If there’s one thing a girl will hate more than bleeding for an entire week and having mood swings that would put extremely moody people to shame, it’s having to shove pieces of cotton in their underwear that entire week. Pads. Aka a nightmare. True, they’re fast and efficient and all that but it comes at a price – because what doesn’t, nowadays?
I’m not doing this to make you feel bad because what other option do we have other than pads? Because of the horror stories we hear about tampons and other products, nothing. Anyways, as I was saying, pads come at an expensive price, and it’s not the one you see on the tag.
I’m sure your skin was irritated more than once because of pads and y’all have noticed it – don’t lie.This is because your skin has met something that irritated it on your sanitary pad. Pads are generally made from many layers of different materials. Each of these materials can play a role in irritating your skin.
For example, the back sheet of the pad which is made from the same compounds that are used to make ropes, straws and clothes. The absorbent core that’s between the back sheet and the top sheet is made of wood cellulose and absorbent foam, in addition to some absorbent gels sometimes – which your skin might not be so happy about. The top sheet of a sanitary pad is the one that comes in contact with your skin the most and it consists of polyolefin, zinc oxide and petrolatum, which are often used for skin moisturizers. The adhesive that sticks the pad to your underwear is also sometimes prepared with FDA-approved glue which is the same used for regular glue sticks so you can pretty much imagine your skin’s reaction.
Sometimes the fragrances used might irritate your skin but that’s not very common as pad companies do take this point into consideration.
Nearly 20% of women have a urinary tract infection and will continue to. It turns out that pads and tampons can actually contribute to UTI. Tampons can cause flare ups if they are used during UTI and the same case applies when they are not changed regularly during menstruation as this can encourage bacteria to grow faster. When using a tampon, body liquids are sealed inside for too long and then they react with the chemicals in the tampon creating the perfect environment for bacteria to grow.
Now back to our topic, pads, just like tampons, they are made of similar materials (cotton and plastic ingredients) creating the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. Also, poor quality pads can result in a flare up.
Candidiasis is likely to happen to every woman at least once in her life. This happens due to the overgrowth of yeast that occurs naturally in us all. When the fungus in the vagina grows to much, it causes vaginal yeast infection. During the infection, the use of menstrual pads are not advised as they do not allow breathing and thus promote the further growth of yeast. The cup is the best option to use during infection as it doesn’t disturb the moisture balance and allows the lower end to breathe.
So all in all, just to stay safe, it is advised to wear unscented pads, and always try a different brand to see what causes the least irritation to your skin and change pads frequently to reduce the risk of irritation and rashes. Or you could just use the menstrual cup which is your safest option, @hanyakk wrote an article about them a while ago, you can check it out.