I started getting my period a few months ago, and I’m always stressed about leaks, especially since it’s summer and I’m going to be wearing shorts and bathing suits and stuff. What’s the best way to prevent leaks?
Your period comes with a lot of annoying side effects, and the possibility of leaks has to be the most embarrassing of them all. There’s obviously nothing wrong with having your period, but still – no one wants to walk around with a splotch of bright red blood on the seat of their pants, especially in a public place like school or work. Unfortunately, leaks happen to the best of us (my period once leaked through white shorts while I was on a double date with a new boyfriend and his friend I had never met before!), and all we can do to is try to prevent them the best we can. Fortunately, that’s not as difficult as one might think!
The most important thing you can do to prevent leaking is to make sure you’re using the right period products – depending on your preferences, this could mean tampons, a pad, or a menstrual cup. Your period is most likely to leak if it’s super heavy and you aren’t changing your product enough, so the beginning of menstruation is usually when you have to worry about this the most. If your period is really heavy, wear a super size tampon. It’s definitely not a bad idea to also wear a pad as a backup plan. Or, if your period is VERY heavy, you might just want to wear a pad – they give a bit more coverage and can act as a barrier. Pads can leak to, though, so you have to make sure you’re wearing the right kind.
To figure that out, I reached out to Laura Goodman, the Senior Scientist for Tampax and Always, since she’s basically a menstruation expert. Laura said, “You’re not alone! Did you know that 60 percent of us are wearing the wrong size pad? It is a common misconception among many girls that all period pads are the same and that they all leak! Well, the better the fit, the better the pad protects against leaks. Always My Fit has set out to help by providing an easy-to-use sizing chart that helps you find a right sized pad based on your panty size and flow. You can stop worrying about leaks when you know you have the right size pad in place. Check out the new sizing system here or take the sizing quiz here.”
Once you have the right fit in mind, buy it and wear the pad! You can use it on its own (as long as it fits correctly and you change it often, it won’t leak), or you can use that pad as a backup plan with a tampon or menstrual cup. Wearing two forms of menstruation products is really only necessary if your period is super heavy, otherwise there’s no need to waste the money.
Other tips? You can try wearing period underwear, which is made to be used instead of a tampon or a pad – but personally, I like to wear them as a comfortable form of protection on heavier days. My favorite option is Knixteen, but there’s also Thinx to consider. Aside from just adding protection, if you’re really worried about a leak, wear dark colored bottoms – black is probably your best bet. That way, if it does leak, it won’t be as obvious.
And try not to stress! As long as you keep changing your products regularly, you’ll be fine.
What’s on your mind? Heather can help! Send her your question at firstname.lastname@example.org