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Drawing of a menstrual cup, menstrual pad, tampon and underwear in a circle against a beige background.

The Complete Period Products Comparison Guide

You might not realize it, but you’ve got serious options when it comes to period care products. Unlike generations before us, there are numerous ways to stay comfortable and protected no matter what your period brings. 

Your schedule of activities shouldn’t change just because you have your period. There’s a period care product that can keep you confident and protected no matter what you have planned. Let’s talk about all the options you have and how they compare to one another. 


You started with them and they’re familiar. Sanitary pads are the true OG’s of period care, dating back to tenth century ancient Greece. Sanitary pads have evolved over the centuries, but are still such an effective method of completely non-invasive period care they are still a solid go-to option for many users. 

Pads usually have an adhesive backing that sticks inside your underwear. The other side is made with layers of absorbent material (usually cotton) that collect your flow. Depending on the size of the pad, they can be worn six hours or longer.

Who Can Use Them

If you are menstruating, you can use a pad. They don’t require any skill, are not inserted into the vagina, and are easy to place and remove. 

Pads are a great option for first timers and young users as well as older users who experience vaginal dryness and sensitivity during their cycles. 

Benefits of Using Pads

Even if you haven’t used a pad in decades, there are some serious benefits to keeping them on hand.

  • Pads work when other methods don’t. If you are sensitive during your period or uncomfortable with a tampon or cup, pads easily replace them.
  • You can use a pad by itself, or as a double layer of protection with a tampon or cup during the night or during heavy days.
  • Pads are available in both reusable and disposable versions, so you can choose the option that best fits your lifestyle. 
  • Pads are available in numerous sizes, so you can adjust your size according to flow. 

Things to Consider When Using Pads

Pads are great, but there are certain things you’ll need to consider when you wear them. 

  • Pads need to be changed when they are full, otherwise they can leak. Pads usually last between four to six hours.
  • You can’t wear a pad during some activities, like swimming. Additionally, if you are involved in an activity that requires a lot of moving around, it’s possible a pad could shift from its original placement and end up out of place. 
  • Some users find pads to be bulky and uncomfortable. Rael’s pads are designed with a super-absorbent, organic cotton core to ensure more protection without the bulk. 


At some point during the first few years of your period, you probably switched from using pads to tampons. Tampons are convenient, comfortable, and allow you to enjoy more of the activities you love, even if you’re on your period. 

Tampons work by absorbing your flow from inside your vagina. They consist of an absorbent cotton core that expands until it is full and is then removed. 

Who Can Use Them

Tampons can be used by anyone who is menstruating, but normally they aren’t recommended for first timers. It can take a few tries to get used to inserting a tampon, and many young users feel more comfortable with a pad. Tampons are also not a good option immediately after giving birth.

Tampons are great for users who are physically active, or who do not enjoy using pads. 

Benefits of Using Tampons

Tampons are ideal for many users. Even if you’re a menstrual cup purist, it’s a great idea to keep a few tampons on hand.

  • Tampons are comfortable. You can’t feel a tampon once it has been inserted.
  • You can participate in any activity while wearing a tampon, including swimming. 
  • Flushable. When you’re done with your tampon, it can be flushed, unlike a pad, which has to be thrown in the trash. 
  • Discreet. Tampons are smaller and more compact than pads, which makes them easier to conceal. 

Rael’s organic cotton tampons are made with pure ingredients and smooth, BPA-free applicators that ensure a great fit and the best protection. 

Things to Consider When Using Tampons

Tampons allow you a bit more freedom than pads, but there are some facts to consider when using them. 

  • Tampons need to be changed every four to six hours. It isn’t safe to leave a tampon in for a longer period of time. Although the FDA allows tampons to be worn for eight hours, it’s best to take them out sooner to make sure you do not experience a leak. 
  • Tampons, like disposable pads, are single use products. You’ll need to repurchase them each cycle. 
  • Tampons may not be a good option for first time users, people who have just given birth, or people who experience increased vaginal dryness during their monthly cycle. 

Menstrual Cups

The menstrual cup isn’t new, but it has definitely gained new popularity. The cup was invented in the 1930’s, but didn’t catch on as a viable option for period care until much later. 

The cup is a small, flexible silicone device that is inserted into the vagina to collect menstrual flow. The cup can hold menstrual flow for up to 12 hours before it is removed. It is reusable for years with proper care. 

Who Can Use It

Anyone who is menstruating can use the cup; it’s safe and effective for any age, but younger users or women who have not had a baby may need a different size. 

Benefits of Using the Menstrual Cup

You can use a menstrual cup even if you normally use pads and/or tampons. 

  • Reusable. The menstrual cup is one of the most environmentally friendly and cost-effective forms of period care available. With proper care, it can last up to ten years. 
  • Long-lasting. The menstrual cup can be worn for up to 12 hours at a time, which keeps you focused on life with fewer interruptions. 
  • Comfortable. Wearing the menstrual cup is similar to wearing a tampon in that once it is in place, you can’t feel it. 

Things to Consider When Using the Menstrual Cup

Using the cup is a great way to get all day protection, but you’ll need to remember a few simple rules. 

  • Sometimes it can be hard to find a menstrual cup that fits properly. Rael offers three different sizes, making it easy to get a leak-proof fit. 
  • Removing the cup takes a little practice. The first few times you remove it, it’s best to do so in the shower. 
  • Your cup should be cleaned and stored in a protective case when not in use. 

Period Panties

One of the newest options for period care is period underwear. These underwear are designed to look and feel just like your normal, everyday underwear. Period underwear have an absorbent core and waterproof backing that helps them trap and contain menstrual flow. 

Period underwear are a great fit for extra protection without adding bulk, for overnight use, and for light days. 

Who Can Use Them

Anyone can use period underwear, even people who aren’t on their periods! In fact, Rael’s period underwear are so comfortable, you’ll probably end up grabbing them during other times of the month.  

Benefits of Wearing Period Underwear

Period underwear help give you an added layer of protection on heavy days, and just enough coverage on light days. 

  • Period underwear offer chameleon style coverage. On light days, they can be worn alone, on heavy days, they work as a great backup for tampons and pads. 
  • Comfort. Period underwear are supremely comfortable.
  • Reusable or disposable; you decide. Rael offers both reusable period underwear and disposable, so you can customize the type of coverage that works best for you. 

Things to Consider When Wearing Period Underwear

Period underwear offer convenient, comfortable protection. Here’s what you should know about wearing them. 

  • Reusable period underwear that needs to be cleaned will need to be stored in a sealable bag if you’re on the go. 
  • Reusable period underwear are easily cleaned in your washing machine. Disposable period underwear must be placed in the trash. 

Period underwear are growing in popularity among users who typically use tampons, pads, and cups. They’re a convenient way to add a comfortable layer of protection. 

Get Rael

At Rael, we have your period care covered. No matter what type of protection works best for you, we offer it in a natural, chemical-free version that won’t irritate your most sensitive area or put your body at risk. 

Don’t limit yourself to one specific type of period care, try them all. You can build a period care wardrobe that keeps you comfortable and confident depending on your flow and your mood. 


The History of the Sanitary Pad | Femme International 

Menstrual Cup Use and Safety | The Lancet 

The Facts on Tampons—and How to Use Them Safely | FDA 

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