It’s an important question – how often to change your pad, tampon or cup on your period! After all, you’re using these products once a month in your most sensitive area – you’ll want to be doing it right. Changing at the right time will help you to maintain good menstrual hygiene and help prevent period leaks. The heaviness of your flow and product of choice will affect both the frequency of changing your menstrual products, for both safety and hygiene reasons.
We’ve outlined guidelines for how often each of the most popular period products should be changed below.
How often should I change my pad?
Every 4-6 hours is a good rule for how often you should be changing your pad. This helps to avoid bacterial build-up that can be caused by sitting with old menstrual blood. After all, your vulva’s a warm humid environment – particularly during your period! Disposable pads can trick you into thinking that you can wear them for longer because pads contain plastic and super-absorbent gels.
As you get to know what’s normal for you, it’s important you use the right absorbency pad to match your menstrual flow. When your flow is heaviest at the beginning of your period, you may want to change more regularly to stay feeling fresh and avoid any mess.
How often should I change my tampon?
You should change your tampon every 4-6 hours. Never leave a tampon in for more than 8 hours. Tampons are associated with TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) so it’s essential to change them frequently. This means tampons aren’t a great night-time option – it’s best to switch to pads overnight to avoid risk of TSS. When using a new tampon, always choose the lowest absorbency to match your flow.
The risk of TSS is only associated to menstrual products worn inside your vagina. However, if you’re following the right safety precautions you will minimise your risk. Worth noting – this means not using sea-sponges or hand knitted tampons as their safety is not regulated!
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How often should I change my panty liner?
Panty liners are recommended to be changed every 3-5 hours. They are not designed to be worn all day whether you’re using them for your period or other times in your cycle! Panty liners are a great accompaniment to many period products and can help catch leaks to save staining your underwear. You can also wear liners at the end of your period for lighter days. As with pads, it’s important to change regularly to help prevent a build-up of bacteria and old menstrual fluid.
How often should I change my menstrual cup?
Change your menstrual cup every 4-6 hours. Menstrual cups have a larger capacity for period blood than most other period products but it’s still really important to change and freshen up regularly. Cups are worn internally so be thorough when cleaning. Ideally, have two cups so you can switch to a fresh sterile cup each time you need to empty it. You can sterilise by boiling the cup in water ready to re-use.
How often should I change my reusable period pants and pads?
Every 4-6 hours is how often you should change re-useable pads and period underwear. However, you can definitely wear these for longer overnight so you can have a good night’s sleep on your period. Again, it’s not good to sit with old menstrual blood for too long, so keep this in mind. Always switch to a clean and dry pad or fresh pair of underwear.
That’s our roundup of how frequently your period products are supposed to be changed. Why not check out more great period products?