The list of period product options feels like it keeps getting longer and longer (and longer). Don’t get us wrong, we’re glad there are so many safe menstrual products out there—but with the ever-expanding list of options, picking the right product for you can sometimes be overwhelming.
If only there was a quick guide to consult for the pros and cons of each period product to help you get a better idea of what might work the best for you and your body. Oh, wait—there is, and lucky you, you’ve found it.
Keep reading to learn more about all your period product options and to get a feel for what product—or a mix of products—is your perfect period pairing.
The Pros and Cons of All Period Products
Tampons and liners and cups—oh my!
We’ve made sure to keep this pro and con list objective to help you figure out your best fit as simply and seamlessly as possible.
Pros and Cons of Tampons
- Easy to find in most stores—widely available
- Small and discreet, can fit into pockets, bags, purses, and other small containers
- When inserted correctly and wearing the proper size, they can be convenient and you can’t feel them
- Available in organic cotton varieties to ensure you’re free of harmful deodorants, chemicals, pesticides, and toxins
- Variety of sizes to best fit your needs
- No visibility
- In most cases, tampons are relatively easy to insert and remove
- Very discreet and easy to change in more public places
- Tampons are single-use items, making them a less sustainable choice than other period products
- It is not recommended to wear tampons overnight
- They can be costly—they average from $4-$9 and are single-use, so the cost can stack up
- Need to be changed every 4-6 hours (or more often) depending on your flow
- There’s a small risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), an infection caused by Staphylococcus Aureus (staph) and Group A Streptococci (strep)
- It can be hard to tell when it’s time to change your tampon, making it difficult to know if you’ve over soaked it
- You cannot have period sex with a tampon in
Pros and Cons of Menstrual Cups
If you’re familiar with JUNE, you’re probably pretty familiar with menstrual cups. Menstrual cups are comfortable, easy-to-use alternatives to traditional menstrual care products like pads and tampons. The cup is inserted into your vagina, forms a seal against your uterus, and collects your menstrual blood seamlessly.
Menstrual Cup Pros:
- They can be worn overnight
Menstrual Cup Cons:
- Every single body is different, which means finding the right menstrual cup fit could be tedious—getting to know your cervix can help you on this journey
- Can have a more expensive upfront cost than other traditional methods (ranging from $6-$30+)
- Cups can have a bit of a comfort learning curve (and maybe a little embarrassing at the start, depending on how you feel) when it comes to cleaning in public places—they do not offer the same discretion in public bathrooms as tampons can
- They require washing and sanitizing between uses and cycles, respectively—so it’s a little more work than a tampon or a pad that you can just toss out
- Can have a learning curve
Pros and Cons of Menstrual Discs
A menstrual disc is another alternative to more traditional period products. A disc, unlike a cup, sits in the vaginal fornix (the widest part of your vagina) whereas a cup is placed in the vaginal canal and forms a seal with your cervix. A disc collects blood like a cup but is kept in place by gravity and positioning, whereas a cup is kept in place by forming a suction-cup seal.
Menstrual Disc Pros:
- A more eco-friendly option compared to tampons and pads (because you can use them for longer, therefore use less of them)—though most are disposable, some brands offer reusable discs
- Because it doesn’t block the vaginal canal, mess-free penetrative sex is possible with little-to-no discomfort for both partners
- When inserted correctly, menstruators should feel no discomfort—it should feel like there’s nothing there
- Discreet wear
- It can be worn (like a cup) for up to 12 hours and hold about 4 tampons worth of fluid (all depending on your flow volume, of course)
- Easy and comfortable to wear during workouts, swimming, sleeping, sex, bowel movements, and more
- When worn correctly, you shouldn’t experience leaking
Menstrual Disc Cons:
Pros and Cons of Period Underwear
Period underwear are a great, comfy option for menstruators who’d prefer to avoid insertion to manage their cycle. There’s a broad variety of menstrual underwear on the market, but ultimately, they’re all designed with the same intent—to absorb up to 1-2 tampons worth of menstrual blood or to be used in conjunction with another period product on heavier flow days.
Period Underwear Pros:
- Discreet wear available in comfortable fits
- Soak up menstrual fluid as well as leaks, discharge, and sweat
- A comfortable option for menstruators who prefer to avoid products that require insertion
- Great options for days leading up to your period as well as backup protection on heavy days
- Thinner than pads and comfortable to move around and travel in
- You can sleep in period underwear
- Little to no TSS risk
- Available in plenty of styles, fits, and types
- Because you can wear them again and again, they’re a great sustainable option
Period Underwear Cons:
- Odor could become an issue depending on the brand
- Changing them out in public places can be less-than-convenient
- There’s a much higher up-front cost to purchasing period underwear
- Rinsing out your period underwear before washing them in the machine can become tedious
Pros and Cons of Pads & Liners
And finally, we get to another traditional product—pads and liners. Pads and liners typically stick to the inside of your underwear and absorb period blood, leaks, and sweat.
Pads & Liner Pros:
- Overnight wear for the win
- Though the disposable pads and liners are not eco-friendly, there are a variety of cloth pads you can use for a more sustainable option
- Almost no risk of TSS
- Available in a wide variety of sizes, thickness, and absorbances to fit every period, stage, and flow
- Can be visible and are not very discreet
- A good option on their own for short amounts of time or in conjunction with another period product for extra support
Pads & Liners Cons:
- Pads & liners can chafe when running or working out
Every period option has its pros and cons, deciding on what works best is totally up to you. Whether you value the convenience of a menstrual cup, the comfort of the perfect pair of period underwear, or a combo of several different options, the only rule about period care is doing what’s most comfortable for you.
Have Questions? We’ve Got Answers
The JUNE team is here to answer all your inquiries—no matter what kind of questions you have. If you’re seeking info on our JUNE products, want to talk to someone directly about what we’re all about, or simply have general menstrual cup questions, we’ve got your back. Reach out to us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re ready (and happy) to help.