Ladies, we know that certain times of the month can make exercising harder. Thank goodness for the inventor of tampons, though, because they make life much easier when you’re doing active things.
But did you know there are different types of tampons? We’re not talking different sizes or brands. We mean sport tampons vs regular tampons.
Depending on your flow and your level of exercise, you may be interested in switching to one specifically designed to last through vigorous activity.
Here’s a bit of info to help you choose the right one for your needs!
What to Keep In Mind When Choosing a Tampon
Unfortunately, some ladies may need a bit of trial and error to find the right product for them.
Tampons come in different shapes, thicknesses, and absorbency levels, so you may need to do a bit of experimenting before you find the right one for you.
If you’re new to tampons or your current brand isn’t quite working for you, we advise testing a variety of brands and absorbency levels to find what feels and works best.
Keep in mind that just because you have a heavy flow, it doesn’t mean that any high-absorbency tampon will work for you.
If your current choice isn’t doing what it should, it could simply be a case of choosing one of a slightly different shape rather than absorbency.
What to Know if You’re New to Tampons
If you’ve never used a tampon before, we advise starting with a light one. Different brands use different terminology, things like “light”, “junior”, or “slim”.
Even if your flow is heavy, we recommend starting with these and doubling up with a sanitary pad. Their slimmer profile makes them easier to insert if you aren’t used to the motion.
Once you’ve got used to the feeling and how to use them, you can decide if you want to switch to a different one.
What Can I Do If Your Flow Changes Throughout Your Cycle
Changes in your flow are quite normal. Usually, the first two days are the heaviest and it gets lighter as the days go.
There’s nothing wrong with keeping more than one type or absorbency of tampon in your bathroom cupboard.
If your first few days are heavy and uncomfortable, use a tampon specifically designed to be highly absorbent. As the days go by, you can switch to lighter ones.
In fact, when your flow lightens, wearing tampons designed for heavy flows can actually be quite uncomfortable. As the flow lessens, you may find that inserting and removing the tampon becomes painful and difficult as it’s just not lubricated enough!
With that in mind, using more than one size or absorbency is a good idea to keep you covered and comfortable.
What to Consider If You’re Active
Movement of the lower body naturally increases the chance of leaking. So if you’re exercising hard while you’re on your period, chances are higher of having an accident.
You can buy specially-designed “active” tampons for use during vigorous activity. These have specific features that are meant to make wearing them more comfortable and reduce your chances of leaking.
It’s worth keeping in mind, though, that you don’t necessarily need fancy tampons to be able to run or exercise comfortably!
If you don’t have issues with your regular tampons on your heaviest days, then you should get along just fine wearing your usual ones while you’re exercising.
If you are worried about leaking, you can always double up with a sanitary pad for an extra layer of protection. We do advise not wearing white or light-colored pants when you’re on your period, just to be safe!
The one occasion on which we do recommend trying a special active tampon is when you’re swimming.
In these cases, you can’t just wear a cautionary pad, so a more robust tampon could be helpful.
What’s the Difference Between ‘Active’ Tampons and Regular Tampons?
“Active” tampons are designed specifically to be used during high-activity times. Many brands have a sport tampon option, and these have various features that are intended to make wearing them easier and leaking less likely.
For example, Playtex Sport Tampons are said to expand 360-degrees, staying comfortable while still being leak-proof.
Other features you’ll find on other brands include things like leak-guard protection on the actual tampon or on the string, or other expansion technology to cover more surface area and provide better protection.
These can definitely help if you find that your flow tends to be heavier when you’re doing an intense run or vigorous exercise.
If you find that they work well for you, you can also wear them just in everyday life – they’re not exclusively reserved for sports.
Alternatives to Tampons
Tampons are extremely handy if you’re active. Sanitary pads just don’t quite cover you when you’re doing hectic workouts or running for miles.
But, tampons may not be the optimal choice for everyone. Here are a couple more great options if you’re interested in finding an alternative to tampons.
Menstrual discs are low-profile and, as their name suggests, in disc form rather than long and thin like a tampon.
They’re the least commonly used of the various options, but they’re a good option if you’re looking for something really unobtrusive and with a very low risk of leaking.
They can be a tad difficult to insert if you’ve never used them before. It may take a few tries before you figure it out, so prepare for a few wasted discs when you’re first switching to this option!
But once you have it in the right place, you should be able to wear it for up to 12 hours, comfortably and without leakage.
You’ll also need a bit of practice removing it before you can do it smoothly enough to remove it in a public place!
Removing a menstrual disc can be a messy affair because any slight tip of the disc can spill the contents. Because of where you’re removing it from (further back than regular tampons) it can be hard to not accidentally tip it.
Take note that they’re not reusable. You’ll need to throw them away in a bin once you’ve used them, so they’re pretty much on par with tampons in an eco-friendly sense.
Here are some excellent options if you want to give menstrual discs a try:
Menstrual cups have become popular thanks to their ease of use and eco-friendliness. The beauty of a menstrual cup is that it’s reusable.
Before you go “eeeuw”, let’s just mention that it’s made of medical-grade silicone and you’ll be washing it every time you change it, as well as sterilizing it on a regular basis, so there’s nothing to worry about!
The cup sits just below the cervix, and can be left in for between 6 and 12 hours depending on how heavy your flow is.
It may also take a bit of practice before you can insert, remove, and empty the cup easily. It’s worth sticking to what you know when you’re out in public places until you’re very comfortable with the process.
Here are some that we recommend if you want to try a menstrual cup:
- Saalt Menstrual Cup
- Lena Menstrual Cup
- DivaCup Menstrual Cup
- Dutchess Menstrual Cups Set of 2
- EcoBlossom Menstrual Cups Set of 2
- Pixie Menstrual Cup – for every one purchased, one is given to a woman in need
Important note! Both menstrual cups and menstrual discs are mostly made of silicone or latex materials. If you have an allergy to either of these, please check very carefully before buying and using one.
Tampon Tribe has silicone- and latex-free menstrual cups which should be safe for everyone to use – including vegans!