Different Types of Sanitary Pads You Must Know

The most important ‘must-haves’ in women’s lives are sanitary pads. It is one of the most essential items that we carry with us everywhere. We never know when and where we might have the need to use it. Having sanitary napkins by our side during those harsh days is such a blessing as they make our lives easier when it comes to travelling, working and doing our daily chores. And we all know that till we reach the age of menopause, we aren’t getting rid of it.
But do we know everything about the period pads we have been using for ages? Do we have a clue how many types of sanitary napkins are there? We just go out and buy the same old one which we have been using since we started with our periods and we haven’t experimented or experienced any other different types of pads during our period days. Moreover, we don’t even know how they might be affecting us. Is the material being used healthy enough for us? Are the sanitary pads rash-free or anti-bacterial? Therefore, in this article, we will discuss the types of menstrual pads their benefits and some disadvantages too. But before we start, let us start by listing down on what basis you should be choosing your sanitary products?

  • ● How economical is your sanitary napkin?
  • ● Are you comfortable while using it?
  • ● Can it affect your health in any way?
  • ● How convenient it is?
  • ● Is it hygienic?
    Answer all these questions genuinely by keeping your health and comfortability and convenience level at the topmost priority. If you are getting a negative response to these questions for the product you are using then it is time to rethink and exchange your sanitary pads for a better one.

Types of pads for women

Everyone woman on this planet knows that the monthly cycles come with their share of mood swings and at that time of the month emptying a whole ice cream tub yourself is not a big deal! The biggest deal of all is maintaining your comfort level by doing hassle-free sanitary pad change and keeping an eye on one’s pockets too.
Today there is the availability of various types of pads for periods in the market, from disposable sanitary pads, disposable biodegradable pads, cloth pads to disposable biodegradable pads, just choose wisely which one is best suited for you.
● Cloth pads
We will start our discussion with the modern marvel of today’s world, the cloth pad. As the name goes you must have guessed that these sanitary napkins aren’t made of anything else other than natural cotton fibres. Interesting right? Now you do not have to worry about pad disposals or hurting the environment in any possible way. The cloth pads merely cost around Rs. 1300 – Rs. 1700 which is an affordable amount to pay as the pads are reusable and can be used for around three to four years if taken care of properly. Plus, as many women complain about the odour, cloth pads are the solution to this problem.
Nonetheless, as everything sounds good to your ears, and you may be thinking to switch to these sanitary pads, wait a little bit longer as we are going to get into the details.
So the comfort level provided by the cloth pads is quite high as it does not disappoint our beautiful ladies of all shapes and sizes as it is available in different shapes and even different colours.
Additionally, it is made up of soft cotton or bamboo fibres and has a good soaking capacity, which means its leak-proof, but this can not be said for every brand as there have been reports that the cloth pad was not able to hold menstrual blood for a long time.

There are no two ways to say that cloth sanitary pads are the most efficient way to contribute less to the earth’s garbage and more to our health. The last layer of the pad has a polyurethane coating, but even that is biodegradable and every material that has been used in the manufacturing of such pads is recyclable.
When it comes to anything that is sticking or touching our skin, that too a sensitive area, health becomes a serious issue because most of us do not prioritise our bodies. Our attitudes towards our health are next to negligent. Therefore, cloth pads are one of the best choices as the natural cotton fibre are breathable, chemical-free and soft and do not cause any kind of inflammation around the vaginal area.
Although it is a one-time investment, spending Rs. 1300 to Rs. 1700 on the pack of two to five sanitary napkins is not affordable by all. However, if we see the larger picture it is cost-effective, but again not everyone can put such an amount out of their pockets in one go.
On those messy days, hygiene is the most important factor for which we, women are all striving. And this is where the cloth pad might lose its points as for drying up and killing all the bacteria which might be growing on the menstrual blood’s moisture, there is a need for direct sunlight. If the cloth is not dried properly, there are chances of fungal infections and unwanted rashes and itching in or around the vaginal area.

When we talk about convenience we should not only be looking at one direction of it being used for more than two to three years but washing and drying should also be considered. If you are located somewhere where there is less sunlight and high humidity, then cloth pads aren’t for you as they need to be sun-dried or else you might suffer from skin diseases. Another thing is that cleaning cloth pads may possess as a challenge while travelling as you have to carry them in your travel bag until to reach a place where you can wash them. Additionally, there are places with water scarcity.

● Washable Pads with synthetic materials
A little less on the expensive side, synthetic material washable pads could be your go-getter as they are super absorbent and anti-microbial.
Using a synthetic material for making sanitary pads helps in making it a quick-dry product, unlike the all-cloth pads. However, these also require to be washed under running water with soap and to be soaked frequently in water to remove stains.
Washable synthetic pads do not give out a foul smell and are leak-proof. Depending on the brand and how frequently you use the same pads, the product life may vary from one to three years approximately.
Usually, these pads come in packs of two or four and cost Rs. 200, which is quite affordable. The materials used to manufacture these synthetic pads are generally high absorbent fibres at the core, soft velvet at the top layer, poly-urethane laminated mesh jacquard at the bottom layer to make the product leak-proof and 100% polyester-based fabric.
These pads, though not biodegradable, hold antimicrobial and antibacterial properties and are skin-friendly and rash-free. They almost stand equally on every aspect of comfort, health, cost and convenience, besides being eco-friendly. But, they can be reused for about three years, so there is some contribution on your part, at last.

● Disposable sanitary pads

With every alternative available on this list, disposable sanitary pads are the most used ones.
First-ever designed by Benjamin Franklin to stop excessive battlefield bleeding, nobody knew that this invention will make the lives of women around the globe much easier.
Earlier women used various materials to collect period blood which was not comfortable, let alone hygienic. Mud, rags, mosses, leaves, seaweed, vegetable fibres, animal pelts, wool, sea sponges and cotton were used as absorbents. But as the revolution took place, disposable sanitary pads started to catch the eyes of women and they switched to a product that was leak-proof, made them feel dry, was super absorbent and made their working a less painful experience.
Disposable sanitary pads are made for one’s comfort. They come in different sizes and shapes and keep stains off your clothes on period days. They are soft and scented and makes you feel dry for the whole day.
So being eco-friendly is not one of the advantages of disposable pads. However, their convenience, cost and hygiene still make them the number one choice for most of us.
Even though some might say that disposable pads give you rashes there isn’t any research that proves these claims. Some women might get rashes as they have sensitive skin but this isn’t true for all. Today almost every sanitary napkin brand has incorporated anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Health issues with disposable pads only arise we women forget to change or do not change the blood-soaked menstrual pads frequently.

Depending on the individual’s period flow experience, monthly sanitary napkin cost differs from person to person. Nonetheless, it does not act as a burden on the pocket all at once like the cloth pads.
To maintain good menstrual hygiene do not forget to change the sanitary pad every six hours or else it might lead to bacterial growth, skin rashes and foul odour.
When it comes to use and throw products, the convenience level is quite high, as you do not have to carry the used disposable pads in your travel bag like synthetic material washable pads for its next wash. Disposable pads are easy to use and dispose of.

● Disposable biodegradable pads
Disposable biodegradable pads are still out of reach of many women and half of us didn’t even know of their existence as there are only a few companies that produce these sanitary pads.
Biodegradable disposable pads usually come in packs of four to eight, their cost varying from Rs. 150 to Rs. 500 according to the brands and are chemical-free and unbleached. They are manufactured by using natural materials such as water hyacinth paper, beeswax, bamboo fibre, wood pulp and banana fibre.
Disposable biodegradable pads are as much comfortable, soft and leak-proof as disposable pads. These also come in different shapes and sizes.

When compared to other sanitary napkins on the list, biodegradable disposable pads stands in the middle as it has properties that are convenient for some and not for others. For example, if the pad contains wood pulp, then it requires to be bleached while processing, making it semi-biodegradable as the wood pulp layer has to be removed if you are thinking of composting. Additionally, the adhesive layer should also be removed before throwing away these pads, thus making its usage not so hassle-free.
Health problems might arise when the pads containing wood pulp are bleached, thusly releasing toxic dioxins and leading to endocrine disruption, foetus development disorders and reproductive failures.
On average, if you are four to five pads in a day, then you will be spending a hefty amount of Rs.1900 annually (for one).
As the spending is high, some tend to use the same napkin for longer hours to save cost, consequently keeping their hygiene and health at risk.
The problem with disposable biodegradable pads is their availability, making them less convenient. Moreover, similar to the disposable pads, one needs to buy them on monthly basis.

Well- Wisher’s Words
After going through the article, now you must be thinking ‘which sanitary pad is best for me?’ This question’s answer is not one-fit-for-all as every sanitary pad that has been mentioned in this article has its pros and cons and you will have to decide which one suits best for you. Yet, we would like to advise you that always

keep your health and hygiene in mind before choosing or switching between sanitary napkins.

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