Pads vs. Period Underwear: Which is Best for Tweens and Teens?

Pads vs. Period Underwear: Which is Best for Tweens and Teens?

Sarah Greenaway
Back to The Tee

Navigating the brave new world of period products when you're new or fairly new to period life can feel overwhelming - for girls and their parents or carers - but understanding the basics can make all the difference.

Knowing the key differences between pads (the go-to choice for girls in the first and early period phase) and period underwear empowers her to make the best choice for her body and lifestyle.

Both options have their perks and quirks, and what works for one person might not for another. So, let's break it down and explore what sets these two period solutions apart.


Sanitary pads and panty liners are one of the most commonly used feminine hygiene products. They are made of absorbent materials like cotton or rayon, are lined with plastic, and they contain an adhesive on the other side that adheres to underwear.

Types of pads

There are many varieties to suit everyone's needs, including:

  • Absorbency: You can find everything from super light pads (panty liners) to ultra-absorbent maxi-pads or overnight pads.
  • Length: Pads come in different sizes, ranging from XS to XL. Many pads come with “wings” that wrap around the bottom of her underwear to stay securely in place. We stock Libra Girl, a range that's especially made for the needs and stature of adolescent girls.
  • Scent: Some pads come in different scents to help mask the odor of menstrual fluid.
  • Material: Options include organic cotton and reusable pads for those with sensitive skin or those looking to reduce plastic waste.

How long can she wear a pad for?

A pad can be left in her underwear for 3-4 hours but should be changed more often for heavier flows to prevent leaks and odour.

  • Pad Benefits

    • Comfortable: Pads are applied to underwear, so there's nothing inserted into the vagina.
    • Easy to use: They don’t have a learning curve. Simply apply and go.
    • Low maintenance: Disposable pads don’t require cleaning—just wrap up and throw away.
    • Variety: Different types for different needs during her cycle.
    • Backup use: Pads can be used alongside other menstrual products for added protection.
  • Pad Considerations

    • Can feel bulky, especially super absorbent ones.
    • Higher risk of leaks as they may move out of place.
    • Not suitable for swimming or intense activities.
    • Requires frequent changes to avoid odour.
    • Less environmentally friendly as they are single-use.
    • Regular purchases needed, impacting budget.

Period Underwear

Period underwear is like her everyday underwear but made with extra layers of absorbent material in the crotch area, and they can be washed and worn again each cycle.

Types of period underwear

Different styles cater to various needs:

  • Absorbencies: Light to heavy.
  • Materials: Moisture-wicking and antimicrobial fabrics.
  • Styles: From bikini cut to "boy shorts" to lacy thongs.
  • Some brands offer reusable pads for additional protection.

How long can she wear a pad for?

Depending on her flow, period underwear can be worn for up to 12 hours. She'll know it’s time to change when they feel slightly damp.

Watch Eltee Sydney Founder & CEO, Sarah, explain the key differences.

  • Period Underwear Benefits

    • Comfortable: No bulk from pads and nothing is inserted.
    • Easy to use: Effortlessly put on like regular underwear.
    • Long-lasting: They don’t need to be changed frequently.
    • Versatile: Can be worn anytime without discomfort, even when not bleeding.
    • Backup use: Can be paired with tampons or cups for extra protection.
    • Swimming: Special period swim undies work great under swimsuits.
    • Eco and budget-friendly: Reusable, reducing waste and frequent purchases.
  • Period Underwear Considerations

    • Treat them with care and they'll reward you: Period underwear needs proper washing and care to keep clean and durable. The process is simple (details below), but it's not as easy as discarding a pad after each use.
    • Stay below capacity: She'll get more than double the time in period underwear compared to a regular pad, but they will start to smell if they reach full capacity and are exposed to air. She should change her period underwear at least every 12 hours regardless of absorption to avoid bacteria build-up and odours.
    • Change o'clock: If she’s at school or away from home for a long time, she might need to change her period underwear. Since early period flow can be unpredictable, it's wise to carry an extra pair and a wet bag (like our Stash Bag) or a plastic bag for the used pair. More on period underwear care here.

Confidence, Comfort, and Convenience

Periods can feel like a daunting topic, but getting comfortable with managing them can make a world of difference in her daily life.

Enter period underwear: the modern-day superhero for that time of the month.

Our innovative period wear is designed to be as comfy as her favourite pair but with our extra absorbent layers that handle her flow effortlessly.

Ditch the fear and embrace the convenience and worry-free experience that our period underwear delivers for tween and teen girls who are adapting to their new normal. ✨🤸‍♀️