Menstruation is a natural body process that all women have to go through once a month. Many hate the idea of it and find them horrible, but it should really be seen as a wonderful thing as it is part of what allows humans to bring new life into the world.
Some women really struggle with periods. Many can get awful cramps and have very heavy flows. It can be a difficult decision knowing whether to use tampons or pads when you’re on your period, and how long is a safe and hygienic amount of time to wear them before having to change.
This article will answer frequently asked questions about period products and how long you can and should wear them for.
What Happens When You Wear a Pad Too Long?
If you wear a used pad for too long it can lead to a rash forming on your skin, and can cause there to be an unpleasant odour, general irritation, and make you feel uncomfortable.
It can also lead to slightly more serious issues such as urinary tract infections and yeast infections. These are not pleasant things to have to deal with, and so it is best to try and avoid them by changing your pad regularly.
It is therefore recommended to change your pad roughly every 6 hours if your flow is light or moderate. Then, if your flow is heavier you may need to change it more often, such as every 4 hours.
Can You Wear Two Pads at Once?
You may not have thought of this little hack before, or ever even realised it was possible, but you can actually wear two pads at once. This is great for at the start of your period when your flow tends to be heavier and can help you avoid any embarrassment, as if you have two pads then it is very unlikely for anything to leak through.
Wearing two pads is also a great idea for if you are going to be out somewhere for a long time, as it means you can quickly take one off when you need to, and there is another one there ready for you so you don’t need to go through the hassle of applying a whole new pad.
Can You Sleep in a Tampon?
It is perfectly safe to sleep with a tampon in; however, it is best to make sure you aren’t wearing the same one for more than 8 hours. Put a fresh one on just before you go to bed, and then if your usual sleeping pattern is 8 hours or so then you’ll be perfectly fine to wait until the morning to change. Also, it is best to wear low absorbent tampons when you are sleeping with one in.
However, if you usually sleep for longer than 8 hours, or if your sleep pattern is unpredictable, then either set an alarm to make you get up and change it, or wear a pad to bed instead.
Whilst you should still change a pad every 8 hours at the maximum, pads have a lower risk of toxic shock syndrome than tampons do, so it is a safer bet if you are worried you might not be able to change it after 8 hours.
Can You Get Toxic Shock Syndrome from a Pad?
There are always scary stories posted online and on social media about toxic shock syndrome, but can you really get it from wearing a pad?
Toxic shock syndrome most commonly happens when wearing a tampon for over 8 hours. It is caused by a strain of bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus and it causes you to get a sudden very high fever along with vomiting, diarrhea and dizziness. Collapsing is another common symptom of toxic shock syndrome.
Whilst it is more common to happen with a tampon than it is with a pad, the actual cause of toxic shock syndrome is the bacteria, not the tampon itself. Therefore, it is still possible to get toxic shock syndrome from a pad.
As long as you are safe and hygienic then you have nothing to worry about.
How Long Should You Wear a Tampon?
Simply put, the maximum amount of time you can wear a tampon for is 8 hours. This is great for if you have a light or moderate flow, as you can change it whenever you feel like it (such as if you start to feel uncomfortable) up to 8 hours. However, if you have a heavier flow then you are best off changing it every 4 hours or so.
Additionally, the more absorbent the tampon is, the less amount of time you should have it in for. If you are wearing a tampon of maximum absorbance, then it is recommended to change it after 6 hours maximum.
How Often Should You Change Your Tampon?
The question above basically covers this question. You can change your tampon as often as you want to as long as it is within 8 hours. The heavier your period and the higher the tampon’s absorbency, the more often you should change your tampon.
Can You Wear a Pad For 12 Hours? Can you keep a pad on all night?
There is no guarantee what will happen if you leave your pad in for 12 hours. Some people might be absolutely fine, especially if their period is extremely light or if it is right at the end of their period. However, it is recommended not to leave your pad on for this length of time, and you really shouldn’t leave it on for longer than the suggested 8 hours.
The longer you leave the pad on the smellier it will get, the less hygienic it is, and the more chance there is for harmful bacteria to build up which will increase your risk of toxic shock syndrome.
If you really need a solution for when you are going to be out or unable to change your pad, then wear two pads. Then, all you need to do is make sure you get a moment at some point to take off the top one before it goes past 8 hours, and the second one is already applied and ready.