So here’s a little quiz for you:
How often do you change your sanitary pad or tampon?
1. When it leaks or stains
2. When my pad / tampon feels full
3. Every 4-6 hours
I’m pretty sure you answered with option (2) When my pad feels full.
Guess what? Wrong answer!
You should change your pad every 4 to 6 hours, even if it is not full or uncomfortable. If you’re using a tampon, you have to change it every 4 hours.
Yes, it can feel wasteful to change your pads or tampons when they are still not fully used up. Instead of keeping them on for longer periods of time, choose the appropriate thickness according to your flow. Use panty liners or thin pads on your lighter days, changing them more frequently.
If you’re concerned about the environment, try using cotton pads and tampons, or reusable pads. Try a menstrual cup if you’re comfortable with it (but beware that there may be possible adverse effects associated with this method, although the current research is still inconclusive).
First, let’s knock the obvious answers out of the way:
Unpleasant odours: Prevent any chances of unpleasant odours by changing your pad sooner.
Skin irritations: Sitting on a wet menstrual pad can, at the very least, cause irritations and rashes.
If ignored, these odours and irritations can lead to much more serious conditions, such as…
Infections: Prolonged use of tampons and menstrual pads can cause various infections, all of which can be very serious.
Urinary Tract Infection is one of the most common types, with burning sensation and irritation while passing urine. Did you know that urinary infections, if left untreated or when self-medicated, can lead to serious complications and even kidney failure?
Yeast Infection or candidiasis is another kind of infection that can occur in the reproductive tract and urinary tract. This is mostly asymptomatic and can occur in 75% of women. It is mostly treated with OTC ointments and sometimes with antibiotics and probiotic washes.
Reproductive Tract Infection is another kind of infection caused by sanitary pads. The usual symptoms are genital itching, back pain, abdominal pain, genital pustules and abnormal discharge. If left to spread, these infections can even result in infertility.
Toxic shock syndrome:
This is not caused by sanitary pads, but by tampons. Leaving a tampon inside your body for too long can cause an overgrowth of bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus, or staph, which can then release toxins into the blood. This is a sudden, potentially fatal condition. Symptoms include a sudden fever, vomiting or diarrhea, headaches and a sharp drop in blood pressure that can result in death.
Sorry, but no! Bacterial Vaginosis is a type of vaginal inflammation caused by the overgrowth of bacteria naturally found in the vagina, which upsets the natural balance.
Remember, the vagina is self-cleaning and does not need harsh soaps or washes to keep it clean. Simply changing pads often, rinsing with plenty of water or using a special, pH balanced intimate wash in small amounts is more than enough to maintain a healthy menstrual cycle.
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.
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Your body can be a powerful but also delicate machine. To know more about managing your menstrual cycle for a healthy life, click here to download the Femcy app now!