If there’s one common fear about menstruation, it has to be a period leak in public! They can happen to anyone and anywhere – school, office, at a restaurant or even during a shopping spree. Sometimes, women’s mind may be occupied by worries over a period leak. In fact, Wimbledon recently gave a green signal to female tennis players to wear dark undershorts to take their mind off period leakage worries. You might have period anxiety over menstrual mishaps, but experts say you don’t have to worry or be ashamed about getting period leaks in public.
British tennis player Heather Watson is one of the athletes who has welcomed the new rule by Wimbledon, which had a strict all-white rule when it comes to clothes. She told SkyNews that last year, she went on the pill to stop herself from bleeding because she knew that she had to wear white undershorts. She took the step as she didn’t want to face any period-related embarrassment. But this year, even though she knew her period was going to be during Wimbledon again, she wasn’t worried about any menstrual mishaps. She said that she is very happy as she “won’t have to do the same thing as last year”!
Period leaks can pop up for anyone! Of course, you can take more precautions with better support for heavier days. But what if you still happen to stain? Health Shots reached out to Dr MMS Zoha, Consultant, Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Manipal Hospitals, Salt Lake, Kolkata, and Dr Pallavi Joshi, Consultant – Psychiatrist, Manipal Hospital, Varthur, Karnataka to know about dealing with period leaks in public.
Period leaks refer to the sudden blood overflow from a sanitary napkin or tampon. This is often caused by heavy bleeding, says Dr Zoha. Period leaks mostly occur due to the use of improper use of sanitary pads or products. It could be a size issue or even prolonged use could cause an unwanted stain. According to him, every woman needs to select the product that fits her best. The product will depend both on the amount of flow and their personal choice. Personal choice will decide whether a woman wants to use a sanitary pad, a tampon or a menstrual cup. You should also change a period product after every every few hours to avoid period leakage.
Once you realize that you are bleeding through your pants in public, you can do the following:
It is important to remember that these incidents do not define who you are and should not hold you back, says Dr Joshi. So, calm down, be kind to yourself and remember that your identity goes far beyond these minor incidents.
If you have a jacket, coat or any other cover-up, you can use it to draw attention away from the stain till you are able to fix it.
Head to a restroom. If for some reason, you are not carrying an extra sanitary pad or you are waiting for your friend to get it for you, use toilet paper. All you have to do is roll it up and you will get a make-shift pad. It should be thick enough and should be put lengthwise in your underwear. You could also try to wash the stain if the situation allows you to.
Some women feel ashamed or guilty for not using adequate support. They might repeatedly check later and there might be unnecessary period anxiety during already disturbed days of the mind due to the hormones, says Dr Joshi. In rare cases, they might get phobic about periods and may seclude themselves in the house till the period stops. They might have difficulty in focusing and sleeping issues due to anxiety if period leaks happen in public.
Reflecting on the accident and its negative aspects only makes the memory darker. It is better to consider how to prevent period leaks rather than feeling guilty over them. Besides, efforts to spread awareness about menstrual health are also directed towards sensitising people of all genders to period-related problems. So, there’s hope for change even about how people look at period leaks!