An absorbent article in the form of a sanitary napkin, a panty liner or an incontinence protector has been patented. The article includes an elongated body with an expansion element for permitting the elongated body to expand in a transverse direction to the elongated body. The elongated body is flat and has a liquid-permeable sheet that is adapted to face toward a wearer's body, a liquid-impermeable sheet that is adapted to face toward the wearer's garment, such as a pair of panties worn by the wearer, and an absorbent layer between the liquid-permeable sheet and the liquid-impermeable sheet. At least part of the liquid-impermeable sheet includes a fastener for enabling the article to be releasably fastened to the garment. The expansion element includes at least one pleat including an absorbent layer. The pleat extends only partially along the elongated body and Includes two leg parts that are parallel with the plane of the article. An inwardly folded intermediate part extends between the leg parts and joins the leg parts together.