Managing your period

How can I manage my period?

Pads and tampons can be used to absorb period blood. Both pads and tampons can be bought at the pharmacy or supermarket and come with instructions. It is important to remember to never flush pads or tampons down the toilet; wrap them in toilet paper and put them in the bin.

Once you have your period, it’s a good idea to keep some pads or tampons ready at home and in your school bag or locker. On Day 1, you might only notice a slight brownish stain on your underwear, but some girls start with more, so it is easier to manage if you’re prepared.



These are cotton pads that are worn outside the body and line underpants. As blood comes in contact with air, an unpleasant odour may develop. Daily showers, clean underwear and changing the pad frequently solve this problem.

If your first period starts while you are out and about, and you are not prepared, then you can temporarily make a pad from tissues or toilet paper and put this in your underwear. If you are at school when your first period comes, your teachers and school nurses will be able to help you. They are used to these things happening, so don’t be afraid to ask them even if you are not prepared.



Tampons are made of tightly packed absorbent material (usually cotton) that absorbs the blood flow in the vagina. They come in different sizes and if inserted correctly you can’t feel them and they can’t fall out.

If the menstrual flow is heavy both a tampon and sanitary pad may be needed. Tampons are popular with many girls because they allow you to do everything you normally do, including swimming. It is important to change a tampon every 3 to 4 hours to avoid infections such as toxic shock syndrome (TSS) which is a bacterial infection that can be caused by leaving a tampon in for over 7 hours. For this reason it’s a good idea to use a pad, rather than a tampon, at night. You can also reduce the risk of TSS by not using super (high-absorbency) tampons unless your flow is heavy.

Wash your hands before and after inserting tampons. Handle them as little as possible. Insert the tampon gently. Find a position in which you are comfortable, such as squatting, or sitting on the toilet. Using a hand-held mirror can help you see what you are doing. A tampon won’t slip out if it is placed beyond the muscles at the entrance of the vagina. It can’t get lost inside you either. Remember to leave the string hanging out to make removal easier. Don’t forget to take one tampon out before putting another one in.

Should I choose pads or tampons?

The decision to use pads or tampons or both is a personal preference. There are many different types of pads and tampons and you should find something that you are comfortable using.



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