Dirty, expensive, unnecessary! These are just a few words that some people use to describe this essential product; the sanitary pad. The taboo around periods prevents people from discussing them and in the process prevents the spread of awareness. Sanitary pads/ napkins improve menstrual health and in this article we’ll explain how.
How do Sanitary Pads Work? Sanitary pads are made with layered strips of absorbent material. The absorption capacity of this material varies from pad to pad, which is why there are pads for different kinds of flow. Sometimes this material is kept in place on the panty with the use of a belt. At other times this is done with the help of an adhesive material. Pads for heavier flow might wrap around the panty. These are referred to as pads with ‘wings’. The absorption capacity and lack of movement combined helps avoid staining during menstruation.
Why use a pad? During menstruation there is a greater chance of developing infection. This is because the blood that exits the body allows for bacteria to travel back into the uterus. Many women are content using materials such as leaves, sand, tissue paper or cloth. The genitals are a sensitive area and using these materials can be extremely unhygienic causing disease. Pads by contrast, are far more hygienic and effective. They are comfortable on the skin, more absorbent than these materials and are designed to prevent leakage. Pads are also easier to dispose. When women use things like cloth they require a private space to wash and dry them. This isn’t always available.
Basic menstrual hygiene: Menstruation is a completely natural process and yet it is frowned upon. This has led to many myths around it which don’t have any scientific basis. For example, in some places it is believed that one should not bathe during their period. In other places menstruation is seen as unclean or impure and menstruating women are not allowed to enter the kitchen. Nothing can be further from the truth. Menstruation is not impure and bathing can actually help relieve the aches and pains felt from menstruation cramps. Using pads during menstruation can make it a completely clean and simple process. However, as with any other product, the effectiveness of pads is determined by how they are used. Here are a few points to keep in mind.
- Change Often: No matter what the level of flow is, it is advisable to change a sanitary pad at least once every 4-5 hours. The genital area in general is subject to sweating. This sweat combined with the dampness of menstrual blood can lead to bacterial growth and a foul smell. It could even get worse causing vaginal infections, urinary tract infection and even rash on the skin. Depending on the flow, the pad maybe changed more or less frequently but this change needs to happen regularly.
- One At a Time: Often women who have heavy flow tend to use two or more pads together. Firstly, this can be extremely uncomfortable. Secondly, it stops people from changing their pad regularly as they tend to wait until both pads fill up. This can be extremely unhygienic. Sanitary pads need to be used one at a time. Those who have a heavy flow should either change their pad more often or use a pad that is more suitable to their flow.
Well-managed menstruation allows women to feel confident about their periods. They can carry on with their regular routine without feeling embarrassed or anxious. As discussed above it also keeps women healthier and more hygienic. At Stay Sure our pads help women go through their period, dry and safe!