Can tampons and pads expire? We investigate.

Everything in this world seems to have some kind of expiry date. From food to condoms to makeup, there will always be a line in the sand that pinpoints a time when a product was once okay to use, but isn’t anymore.

So what about pads and tampons?

After all, these items are living in and around a sensitive part of our body that we have every overriding intention of caring for meticulously. But many perhaps don’t consider the fact that pads and tampons do expire, and the use of them outside that date can do enormous damage.

“They do expire, it’s usually after five years,” Dr Brad McKay, GP and former host of Embarrassing Bodies Down Under, tells Mamamia.

“Basically, an example I can go from, is when I had bags of tea in my cupboard for four to five years. Instead of them being nice and crisp and clean when I went to get them out, they had all these little black dots on them.

Listen: How Rochelle Courtenay is changing the world with tampons.

“It was essentially fungus growing on the teabag. The same thing can happen with pads and tampons.”

A naturally beautiful image to conjure.

Dr McKay says there can be pretty unhealthy ramifications for using the products outside their expiry.

“There is a risk of fungus and bacteria growing on the pad or tampon, and then when you’re putting that inside, you could be producing a horrible fungal infection.”

Dr McKay adds that although typical tampons and pads do expire after five years, it’s important to note that they may expire far earlier than that.

“A lot of the experiments are done when [the pads and tampons] live in optimal conditions and probably in conditions less than 30 degrees.

“So, in hot or humid weather, the lifespan may be less than what it quotes on the label.”

He reminds anyone who may be looking for signs of fungus and bacteria to recognise you mightn’t always be able to see it.

“You can still have bacteria there, you just may not be able to see it because it may be microscopic,” he says.