How to get rid of tampon leaks and stains

3 min read

There’s a lot of #positivity about periods going on right now and we’re thoroughly into it. But let’s face it, sometimes menstruation can (literally) be a pain in the rump. From leaks and cramps to the monthly ritual of getting caught short and begging your workmate for an emergency tampon, it’s not always plain sailing.

But fear not friends, because help is at hand. Our new Period Clinic series is going to clue you up so thoroughly on all things menses that your colleagues will be flocking to YOU for spare tampons before you can say, “sorry Susan, I’ve run out again.” Better iron your cape.

First up, we’re dealing with probably the most common period hazard known to (wo)man. Yep, it’s the leaking tampon. Let’s break it down.

Why do tampons leak?
If your tampons are coming out full and then some, you probably already know the answer: you need to move up an absorbency or change your tampons more often (every 4 – 6 hours is average but you might have heavier days when that won’t cut it). However there’s also a lesser-known cause for tampon leakage, and that’s the shape of the brand you use.

Like finding jeans that fit, you need to work out which tampon brand is right for your vagina

Lots of people don’t realise that not all tampons are created equal and, just like finding jeans that fit your body shape, you need to work out which tampon brand is right for your vagina. Rayon tampons tend to expand lengthways due to the shape of the fibres they’re made of. Organic cotton, on the other hand, expands outwards, making a rounder shape. There’s nothing wrong with either, it’s just different strokes for different folks. Worth knowing, though, that if you use high-street brands and find you keep leaking, it might be worth trying an organic brand (like Callaly!) for size.

Callaly red painted hands blood

Do I need to wear a liner just in case?
It’s common to opt for a pantyliner as well as a tampon, just in case leaks do happen. In fact we did a survey about exactly this, and 7 out of 10 of women who use tampons said they use liners at the same time. Some people have no problem with this option, but for others it can cause discomfort, itching and infections, not to mention the extra faff of using two products. Tampliners are organic tampons with a built-in liner that tucks between your labia to catch any leaks, so might be worth a try if you’re prone to getting caught out.

Leaking doesn’t mean you’re dirty or bad at being an adult or any other such thing

And if I do leak? How do I get the blood stains out?
If, despite your best efforts, you still end up with stains on your underwear, don’t worry. It doesn’t mean you’re dirty or bad at being an adult or any other such thing – it just means you’re a human with periods.

When faced with any stain, we always turn to the advice of our favourite clean person, Jolie Kerr. If the blood is fresh, she advises taking off your pants and running them under cold or lukewarm, not hot, water. If the stain needs extra help, a bit of ordinary hand soap is a good option.

For old stains lingering in knickers too comfy to throw away you might need to buy a specialist spot stain remover. Vanish Gold gets excellent Amazon reviews.

But if you need to freshen up your favourite pants and don’t have any stain remover to hand, Jolie says you can crush up aspirin, salt or bicarb of soda and mix into a paste with water, then rub into the stain. Who knew!

Click here to try the super-secure feeling of Tampliners.

This is part of our Period Clinic series, solving your menstruation dilemmas. If you have a question you’d like us to help with, email info@calla.ly and we’ll do our best.
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Currents is a place where interested people with periods come to get the real lowdown on menstruation and bodies. We explain the things nobody else does, normalising every experience of periods no matter how weird it might feel. We’ll leave you informed, unashamed and ready to expect more for yourself.

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