How often should you change your period products?

There are several dangers associated with leaving menstrual products within or in contact with your vagina for more than the prescribed period. Read on to know more.

Thanks to science and technology, and all the innovative minds out there, the range of period products has only grown over the years! These can be used to maintain proper menstrual hygiene. Initially, most of us used commercially available sanitary napkins, but in recent times menstrual cups or tampons have also made their way into our lives.

Menstrual products are designed to protect us, and at the same time, help us maintain hygiene during our period. But turns out, they all have some risks, if you use them beyond a prescribed time.

period products
Periods can vary from woman to woman, so choose what is best for you. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Unfortunately, most of us do not pay much heed, when it comes to changing our period products after every few hours. We literally wait, until they are drenched in period blood. Well, this habit can lead to several health risks.

Whether it is sanitary pads, tampons, period underwear, or menstrual cups – all the menstrual products have a normal shelf life, and you should change them frequently.

How long can you use various period products?

Well, to answer this, HealthShots got in touch with Dr Manisha Singh, Senior Consultant – Gynaecologist & Reproductive Medicine, Bannerghatta Road, Bengaluru.

Dr Singh explains:
  • Pads should be used for a maximum duration of 3 hours
  • Tampons should not be used for more than 4 hours
  • Menstrual cups can be used up to 12 hours, unless you are not bleeding heavily
  • Period proof underwear must be changed within 3 to 4 hours
  • Menstrual discs can be used for up to 10-12 hours.

The normal blood loss during menses is 80 to 100ml. The risk of infection exists, because blood is a perfect culture medium for organisms (bacteria) to grow. It is therefore important to change these period products, every 3 to 4 hours.

Products that can be used for a longer duration are menstrual cups (up to 12 hours). At the end of the day, the cup can be removed, emptied, cleaned, and re-inserted.

Here’s why you must STOP wearing period products over their prescribed limit:

When it comes to period products, the thumb rule is to never leave them longer than their prescribed limit. And if you don’t, it can certainly cause health issues. Dr Singh explains the risk of not changing period products in time.

period products
Menstrual cups can help you manage your periods easily and take care of the environment. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Here they are:
  1. This habit can increase the risk of vaginal and pelvic infections, and can sometimes lead to toxic shock syndrome
  2. Stale menstrual pads or napkins or forgotten tampons can all increase the risk of ascending pelvic infection that can affect the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries, thereby scarring and damaging them
  3. It can also cause large abscesses inside the tummy
  4. Infections can compromise future fertility prospects. Hence, maintaining perineal hygiene during menses is important during periods
  5. The growths of foreign organisms can disturb the pH balance of the vagina and cause problems like vaginal dryness, discharge of vaginal mucus, itching, etc.

During menstruation, maintaining good hygiene should be of utmost importance, ladies!

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