Thick or thin? With or without wings? They come in various shapes and sizes. Here are five things to keep in mind when choosing menstrual pads.
Organic or not?
It’s causing a lot of commotion: ordinary disposable sanitary pads would contain chemicals and plastics. 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 vulva, 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.
Perfume: yes or no?
Good to now: a healthy vagina doesn’t smell like roses. Nevertheless, 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. Another option: wash your vulva with lukewarm water, each time you change your pad.
Wings that keep you flying
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 or hidden in panties with a special compartiment for this) will help to keep it in place. They also prevent leaking and thus protect your delicate underwear from blood stains.
Shop for pads with wings here.
The right absorption level
The absorbing powers of the cheaper pads are limited, which means they probably have to be replaced more often. But don’t get tricked by the really 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. Always adjust the absorbency level to the intensity of your flow to avoid skin irritations. A higher absorption level doesn’t mean you can change your pad less often: you need to change your pad every few hours anyway. Yes, also when the package claims the pads are antibacterial and the top sheet still feels dry and comfy.
Also an option: washable pads
They are becoming more and more popular. For a good reason. Washable pads are durable and made of (organic) cotton, contrary to disposable pads which are made of paper, plastic and other chemicals. Another pro: they come in fun colors and patterns and can be used for over five years. However, they have to be washed after wearing (duh). Despite what you may think: this is not a big deal. Just soak them in water before you wash them – together with your other laundry – in the washing machine.
Shop for washable pads here.