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Using expired sanitary pads or tampons can be dangerous: Know the side effects

Bought too many sanitary pads or tampons and couldn't use them all? If the menstruation products have crossed the expiry date, it is best not to use them. Let's find out how using expired menstruation products can be unhealthy.
View All Images Expired menstruation products
It's not safe to use expired menstruation products. Image Courtesy: user18526052/Freepik
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 24 Jun 2023, 05:30 pm IST
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Be it skincare or make-up products, there are times when we aren’t able to use them before their expiry dates. Some might dare to use them even after the products had crossed the expiry date. And then they might end up with side effects. Like cosmetics, some women buy too many menstrual products in one go. Since normal periods arrive just once a month and last for about five days, you possibly can’t use all the sanitary pads, tampons or menstrual cups quickly. So, the menstruation products get expired. You don’t want to waste them, but it might not be safe to use expired menstruation products.

HealthShots connected with Dr Aruna Kalra, senior gynaecologist and obstetrician at CK Birla Hospital Gurugram to know if it is safe to use expired menstruation products.

period products
Try not to use expired menstruation products. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Health risks associated with using expired menstruation products

Sanitary pads and tampons mostly have a five-year expiration date while menstrual cups can last for several years. But it is recommended to replace the cup every 1 or 2 years, especially if it has any holes or tears. So, it’s always good to check the expiration dates and steer clear of using out-of-date menstruation products. That’s because using menstruation products that have expired might have unfavourable side effects, says Dr Kalra. Products that are past their expiration date might no longer be able to absorb menstrual flow, leading to leakage and discomfort. Period products that have expired might contain germs, increasing the risk of bacterial infection.

Here are some of the health problems you might have to deal with:

1. Rashes

Rashes are a result of using expired sanitary pads and tampons. Rashes occur because of expiration of the chemicals in the pads or tampons, says the expert.

2. Abnormal vaginal discharge

A woman can experience abnormal vaginal discharge while using an expired menstruation product. This might be because of the fungal infection around the vagina due to the usage of expiry products.

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3. Skin allergy

Skin allergy is another health risk of using expired sanitary pads. This happens due to the fungal infection caused while using outdated products.

4. Toxic shock syndrome

This can be a rare result of using an expired tampon. It occurs when bacterial infection gets into the bloodstream, says Dr Kalra.

menstrual health
Store your menstruation products in the right place. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Right way to store menstruation products

Never keep your sanitary hygiene items in the bathroom since doing so could reduce their shelf life. There is high humidity in the bathroom, so the menstruation products will probably accommodate more mould and bacteria. Always store them in cool and dry areas like your bedroom’s wardrobe. Keep them in their original packaging instead of storing them in jars or containers.

Menstruation hygiene tips to follow

It’s not just getting rid of outdated period products, menstruation hygiene is a lot more than that.

1. Change the pad or tampon at regular intervals

If you are using a menstrual cup, you don’t have to change it after every three or four hours. But in case of a sanitary pad or tampon, you should change after every four to five hours to stay clean and reduce your risk of contracting any infections. The expert says that when menstruation begins, the presence of blood and warmth causes your vagina to draw numerous types of bacteria from your body. Bacteria simply grows and that can cause unwanted rashes, skin irritation or a urinary tract infection.

2. Wash your vagina thoroughly

Cleanse your private part after taking off your cups, pads or tampons. If you don’t, there could be an increase in the number of bacteria. All you need to do is wash the vagina’s exterior with lukewarm water then the vagina will take care of the rest as it cleans itself, says the expert.

3. Use single sanitation method

When there is excessive flow, women occasionally use two different sanitation techniques simultaneously. For instance, some women concurrently use sanitary pads, tampons, menstrual cups and even two pads on occasion. While this can prevent your clothing from becoming stained, a good amount of blood buildup could result in the emergence of dangerous bacteria. So, using one sanitary pad and changing it frequently is preferable.

Make sure you are following these tips and not using expired menstruation products to avoid unwanted health problems!

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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