Hot take: I prefer pads over any other period management product. That includes tampons, menstrual cups, and period undies.
Why? I feel most comfortable wearing a pad, like my aching vulva is resting on a pillow. A pad offers a layer of security between me and the world when I’m on my period, and the style with wings has saved me many times from leaks. I like checking in on my flow when I go to the bathroom, and it’s super easy to tell when it’s time to change to a fresh one.
While sometimes I feel like I’m the only person in my friend group to use pads, it turns out, pad usage is much more prevalent than I thought. According to Nielsen data, women in America purchase more boxes of pads than tampons annually.* When asked in another survey why they prefer pads, women’s responses mirror my own reasoning:
It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in my penchant for pads. And as they become cooler, more comfortable, and increasingly designed by — gasp! — people who actually get periods, my vagina has been happier in pads than ever before.
I wanted to know more about why other pad users swore by them, and how they really felt about them. So I conducted a survey with people of all different ages who have periods. Here’s what I found.
Why we prefer pads
As I said, pads are and probably always will be my go-to period product. But pads aren’t all created equal, of course. I find it much more enjoyable to wear a cotton pad versus a synthetic, plasticky one—for real, did you know that most pads are made with plastic? Periods are hard enough.
Here’s what my survey respondents had to say about their pad preference:
“I prefer pads to tampons. I prefer them because I find tampons extremely uncomfortable and have never really been able to find a way to make them feel right when inserted. I also feel pain when removing them.” —Anna,19.