Through the ages women have used whatever was available to soak up menstrual blood: papyrus (a paper-like material made from a plant used by the ancient Egyptian women), lint, moss, grass, wool, homemade cotton pads. These days, thankfully, there are much better period supplies on the market. Not only are there better options, there are many options! It can seem overwhelming and confusing—this is one of the reasons Divine28 offers a sampler package with a variety of choices for you to try without spending a lot of money.
Pads are made of soft, absorbent material that attach to the inside of a girl’s underwear with an adhesive backing. Sometimes pads are made with “wings” that fold around the edge of your underwear to minimize leaks and to keep the pad in place.
Some women have heavier bleeding (also called “flow”) than others, and your period may vary during its cycle, that’s why pads are made in different thicknesses and absorbency rates to accommodate you. Pads will be marked with words like slender, regular, super, or overnight. Pads may also be scented or unscented; be aware that the scented pads may cause irritation or allergic reaction in some women.
Reusable pads (that can be washed) are not as common as store-bought disposal pads. For some women using reusable pads is a choice based on their environmental beliefs. Generally these pads are made of absorbent cotton and can be found in natural health stores.
When to Change
Your choice of pad will depend on what works for you, but you’ll want to be sure to change your pad a minimum of every three to four hours (maybe even more frequently for heavier flow). Frequent changing will prevent bacteria and eliminate odor.
The best way to dispose of a used pad is to wrap it in some toilet paper and toss it in the trash. Always avoid flushing pads down the toilet, as it will clog the pipes and back up the toilet.
For reusable pads, you may want to rinse it out with cold water before tossing it into the laundry basket.
Tampons vs. Pads
Tampons are great if you participate in sports, especially swimming, since you can’t wear a pad in the water. Sanitary Pads are great because it’s easy to know when to change them, and they can be more comfortable for some women. You may even want to switch back and forth depending on your needs, or even use a tampon with a pad for extra protection on heavy flow days. It’s all about what works best for you.
As always, if you have questions about your period, check with your doctor.