An Interlabial pad is an absorbent pad that is worn externally (not inside the vagina), and is held in place by the labia. Usually resembling a tampon or a petal/leaf shape, these are almost a cross-between a tampon and a pad. Offering a way to absorb the menstrual flow closer to the vagina, which can help reduce the leakage and mess of using pads, while not being an internally worn product.
Interlabial pads are not a common form of menstrual or incontinence product, however there have been 2 disposable versions – the Padette (later renamed the Insync) and the “unique miniform”. Red Ginger (a cloth pad maker who closed around 2007) made circular reusable interlabial pads, but does not seem to have ever sold them commercially. Obsidian Star seems to have been the first to sell a reusable interlabial pad and created the leaf shaped design that is common in reusable interlabial pads today.
Interlabial pads can be useful for wearing overnight or during heavy flow in addition with a pad, and can help stop “channelling” (where the blood travels up between the buttocks). They can be used instead of a pad or internal product, or in addition to one of these. They cannot be worn during swimming, as they are an external product, however they could be worn while showering. They must be removed for urination, being careful that they do not fall into the toilet. As they are absorbent, they can dry out the skin if the blood flow is light and and they are worn for a long time, but they can be moistened with water to help make them less drying.
Like reusable tampons, interlabial pads can be sewn from fabric, knit or crochet from absorbent yarn. A simple fabric interlabial pad is a rectangle of absorbent cloth that is rolled or folded for use. A tampon-like version can be made by sewing a fabric tube and filling it with absorbent material.
Knitted versions can make use of the stocking stitch having a tendency to roll up, and can be as simple as knitting a square in cotton yarn. A tampon shaped “bag” could also be knit/crochet and filled with absorbent material.