Period products are a hot topic as we try to reduce the amount of plastic that we put into the world.
Pads and tampons are guilty of using a lot of non recyclable plastic, but at least they’re only used for a portion of the month. Panty liners, on the other hand, are designed for everyday use, so create even more waste.
But do we actually need to use panty liners? Are they a great way to stay fresh throughout the day, or are they an unnessary product designed to take womens’ money by making them feel their vaginas are unclean?
We spoke to Dr Mayoni, doctor, pelvic floor expert, and owner of The Clinic, about whether we should be spending our money on panty liners.
Is vaginal discharge normal?
Yes, totally! It’s our vagina’s way of keeping healthy and clean, while allowing natural shedding of any dead cells/microbes.
This will change through your cycle under the influence of different hormones. However, if your discharge is very offensive, smells or changes in colour from clear/white, then definitely see your doctor.
Can scented panty liners cause gynaecological problems?
Yes, because they can upset natural flora and fauna. Perfume/cleansers can cause irritation to the delicate vulval and vaginal tissue – so I recommend using plain liners and changing them often.
Should women feel obliged to wear panty liners for health reasons?
Not at all. Sometimes having a spare clean cotton underwear can be a good and safe alternative. And of course if you are worried about the amount of discharge you are producing, then please seek medical advice.
Is there any health benefit for the vagina to a panty liner?
If you are at the end of your period or at a situation where you can’t change your underwear regularly, then of course a frequently replaced thin panty liner can help to keep your vulva and vagina healthy.
The problem comes when a liner isn’t changed frequently enough, and the natural bacteria thrives and overgrows in this environment; thus leading to potential vaginal and urinary tract infections.
In conclusion, as Dr Mayoni says, you do not need to wear a panty liner.
However, some women do feel more comfortable wearing them – the feeling that your vagina is unclean is ingrained in a lot of us from childhood and hard to unlearn.
If you do feel the need to wear panty liners, avoid scented ones as they can irritate your vagina, mess with your natural pH, and also because your vagina smells fine as it is.
You can also buy washable bamboo panty liners. We haven’t tried them so can’t comment on how good they are, but they’re certainly more eco friendly.
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