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Period leaks at night: 10 effective ways to manage nighttime leakage

Do you experience period leaks at night? Try these easy and efficient ways to prevent leakage at night to sleep peacefully.
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You can avoid period leaks at night with some simple tips. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Shruti Bhattacharya Published: 5 Jul 2024, 08:30 pm IST
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Periods can disrupt a good night’s sleep, especially with the worry of leaks. Period leaks at night can be frustrating. Nothing is worse than seeing a drip of blood on the sheets or your clothes. But the good news is, there are simple ways to prevent leaks and manage nighttime period flow. Not just that, you can choose the right period product that will help you manage your periods at night and sleep properly.

What causes period leaks at night?

Experiencing period leaks at night is a common issue for many women, however it is manageable. Here are some of the common causes, as explained by gynaecologist and obstetrician Dr Madhu Juneja.

1. Heavy menstrual flow

A heavy flow can exceed the capacity of the menstrual product, leading to leakage. The normal menstrual cycle, on average, lasts 4-9 days with a blood loss of fewer than 80 millilitres, as found in a 2023 study published in the StatsPearl Journal.

A girl with a menstrual calendar
Period leaks at night is a common problem. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

2. Movement during sleep

If you toss and turn a lot in your sleep, your pad or tampon may bunch up or shift out of place, leaving areas exposed. This is particularly relevant for those who sleep on their stomachs, as this position may put pressure on the uterus and perhaps increase flow. However, more research is needed to prove the claim.

3. Incorrect product usage

Not positioning tampons, pads or menstrual cups correctly can lead to inefficient absorption and leakage. Thus, it is highly advisable to position the period products with a lot of patience and proper guidelines to prevent leakage at night especially.

Also Read: Pads, tampons or menstrual disc: What’s the best period product for heavy bleeding?

4. Insufficient absorbency

Maybe the pads or tampons you use during the day are not adequate for nighttime protection. Regular pads may not be long enough in the back to prevent leaks, while tampons may not be absorbent enough for your flow. Using products that do not match the heaviness of your flow can cause them to become saturated more quickly.

5. Extended wear time

Overnight sleep means longer periods without changing menstrual products, which can lead to leaks if the product is not designed for long-term use. So, if you have a heavy flow, there is a higher chance of your chosen product reaching its absorbency limit.

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6. Sleeping position

Certain sleeping positions, like lying on your stomach, can increase the likelihood of pressure on the abdomen and thus cause period leaks at night. However, more research is needed to prove the claim.

7. Wearing tight clothes

Loose or improperly fitting underwear can cause pads to move around, increasing the risk of leakage. Thus, it is advisable to wear properly fitted underwear which will help you to not move pads while you are sleeping.

8. Product quality

Using lower-quality menstrual products may not provide adequate protection against leaks, especially overnight. It is recommended that you always consult your doctor or healthcare provider before purchasing period products to help you protect yourself from period leakage at night.

How to prevent period leaks at night?

Here are some easy helpful tips which will help to prevent period leaks at night, as suggested by Dr Juneja.

1. Choose the right menstrual product

  • Overnight pads: Use pads specifically designed for overnight use. They are usually longer and more absorbent.
  • Menstrual cups: These can be worn for up to 12 hours and hold more fluid than tampons or pads.
  • Tampons: Use high-absorbency tampons if your flow is heavy, but be cautious of the risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS) and ensure they are changed regularly.
  • Period panties: These are designed to be leak-proof and can be used alone or as an extra layer of protection.

2. Double up

  • Tampon + pad: Using a tampon or menstrual cup with an overnight pad can provide additional security.
  • Pad + period panties: Wearing a pad along with period panties offers multiple layers of protection.

3. Proper positioning

Ensure that tampons and menstrual cups are correctly inserted and positioned. Also, make sure your pad is properly placed and adheres well to your underwear. This will help you to prevent leakage and you will be able to sleep soundly and peacefully at night.

4. Adjust your sleeping position

It is recommended to sleep on your preferred side as this can help reduce pressure on your abdomen and may lessen the chance of leaks. Also, avoid sleeping on your stomach as this position can increase the likelihood of leaks due to the pressure on the abdomen. However, more research is needed to prove the claim.

A girl sleeping
Sleep properly to avoid period leaks at night. Image courtesy: Freepik

5. Use extra protection

Place a towel or period-proof blanket on your bed to protect your sheets in case of leaks. Also, it is recommended to invest in a waterproof mattress protector for added peace of mind. This small gesture will give you extra protection from period leaks.

6. Change before bed

Use a fresh tampon, pad, or menstrual cup right before going to sleep to maximise absorbency. This habit helps to keep personal or period hygiene at its best and provides complete protection from leakage at night.

7. Wear snug-fitting underwear

Ensure your underwear fits snugly to keep your pad or period panties in place. This is a very important factor to consider when you are using sanitary pads. If your sanitary pads are not fitted properly, it can lead to the chance of leakage at night.

8. Use period products with wings

Pads with wings can help keep them securely in place and provide additional protection against side leaks. If you prefer to use sanitary pads to sleep at night, it is recommended to use sanitary pads with wings which will give extra protection from period leakage.

9. Monitor your flow

Keep track of your menstrual cycle to anticipate when your flow might be heavier and take extra precautions on those nights. It is advisable to maintain a track record of your period flow in a diary or app. So, you can choose your period product accordingly to prevent leakage.

10. Consider menstrual discs

Menstrual discs are ideal for long-term wear. These can be worn for up to 12 hours and are positioned differently than cups, which might be more comfortable for some people, especially during the night.

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About the Author

Shruti Bhattacharya is a content writer and editor for over 2 years. She specialises in writing on a variety of topics such as wellness, lifestyle, beauty, technology and fashion. Her current focus is on creating factually correct and informative stories for readers. ...Read More

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