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©June 2003

Carol Jane Remsburg



The Period Wars







**This is strictly a women's only topic, so men, kindly butt OUT—or you have have wished you had.**


Today's topic is of the age-old dilemma of menstruation and women's needs and such.  Okay, it's a pain, it's a bother, and sometimes our hormones run wild like a stampeding herd of—"fill in the blank."  (If you even thought I'd say "herd of cattle", then think again).  Women aren't cattle so we won't go there.  However, this topic deals more in just how we deal with our monthly visitor, so heads up all 'round.


There are early bloomers and late bloomers and once we become women we are vexed every afterwards.  Me, I wanted my period to finally arrive so I wouldn't feel like I was some kind of freak.  I had two older sisters and they had theirs and I didn't and I was getting worried.  One time I even got excited at aged 11 when I somehow managed a 'toilet paper' cut and thought I'd gotten my period.  I cried for hours in my pillow.  No amount of comfort by my mother helped.  The jeering of my sisters made it worse, but then, they already knew how it was.  They had to laugh, and why wouldn't they?


Having your period is nothing to sneeze at.  Call it what you will, the curse, a period, the little visitor, or any number of names, it's always unwelcome—AFTER the first time—that is unless, of course, you are hoping NOT to be pregnant and have been sexually active.  THEN you want to go gusher just to be SURE you cannot possibly be pregnant.  But that's not the issue here, this is about the everyday humdrum, God, it's coming again time and how we manage it.


When we're young it's not terribly bad, mostly just inconvenient.  There's a light cramping if we are paying attention and if it's summer, back in the day, you DARE not go swimming.  It simply wasn't done.  You'd lie in the sun, and burn, and swear to your friends you didn't feel like swimming just now, but your best friend knew because you already told her.  She was there to back you up, and if she was a really GOOD friend, she didn't swim either.


All that matters naught.


This is about how we deal with it—tampons or pads.  What kind?  What works best?  And who can tell you if you don't know.


Well, if you don't, I can.


After 30 years with 'the curse,' I can finally give a valid opinion.  Okay, for maybe like the first 16 years I didn't go anywhere NEAR a pad.  It was simply too—EWW!  That was in the 1970s and I was young and didn't have issues that came later.  A light and infrequent flow only needs a tampon—which we NEVER called a 'tampon'—its true name.  It was a Tampax®.  There's a reason for that because while there are many different brand names for tampons—Tampax® always will be the best of the best.  Go ahead, try others, I have.  You will be disappointed because the reasons are many.  Even the special 'women's tampon designed by a woman OB-GYN' is awkward and messy.  Tampax provides great protection with a pull cord and not a string-thread you have to, ahem, damn near dig to find. 


And my Tampax® always worked fine for most of my needs because for years I was on "The Pill" and for those it works for, like me, it's a godsend.  The period was like clockwork—arrives within the appointed hour—is minimal and lasts 5 days.  Bingo, it's over, you are done.  That was my life up until my first pregnancy which didn't come to fruition.  Then I discovered pads.  I had to have them—even later after the miscarriage and I was back on the pill.


The aged standard of Kotex® that our mothers used to use with the long ends for the belts they used to wear (and if you don't know about them, it's true—pads used to be secured by belts with extensions that the long ends of the pads would connect to).  Can you say EWW?  I can.


Anyway, Kotex® was considered old-fashioned even when they had all the new stuff.  They were you GRANDMOTHER'S protection.  Thus, most of us opted for either Stayfree® or Always-with-wings®.  You know I went with the Always®--and they were, okay.  The 'wings' were a pain-in-the-ass and they didn't always perform as they should on a heavy flow even if you'd bought for that heavy flow.  Then I tried the Stayfree® and they did a bit better, but not much. 


Still, after the miscarriage, I went back to the pill for a while.  Hubby was not ready to try for children again.  So, me and the pill were happy and life was good.  I stayed with my Tampax® never realizing there were so many other brands until later.  Curiosity does get to you, so does coupon clipping.


Finally at aged 30, I had our daughter.  She was to be our only child.  Shortly afterwards I had a tubal ligation because I knew that one would be all we could handle child-wise.  I had ZERO idea about what "tubal ligation" really meant to me as a woman.  Remember I'd spent most of my female adult life on the pill, periods were not even a nuisance.  The combination of age (booger that) and the surgery changed everything.  Suddenly I had periods and mood swings but they didn't swoop down and arrive like Armageddon at first, no, they creeped up and grew in intensity. 


Then one day, I'm strolling along, knowing that it's soon, but not yet time.  It felt like someone turned on the faucet.  No, not the kitchen faucet—the TUB nozzle.  It felt like the Hoover Dam let go.  I stopped in my tracks, totally unprepared—meaning NOT AT HOME and hoping like hell I've got something in my purse to stop the flow until I can get home—like in about 2 minutes.  That was when I learned that StayFree®, Always®, and storebrand stuff don't make it in feminie hygiene.  Go ahead and buy the no-name brand peas—but DO NOT buy 'store brand' ANYTHING in tampons or pads.  You will be very sorry.  Guess what?  I was.  I was lucky to get home with minimal embarrassment.


I've tried them all.  Kotex® makes the VERY best pads, secure, absorbent, and comfortable—but they SUCK for tampons.  Tampax® makes the only tampon I would ever trust—and they HOLD like others don't and give you something to grab for.  And for those of us who need BOTH at the same time.


So I'm here to tell you what your mother did.  Ignore her warnings if you have to, but listen up and KNOW the rule—Kotex® is for pads, Tampax® is for tampons.  Don't screw it up.  If your budget it tight, buy store brand toilet paper and paper towels and limpid canned peas and anything else you have to BUTthis is ONE area that isn't a luxury.  This is all about protection.  Go with the best and you won't ruin your clothes or your self-esteem.


*******(The above was NOT endorsed nor a paid sponsorship by either Tampax® or Kotex®--wish it was).



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