There is a bloody war going on between tampons and pads. Whose side are you on?
When I got my first period at the tender age of twelve, I ran to our maid for help. I hid in the bathroom while she went to the nearby store for a pack of sanitary napkins. Pads.
In the Philippines, pads are *it*. Tampons were uncommon, and carried the ridiculous stigma that only non-virgins wore them. So for eight years, I wore nothing but pads during my “red birthdays”.
Pads were a conundrum to me most of the time. They were cumbersome, and the wings rarely worked like they were supposed to. It was a common occurrence for high school girls to experience something called “lapos” or “tagos”, which is basically flow so heavy that we get red spots on our skirts. It was embarrassing, and I’ve known a number of girls including myself who have retreated to the safety of the school clinic until our parents could come fetch us or bring us a new skirt to change into.
Then I moved to the US and was introduced to tampons. I was wary of the contraption. I did not like the idea of sticking a foreign object down there and letting it stay there for hours. But I gave it a try, and I haven’t looked back since. To me, tampons were relatively more sanitary (during wear and upon disposal) as compared to pads.
There are times when I would mix and match. During the first few days of a period when the flow is super heavy, I would often double up–a Kotex S+ tampon with Always ultra thin overnight maxi pad, changing the tampon every few hours to avoid leakage. Eventually, I would stop using the pad and switch to a smaller-sized tampon, gradually weaning off to just panty liners.