Thick or thin? With or without wings? They come in various shapes and sizes. Here are five things to keep in mind when choosing sanitary pads.
The cheapest pads are usually a little thicker, which means they’re visible under (tight) jeans. Also, they’re square-shaped, which isn’t very comfortable. The absorbing powers of the cheaper pads are limited, which means they have to be replaced more often. But don’t get tricked by the really mega-expensive brands. The house brand from your local chemist is probably fine: as long as it’s not too thin or too thick, feels comfortable and doesn’t leak.
They’re not that charming, but wings, those sticky strips on the sides of the pad, are very convenient for active women. If you spend most of your day walking, running or cycling, the pad might move. The wings (folded over and stuck to the underside of your panties) will help to keep it in place. They also protect against leaking.
Shape and size
The blood loss during your menstruation changes from day to day. That’s why sanitary pads come in various sizes. Panty liners are ideal for light days; they’re barely noticeable. Not a fan of panties and boxers? There are also special sanitary pads for in a string.
Some brands add scents to their sanitary pads to mask the scent of your period. Of course it’s better when it smells fresh down there, but beware: the skin around your vagina is very sensitive. Also, perfumes are made of chemicals which can easily enter your vagina when using scented pads.
Not very common in the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands, but very popular in Canada and the United States. Washable pads are durable and made of cotton, contrary to disposable pads which are made of plastic and other chemicals. Another pro: they come in fun colors and patterns and they can be used for over five years. However, they have to be washed after wearing which might not appeal to every woman.
Organic or not?
It’s causing a lot of commotion: ordinary disposable sanitary pads would contain chemicals and toxins. Since there’s no mandatory ingredients list, what exactly the pads are made of remains a well-kept secret. And that’s quite strange for products that are worn close to the vagina, one of the most absorbing body parts. No wonder many new ‘green’ brands are launched.
But don’t be fooled by an eco-looking packaging alone: real organic sanitary pads are made from organic cotton (cotton is one of the most heavily sprayed crops in the world and traces of those pesticides can be found in the final product) and bleached with hydrogen peroxide (instead of chlorine). Not only better for your vagina, also for the environment.