Do women wear pads and tampons all the time, or only during menstruation, or what?

As a guy who lives with his mother who hasn’t had her ovaries in many years, there are things about menstruation that I’m not privy to, to put it mildly. I’m ignorant about these things, and I don’t wanna be.

Does every woman always keep very close tabs on what day of their cycle they’re on, and only wear tampons or pads on the days they’re likely to bleed? How long does the bleeding last? Do women frequently bleed in their pants or their bedsheets because they forgot to put on a tampon or pad?

I’m a man but I can say that not every woman keeps track. My ex was often caught by surprise and unprepared.

Gee, I actually know the answer to this one.

Women do attempt to keep track of their cycles. However, we aren’t machines and sometimes things happen unexpectedly. It’s best to carry supplies all the time.

The bleeding lasts five to seven days, which of course varies among individuals.

And best of all, wearing a tampon or pad is no guarantee that you won’t stain your clothes.

Not all women are regular enough that it’s predictable. Trust a woman in her 50s on this. Duration tends to vary. For me when younger and more regular, about 5 days, but these days it’s hard to predict, and different women will answer that differently from their own experience. The same woman can also have variances.

Pads/tampons are only used during the actual period by most women, possibly for a day or so after to be sure it’s over for that round (stop/start can also happen).

Yes, laundry crises can result from flow starting unexpectedly, or being heavier than anticipated (especially at night) and overflowing the protection. Most women, so far as I can tell, are not likely to forget to replace a pad/tampon once the period is underway. Surprise starts or variances in flow amount are more likely to cause me trouble.

And of course, it’s more difficult when you’re starting off. It’s not uncommon for a girl in middle school to suddenly have a need to leave the room “to see the school nurse”. Sometimes high school, too, though usually by then, they’re better prepared (or at least, have a better prepared friend they can borrow from).

In my experience (married 26 years, with four daughters having reached menarche), they wear only when menstruating and do not time themselves and pre-arm when expecting…they just write off having to launder a soiled panty/sheet/etc per month as something to live with.

Forgot to answer the “all the time” part: It would not be safe for someone to wear a tampon all the time. It could cause Toxic Shock Syndrome. Theoretically, a woman could wear a pad all the time, but it’s akin to wearing a diaper. Really isn’t as much fun as it looks.

Speaking for myself, I was generally aware of when I was due to start, but I didn’t mark dates on a calendar till I was trying to get pregnant. So when I had a doctor’s appointment and they’d ask “When was your last period?” I’d give a best guess.

Back in my youth, pads weren’t self-adhesive - you wore a belt and the pads had long tails that hooked on to the belt. The ones I had were similar to these. Stick-on pads were a most welcome advance. But not as welcome as the end of my periods. :smiley:

Yeah, my ex wife wore a pad all the time but it wasn’t for mensuration. She had issues with urinal leakage.

That said, I don’t think her issues were any more severe than most middle aged persons. She was just really self conscious about it.

There was a time when I was 28 days to the hour and could plan easily. And there was a time were I was random.

Many women have a clue its coming - cramps, headaches, cravings, mood swings - might tell them its time to wear a liner. Mine came on gentle enough that a liner was plenty to catch.

Women will also wear pads because bladder leakage isn’t uncommon - especially for women “of a certain age” and women who have had children (although it happens to a lot of young women who have never had kids). Watch mature women sneeze and do the “quick cross of the legs.” They make pads specifically for bladder leakage, but a lot of women just use the same pads.

I totally agree. The “sanitary belts” I remember (and used) had metal clips, not plastic as pictured. As someone with a metal allergy…let me just say the whole week and beyond was brutal. Not missed at all.

There’s a reason many detergents and stain removers boast about removing blood stains.

One of the up-sides of being on the birth control pill (at least back in the 70s & 80s when I was – don’t know about today), was that the timing of your period became totally predictable.

When my wife was in her 20s and 30s, her period was usually extremely predictable. Even so, she tried to always make sure she had a couple of tampons in her purse (and there were always a few emergency tampons in the glove compartments of our cars), for the infrequent times when things weren’t like clockwork.

By the time she was in her early to mid 40s, her cycle became far less predictable, both in the timing of when it’d begin, and its duration.

I don’t know of anyone who uses tampons unless they are actively bleeding. It would be unsafe and uncomfortable. Pads? It depends. Women have daily discharge, but not blood. It depends on what you are wearing, a lot of women use pantyliners daily.

The last 5 years of my period I used an app to track, it did a pretty good job in letting me know when to expect my period.

Menopause rocks. I don’t have to worry about any of that now.

I’ve heard of women with vaginal prolapse using tampons as a stop-gap, but more likely, a gynecologist could fit them with a pessary, a plastic/rubber/etc. device that holds everything in place until or unless they have it surgically corrected.

For me, 99% of the time, I would know a couple days before my period started because of achy breasts, and sometimes, that first brown discharge would sting a little, so I had some advance warning. I still carry pads in my purse because I never know when someone else might need one.

If a woman wears a pad all the time, it’s usually for urinary incontinence.

I sure wish I’d known about Chux pads in my early menstruating days. It would have prevented a LOT of midnight sheet changing and laundry; a bath towel just isn’t the same.

Nowadays, more and more women are using menstrual cups like the Keeper or the Moon Cup, and I’ve long heard that when diaphragms were more popular, some women actually used them for dual duty.

I came of age a few years after the stick-on pads hit the market (that I know of). My mother never liked them, and always used belted pads. UGH!

When I worked at Target in the early 1980s, we did sell them, but not often. We got a call once from a local college sorority, because they were going to haze their pledges by tying belted pads together and wrapping them up like mummies, and then making them walk around the block at dusk. (More recently, I saw a similar kind of thing at another college, although in this cases, the girls were wearing skirts made from aluminum foil.)

My favorite story about belted pads, however, came from one of my pharmacy magazines, which had a monthly humor tidbit. This one was an independent store in a small town which periodically (no pun intended) ordered several boxes for an elderly farmer in the region, because they were the best oil filters he’d ever found for his old tractor.

And there’s this treatment from SNL.

Even though I never tracked mine because I was very irregular, the pre-cramps would give me some warning. I never carried anything though and would just use a folded wad of toilet paper when I got caught off guard.

I don’t miss having periods. It always hurt a lot.

Hah! An ex of mine was convinced her period was irregular when, in fact, it was completely regular: 28 days exactly. She thought it was irregular because it did not begin on the same day of each month.

Is there truth to the rumor that any woman can ask any other woman for some “supplies” and the other woman will give some over if she has them?

I’d hope that would be the case but I do not know if:

A) A woman would even ask a stranger for this

B) If the stranger would be expected to respond well