It usually happens when women are in their 40s, but sometimes earlier. Suddenly, a monthly cycle that was predictable becomes erratic. Fluctuating hormones begin to impact aspects of daily life, from sleep to relationships to bladder changes. It’s called perimenopause, and retailers have the opportunity to help redefine how women navigate this phase of life.
This starts with understanding how the unpredictable nature of perimenopause affects the individual. Perimenopause happens before menopause, when women still have periods, but they are often irregular. For many, it can be stressful to leave the house and not know what the day might bring. They may constantly worry that their period will show up unexpectedly. For some, the solution is to always wear a pad or liner, but this creates its own challenges to stay comfortable and maintain skin health if the product is not changed frequently.
With continuous use of pads and liners, breathability is essential. Products made from breathable materials promote a favorable skin climate by reducing moisture and heat buildup. Staying dry matters, because too much heat and moisture may lead to discomfort, skin breakdown and possible infection. Using high-quality, breathable products should be seen as preventative care and daily hygiene.
Women experiencing perimenopause need a pad designed to meet their unique needs, which may include heavier periods. At the same time, they may also need other types of protection. Daily freshness is still a consideration, and some women in perimenopause may experience bladder leakage due to hormonal changes, past pregnancies or other factors.
Unfortunately, today there is a limited assortment of absorbent hygiene products designed especially for women experiencing perimenopause. It’s an area in which First Quality is actively innovating, and where we see opportunities to help store brands meet the challenge.
Our own portfolio of branded products reflects First Quality’s commitment to better serving women in perimenopause. Last year, we launched Incognito by Prevail, a line of 3-in-1 feminine pads with multi-fluid technology to help protect against multiple kinds of fluid leakage. To help manage the heavier periods that may come with perimenopause, Incognito ultra-thin pads are built to absorb two times more fluid than a leading period pad. Made with breathable materials and designed for up to eight hours of protection, they are ideal for women who wear pads continuously each day.
The Incognito 3-in-1 pads and liner are backed by First Quality’s clinical team, which staffs a 24/7 nurse line providing free, 100% confidential support to consumers online and over the phone. First Quality’s team of licensed nurses can answer questions about product selection, application and fit, as well as general inquiries related to bladder leakage and period care. This is a service we make available to retail partners.
As a nursing educator, I encourage students to take a holistic view of individuals’ needs. This is imperative for retailers when considering how to best serve women in perimenopause. It’s important to meet women where they are, with the products and information they need to make educated decisions.
When it comes to period care, First Quality understands that it is not just about managing monthly periods — it’s a continuum of care. By being a resource for women in perimenopause, retailers can help ensure they find the products and support they need at every age and stage.
Michele Mongillo is a registered nurse, nursing educator and the global clinical director at First Quality.
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