The Ultimate Guide to Tampon Sizes
By: Anika In’t Hout
Depending on what you’ve heard from friends, family, TV commercials or elsewhere, you might think that all periods are created equal and that just any tampon works for every girl. But once you officially join the womanhood club and get your first period, you quickly learn that this is definitely not the case. Fun fact - tampons come in multiple different sizes depending on your flow and not every tampon size will work for you. So let’s just dive right in - how to know your flow, what are the types of tampon sizes and how the heck do you know which one works for you.
First things first, what’s my flow and is it normal?
Your flow is how much fluid leaves your body during your menstruation cycle. If only a little bit of fluid shows up on your panties during the 3 to 7 days of your period, we call this a light flow. But if a lot of fluid comes out of your body during your period to the point where you have to change your pad and/or tampon pretty often, this means your flow is heavy. Every girl is different, but generally speaking, it’s pretty normal for your flow to change throughout your period is heavier for a few days before it gets lighter at the end. Whether you have a heavy period throughout your entire period or it changes over time, the different types of tampon sizes can help you out no matter your flow situation.
What are the types of tampon sizes?
Different brands have different names for their tampon sizes, but generally, there are five different sizes, each good for a specific type of flow. The five types are:
- Junior/slim/light: Perfect for a light flow
- Regular: Perfect for an average flow
- Super: Perfect for a heavy flow
- Super plus: Perfect for a super heavy flow
- Ultra: Perfect for the heaviest flow
How do you know what size tampon you’re buying?
Simple, when shopping for tampons, pick up the box and look at the packaging. From “regular” to “super plus,” it always says on the tampon box what kind of tampon you’re getting. Also, most tampon companies colour-code their products which make them easier to spot so usually, regular tampon boxes have a yellow label, super boxes have a green label, super plus boxes have an orange label and ultra and light boxes have purple labels.
How do I know which size to use?
With multiple sizes to pick from, sometimes it can feel overwhelming to know where to even start. The main thing is tampon sizes have nothing to do with the size of your vagina, and instead are all about how much fluid they can absorb. So, if you have a really heavy flow and are bleeding a lot, then we would recommend starting with a super plus or ultra option. But, on the other end, if your flow is really light or spotty, then slim or light tampons are the best route. If you’re not sure where to start, then your safest bet is trying out some regular tampons and seeing if they work for you.
What are some signs that I’m wearing the wrong size?
So, how can you tell if you’re not wearing the right size tampon? There are actually a handful of ways to tell that you should either go up or down in tampon size. On one hand, if your tampon leaks every few hours and you regularly have to change your pad and/or underwear, then you’ve got a heavy flow and it’s time to go up in tampon size to super plus or ultra. On the other hand, if your tampon is really uncomfortable and painful, your flow might be too light for that kind of tampon and it’s time to go down in tampon size like regular or light.
Do I always have to wear the same size?
No. As your flow will probably change during your period, your tampon size should change too. While you can totally wear the same tampon size throughout your entire period, having multiple tampon sizes handy can make things easier if your flow suddenly gets lighter or heavier. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money buying a bunch of tampon boxes though, you can sometimes get combination boxes that come with 2 or 3 different tampon sizes.
While it can feel a little stressful to know what tampon size to buy, with this guide, now you know the types of tampon sizes, how to know what tampon size you’re getting and how to know what kind of tampon you need depending on your flow.