After years of using sanitary pads during those days of the month, I have recently just switched to tampons, and it is a story worth reading. I was visiting my brother in the USA and as luck would have it, my vagina decided now would be the perfect time to tell me I wasn’t pregnant. I ran to the nearest store and since I was in a rush, I asked one of the workers there for directions to the aisle where I could find sanitary pads. The expression on his face was of disbelief as though using pads was unheard of till the moment I had asked him about them, after which he proceeded to explain to me the advantages of using a tampon.

If you were to ask me what he said that resulted in the switch to tampons, I would not be able to answer. However, I will say that the way he was openly talking about menstruation was what impressed me the most because in India, I had hardly ever come across a guy who had discussed this topic with me. After a string of questions that he answered with ease. What if I have to pee, would the tampon fall off? What about the string at the end, where is it supposed to go? Not really wanting to disappoint him, I ended up buying a digital tampon (there are two types – digital and applicator).

I walked back home, still feeling unsure of my decision. I would like to say that I got it right the first time but I did not (took me a good 10 minutes in the bathroom) when I finally managed to slip it in. And even then, I found it difficult to insert them the first few times. In a really long time, I was able to sleep on my stomach like I always do when I don’t have my period. When you start using tampons, the first question that comes to mind is – should I go digital or opt for an applicator tampon.

Tampons are cylindrical in shape and you will find that they come with a connected string which allows for easy removal. Sometimes you will find that tampons come with an applicator that makes it insert the tampon into your vagina with greater ease. Tampons that do not come with an applicator are called digital tampons. Those who are easily grossed by anything will appreciate the maker of applicator tampon which is similar to a syringe-like tube through which the tampon is pushed into the vagina. Those who have no problem inserting a tampon into your vagina with your fingers will find that digital tampons are easier because you know what you’re doing. When you have to use an applicator to insert the tampon, you don’t really have much control as opposed to when you use a digital one since you’re the one guiding it in. Personally, I am on team ‘digital’ because they are smaller to carry and even though it takes a while to get the hang of it, once you do, you’ll find that it is the second best thing for a woman when she is on her period (the first would be chocolates).

I realized that all this time, I had it wrong, the wings I needed were not the ones on the sanitary pads but were the ones that left me feeling liberated which is what I got from using a tampon. In my group of friends, I was the first one to make the switch to tampons and since then I have managed to convince three of my friends to walk to the other side. If you are wondering whether you should switch to tampons, you need to understand that it should not be a decision you have been forced into because it will lead to discomfort during your period. But if you take part in sports and swimming activities, tampons will act as a lifesaver.

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