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What is there in your sanitary pad?

What is there in your sanitary pad?

According to a survey conducted by WHO in October 2017, still, 43% of Indian women do not use sanitary pads for collecting menstrual blood. This is not as much shocking as the fact that still even after releasing of a movie like Padman, as many as 36% women feel uncomfortable in buying pads while other customers are around. This figure is only for the women participated in a survey and it is well known that most of the villages haven’t participated and this percentage will be definitely higher in the rural area of India.

In this article, we are going to learn about the pads, composition of the pads, and some other useful information regarding pads.

Material for manufacturing

Generally, pad companies do not disclose the material they use to prepare that sanitary pad by showing that the pad is a medical device and is used for female hygiene however different companies sell the variety of pads with advertisements having different kind of capabilities. These companies along with cotton use some polymer or other organic compounds to enhance the absorbing capacity of pads. One of the patented ingredient is Infinicel which can hold as much as 10 times of its weight.

Along with cotton, conventional sanitary pads contain polymer (More precisely, we should call it plastic) content and a general research shows that a single sanitary pad contain plastics equivalent to about four plastic bags.

Furthermore, to make the pads clean and hygienic, fibre use to make pad are bleached with chlorine or any other chemical.

Even, now a days cotton is being replaced by rayon and viscose fibre.

Advantages of using Pads

We all are pretty much aware with the advantages of using the pad. One of the most important is hygiene. Being clean, pads do not allow any infection to grow due to dirty blood. However, being modern, pads have been changed and improved a lot to enhance the capacity. Here capacity of a pad is always linked with the amount of blood it can hold but the questions are,

Is this the only need of pad i.e. to hold the blood?

are pads serving their real purpose?

Let’s take a look.

Disadvantages of Pads

Before listing the disadvantages, one of the important things to note is that the muscles around vagina are delicate and soft and they can absorb any organic chemical directly into the blood.

Now let’s take a look what will happen if the above-listed chemicals and plastic will go inside a women body.

  1. They can cause cancer – Yes, you are reading right. The rayon contains dioxin, which can cause ovarian cancer. Also, the fibre present in absorbent pads may cause cervical cancer.
  2. Plasticizing chemicals used in pads like BPA, BPS etc can disrupt embryonic development and can also cause heart diseases.
  3. Some pads use the chemicals which release odor to remove the smell of menstrual blood. These chemicals used for fragrance can cause complications to embryonic development. These chemicals may lead to other infections too.
  4. Cotton used in pads may contain pesticides which can also cause irritation and other diseases.
  5. Some tampons or pads can create a favorable environment for the growth of bacteria and accumulation of bacteria may lead to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).

Now, one may question that should they use the pad or not? Then my answer would be, definitely one should use the pad instead of a piece of cloth but the choice of the pad should be carefully done. There are alternatives in the market. Like, In India, a brand Saathi prepare pads from banana fiber which is natural (Note: please verify before purchasing Saathi pads, I am not advertising them, just giving the reference being different from other brands) and can be a better alternative than other pads.


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About Utkarsh Gupta

A teacher, A writer, A poet.

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