Sanitary Pads - A Brief Overview
Most women are introduced to sanitary pads and sanitary pads brands by their mothers at menarche, or when they get their first period. This first sanitary pad defines much of these menstruators’ sanitary pads usage for the rest of their life.
Several sanitary pads brands thus target younger women so that they can convert them to their brand at a young age, and stay with them for life.
This cycle, unfortunately, does not allow women to explore which are the best period pads for them. Thankfully, due to digital marketing and more word-of-the-mouth marketing more women are openly speaking about sanitary pads now and exploring which may be the best for their needs.
This is a necessary shift from India that still packs sanitary pads in newspapers before taking it home from the shop and uses blue blood to depict period blood in ads.
Sanitary Pads and Perceptions (Myths) Associated With Them
We at RIO Heavy Flow pads have always been passionate about busting myths and helping women find the best sanitary pads for their use. From the inception of our brand, we have emphasised the importance of portraying period blood as red and not as blue. Our first television commercial starring Radhika Apte, released in early 2020 broke the blue blood barrier in period ads!
RIO sanitary pads for heavy flow are also one of the only pads that cater to those with heavy flow. Our pads are 3x as absorbent as regular pads, and 380mm longer than most pads in the market.
This is because when we were on the field, researching women’s needs, we realised that several women above the age of 30 suffering from endometriosis, PCOS or post menstrual complications often use two, sometimes three pads, pasted together to create a surface that will stay safe from leaks. During our research we came across stories of countless women who believe the best sanitary pads can do is to provide a somewhat manageable experience as they stay home from work or school on heavy flow days.
But that is untrue!
Over nearly 100 years of technological development and feedback from users on sanitary pads usage, brands have developed pads that are longer, thicker, more absorbent and far more comfortable. This article hopes to bust a few of the commonly known myths so that next time you can buy yourself the best period pads for the best possible period.
Sanitary Pads are meant to leak, itch, hurt
If you always have rashes, irritation, or redness; if your sanitary pads are constantly leaking, or if you have to wake up at night to change your pad again and again, the issue is not with you and your flow. It is with your pad. Most women bleed about 40ml of blood per period, but others due to genetics or hormonal complications may bleed up to 80mll or more. These women require special sanitary pads for heavy flow such as RIO pads. RIO pads are made with specially imported SAP (superabsorbent polymer) that turns liquids into gel form almost instantly and can absorb up to 1000 times its capacity.
This quick absorption and high absorption rate make sure there is no ‘geela geela feeling’ left on the surface of the pad allowing the user to have a wetness-free experience. This makes sure the user does not face rashes or irritation of any kind.
It is important to realise regular or heavy flow pads are meant to be soft and highly absorbent. You should not have to be dealing with discomfort and leaks. If you are having to cope with that, explore niche pad brands, buy tester pieces and choose to have a better period!
Scented pads are better
The trend of scented pads was brought into the market about three years ago and seems like an exciting proposition! However, it’s important to remember that a good pad with decent absorption, if worn for 5-6 hours ideally should not smell. The smell is caused by the growth of microbes and bacteria due to body heat, wetness and sweat and indicates a fault in the pads. Period blood naturally smells slightly like iron and does not stink!
Moreover, most scents in fancy scented pads are chemical products that are bleached into the material of the pad. These have been known to cause cancer, ulcers and other issues and are best avoided.
Embrace your natural self ladies! Dump the scent.
Sanitary pads are cancerous
Okay so first, the alarming part–some sanitary pads can be cancerous. But not all! Some sanitary pads may use chemical bleaches, cheap toxins (for filling), artificial perfumes or sulphur. Thus, when you pads, look for these details in the ingredients used. Most sanitary pads brands mention such details on the back of their pack. Ideally, the pack should read - sulphur, scent and parabens-free.
Eco-friendly sanitary pads are better
Ladies, remember a pad is as eco-friendly as its disposal mechanism. While several pads boast about being made from corn starch or bamboo fibre, it is worth asking how much water and chemicals are used to produce these fibres–not to mention the human rights costs of the locations where some of these fibres are produced. Further, to be biodegradable, these pads made from natural fibres must be directly in contact with soil. However, for them to be pads, (and thus waterproof) they are given a plastic wash. Thus when they are put in composting pits, since they are not directly in touch with the soil, they fail to disintegrate.
Further, most eco-friendly pads sadly land up in the landfill anyway, instead of the compost pits, they were designed for. Most of us do not compost our vegetables, forget our pads. As a result, they accumulate with garbage the same way as regular pads do.
What we must push for is the incineration of plastic pads –which when burnt in clay ovens and bio incinerators can be decomposed with minimal effluents. Or, switch to cups (if one has access to clean water and toilets, does not have heavy flow or insertion-related trauma) which are indeed the most eco-friendly period products.
Sanitary Pads are made of cotton
The filling inside your pad is not cotton! It is actually a substance called wood pulp, which is shredded tree fibre. The top of the pad is also a stronger cloth-variant, produced to give a cotton-like feel, but does not traditionally contain cotton, either.
A traditional sanitary pad is made of three things:
- The topsheet - made of cottony fibre with breathable pores. This part is the most important as it remains in direct contact with your skin. This must be smooth, soft and non-toxic. The RIO pad also comes with a layer called the Acquisition Dispersal Layer which collects blood and helps distribute it quickly and evenly along with the pad so that it can be absorbed by the inner filling.
- The pad filling - This is a mixture of a san-grain-like polymer called Super Absorbent Polymer and wood pool. This SAP is what does the heavy lifting of the absorption of your pad and binds the liquid by changing it into a gel.
- The backsheet - This is a water-repulsive material that is resilient against tears and makes sure your pad does not suffer leaks and and your cute clothes do not get stained. This same hydrophobic material is what makes your wings and side leg guards which stop spills and help keep your pad in place.
Busting The Myths about Sanitary Pads & Embracing Freedom
RIO sanitary pads for heavy flow have been designed keeping you, the customer in mind. We believe every menstruator deserves the most stress-free period possible so that they can focus on living their best life instead of bothering about leaks, stains and other pad issues.
So choose your sanitary pads brands with more care and have a better period!