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  • Writer's pictureGrace Health

How Often Should I Change My Pad Or Tampon?

This is probably a question you have asked yourself a number of times and more often when you are on your period. Well.., there’s no quick answer to this, since it varies from person to person and also the particular day of your period. For instance, most people lose more period blood in the first two days as compared to the remaining days of their cycle. Although we have a variety of options to choose from that include pads, tampons, cups, and period underwear, each having different rules about how long you can wear them hygienically, in this article, we will be particularly looking at the most commonly used which are pads and tampons.

After how long should I change my pad?

During your periods, pads should be changed as often as necessary. The key is to change it often enough to avoid leaks or discomfort. Or smell. Yes, there’s a period smell too! You will learn when to change your pad based on how comfortable you feel. To do that monitor how full it’s getting during your trips to the toilet, or gauge it by the feels. If your pad feels wet or uncomfortable, change it.

With pad usage, there’s no risk of toxic shock syndrome (We’ll get into that soon) you decide what works for you!

However, since your vulva and pad are located pretty close to your anus, sweat and bacteria, which are usually present, can cause odours if left to sit long enough. Now add period blood to the mix and it only gets worse. Oduor and bacteria are totally normal, but it’s best to keep things as clean and dry as possible down there. This not only helps with smells but also reduces your risk for infections too.

After how long should I change tampons?

For those who use tampons during your period, aim for wearing a tampon that is saturated and needs changing every three to five hours. If it goes a little overboard every four to eight hours to help prevent toxic shock syndrome (TSS). Here’s another tip, always use the lowest absorbency tampon for the amount of menstrual flow you are experiencing on each day of your period. Meaning, using super-absorbency tampons on the lightest day of your period potentially puts you at risk for TSS. It’s easy to think that you will be saving time by having to change your tampon less but it only increases your risks of TSS. Those most at risk for TSS include people under 30, particularly teenagers.

If you start to experience more leaks, then you might need a higher absorbency tampon or perhaps a different method like a menstrual cup which tends to take in more period blood compared to tampons.

Leaks or no leaks it’s always a good idea to not let your tampon stay for too long.

What’s this Toxic Shock Syndrome?

Toxic shock syndrome related to menses (TSS) is a rare but potentially fatal disease caused by two types of bacteria either Staphylococcus aureus or group A Streptococcus. These bacteria are normally found attacking the vagina, and they can grow out of control when a tampon is in place for too long.

The most common symptoms will occur within three days of the start of menses. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of TSS include:

  • Skin changes that look like a sunburn, or redness of the tissue inside the mouth, eyes, or vagina

  • Fever with or without chills

  • Fast heart rate

  • Low blood pressure, which sometimes causes a feeling of dizziness or lightheadedness upon standing after sitting

Is there any way of preventing TSS?

Luckily there are some preventive steps you can take during your period to help prevent TSS:

  1. Always change tampons every four to eight hours.

  2. Use the proper tampon absorbency for your flow.

  3. Alternate tampons and pads during your period; for example, use tampons only during the day and pads at night, if it works for you.

  4. Use tampons only during your menstruation. If you need protection at other times outside your period consider mini pads/ panty liners

In summary

When it comes to pads change them as often as you feel comfortable. For tampons don’t let them exceed 4-8 hours to avoid the risk of TSS. Sometimes it helps to alternate between different methods like tampons and pads when the need arises. But always use the right absorbency based on how much you bleed.

Stay informed, stay in control What is your preferred method? Share in the comments

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