5 Reasons Period Pads/Liners Don’t Work for Bladder Leaks

Updated on December 20, 2022

Urinary incontinence: it’s one of those conditions that millions of people have, and another few million people don’t even know they have. Some people deal with it their whole lives. Some develop it when they’re 30, or 40, or 60. But despite its prevalence in our world, rarely is the condition discussed publicly, and it doesn’t get the attention it deserves. 

The reality is that, though inconvenient, urinary incontinence and bladder leaks can be addressed by simply having the right products. The condition is most common in women, and out of either convenience or lack of education on the topic (or a combination of the two), many women use period products to protect themselves from a leak. But using the wrong products is not only significantly less effective, but can also have adverse effects. Here are some of the main reasons you should ditch the period pads for your bladder leaks, and opt for a panty liner that’s made specifically for this condition instead.

Made for Blood, Not Urine

The main reason panty liners and period pads don’t work for bladder leaks is simply that both of those products are specifically designed for blood, not for urine. Take a moment and think about the difference between the two. When you’re on your period, the blood that comes out will likely look a few different ways throughout your cycle, but there are essentially two constants that should stop you from using panty liners and pads for bladder leaks. The first is that period blood is often thicker than urine, and the second is that there’s a lot less of it coming out of you during your period cycle than there is urine. Since panty liners and pads are made for periods, they’re designed to protect your clothes from the blood that comes out during that time; they’re ready for those thick globs and for those days where it’s just brown, but they’re not ready for the pure watery liquid of urine. That requires a whole different design with different materials and additives to handle the different liquid. 

Better Absorbency

Now that we’ve established that panty liners are not created with bladder leaks in mind, we’ll take a look at one of the major issues with using them for urinary incontinence: the absorbency. As we just mentioned above, period blood is generally thicker than urine and there’s much less of it. So period pads and panty liners, designed for period blood, are prepared to absorb just that: period blood. They’re made to absorb the slow, steady drip of period blood throughout the day that totals to well under a quarter of the total urine you produce in a day. They simply aren’t made to absorb a thinner liquid, and a lot more of it. Your pad or panty liner will get soaked and stay soaked with urine – much more so than it ever would with blood. 

Avoid Skin Irritation

With the absorbency issue comes the potential for rashes and skin irritation. Period pads are made to be soaked with blood, and they’re manufactured to keep the odds of getting a rash from that blood-soaked pad as low as possible. When it comes to blood, they’re competent and will typically get the job done without issue. Yet with urine, that’s not the case. The pad will likely be much more soaked from urine than it ever would be from blood, and when skin stays wet for an extended period of time (as it may if you’re wearing a soaked panty liner) it becomes much more susceptible to irritation and rashes. But it’s important to note that a more absorbent period pad wouldn’t necessarily do the trick, either. Urine has a different make up than blood; it’s significantly more acidic, a factor that bladder leak pads are made for but period pads are not. Pads made for bladder leaks have the ability to neutralize the acid in urine and to absorb the urine in ways that wicks it away from the skin to avoid irritation. This combination of better absorption and acid neutralization helps prevent rashes from a wet pad in ways that a period pad simply cannot compete with. 

Prevent the Urine Odor

Once you have a period pad soaked with urine, there’s essentially a guarantee that it’ll have an odor. Period pads have odor-battling qualities, of course, but it’s made to battle odors from blood and other period-related bodily fluids, not urine. Seeing the pattern yet? As we mentioned before, urine is much more acidic than blood and is a completely different fluid with a completely different odor that requires a liner or pad with completely different odor-battling properties. The period odor and the urine odor are not the same, and can’t be treated as such. Instead, pads made specifically for bladder incontinence will take care of the odor of urine. 

Why Risk a Leak?

We’ll close out the list with everybody’s nightmare: a urine leak in your pants while you’re in public, at work, or literally anywhere. Because panty liners and period pads aren’t made for that much liquid, just the slow leak of blood throughout the day, when they get too full, they get too full. The pad may leak. It may be dripping. Wet spots of urine might show up on the back or front of your pants, and you could find yourself in a bit of a mid-day pickle. Even if you think you don’t leak that much, it’s important to understand just how little liquid like urine a pad is equipped to hold. Why take the risk? There are products out there that are more specifically manufactured for your needs, and the fear of a leak can just disappear. 

The Bottom Line

Overall, the message is clear: use the product that’s made for the condition. Using a period pad is great for your period, but it’s not made for bladder leaks. Instead, use a panty liner that is manufactured specifically to handle urine, not blood. It’ll absorb better, it’ll smell better, and you can feel more confident that it won’t leak on you in public. 

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