Can girls wear a pad to dance class?

Even though it happens once a month, the topic of menstruation is a little taboo and makes some people cringe. This three to five day period every month can cause some problems for women, from cramping and bloating. It’s especially problematic for dancers. But it doesn’t have to limit your dancing, there are ways to deal with it, from pain relievers to tampons.

But can girls wear a pad to dance class? Yes, girls can wear a pad to dance class. However, it may be uncomfortable and limit their dancing. Some other menstruation products that are good for dancers are tampons, menstrual cups, and period panties. 

Being a dancer comes with enough stress aside from having to deal with your period, so here is a quick guide to help you through your periods in dance class.

Can I wear a Menstrual Pad to Dance or Ballet Class?

The short answer is yes, girls can wear pads in dance class. However, for most people, they aren’t the most ideal product to use.

Pads tend to be bulky and uncomfortable. Depending on the kind of pad you use, you’re most likely going to see it through your leotard and tights or really any other fitted clothes. Pads can also be uncomfortable enough to restrict you from fully dancing. Because of how bulky they are, they can get in the way of certain movements or be uncomfortable.

There is also the risk of leaking with a pad. Even with consistent changing if your flow is heavy or the pad moves that can put you at risk for overflowing, which can be really embarrassing and inconvenient. Other menstruation products, like tampons worn with period underwear, can be more reliable.

However, some people do prefer to use pads over other products. Pads are safer compared to tampons, which can cause problems like Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) if you don’t change them frequently enough.

Tampons can also be incredibly intimidating, especially for younger dancers. However, some dance studios don’t allow their students to wear underwear under their tights which you can read about in our article Teen’s & dance school underwear rules under dance leotards & costumes, which makes wearing a pad impossible. However, if you are lucky enough to be able to use a pad and don’t like tampons, then you should use a pad.

Best Pads to Use for Dance Class:

If you’re still set on using pads for dance class, there are a couple of things to look for in a pad for dancers:

Absorbency

The most important thing for any menstruation product is how absorbent it is. With all the moving you are doing while in dance class, you need something that it going to absorb everything without leaking. For girls with heavier flows, you still may have to change your pad a couple of times throughout class.

Thinness

Because you’re constantly moving around during dance class, it’s important that your pad isn’t too uncomfortable. The thinner the pad, the more comfortable it will be. Even though it may not seem like a good idea to get a thin pad, there are very absorbent thinner options.

There are some pads that are marketed as “sport” pads, which are thinner, absorbent, and flexible. However, for some people with heavier flows, sports pads aren’t ideal. If you want to stick to using pads but you have a heavier flow, you may have to frequently change your pad during dance class.

If you have a really light flow or just spotting, you can use a panty liner. A panty liner is a very thin pad that is big enough to hold super light flows.

Other Ways to Deal With Menstruation For Dance Class

Feminine hygiene set. Hand-drawn cartoon collection - sanitary napkin, tampon, menstrual cup, panties, monthly calendar. Doodle drawing. Vector illustration

Tampons

Tampons are the most preferred menstruation product to use for dancers. They are comfortable and you don’t feel them at all while you are dancing. Tampons are also a better bet because they are least likely to leak.

They are also a better option for girls with heavier flows because, unlike pads, they don’t get bulkier to absorb everything and you can wear them with period underwear for extra protection.

You also won’t get that icky feeling or wetness that reminds you, you are on your period when wearing a tampon which can be distracting and cause you to constantly wonder whether you are leaking when wearing a pad with your tights and leotard.

Menstrual Cup

Menstrual cups have been around for decades, however, they are making a big comeback because of their durability and ability to leave you worry-free during your period.

If you don’t already know, menstrual cups are an internal type of mensuration product that catches your flow. It is literally a cup that you insert and it catches your flow. Unlike a tampon, it doesn’t absorb the flow, so you do have to empty it and rinse it out. However, it is reusable, so you don’t have to worry about buying another one.

Menstrual cups are a lot safer than tampons because they are more hygienic and don’t run the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome. They are also known to lessen cramps, be more comfortable, and can last safely for up to 12 hours.

For a dancer, emptying a menstrual cup needs to be practised and be second natures to ensure you don’t spill the contents or get blood over your tights and leotard, which kind of forsakes the reason you are using it over a pad!

Period Panties

With new designs and materials being used today, Period Underwear is becoming a feasible option for dancers to use as either back up with a tampon or by themselves on light flow days. They are essentially reusable panties with inbuilt liners that absorb your flow.

Period Panties are less bulky than if you used a regular pad, making it easier to dance. They also are less likely to leak because they are fitted around your legs compared to pads. However, they are an investment to begin with and are not absolutely leak-proof especially on your heaviest day. For a full review of the period underwear, how they work and the best styles for wearing under leotards read our resource Period Underwear.

Tips for Managing Menstruation During Dance Class:

Be Prepared

Periods can show up unexpectedly sometimes, that’s why it’s always good to be extra prepared. Even when you don’t expect your period to start for a couple of weeks, it’s always good to keep your hygiene products with you anyways.

If you don’t already, you should also track when your periods start and end so you can know when you expect it. Even though it’s not always perfect, having a rough idea of when your period is going to start can help you be prepared to bring all of the things you need. This is one of the best times to be wearing Period Underwear because they feel just like normal panties but will soak up any flow at the beginning of your period which can start with little warning.

If you are able to, wearing black to dance class can also disguise and hide any leaking that might occur. Many studios have uniform policies so this might not be possible, but some allow the wearing of skirts or bootie shorts or dance/yoga pants, all of which can help you feel more comfortable and protected during class.

Periods can also make you feel dull, tired, and unmotivated, which can make it hard to dance. Knowing when your period is going to come can help you prepare for this. Make sure you get enough sleep, drink lots of water, and eat well leading up to your period to make sure you have enough energy for dance class.

You should also bring an over the counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or Motrin, to help you in case of cramping and muscle aches. For some girls, period cramps can be extremely painful and almost debilitating. The last thing that you want is to miss an important rehearsal because you’re in too much pain. Keeping a pain reliever on hand can save you from this.

Bring Extras

When it comes to your period, it’s always good to be extra cautious and bring extra items with you to dance class. You should always bring more pads, tampons or period underwear (or whatever your preferred method is) than you think you will need, you’ll also never know when a fellow dancer may need one too.

You should also bring extra underwear, tights, and a leotard in case of leakage. Even though it may be embarrassing, it’s common for girls to leak during their periods. Having an extra change of dance clothes can get you back on the dance floor confidently.

About the Author

Samantha Bellerose

Samantha is a wife and mother of four kids aged 1-9. She danced and acted from the age of 5 and performed in film clips, on television, and in musical theatre professionally. She also taught dance, but after leaving the profession to backpack through Europe, Canada and the USA with her husband for three years, she then completed an Education Degree and taught within primary schools in Australia. Today she is a business owner with her husband and the creator and writer for Dance Parent 101 where she hopes her previous experience as a dancer, current experience as a dance parent and the research and writing skills she gained completing her education degree will help enlighten parents on their journey with their child through the world of dance.