Rashes from Menstrual Pads: Causes and its Treatment

Rashes from Menstrual Pads: Causes and its Treatment

Irritation, itching, swelling, pain, redness, nausea and much more– all these are monthly challenges which women face bravely. But wasn’t this all enough that we have to face pad rashes too? Ugh… those dry, annoying, itching rashes which we get from sanitary pads! But what can we do? Sanitary pads are a necessity. Although you can shift to other sanitary products but doing so isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. Some can not afford them and some aren’t comfortable. What to do then?

Irritation From Wearing Pads

The majority of women despise having their periods. Menses is considered an annoyance since we have to deal with headaches, body pains, and cramps and have to keep a check to frequently change our sanitary products for continuous four days, at the minimum. And having pad rashes is the icing on the cake (sarcastically). Various types of sanitary pads are available nowadays, ranging from perfumed to maxi pads. Yet, women having sensitive skin might encounter some issues as the chemical in these pads may irritate their skins. One may get a rash from a sanitary pad on their thighs and vaginal area after wearing them for long hours. These red rashes on the skin do not only make you uncomfortable but also cause swelling or burning sensation. Do not forget to visit a doctor and get your rashes checked as they could be caused by a variety of ailments. Though if you are certain that you are getting the rash from wearing pads, the tips given in the article will surely help you get rid of them.
But first, we will discuss why and what causes these sanitary pad rashes.

Why do I have a vaginal rash?

Rashes are the changes in the skin’s texture or colour, making it red, itchy, dry or even swelled and in some cases may lead to painful sensation. Rashes may appear in or around your vaginal area such as inner thighs and could be the cause of the material used in the sanitary products. Apart from this, body heat, moisture and some kind of bacterial infection can also be the reason for the same.

Besides the above-mentioned signs, to diagnose if you have a pad rash, keep an eye for, abnormal discharge (even at the time of your period) and pain during intercourse or urination. However, if you think that they are spreading, you must consult a doctor.

Causes of rashes from pads

Contact dermatitis or Vulvitis (in the case of contact dermatitis of the vulva) is the most common cause of rashes resulting from pads. This means that whatever products are used in the making of your sanitary pad has come into contact with your skin and they are not skin-friendly or rash-free chemicals.
Sanitary pads are generally manufactured by combining different layers of materials. Additionally, various types of chemicals and adhesives are also used to clean and keep the whole product intact.
Therefore, without wasting any of your time, let us list down some common materials used in the making of pads that might be causing you rashes and some other causes.

– Perfume or Fragrance

Some brands may include perfumes in their pads. The chemicals used to give scent may irritate the sensitive skin. Although, many companies have now started putting this scented layer below the absorbent core, thus preventing it get in touch with your skin.
Even though rashes and allergic reactions are possible, they are uncommon. According to one research, discomfort from maxi pads are next to negligent and only 0.7% of skin rashes are caused by the adhesive on the sanitary pads.
It is not just the scent or perfume which is the culprit of giving you pad rashes but friction is also to be blamed.

– Friction

Continuous, back and forth vulva friction over the surface of the sanitary pad for long hours is the most common reason to be pinpointed for you getting your pad rashes. Daily chores such as walking or running can irritate your skin as it constantly rubs against the pad surface, simultaneously sweating. The best viable way to avoid this is using smaller pads and if possible, less movement during menstruation days.

– Infection

As we all are busy with our daily schedule, we tend to forget to change the sanitary pads. However, changing them frequently prevents the development of infection in the vaginal area.
Negligence in maintaining the period hygiene may lead to bacterial vaginosis, lower reproductive tract infection and yeast infection.

– Absorbent Core

The absorbent sheet contains gel, foam and cellulose and is layered between the top and the bottom sheet of the pad. Although the absorbent layer is not in direct contact with the skin, the gel which might seep through the pad pores may come in contact with the skin and irritate it.

– Adhesive

Another material that can lead to skin rashes is adhesive that is used at the bottom of the pad. Adhesive, in spite of being FDA-approved, make be categorised next to craft glues.

– Sanitary Hygiene

When on periods, sanitary hygiene should be the first thing on your mind. Keeping the vaginal area clean and dry will help prevent bacterial growth and infection of any kind.
Pads that are infrequently changed are filled up with moisture and leads to foul odour and skin irritation. According to your period experience, light or heavy flow, keep a check on how much your pad has soaked and change them timely, often within three to four hours.

– Top Sheet

The root cause for the vaginal rash from pads is the top sheet which comes in close contact with your skin and even leads to friction and moisture collection. As the pad is stuck between the skin and the underwear, the moisture does not evaporate and the chemicals such as petrolatum, poly-olefins and zinc oxide remain intact, leading to rashes.

– Heat and Moisture

These two are abundantly present in the vaginal area, thusly creating a perfect place for bacterial growth and vaginal infections. Moreover, frequent friction over menstrual fluid trapped pad and sweat causes redness and inflammation. Adding to this, adhesives on the sanitary pads, urine and synthetic fabric underwear also play their role.
Is pad rash and diaper rash the same?
If we go by the appearance and the symptoms which appear to be redness of the skin, irritation, itching and inflammation, pad rash and diaper rash are quite similar to each other. The only thing that differentiates them is the cause. Diaper rashes are mainly caused because of faecal or urine matter, on the other hand, sanitary pad rashes develop when the chemicals in the pad react with the sensitive skin or sanitary hygiene isn’t taken care of.

Pad Rash Treatment

If you or someone you know are suffering from pad rashes and are on the verge of being agitated from these red and irritable marks, here are some tips and tricks to use for avoiding them in the future.

  • ● Switch to not-too-tight cotton underwear.
  • ● Apply powder to keep the vaginal and the inner thigh area dry.
  • ● Frequently change your sanitary pads to avoid moisture and bacterial infection.
  • ● Go for good quality rash-free pads.
  • ● Avoid perfumed sanitary napkins.
  • ● Maintain hygiene.
  • ● Buy an all-cotton pad for sensitive skin.
  • ● Try different pad brands until you find the suitable one.
  • ● Switch to menstrual cups, tampons or washable pads.
  • ● Use over-the-counter topical antibiotic cream.
  • Well- Wisher’s Words
  • Though pad rashes are not much common, somehow if you are suffering from them, then the above-mentioned reasons might be the cause. So stop worrying and try some of the treatments mentioned in this article and you will see that the rashes are gone within two to three days.
    Anyhow, if the redness and burning sensation are still there, then it is time to consult your doctor.

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