonal IUD releases progestin, levonorgestrel, and/or copper into your uterus. The copper IUD works as a spermicide. A hormonal IUD can stay in place from 3–10 years, depending on what kind you have. A copper IUD lasts from 10-12 years, but it must be replaced every 10 years if it’s not causing problems or health issues during that time. You can use an IUD whether or not you’ve had children and whether or not you’re breastfeeding.

Advantages IUD

IUDs, or intrauterine devices, and other forms of long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs) prevent pregnancy with a method that lasts anywhere from three to 12 years. While hormonal birth control pills and patches must be taken daily, some IUDs can last up to five years. LARCs do not contain hormones and cause little to no side effects such as weight gain or mood changes like those caused by hormonal methods like birth control pills or patches. Additionally, they also reduce your chances of contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs). They can make periods lighter, less painful, and more regular.

Disadvantages IUD

The biggest disadvantage of an IUD is that it requires a minor surgical procedure. Also, although they’re highly effective, there’s still a failure rate; about 1 in 100 women using an IUD will get pregnant each year (and that number jumps to 8 in 100 women when it’s used as emergency contraception). And finally, like condoms and diaphragms, IUDs aren’t useful in preventing STIs. They can also create some cramping and discomfort in early use. However, these symptoms tend to fade over time and shouldn't be enough to stop any woman from getting an IUD if she really wants one.

What is Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills are also known as oral contraceptives. Birth control pills, or OCs, work by releasing synthetic versions of estrogen and progesterone hormones. These synthetic hormones prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation (in which an egg is released from an ovary), thickening cervical mucus (to make it harder for sperm to reach an egg), and thinning the lining of your uterus (so that if an egg did get fertilized, it wouldn’t be able to attach itself to your uterus). The hormones in birth control can also cause lighter periods—or no periods at all. Birth control pills come in packs that contain anywhere from 1 day’s worth of medicine to 1 year’s worth of medicine.

Advantages Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills can be used as period products. When used properly, they’re very effective at preventing pregnancy. Pills also make it easy to skip periods. If your period is particularly painful or heavy, birth control pills can help lighten or stop your flow completely. Pills don’t work immediately—it usually takes one to two months before you notice any changes—but once they kick in, your body will stay in its normal cycle unless you decide otherwise.

Disadvantages Birth Control Pills

A lot of women use birth control pills to deal with their menstrual cycles. However, these medications aren’t safe or effective for everyone. If you’re using them, it’s important that you discuss all your options with your doctor before picking one out. Some examples of birth control pills include norethindrone/Ethinyl estradiol, norgestimate/Ethinyl estradiol, and ethynodiol diacetate/Ethinyl estradiol. These drugs work by suppressing ovulation and altering cervical mucus so sperm can’t enter your uterus. In some cases, they also make periods heavier and crampier.


We all have different needs when it comes to menstruation. The most important thing is finding products that make your life easier and doing what they say. If you’re trying something new, give it time—don’t let one or two less-than-stellar periods discourage you. Remember, these things are often trial and error, so keep an open mind!



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