How Often Should I Change My Pad?
Updated: Dec 26, 2019
With the rise of free bleed period panties, I get this question all the time - Is it safe to sit in my blood all day? Most women know they need to change their tampons at least every 4 hours to lower their risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). But did you know it's also important to change your sanitary pads regularly? While TSS is not a risk when using sanitary pads, the development of bacteria and other microorganisms is. Then there's the issue of personal comfort, and the fact that menstrual blood, once outside the body, takes on an unpleasant odor. Below is a more in-depth look at the risks associated with prolonged use of a single pad, as well as how to prevent any problems. Most underwear are not designed to support a pad which makes blood spill and leak. One of the main features of Ruby Love period apparel is to secure your sanitary pad properly and keep it in place for a quicker easier way to change your pad. The absorbent cotton liner also is a leak guard back up to prevent stains.
Can Sanitary Pads Cause Infection?
Vaginal yeast infections (also known as fungal infections) can occur any time there's excess moisture around the vaginal area. This can happen from something as simple as a woman wearing incorrect underwear, or to not drying off fully after bathing, or – you guessed it – from wearing a dampened sanitary pad for a long period of time.
The same way babies need to be changed to prevent diaper rash (a type of yeast infection), menstruating women need to change their pads frequently to prevent microbial cultivation. Every person body reacts different.
But yeast infections aren't the only potential danger. A range of bacterial infections can develop by allowing the microbes in expelled menstrual blood to accumulate and grow. To prevent all types of infection, make sure you change your pad at least every four hours, even if there's only a small amount of blood on it.
Can Pads be Uncomfortable?
Ruby Love period panties make the pad so comfortable, it feels as if it is not there. I remind everyone all the time - remember to change your pad. Though it is a great feeling that the sanitary pad feels non-existent and is discreet with Ruby Love on, it is also very important to not sit in menstrual blood for so long. Even if an infection doesn't occur, wearing a damp pad will likely cause some skin irritation. Itchy or reddened skin are typical signs of mild dermatological irritation, and – if ignored – can eventually lead to a more severe infections.
Additionally, when not disposed of in a timely manner, soiled sanitary pads will begin to stink. Like any organic matter, menstrual blood effectively 'rots' when outside the body, creating a strong and unpleasant odor. Even pads are only a little dampened will begin to smell after a little while.
So why do some women wear pads longer than they should?
Some women don't like to dispose of a pad that only has a little blood on it, either for financial or environmental reasons. The best way to avoid this is to wear the appropriate thickness according to your flow. Use panty liners or thin pads on your lighter days, changing them more frequently.
If environmental concerns are a factor, consider switching to cotton pads, or even reusable pads. If properly cleaned and maintained, reusable menstrual pads can be a healthy alternative. If you're concerned by the possibility of leakage, wear a cloth pad with a pair of period panties.
If the high cost of sanitary pads is keeping you from changing them frequently, there's help available. While reusable pads will save money in the long run, the cost of laundering them can negate the savings in lower-income homes. However, many support centers for low-income families, such as food pantries, also provide sanitary pads. If you're having trouble covering the cost, don't skimp. Reach out to a local pantry or clinic.
It also helps to remember that treating an infection is far more costly than using a few extra pads.
When it comes to your health, don't take the chance. Change your sanitary pads at least once every four hours to keep yourself safe from infection and discomfort. Your body deserves it.