How often should you change your pad or tampon?




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If you find yourself wondering “How often should I change my pad or tampon?” you are not alone. A number of factors influence how often you should change your period products during your cycle. For example, how heavy your menstrual flow is, whether you are wearing pads, tampons, period underwear or a menstrual cup.

Toxic shock syndrome is a risk that should be considered, depending on the product you are using- as menstrual toxic shock syndrome is only considered a risk with some period products.

How often should I change my pad?

Sanitary pads don’t carry a risk of TSS, so the short answer is; you should change your pad as often as you need to feel comfortable. Once your pad becomes saturated with menstrual blood, you will want to change for comfort, but, also, when period blood meets the air you may find an odor develops.

While TSS isn’t a concern, other infections are, so practicing good hygiene is still important to keep you feeling fresh and free from leaks or moisture all day long.

For hygiene reasons, it’s best to choose an absorbency in accordance to your flow/where you are in your menstrual cycle, with a panty liner or ultra thin pad on lighter days and a heavy pad for heavy flow days or overnight. It’s probably best to change pads every four to six hours roughly, adjust this routine as needed if uncomfortable or to avoid overflow if you have heavy flow.

Are cloth sanitary napkins as absorbent as disposable?

The best pad depends on your day to day lifestyle and preferences. As with disposable pads, there are a wide range of cloth pads available-but fear not, we stock only the best, because we know you need period products you can rely on. You should need to change your pad just as frequently as you would change a disposable. Changing your pads every few hours helps prevent any build up of bacteria that could be harmful to your health.

There are cloth pads out there to suit different absorbencies, everything from light days to very heavy menstrual flow and post partum periods, so the advice is largely the same- pick the right absorbency for you, and replace with a new pad as needed. You won’t be long getting to know your body and how long one pad is likely to last.

How often should I change a tampon?

For safety reasons, it is recommended to change your tampon every 3-5 hours, and not exceed 8 hours at any time- even overnight. If you sleep longer than 8 hours at a time, it’s recommended to use a pad overnight instead , a menstrual cup or period underwear are also safe options and will absorb menstrual blood just as effectively.

Toxic shock syndrome symptoms

Menstrual Toxic shock syndrome is rare but potentially fatal and can result from either Staphylococcus aureus or group A. The bacteria invade the vagina and can develop over time when a tampon remains inside the body for too long.

It’s therefore really important for women’s health that anyone using tampons is familiar with mTSS symptoms. The information is particularly useful in adolescents. Symptoms typically begin within three days after menses begin. TSS symptoms include nausea, diarrhea and muscle cramps.

Should you experience these symptoms, seek professional medical advice immediately.

How to reduce the risk of Toxic shock syndrome

It’s incredibly important to change tampons regularly, every 3-5 hours preferably. Always wear a tampon with appropriate absorbency, using the minimum absorbency to match your flow eg wear lower absorbency tampons for lighter flow days.

Alternating tampons with other menstrual products such as pads or period underwear can also reduce risk. It’s worth noting that tampons must be changed frequently, so aren’t always suitable, for example for overnight or when travelling.

Only wear tampons to absorb menstrual flow; if you require protection at other times of the month, wear other menstrual products such as a panty liner, pad or period underwear to stay dry.

Are menstrual cups better than tampons?

There are few peer reviewed studies looking at the safety and effectiveness of menstrual cups, however it is thought that when used and sterilised properly, these at least carry lower TSS risk than tampons. They are worn inside the vagina so are suitable for swimming just like a tampon- except you won’t have to worry about tampon strings!

You also won’t have to worry about odor, and won’t have to change as frequently as you would a tampon- you can wait up to 12 hours, several hours longer than pads or tampons can offer!

As with anything else, it’s a good idea to allow some time to get used to using a menstrual cup. However, once you know how to insert one, they offer excellent protection. Some of our customers like to wear a light pad to give a little extra protection against leaks. If leaks are happening and the cup isn’t a full, it’s a sign that the positioning isn’t quite right- some tweaking can fix this!

Menstrual cups typically collect a lot more than than the absorbency tampons can boast, and can be worn for several hours between changes- even on the heavy days! These are also an environmentally kind option, as great for the health of the planet as they are to your body!

Do period undies last all day?

Changing your pad can be a bit of a faff, and period pants really revolutionise how you manage your period! These look and feel just like regular underwear, but are incredibly absorbent. Our period pants have as much as three times the absorbency as pads and tampons.

To feel extra fresh on long days, you can wear pads with them- wear a pad on top, then a few hours in this can be removed. This can be a handy trick on the first day of your period when flow is often heavy. Period pants are suitable no matter how heavy your periods are- low absorbency period pants are available for light flow days too.

Choose an absorbency level to match your flow- the advice is similar to that with pads.

How often should I change? Here’s the bottom line.

The frequency of changing is most important for tampons, for health and safety reasons. It is essential that tampons are changed every 3-5 hours, with a maximum of 8 hours. If you find that tampons are not saturated within 8 hours, it’s a sign you need to swap to a lower absorbency.

Other methods of sanitary protection should be changed as often as is required to keep your body fresh and comfortable, and to prevent leaks. As a general rule, you could start with changes every 3-6 hours and adjust this to your needs. 

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