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All About Menstruation

Should I Use Tampons or Pads? continued...

Pads are usually self-adhesive and worn inside the underwear. You can find pads for light days, heavy days, and overnight. Change pads at least every four hours to avoid leakage and odor.

It’s important to understand your body as you decide on tampons or pads. Girls who participate in sports may find tampons less bulky and restrictive than pads. Girls are able to swim with tampons. Still, other girls think tampons are uncomfortable and prefer to use pads. It may take a while to find the right product for you.

Whether you choose tampons or pads, keep extras in your school locker or in a side pocket of your purse. Change the tampon or pad more frequently on heavy days to avoid an embarrassing stain on your clothes.

If you ever have trouble taking a tampon out, see your health care practitioner immediately. Tampons should be changed at least every 4 to 8 hours. Use the lowest absorbency tampon you can depending on your flow. Tampon use increases risk for toxic shock syndrome compared to pad use, especially if you don't change tampons frequently enough or use highest absorbency tampons on the lightest flow days. Toxic shock syndrome is a life-threatening disease related to toxins from bacteria.

Is It Normal to Miss a Period?

Many things, such as the stress of exams or an illness like the flu, can cause you to skip a period. Too much exercise and low body weight may also cause the loss of your menstrual period. If you continue to miss your period, be sure to talk to your doctor.

What If I'm 16 and Haven't Yet Started My Period?

If you are age 16 and still have not started your period, talk to your doctor to make sure there are no problems.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood, MD on March 17, 2013

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