Interlabial Pads: What the heck are they?
Interlabial Pads: What the heck are they?
So you’ve been researching cloth pads or perhaps you’ve recently started using them and you’ve come across a product called interlabial pads. Your first thought is “Interlabial wha-hut-ha????” as you start scratching your head. Well, they are exactly what they sound like. They are a small “pad” which is often in the shape of a petal that fits in between your labia. They can be made of any material, but are usually made from breathable and absorbent cloth such as cotton. They should hold about 2-5ml of fluid.
If you are interested in learning more about interlabial pads then keep reading. If you'd prefer to watch a video about interlabial pads, we made one here.
Why use an interlabial pad?
There are a number of reasons you would want to use an interlabial pad.
Interlabial pads can help direct your menstrual flow and stop what is often referred to as channeling – when your menstrual flow channels through your labia or buttocks to the front or back of your pad. When placed between the labia and over the vaginal opening, the menstrual flow is slowed and stop before it has the opportunity to “channel”. This is one of the main reasons to use an interlabial pad. If you bleed to the front or back, you should definitely give these a try.
Slow your flow
Another thing interlabial pads are useful for is to help slow your menstrual flow. So if you tend to “gush” rather than trickle, an interlabial pad can slow the flow which in turn allows your pad more time to absorb the flow. This is useful for cloth pad users as sometimes a gushy flow means your cloth pad could leak because your flow was not absorbed quickly enough into your cloth pad.
If you have a very heavy flow, the interlabial pad offers even more protection as they will absorb about 2-5ml of fluid. You could use them in conjunction with a tampon or menstrual cup as well as a pad.
Use as back-up
If you are using a menstrual cup or tampon and are concerned about leaks, you can use an interlabial pad as a backup instead of a pantyliner.
Because interlabial pads can be used instead of a pantyliner, you can use them to protect against vaginal discharge.
If you suffer from light incontinence from things like coughing, sneezing or laughing, an interlabial pad can absorb small amounts of leakage.
How do you use and care for interlabial pads?
Before using your interlabial pads, you will need to wash them several times. This is because they are made from cotton and they require washing to make them absorbent. They should reach maximum absorbency after about 5 washes. It’s helpful to wash them in a mesh laundry bag so that they do not get lost in your machine. You do not need to dry them between washes when preparing for use.
To use the interlabial pad, you fold it and place between your labia and over your vaginal opening. If you are using them to protect from light incontinence, you must ensure you are covering your urethra. There are few ways to fold an interlabial pad and you can experiment with different folds to find which one works the best for you. Here are a few to try:
In this instance the pad may be completely between your labia or it may fold over the outside of your labia.
With this fold the pad should be completely inside your labia.
When you fold widthwise, the sides of the pad will probably sit on the outside of your labia.
Again, with this fold the pad should be enclosed by your labia.
With this fold, you end up with a flap that will lie flat outside of your labia with the rest enclosed by your labia.
Change your interlabial pad regularly. We recommend changing when at full capacity or every 4-6 hours. When you are finished, place the interlabial pad in a wetbag or with your laundry and wash as normal at up to 60 degrees. You can wash interlabial pads with your cloth pads or with your normal laundry. As with cloth pads, it is a good idea to rinse your interlabial pads until the water runs clear before putting in the washing machine. If you want to avoid staining, you should thoroughly rinse your interlabial pads under cold water immediately after use.
Are interlabial pads right for you?
Interlabial pads are not the most popular form of period protection. However, they are a very good, inexpensive alternative to cloth pantyliners and offer an extra layer of protection for those with a heavy flow. They are definitely worth trying.
If you are interested in giving interlabial pads a try, you can buy them from our shop here. The number of interlabial pads you’ll need will depend on your flow and what you require them for. We recommend a pack of 10 as a starting point as this will last about 3 days without washing if you use them during your period. If you are using them for discharge or occasional light incontinence, you may get away with using about 2 per day.
If you've enjoyed reading this, but are still looking for more infromation, check our our Ultimate Guide to Interlabial Pads here.