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Before you use sanitary pads during periods, beware of these disadvantages

It’s a no brainer for women to use pads. However, there are certain don’ts of using pads that can add to your period problems.
period rules for women
5 menstrual hygiene tips that every woman must keep in mind. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Ritu Sethi Published: 3 Mar 2022, 01:37 pm IST
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Menstrual hygiene is still a taboo topic in India. Women and young girls feel embarrassed talking about it, and even in homes, the subject is spoken about in hushed tones. That often leads to a lack of know-ow on the best ways and products for keeping good menstrual hygiene. Most women in India stick to sanitary pads over other menstrual products.

However, the motive to talk about menstrual hygiene products, especially sanitary napkins is mainly to create awareness.  This needs to be done among the female population so that more and more girls have access to period hygiene. These practices, if not inculcated at a young age, can lead to urinary tract infections which can create problems and serious concerns later on in life.

menstrual cup
Wearing a menstrual cup is an emerging menstruation product . Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Types of sanitary products available these days:

These are sanitary pads, tampons and the latest being menstrual cups. The best product among all is a sanitary pad which is easily available, cheap, easy to use and without any side effects. Even while tampons and menstrual cups have been introduced in the market, sanitary pads continue to be popular.

Here’s all you need to know about sanitary pads:

  1. Sanitary pads work on the simple way of absorbing the menstrual blood. They can either be the reusable ones or the commercial ones.
  2. The reusable ones can be washed and reused again after drying them in the hot sun.
  3. As blood is a source of infection, it is important to educate young girls on how to reuse them after proper cleaning.
  4. The commercial ones are the wide variety one finds in the market. There are different varieties of sanitary pads to choose from depending on one’s flow.

Advantages of using sanitary pads:

  1. The number one advantage of using the sanitary pad is the ease of use
  2. They are widely available almost anywhere you go to.
  3. Their cost effectiveness beats the other menstrual products.
vaginal itching
These menstrual pads are affordable and easy to use. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Disadvantages of using a sanitary pads:

  1. The obvious disadvantage of using a sanitary pad is irritation caused by wearing them for a long time .
  2. Not changing the pads often may also cause rashes on the skin.
  3. Pad users are always prone to allergies which might be caused due to the chemicals present in them.
  4. Also, they might emit a foul odor if not changed in a span of 4 to 5 hours.
  5. Women doing vigorous physical activity find it inconvenient to use due to the discomfort caused by them.
  6. They are also environmentally hazardous and end up in landfills and the chemicals used in them are mostly non-biodegradable.

Tampons, sanitary pads or menstrual cup?

Other newer products in this category are the tampons and menstrual cups, both of which are slowly gaining popularity, especially as more and more women are getting on top of physical activities these days. They exercise, run, lift weights, breaking the bias around heavy duty activities during periods.

Tampons also absorb the blood, but users find them cumbersome to use as they have to be inserted. But the discomfort is minimal when using the tampons. The drawback is that if not removed in time, it can lead to toxic shock syndrome which is a life threatening condition. They are expensive and also non-biodegradable.
Menstrual cups are the latest to find their way in the market. They collect the blood and need to be simply washed and reinserted. One cup can be used many times, so they are economically viable and need to be properly stored till the next use.

If we give our women and girls the options of using these menstrual hygiene products and create proper awareness, many reproductive problems like infections can be prevented leading to a healthier society.

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About the Author

Dr Ritu Sethi is a senior gynaecologist and obstetrician. She specialises in high-risk pregnancies, laparoscopic gynecological surgeries, infertility and reproductive endocrinology. ...Read More

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