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Period 101: Types of Sanitary Pads to Pick From

Did you know that before feminine hygiene products were commercially available, women resorted to using pieces of rags to manage their menstrual flow? That’s where the menstrual euphemism “on the rag” came from. The development of disposable menstrual pads was inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s invention to aid wounded soldiers, an idea later picked up by Johnson & Johnson in the 1890s to create Lister’s Towels. There on, started the creation and development of various types of sanitary napkins to address the concerns of women on their periods and make the painful days more comfortable.

We now know a world of period products that makes managing menstruation more convenient. Amongst them all the most used is the good old sanitary napkin.

To help you choose from the many period pads that are available, there are a few things that you must keep in mind. Start by making a note on your priorities when it comes to period products. Think about- health, hygiene, allergies, comfort, pricing, convenience, and its impact on the environment. After considering the aforementioned factors, browse through the following list of the period pad types to find your optimum fit that lifts you up on your down days:-

Panty Liners

Panty liners are a thin, absorbent feminine hygiene product that is worn in the gusset of a woman’s panties. They are similar to sanitary pads but less absorbent and smaller in size. Panty liners are thin and have an adhesive at their bottom that could be stuck onto your underwear.

They cover a small area of your underwear and are ideal for managing period spotting, vaginal discharge, post intercourse discharge, and urinary incontinence. They can also be worn to ensure extra protection of possible leaks while using period products like a tampon or a menstrual cup that are inserted inside the vagina.

Regular Pads

Amongst the different types of sanitary pads available, the regular sanitary napkins are most commonly used to manage light to medium blood flow. They are also a lot thicker than panty liners and offer a sufficient level of absorbency.

They could be worn during the day and have to be replaced every four hours or more frequently if you are experiencing a heavier flow. You can find them with wings (flaps attached to either side with an adhesive that helps you secure it in place) and without wings. However, the former is almost always preferred for added safety and comfort.

Extra long pads

The extra-long pads are usually thicker than their regular counterparts. They cover most of your underwear and could make you feel a bit bulky. Consider wearing them to manage a heavy flow on days you are traveling and cannot change your sanitary pad as often as you’d like to.

They come with absorbent adhesive wings to prevent leakage for days you absolutely cannot afford to leave a stain. This pad is a perfect pick for your second day of period if you wish to put on your white pants and head out for a fun brunch party.

Ultra Thin Pads

To prioritize user-convenience, sanitary napkins have evolved over the years. Many will agree that of all the period pad types, the ultra-thin variant is the most comfortable. It replaces layers of cotton with a waterproof gel-based core to offer greater absorbency.

If you have a light flow, definitely consider picking this type of sanitary pad. Women with comparatively heavier flows also use these ultra-thin ones on their first and last few days.

Organic Pads

Organic period pad types are the most loved disposable pads. They are ideal not only because they are healthy for your body, but also for the environment. These types of sanitary napkins are eco-friendly, breathable, highly absorbent, and healthy for your skin and vagina. They have no harmful chemicals, additives, perfumes that may irritate your skin – and are especially recommended to be the best pads for a first period.

Heyday is a new-age brand that makes organic and biodegradable sanitary pads using bamboo and corn fibers to ensure your periods are healthy, safe, and environment friendly.

Reusable Pads

Reusable sanitary napkins are washable and have a slit to insert an absorbent liner. You can also insert multiple liners depending on your flow. They can be changed as often as pads and are also an eco friendly option. However, if they are not washed well and disinfected with germ-killing detergents, they may host bacteria over time and infect the user. Hence, they must be cared for and cleaned thoroughly. For those who don’t have the time to devote towards the maintenance of reusable pads, then we recommend using the organic, decomposable and disposable types of sanitary napkins as mentioned above.

— To prepare a child for her first period, it is important to educate her without any ambiguity and encourage her to ask questions. It is also a good idea to teach her how to help herself if she gets her first period when she is alone. Share this blog post with her for a complete guide on what to expect while looking for a sanitary napkin for the first time.