Tampon sizes

Knowing the right tampon size to use and paying attention to your menstrual flow during your period is very important because it can affect your health. If you have a menstrual flow that is too heavy, it could mean that you may have some medical conditions or other health issues.

If your period is too heavy, it is best to see your gynecologist or your health care provider so they can properly assess your medical situation. On your visit to your doctor, you may also ask for a suggestion on which tampon size is good for you if you are still uncertain of which tampon sizes work best for you.

Do Tampon Sizes Matter?

Tampons come in various sizes to fit your menstrual flow needs, from light period to heavy flow. Tampon sizes are available in Light absorbency, Regular absorbency, and other absorbencies such as Super, Super Plus, and Ultra. Using the right tampon size is essential as it can affect your health and also offer you the proper protection against leakage.

Choosing the right size tampon is important, and the safest to use to manage the flow is the one with the lowest absorbency. When choosing the right tampon size, it is always about selecting the right absorbency, which depends on how much fluid is going to be absorbed and is not about the size of the body.

For a heavy flow, a bigger size tampon would be best to use, while a lighter one may require a smaller size. It is normal to use tampons of different sizes throughout your period because the flow changes. Heavy flow usually occurs from the first to the third day of your period then it lightens as the cycle ends. A normal period cycle lasts for about 3 to 7 days. Some women can have an irregular period cycle, which is also not unusual.

Tampons with regular absorbency are the common ones used by women. However, if you are still unsure about which among the tampon sizes work well with you, you may start using tampons of the smallest size, which is the one with light absorbency. From there, observe how it is working for you.

If after only a few hours and it starts to leak, try using tampons of the next size up. But if it feels uncomfortable when you change, use tampons that are a size down. Depending on the flow, some women use tampons with a higher absorbency first or the regular ones and then switch to a tampon with a lighter absorbency as the period cycle comes to an end.

Which Size of Tampon Works Best?

Some manufacturers offer multi-pack tampons, which have different sizes and come in various absorbencies such as light, regular, super, super plush, and ultra. Owning this type of tampon pack will surely protect you during your periods.

If you are the type who typically uses pads during your periods and suddenly considers shifting to tampons, you may want to try a tampon that would be easy to insert and remove. For a first-time user, you may consider using the one with the light absorbency because it is easy to insert as well as to remove, and at the same time, it is smooth and slender too.

Choose the right tampon size, especially if you are a first-time user so that you would still feel as comfortable as you are using pads. The size of the tampon is not about the size of the vagina or the body, nor about your previous experience with tampons. Instead, it is about absorbency and the amount of blood that it can absorb in relation to your period.

To find out if the tampon that you are using is managing the fluid, check if it can hold the fluid absorption for about 4 to 6 hours. If after 6 hours and you find that there are some “white” still showing or if it is not making you comfortable due to a dryness feel, try using a size down. However, if in under 4 hours, you feel that the tampon is already filled or is overflowing, then you may consider changing to a bigger size.

Most brands have leak guards to provide protection against leaks, so this gives you peace of mind from the risk of getting blood stains on your clothes or other fabrics. But you have to keep in mind that within four to eight hours, you need to change your tampons and whether it is filled or not, you have to change it after 8 hours for hygiene purposes.

Always remember to change your tampon every 3 to 6 times daily to maintain healthy hygiene. Also, be mindful of your flow during your period because if the flow is too heavy, you may be suffering from menorrhagia that could lead to anemia. If you lose a lot of blood during your menstrual cycle, your body may not be able to quickly produce new blood cells. When this happens, you get the risk of developing anemia, which gives a low blood count.

When you have anemia, you may experience dizziness, fatigue, and headache. And this health condition may also impact your brain function, which is why you need to seek help from your medical provider so that you can get the proper treatment. Be mindful of your heavy flow and visit your doctor if you feel that your period is not normal.

Tampon Sizes and Tampon Absorbency Based on the Menstrual Flow

Because menstrual flow does not remain the same during a woman’s period, they may change the size of their tampons a few times in one cycle. For example, during a light flow that usually occurs from the fourth day to the seventh day, a lower absorbency tampon may be needed. But for the 1st to 3rd days where the flow is heavy, you may need a higher absorbency tampon such as ultra or a super plus.

For flow that is light to moderate, light or regular size tampon is something you need while for a moderate flow, you can manage by using regular, super absorbency tampons to protect you from leaks. Flow for moderate to heavy periods may require you to use super or super plus tampon sizes.

One of the reasons why tampon users should know about the right size of the tampon to use is that it has different absorbency levels. It means some absorb more fluids than others. Therefore, if you are using the right size, you have the right protection against leaks.

To prevent toxic shock syndrome or TSS, the use of a lighter tampon is recommended. Toxic shock syndrome is a serious health situation that occurs due to infection caused by bacteria. It happens when the staphylococcus aureus(a type of bacteria) enters the bloodstream and creates toxins. This condition has been associated with the use of super-absorbent tampons. TSS is rare but is something that women who use tampons should be careful of. As soon as you experience some symptoms or you notice any sign of it, see your gynecologist right away so you can be treated promptly.

Tampons usually come in the same length though some manufacturers may have slightly short sizes. These types of tampons are typically designed for those on the go or traveling because it is more convenient to carry. While some tampons are shorter, others can be wider based on the absorbencies.

Light-sized tampons may have a smaller width, while ultra or super can be either thicker or wider. If you are not sure about the thickness or the length of the tampon, you can always check the back or the side of the box to learn more.

Users of tampons or those who frequently use them are aware that there are sports or active tampons. These kinds of tampons are intended for women who engage in sports or are simply active during their periods. This type of tampon is also sometimes used by women who simply want to be sure that they are protected from leakage.

Tampons are also available with different kinds of applicators, such as a plastic applicator, extended applicator, cardboard applicator, and digital tampons. The plastic one is for those who prefer an easy insertion and this type is also comfortable. However, this material is expensive which makes it more costly than the other kinds of applicators.

Extended applicators, on the other hand, are perfect for travel as they are discreet. While the cardboard version is produced using cardboard that is rigid making the insertion a little uncomfortable. This type though is cheaper than the plastic applicator.

If you do not want to deal with applicators, there is a digital tampon that does not use one. All you need to do is simply push the tampon in the vagina using your finger. As for the debate on whether scented tampons are good to use or not, most doctors say that since the vagina cleans itself, there is no need for the scented ones.


Stefanie is the owner of ThankYourSkin. A self-proclaimed beauty and skincare junkie, she is all about helping people find the best products for their skin.

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