Menstrual pads are an essential part of a woman’s menstrual hygiene routine. They provide comfort and protection during menstruation, allowing women to do their daily activities without worries. However, knowing the potential health risks of wearing a sanitary pad for too long is vital. So in this article, you will explore whether prolonged use of sanitary pads can lead to health problems and discuss ways to maintain good menstrual hygiene.
Understanding Menstrual Hygiene
Maintaining proper menstrual hygiene is crucial to prevent infections and other health issues. And using menstrual products is a standard and convenient method for managing menstruation. These pads are designed to absorb menstrual blood and keep the area dry and clean. However, if a pad is not changed frequently enough, it can create an environment that is conducive to bacterial growth, leading to potential health problems.
Potential Health Risks
Bacterial Infections: Wearing a pad for an extended period can increase the risk of bacterial infections. When blood is not adequately absorbed and the pad becomes saturated, it creates a warm and moist environment that allows bacteria to thrive. This may lead to urinary tract infections (UTIs) or vaginal infections like bacterial vaginosis.
Skin Irritation: Prolonged contact with a wet or soiled pad can cause skin irritation and rashes. The friction between the pad and the skin, combined with the moisture, can result in redness, itching, and discomfort. So, it is vital to change the pad regularly to minimise the chances of skin irritation.
Odour and Discomfort: Wearing a pad for too long can lead to an unpleasant odour. When blood is not promptly absorbed, it can start to decompose, resulting in a foul smell. Additionally, prolonged pad use can cause discomfort, making it essential to change it regularly to maintain cleanliness and overall comfort.
Maintaining Good Menstrual Hygiene
To ensure good menstrual hygiene and minimise the risk of health problems, here are some essential practices to follow:
Change Regularly: Changing your pad every 4 to 6 hours is recommended, even if it is not thoroughly soaked. Regular changing helps maintain cleanliness and prevents bacterial growth.
Choose the Right Absorbency: Selecting the appropriate absorbency level for your flow is crucial. Using a higher absorbency pad on light flow days can result in unnecessary dryness, while a lower absorbency pad on heavy flow days may not provide adequate protection.
Use Breathable Materials: Opt for sanitary pads made from breathable materials that allow circulation of air to the genital area. This helps prevent excessive sweating and reduces the risk of skin irritation.
Maintain Proper Disposal: After changing your pad, ensure proper disposal hygienically. Wrap the used pad in a separate pouch or the wrapper provided with the new pad before discarding it.
Practice Good Genital Hygiene: Along with changing your pad regularly, maintain proper genital hygiene by washing the external genital area with water and mild soap. Avoid using solid fragrances or harsh chemicals, as they can damage the natural pH balance of the vagina.
While sanitary pads are designed to provide comfort and protection during menstruation, wearing them for too long can lead to health problems. Bacterial infections, skin irritation, odour, and discomfort are some of the potential risks associated with prolonged use. As such, it is crucial to maintain good menstrual hygiene by changing your pad regularly, choosing the right absorbency level, using breathable materials, and practising proper disposal and genital hygiene. And by following the mentioned practices, you can ensure a healthy and comfortable menstrual experience. Remember, prioritising your health and well-being during your period is essential. So, take care of yourself and make specified choices regarding menstrual hygiene.