This is a question that I know a lot of young girls search on google. I’ve heard numerous answers and it blows my mind how differently other girls deal with their periods!
In theory, you could use a pad until it is all filled up and entirely saturated but that would not be hygienic or comfortable. I usually change my pads as often as I need to satisfy my comfort, to feel clean, dry and for hygiene, to be clean.
Keep in mind that there are many types of feminine pads and that it is best to select the right absorption for your flow.
Overnight using heavy or overnight pad: I just change it when I wake up. Sometimes I find that my pad has leaked or is completely saturated after an over night’s sleep so I like to sleep with a towel underneath my bum. If you are ever at a sleep over, don’t be shy about doing this! I’m sure your friends will understand and appreciate your care for their home. I have never had a flow so heavy that I needed to wake up in the middle of the night to change my pad.
Heavy flow using heavy pad (~days 1-3): I usually change at least every four hours. Sometimes I change at the three or two hour mark. It just depends how heavy my flow is and how much of a bitch my uterus is. This is to ensure that my flow is not too heavy that it flows or leaks over the sides. Also I feel less clean and more wet during my heavy days so I like to change often to feel fresh.
Normal flow using normal pad (~days 3-5): Again I usually change at around four hours. Usually with a normal flow I don’t find that my period flows as fast so I am less concerned about leaks. I just change when I start to feel wet or uncomfortable.
Light flow using normal or light pad (~days 5-8): Sometimes I find that the end of my flow is so infrequent and light that I can get away with changing only twice a day. I would even describe it as “spotting” a couple times a day. I almost never get the wet feeling during this time so I just change whenever.
How often should you change your pad?
So to answer this question, the answer is “often”. It really comes down to just personal preference.
Keep in mind your heavy, normal, light flow may be different from mine! If you are unsure how often you should change yours:
- Try to remember when was the last time you changed your pad
- Look at your pad and see how much blood your pad has absorbed
- Look at your pad and see if it has creased in anyway that may make your period absorb too close to the sides
- Ask yourself if you feel uncomfortable or too wet down there. That is a good indicator that you should freshen up and change your pad.
Sometimes my pad will fold and crease in a way that makes all my period absorb at the sides so I just change it anyway to prevent leakage.
Why you should change your pad often
I hear some women use a pad during their heavy to normal flow for up to 8 hours during the day. I find this very unsanitary and dirty because normally one does not carry around a saturated napkin full of blood with them all day everywhere they go right?? So why would you carry one right against your vagina?
Changing your pad often isn’t so pad companies can take more of your money and make you buy more pads. Changing often can help prevent any unnecessary discomfort, bacteria build up, infection, and eliminate odour. Jeez that is one scary list of words!!!
Along with changing your pad, you should also shower daily during your period to keep your vagina clean and smelling nice :).
Anyways, I hope that this post has been helpful for our younger readers! If you’re still unsure, try asking your sister, mom, a trusted friend, family doctor, or even your school nurse.
If you have any questions or too shy to post a comment, you can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Period Blog does not provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, or treatment. Please check with your doctor regarding your personal health care decisions, and seek immediate care in emergencies. The Period Blog is not a substitute for medical or other professional care. If you are experiencing any problems with your period, please DO see your doctor! After all, it IS your uterus and you only get one.