The down low on sanitary pads and tampons

November 03, 2021 3 min read

The down low on sanitary pads and tampons

We answer some of the most common questions around using sanitary pads and tampons.

How long can you wear a pad for?

Pads should be changed as regularly as required to avoid the pad from being soaked with menstrual flow. They can be worn overnight or for approximately 6 hours during the day, however if you have a heavy cycle, you may find that you need to change it more often.


What happens if you don’t change your pad frequently?

If you don’t change your pad at least every six to eight hours, you become more prone to developing rashes and vaginal yeast infections. Even if your menstrual flow is light, it is better to change your pad more often than not often enough.  


How do I discard my used sanitary pad?

When finished with a sanitary pad, it is important to dispose of it immediately after usage. Do not flush it down the toilet and ALWAYS wash your hands before and afterwards to prevent infection. Here are a few easy steps to follow to make sure you are disposing of your sanitary pad properly:

  1. Wash your hands
  2. Once sanitary pad is unstuck from your underwear, roll it up inwards tightly, so the adhesive is exposed rather than the menstrual fluid on the pad
  3. Place it in the external wrapper of the new pad or in toilet paper and roll it up
  4. If you’re out in public and sanitary bins are provided, you can place it in there. Alternatively, if you’re at home or at a friends’ house, place it in the bathroom bin provided
  5. Wash your hands again


Is it bad to wear a pad when not on period? 

Pads are safe to use both on and off your period as long as they are changed frequently enough. However, there is a better option if you’re looking for something a bit lighter for those days when your period is trickling through or if you just want some extra coverage between periods. This thinner, lighter option is called a liner. By using a liner, you can help keep your underwear clean if your flow is light, you’re having some discharge or breakthrough bleeding between your cycle. As they are made to be much thinner and lighter, you will find that they are more comfortable for everyday use than pads.


How do I know what absorbency tampon I need?

It is important to always use the lowest absorbency tampon required for your menstrual flow. Using a tampon with higher absorbency than required can increase the risk of TSS.

If you see leaks after one or two hours after putting your tampon in, you may need a higher absorbency tampon for that part of your cycle. If your tampon isn’t saturated when you change it in that time window, you most likely need a lower absorbency tampon for that part of your cycle. Even if you don’t see any leaks in the four-to-eight-hour window, you must still change your tampon to be safe.


How long can you wear a tampon for?

It is advised that if you use tampons, they should be saturated when changed. They must be changed at least every four to eight hours (no longer) to help prevent Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).


Additional Resources:

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2020). The Facts on Tampons and How to Use them Safely. 


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