By figuring out whether your period products really work for you.
There is no good time for a period leak. Whether at work, school, at night, or getting ready for your day, dealing with the mess and the clean-up can be inconvenient and stressful.
It happens – but it doesn’t have to.
From reconsidering your sleeping position to trying a more consistent tampon experience, there are some easy and practical ways to minimize period leaks.
To prevent period leaks, know your flow
Paying close attention to your body is an important first step in avoiding period leaks. Periods tend to start out heavy and become lighter as you continue to menstruate, but everyone is different.
Think about when you tend to experience leaks. For example, does it happen when you’re sleeping or when you’re more active?
If you tend to experience nighttime leaks, here are some ways to prevent them:
- Change your period protection right before bed.
- Make sure your period products are properly in place. (Snug underwear or shorts help!)
- Try sleeping in a fetal position (1) to relax your abdominal muscles and the joints around your uterus.
- If you currently use a pad, try getting one that is longer and branded for nighttime use. They’re designed for more coverage when you lie down.
Here are some takeaways for managing daytime leaks:
- Whatever method of period protection you use, a good fit is essential. If you use a tampon or cup, it can be challenging to get the right fit. It takes patience, practice and perhaps a tampon insertion aid.
- Plan a break in your day to empty or replace your protection, especially before activities requiring more movement. Strategic thinking will save you a lot of stress!
- For peace of mind, you can double up on protection. Using a tampon and pad or period underwear will give you a second barrier.
Choose products with the right absorbency
Knowing your flow also helps you choose period products with the absorbance that works for you. Both pads and tampons are made to handle different absorbances, but you’re more likely to prevent leaks when you change pads or tampons regularly.
It’s recommended (2) to use the least absorbent tampon that manages your flow to reduce the risk of toxic shock syndrome (2), which can occur when tampons are left in too long. Here’s how much tampons can hold (3):
- Light - up to about 6 grams
- Regular - 6 to 9 grams
- Super - 9 to 12 grams
- Super plus - 12 to 15 grams
- Ultra - 15 to 18 grams
While you may not be able to measure the exact output of your period, the general rule is that you want your menstrual product to last around 4 hours without needing to change it. Although pads vary in size, a larger pad doesn’t necessarily indicate that it can absorb more flow. Their absorbance varies by brand and design.
Insert tampons at the correct angle and depth
You can avoid period leaks when you put in tampons at the right angle and depth. It takes patience and practice to grip, pinch and angle the tampon to insert it deeply enough.
You may have put in your tampon at the wrong depth or angle if:
- You feel it when you move or walk
- The tampon is about half filled when you remove it.
A tampon insertion aid can help to minimize leaks
You can minimize leaks when you use menstrual products correctly, reliably and consistently, especially if you use tampons. An insertion aid, like TINA, can help you comfortably put in tampons at the right angle and depth every time, helping minimize leaks.
Without needing to pinch or grip a tampon, you can easily insert several types of tampons without needing to double-check its position. As a result, you’ll be able to manage your period more easily and skip stressful menstrual leaks.
Heavy bleeding – when to see a doctor
It’s important to pay attention to how often you need to change pads and tampons to rule out a possible medical problem. For example, some people experience menorrhagia (4), heavy bleeding that lasts more than seven days.
Bleeding is considered “heavy” if you need to change your tampon or pad after less than two hours, or if you pass blood clots the size of a quarter (or larger). If you experience this, see a doctor.
- Period leaks at night: How to sleep on your period to avoid leakage. &SISTERS. 18 November 2023. [cited 24 January 2023] Accessed from: https://andsisters.com/blogs/blog/period-leaks-at-night-how-to-sleep-on-your-period-to-avoid-leakage#:~:text=Unfortunately%2C%20it%27s%20a%20common%20issue,to%20move%20out%20of%20place.
- The Facts on Tampons—and How to Use Them Safely. FDA. 30 September 2020. [cited 24 January 2023] Accessed from: https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/facts-tampons-and-how-use-them-safely
- Cornforth, Tracee. What Tampon Absorbency Ratings Mean. Verywell Health. 02 October 2022. [cited 24 January 2023] Accessed from: https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-do-tampon-absorbency-ratings-mean-2721890#:~:text=Regular%20absorbency%20tampons%3A%20These%20tampons,12%20grams%20of%20menstrual%20blood.
- Heavy Menstrual Bleeding. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 17 August 2022. [cited 24 January 2023] Accessed from: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/blooddisorders/women/menorrhagia.html