Woman in tampon aisle at store
Research report
30 July 2018

Tampon prices

Our price survey found a marked difference in cost depending on brand and whether you buy online or in store.

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Stewart C.
06 Aug 2018
Menstrual cups! Why the heck didn’t anyone tell me about them back in the 1980s?!

They’ve been in use since the 1960s, and according to European research have never had a case of toxic shock associated with their use. (Or at least they hadn’t back when I started using them 15 years ago.) Annecdotally I know of people who habitually forget to remove them for a couple of days at the end of their cycle … I wouldn’t recommend doing that on a regular basis, but as I said my understanding is that they have been shown to be extremely safe in normal use.

One thing that you don’t get told about tampons and menstrual pads is that they are incredibly good at wicking away moisture. Which would be great if not for the fact that the vagina is meant to be moist. Which is not ideal, and can lead to a whole lot of very unpleasant problems.

I know that menstrual cups don’t work out for everybody (and it does take two or three cycles to work out how long to leave the stem, how best to manage removal and so on), but for most people who use them they can be genuinely lifechanging. Many people (me included) end up with fewer days of bleeding. (No idea why.) Add to the fact that you aren’t generating waste, and that you only replace your menstrual cup every decade or so … seriously, I would never use anything else.

Consumer staff
08 Aug 2018
Re: Menstrual cups! Why the heck didn’t anyone tell me about them back in the 1980s?!

Hi Stewart,

The risk of getting TSS is very small, but the research we’ve seen shows there’s a risk with both menstrual cups as well as tampons. There has been at least one documented case of TSS associated with menstrual cups now, and we’d like to see some more research on the link. It’s really important to use both tampons and cups properly to minimise your risk. With menstrual cups the latest research suggests that sterilising after each use (and having two so you can swap while one is being sterilised) rather than rinsing between use and sterilising after each cycle may reduce the risk of bacteria growing. We came across a lot of feedback from cup users in our research that they’d never go back, so you’re obviously in good company preferring them over other options!

Kind regards,
Tessa - Consumer NZ investigative writer

June M.
05 Aug 2018
Re Useable Pads

Surely this is the cheaper and more eco friendly way to go.
Could you please include a review on these next time

Consumer staff
07 Aug 2018
Re: Re Useable Pads

Hi June, thanks for your feedback. We've passed this on to the writer to consider for next time.

Kind regards, Frank - Consumer NZ staff