Go With The Flow

Sanitary Pad Size: Why Choosing the Right Sanitary Pad Size is Important

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The invention of sanitary pads marked a significant shift from using cloth and rags for menstruation, making this natural process more manageable for women worldwide. A sanitary pad, also known as sanitary napkin, menstrual pad, or sanitary towel, is commonly used during menstruation. It is also used while recovering from gynecologic surgery or any situation when there is a flow of blood from the vagina.

Among the many challenges that women face during their periods, leakage and staining are the most common ones. This can happen out in public or at home, leading to messy, embarrassing situations if not handled properly. This is why, it’s necessary to choose the right size of sanitary pad.

Factors Determining the Best Sanitary Pads for a Woman

Every woman is unique, and so is her period. The choice of pad depends on various factors such as skin sensitivity, blood flow during periods, lifestyle and activities, and comfort. The priority level of each entirely depends on the person, and hence the choice of the sanitary pad is completely subjective.

Why Does Pad Size Matter?

According to a small survey conducted internally, 60% of women wear the wrong size pad, leading to a generalized notion that pads are not sufficient and not the best choice to manage periods.

The problem of leakage and staining can be entirely avoided by wearing the right size of pad that covers the entire crotch area.  

Importance of Using the Right Sized Sanitary Pad

Here are three reasons why using the right-sized sanitary pad is essential:

  • Leakage protection

    The primary reason for using sanitary pads is to manage menstrual bleeding and leakage. But when you pick a pad too small for your needs, it’ll have a smaller surface area resulting in blood going out of the absorbent area and leading to leaks.
  • Movement and freedom

    The right pad size provides you with the freedom to carry on with your regular routine without being conscious of discomfort or potential leaks.
  • Skin health

    An ill-fitting pad can cause skin irritation, rashes, and even infections due to chaffing, friction, and moisture build-up.

Ultimately, using the right size for your needs provides peace of mind.

Different sizes of Sanitary Pads available in the market

Most women are unaware that pads come in different sizes, lengths, and coverage to match their specific protection needs. Here’s a quick introduction to the various types and period pad sizes:

  • Panty Liners

Panty liners are similar to sanitary pads, but they are thinner and lighter and do not absorb as much menstrual or period blood. They are ideal for everyday use, as they can absorb any light vaginal discharge or spotting.

  • Regular pads

This is one of the most common pads available in the market, and it is also among the most widely used. The size of a regular pad is usually below 21 cm and is slightly longer and thicker than a panty liner, along with a strong adhesive layer to keep the pad in place. It is typically used for low flow days and might require frequent changes during heavy flow days.

  • Large pads

Large size sanitary pads are typically used for medium flow days. The length of the pad ranges from 21 – 24 cm. These pads may have wings to keep them in place.

  • Extra-large pads

Extra-large pads for periods are much longer and thicker than regular pads. The length of these pads range from 24 – 29 cm. Many brands have additional adhesive wings for support, and some even offer absorbent gel technology to provide protection from leakage. These are the best pads for heavy flow days or night-time heavy bleeding.

  • XXL pads

XXL size sanitary pads are thicker and offer more coverage than any of the above-mentioned pads. The length of a sanitary pad XXL size is typically above 29 cm. These pads are ideal for heavy flow days, and they may come with special features such as extended coverage, larger wings, and gel protection.  

The RIO heavy flow pads are specifically designed to absorb high amounts of bleeding and clotting, making them the best sanitary pads for heavy flow. RIO heavy flow pads come equipped with an additional glue strip and come with both side guards and double wings to keep the pad in place and prevent any leakage or staining whether it’s day or night.

RIO pads also provide an odour lock feature, ensuring maximum freshness and comfort. These pads are also antibacterial, and the top cover is made from cottony-soft materials for a worry-free and comfortable experience.

Do’s and Don’ts while Selecting the Right Sized Sanitary Pad

Here are some important do’s and don’ts to keep in mind while choosing the best pad size for you:


  • Consider your flow

    Understanding your menstrual flow is the first step in choosing the right-sized pad for you. For lighter flow days, opt for smaller and more discreet pads like panty liners or regular pads. On the other hand, choose larger and extra-long pads for heavy periods.
  • Try different brands

    Not all pads are created equal, and what works for one woman may not work for another. Don’t be afraid to try different brands and varieties of pads to find the one that suits you best.


  • Rely solely on price

    The most expensive option doesn’t always provide the necessary protection for your flow. While premium pads may offer unique features, focus on pads that provide the necessary protection for your flow, regardless of the price.
  • Use heavy flow pads unnecessarily

    Using heavy flow pad when your flow is light can be uncomfortable and wasteful. Choose the appropriate pad size that aligns with your current flow to enhance your comfort and prevent unnecessary bulkiness.

By following these simple do’s and don’ts, you can make your period experience significantly better or even save a fortune by choosing the right pad.

Important Tips to Choose the Right Sanitary Pad Size

  • Understand your flow

    This one’s worth repeating! The most crucial step to selecting the right size is to understand your menstrual flow. Menstrual flow can vary from light to heavy during different days of your period. Keeping track of your flow patterns for a few months can help you identify the days when you need light, regular, or heavy flow pads. This ensures you have the right pad size for every day of your period.
  • Find the right size through trial and error

    It’s common for women to try different pad sizes and brands before settling on one that meets their requirements. Don’t be afraid to experiment with various options until you discover the one that suits you best.
  • Pay attention to product descriptions

    When shopping for sanitary pads, be sure to read the description of the products you buy. Manufacturers provide details about everything from the pad’s absorbency level, size, and additional features. Take note of this information to ensure you’re choosing the pad that aligns with your flow.
  • Consider your lifestyle

    An active lifestyle filled with physical exercises, sports, and lots of running around calls for a sanitary pad with adhesive wings, and a strong glue strip to keep the pad in place. A regular day in the office calls for a regular pad without additional features.
  • Stay open to change

    As your body and lifestyle may change over time, your pad size preference might evolve as well. Stay open to trying new products and adapting to your changing needs. Keep in mind that what worked for you in the past may not be the most suitable option for you now.

Periods are not necessarily supposed to make one’s life tough. When managed properly with the best sanitary pad for your needs, you will be able to breeze through your menstruation cycle easily! You just need to understand your needs and your period flow before you choose from the plethora of sanitary pad sizes. See you in another blog!


How do I choose the right size pad?

Choosing the right size pad involves understanding your menstrual flow and personal comfort preferences. If you have a lighter flow, a smaller pad might be suitable, while a heavier flow might require a larger pad with better absorbency. It’s also important to consider your activities and the level of coverage you prefer.

How do you know what size sanitary pads to get?

Knowing the right size of sanitary pad to get depends on your menstrual flow and your comfort. If you’re experiencing a heavy flow, larger and more absorbent pads might be appropriate. For a lighter flow, smaller pads could suffice. Many brands offer guidelines on their packaging to help you choose based on your flow intensity, allowing you to make an informed decision.

Why do pads have sizes?

Sanitary pads come in different sizes to cater to the diverse needs of individuals. Menstrual flows vary from person to person and even from day to day within the same person. Having different sizes ensures that you can find a pad that provides optimal coverage and absorption for your specific flow and activities.

What is the most common sanitary pad size?

The most common sanitary pad size is typically a regular or medium-sized pad. These pads offer a balanced combination of coverage and absorbency, making them suitable for moderate flow days.

How to choose RIO pad size?

Selecting the right RIO pad size involves considering your menstrual flow and personal comfort. If you have light to moderate flows, you can opt for sizes L and XL, which are offered in RIO Comfort Weave and RIO Cottony Soft variations. For those with heavy flows, RIO offers Heavy Flow Pads of XXL size. 


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