Why Sanitary Towels Cause Chafing: Reasons, Appearance, and Treatments

sanitary towel chafing

Sanitary towels, also known as menstrual pads, are commonly used by women during their menstrual cycle to manage menstrual flow. While these products provide essential protection and comfort, some women may experience chafing, which can lead to discomfort and irritation.

In this article, we will explore the reasons why sanitary towels can cause chafing, discuss the appearance of chafed skin, and provide tips for treatment and prevention. Understanding these factors can help women address and alleviate chafing issues associated with sanitary towel use.

Reasons Why Sanitary Towels Cause Chafing

Here are some of the main causes of sanitary towel chafing:

  1. Friction: One of the primary reasons for chafing is the friction that occurs between the sanitary towel and the delicate skin in the vaginal area. The constant rubbing and movement of the pad against the skin can lead to irritation and chafing.
  2. Synthetic Materials: Many sanitary towels are made of synthetic materials such as plastic, which can trap heat and moisture against the skin. This can create an ideal environment for chafing, as the skin becomes more prone to friction and irritation.
  3. Poor Fit: Using sanitary towels that do not fit properly or are too small can increase the chances of chafing. Ill-fitting pads may shift and rub against the skin, leading to discomfort and chafed areas.

Appearance of Chafed Skin

Chafed skin caused by sanitary towels can manifest in various ways, depending on the severity and individual factors. Some common appearances of chafed skin include:

  1. Redness: Chafed skin often appears red and inflamed due to the irritation caused by constant friction and rubbing.
  2. Sensitivity: Chafed skin may become sensitive to touch, causing discomfort or pain when pressure is applied.
  3. Rawness and Itching: In more severe cases, chafed skin can become raw and may develop small cuts or abrasions. This can result in itching and further discomfort.

Treatment and Prevention of Sanitary Towel Chafing

  • Choose Breathable and Natural Materials: Opt for sanitary towels made from breathable and natural materials such as cotton. These materials allow for better airflow and reduce moisture build-up, minimizing the risk of chafing.
  • Change Regularly: It is important to change sanitary towels regularly, especially during heavy flow days, to prevent excessive saturation and prolonged exposure to moisture. Make sure to wash the sanitary pad regularly.
  • Proper Fit: Select sanitary towels that fit well and provide adequate coverage. Ensure that the pad is positioned correctly to minimize movement and friction against the skin.
  • Use Moisture-Wicking Underwear: Wearing moisture-wicking underwear can help draw moisture away from the skin, reducing the risk of chafing.
  • Stay Hygienic: Maintain good personal hygiene by keeping the genital area clean and dry. Avoid using harsh soaps or perfumed products, as these can further irritate the skin.
  • Apply Soothing Balms or Creams: If chafing occurs, applying a gentle, hypoallergenic balm or cream to the affected area can help soothe the skin and promote healing.

It is crucial to address any irritation from a sanitary pad promptly upon detection. Neglecting to treat rashes could potentially result in a yeast infection, as the naturally occurring yeast in your body can impact the affected areas.

It it persists, make sure to consult your dermatologist immediately and ask for solutions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can chafing from sanitary towels lead to infections?

While chafing itself does not directly cause infections, the irritated skin can become more vulnerable to bacterial or fungal infections. It is important to maintain good hygiene and promptly address any signs of infection, such as increased redness, swelling, or unusual discharge.

Can using reusable sanitary towels reduce the risk of chafing?

Yes, reusable sanitary towels made from soft and breathable materials, such as organic cotton or bamboo, can reduce the risk of chafing compared to some disposable pads made of synthetic materials.

How do you keep sanitary towels from chafing?

To keep sanitary towels from chafing keep the affected area clean and dry. Applying aloe vera gel, coconut oil, or a gentle moisturizer to the chafed area can provide relief and promote healing. However, if symptoms persist or worsen, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional.


While sanitary towels are widely used and convenient menstrual products, they can sometimes cause chafing and discomfort.

Understanding the reasons behind chafing and implementing preventive measures, such as choosing the right materials, maintaining proper hygiene, and ensuring a good fit, can significantly reduce the risk of chafed skin.

If chafing occurs, prompt treatment with soothing balms or creams can alleviate discomfort and aid in the healing process. By taking these steps, women can manage chafing issues associated with sanitary towel use and enjoy a more comfortable menstrual experience.

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