I’ve got my period. What should I do?

Sexuality   ›   Puberty  ›   I’ve got my period. What should I do?

If you have your period, it's important to find the protection that you are most comfortable with and that works best for you. Here we’ll explain the different types of protection that are available to help you feel as comfortable as possible during your period.

There are different types of menstrual hygiene products to help you feel more comfortable. What’s important is to find the one that you are most comfortable with. You may also choose a type of protection based on your activities. For example, if you go to the pool, you can’t swim with a sanitary pad, but you can use a tampon or a menstrual cup. Menstruation is 100% normal. There is no need to be embarrassed if you need to ask your parents questions or to buy you hygiene products.


Here are the different types of protection and how to use them:


Sanitary Pads

There are different types of pads for light, medium, or heavy flows. If you want, you can use thinner pads at the beginning and at the end of your period, and thicker pads when your flow is heavier. There are both disposable pads and reusable ones made of cloth that can be washed and worn again. For disposable pads, peel off the paper strip of the bottom and stick the pad to the crotch of your underwear. You can change your pad every 4 to 6 hours once you see that a lot of blood has accumulated or if you feel discomfort.



Tampons are inserted into the vagina with either a finger or an applicator. The plastic or cardboard applicator works the same way a syringe does. Insert it gently into your vagina and push the plunger of the applicator into the larger part of the tube, where the tampon is. The plunger will push the tampon upwards, and make it exit the tube to place itself in your vagina. Once this is done, remove the empty applicator. When it starts to feel humid, your tampon is full and needs to be changed. To do so, pull the cord that is attached to the tampon and then throw it away.


When it’s your first time, it's normal to be unsure of how to insert a tampon! It can help to look at the instructions that are provided in the box. You can also ask for help from a close friend, a parent, or a health professional.


Important! You must change your tampon every 4 to 6 hours, even if your period is light! If you don’t, bacteria can develop and cause what is called toxic shock syndrome which is a serious infection.


Menstrual Cup

Like a tampon, a menstrual cup is inserted into your vagina. They are small silicone or rubber receptacles that can be washed and reused. They require a little more handling than other types of protection and it’s totally normal for it to take several tries before getting used to one. Menstrual cups have to be emptied every 8 to 12 hours and washed well with soap after every use. They need to be changed less often and are more hygienic than pads or tampons. As a bonus, they’re also more eco-friendly than disposable products.


Period Underwear

Period underwear are ones that are designed to absorb menstrual blood. They are so absorbent that you don’t need to wear a tampon or a menstrual cup with them. You can choose the type and style that’s best for you. Like any other underwear, they can be washed and worn again, making them an eco-friendly alternative to disposable products.


As you can see, there are many types of protection to choose from. The important thing is to choose the one that works best for you! If you need to, get advice from a loved one, a pharmacist, or any other health care professional.