Maintaining feminine hygiene during menstruation is indispensable for each woman. So choosing the right sanitary pad is essential for this purpose. Gone are the days when there were only a few choices for napkins. Now, there are many options in the market, and you can easily pick the most suitable one as per your requirements and convenience. So how to find the right pad that will help you wake up happy and feel unstoppable with ultimate protection even during ‘that time of the month’? We will be unfolding everything about it in this article. So keep reading to know about the best sanitary pads in India that can let you live freely, boldly, and thoroughly.
How Safe are Sanitary Pads?
In India, only 12% of menstruating women use sanitary pads (1), while others cannot afford it. Women mainly purchase these based on cost, design, and packaging, which is wrong. As sanitary napkins are considered as a ‘medical product’, the companies are not liable to disclose the ingredients used in their products. No brand even mentions the hygiene parameters on their product packaging. There is also no comprehensive study done on their safety. However, consumers assume the products to be ‘safe’ since they usually get certified by the regulatory body (the Bureau of Indian Standards or BIS) before hitting the market.
The BIS follows very old standards, which are very basic in nature and have not been updated since 1980. Apart from some cosmetic changes, the process involved in the making of the products has also remained the same for decades. Alternatively, the market has seen a new boom of organic and reusable products these days.
How to Select the Right Sanitary Pad?
Selecting the right pad can be difficult if you are not aware of your needs. Know your period well, and choosing the perfect stuff will never be a big deal. The best way to select a pad is decided based on several factors. These include:
1. Length and Flow
When it comes to sanitary pads, one size doesn’t fit all. The fluid loss during the menstrual cycle differs significantly from one woman to another. The level of flow can last anywhere between 2 and 7 days. The discharge is usually heavier for the first few years of the period, resulting in longer cycles (2). In these cases, sanitary pads with extra length can offer greater dryness.
2. Good Absorbency
Whether you are a college-goer or a working lady, your sanitary pad should ensure maximum menstrual hygiene for you. These days, all commercial products come with a cellulose-based absorbent core (cotton) sandwiched between an emollient-treated, fluid permeable surface (top sheet) and an impermeable backing with adhesive. This layered design helps manage the heavy period flow with a higher level of absorbency. (3)
3. Odor Control
You may feel a strong odor down there during those days of the month. The vagina contains different amounts of bacteria mixed with the blood and tissues released by it. This often results in fishy or rotten smells. While this should not be a cause for concern, getting rid of this can be easy. Go for pads with a high level of absorbency as they mostly come with an odor control feature. (4)
4. Material Comfort
The type of material used in making sanitary pads affects both its breathability and comfort level. Traditional multilayer cellulosic sanitary pads struggle to provide a dry surface due to insufficient capillary attraction. Hence, the top fluid transfer layer in the product, these days, is made of thermoplastic fiber (at least 20% is hydrophilic) for better efficiency. The secondary acquisition and distributing layer contains thermally bonded or air bonded composite non-woven. In the absorbent core, SAP polymer is air-laid with cellulosic pulp. Finally, polyethylene is used to make the barrier sheet at the back as it prevents leakage by increasing fluid impermeability. (5) Besides, you should also look for chemical-free pads that are durable and provide an irritation-free experience.
Choose pads according to your lifestyle and daily activities. For example, select winged slim pads for gym sessions, go for extra-absorbent pads while on an extended business trip, etc.
The absorption capacity of commercial sanitary products (pads and diapers) is drastically enhanced by adding superabsorbent polymers (SAP) to the absorbent cores. These petroleum-based materials can absorb almost 30 times their own weight in liquid. But this type of novel polymeric foam core is non-biodegradable and can take as many as 500 years to degrade in landfill. (6)
Top 10 Sanitary Pads in India for a Healthy and Safe Period
If you have not scanned the supermarket aisles yet for the latest arrivals in the women’s hygiene section, we are here to help you out. Find below the top 10 sanitary pads in India that millions of women have chosen for a healthy and safe period:
1. Whisper Ultra Clean
The new revolutionary Whisper Ultra Clean XL+ makes you wake up happy even on heavy flow days. It provides long-lasting hygienic protection with a super-absorbent core and longer wings.
- Nearly 40% longer with extra-large+ (XL+) wings (317 mm.)
- It gives long-lasting coverage and hygienic protection
- It helps the napkin stay in its place all day long
- Provides 5 times better protection than ordinary pads
- Designed especially for heavy periods with dual-action gel
- Absorbs liquids in seconds
- Locks wetness and odor up to 100%
- The soft dry-weave cover keeps you feeling dry and fresh
- Have a delightful scent for extra protection against odor
Price: Rs. 165 for 15 pads (Rs. 11 per wing)
2. Stayfree Dry-Max All Night Ultra-Dry XL
Your period cannot hold you back when you have the Stayfree Dry-Max All Night Ultra-Dry XL with you. It gives you night-long comfort and a sound sleep even when there is a highly intense flow.
- Ultra-thin pads with extra-long (315 mm.) and extra-wide wings
- Highly absorbent ‘dry max cover’ for the best dry feel
- Super lock pockets with gel-core
- Locks in fluid throughout the night
- Unique Night Guard 5 feature for all-round protection
- Provides 100% protection against leakage from all sides
- Odor control technology with natural plant extracts for a fresh and confident feeling
- Individually folded and wrapped pads
- It fits the contour snugly
- Made for regular to heavy periods
Price: Rs. 175 for 14 pads (Rs. 12.50 per wing)
3. Sofy AntiBacteria Extra Long Pads
This pad comes with a unique 99.9% bacteria protection feature. In addition, its deep absorbent formula keeps the upper layer of the pad dry, thus making it comfortable to use for a longer duration.
- It prevents leakage as it has extra-long, bacteria absorbing green sheet
- The outer green sheet is loaded with natural ingredients and gives 99.9% protection from the bacteria
- Provides day-long protection from bad odor, thus making it comfortable for long usage
- Super value pack comes with 54 wings, and it’s quite economical
Price: Rs. 399 for 54 pads (Rs. 7.4 per wing)
4. Stayfree Dry Max Ultra Thin
This product from Stayfree is ideal for daytime use. The super-thin pad comes with a dry-max cover and super lock pockets that keep you dry throughout the day. Its gel-based core also helps absorb fluid quickly, thereby keeping you dry, clean, and comfortable.
- Dry-max cover with the ultra-thin body for complete protection
- Super lock pockets with gel-core
- Unique Night Guard 5 feature for all-round night protection
Price: Rs. 90 for 7 pads (Rs. 12.85 per wing)
5. Nua Sanitary Pads
Nua Sanitary Pad comes with a super-absorbent formula that provides a rash-free and leakage-proof experience.
- Compatible with all types of flow
- Free from chemicals
- Provides rash-free experience
- Wider wings for superior absorption
- It comes with disposal covers
Price: Rs. 239 for 12 pads (Rs. 19.90 per wing)
6. Whisper Ultra Nights
These ultra-thin sanitary pads are designed to provide you unparalleled comfort all through the night. The gel core, stretchable wings, extra length, and width at the back ensure that there is no chance of leakage and you have a good night’s sleep.
- Dri-Weave Cover provides soft, dry protection.
- Nearly 40% longer pad helps provide more coverage for heavy flow
- Wider Back for better coverage to protect against back leakage throughout the night
- Locks core absorbs fluid and locks it in gel form for long-lasting protection
- 5 times more absorbency than regular pads
Price: Rs. 175 for 15 pads (Rs. 15.9 per wing)
7. Bella Maxi Soft Wings Classic Sanitary Pads
Bella Maxi Soft Wings Classic Sanitary Pad comes with an extra protective layer that helps in complete absorption, and its non-woven sheet provides extra comfort.
- Provides extra-breathability and protects the skin from irritation and rashes
- Higher absorption capability minimizes any possibility of leakage
- Extra protective zone ensures zero leakage during night time and heavy flow
- Suitable for all types of skin, including sensitive skin
Price: Rs. 176 for 30 pads (Rs. 5.90 per wing)
8. Whisper Choice Regular Wings
Whisper Choice is an ideal pick for the remaining days if you are not too keen on using the ultra-thin pads after the first two days of your period. It comes with wings and a gel-based core. It also controls odor to a great extent for offering a fresh feeling throughout the day.
- Up to 100% stain prevention
- Dry-weave top sheet with funnel-shaped holes for maximum dryness and comfort
- Large side-safe wings for ultimate fit and protection
- Blue-lock core to give a clean and dry feeling through the period
Price: Rs. 78 for 20 pads (Rs. 3.90 per wing)
9. Pee Safe Organic Cotton, Biodegradable Sanitary Pads
Pee Safe Organic Cotton, Biodegradable Sanitary Pads comes with two variants, i.e., overnight and regular. This product is completely organic and free from any harmful chemicals.
- Made with bamboo pulp; provides 300% more absorption capability
- Bamboo pulp is enriched with antibacterial properties and protects from rashes and irritation
- 100% organic making it safe for even sensitive skin
- It comes inside a reusable box
Price: Rs. 299 for 10 pads (Rs. 29.90 per wing)
10. Carefree Panty Liners
Whether it is for the spotting towards the beginning of the end of your periods when you don’t want to wear pads, the panty liners from Carefree are an excellent choice. They help you remain worry-free about staining without the hassle of wearing a pad. In addition, they are smaller and softer than the regular pads and a perfect choice for maintaining hygiene on your “spotting days”.
- Unique soft-cover designed for dryness and comfort
- Absorbs wetness in seconds
- Moisture-proof backing for protection against leakage
- Unscented and dermatologically tested against allergy and irritation
Price: Rs. 90 for 20 liners (Rs. 4.50 per wing)
Read Also – All Natural Home Remedies for Vaginal Dryness
Maintaining menstrual hygiene is important for every woman. But selecting the right type of sanitary pad for this can be a difficult task. Make sure that you do not choose pads based on cost, design, or packaging. Rather, length and flow of the period, good absorbency, odor control, material comfort, and your lifestyle can determine the type of pad you need to look for.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How to Choose Pads Based on Flows?
When experiencing a period for the first time, you can start with a regular pad. Then, if your regular pad is filling up fast, switch to a larger size. Then, you can come back to the regular size later, depending on the flow.
How Often Should I Change My Pad?
Contaminated bloodstream and lack of proper hygiene can lead to rashes, Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), and vaginal infections during menstruation. Therefore, whenever you feel your pad is filling up fast, go for a change. Typically, you should be changing your pads every 4-6 hours.
What are the Side Effects of Sanitary Pads?
Most sanitary pads contain chemicals, and using them for a long time can increase the risk of cancer, infertility, and birth defects.
What are the Alternatives to Sanitary Pads?
Some reliable alternatives to sanitary pads can be menstrual cups, period panties, and menstrual sponges. Though many women use reusable clothes, it may not be a good option for all.
How to Dispose of Sanitary Pads in India?
Wrap the used sanitary pad in a disposable wrapper (it comes with most pads) and dispose of it in a dustbin.
- “How Safe are Sanitary Pads in India?“, LiveMint.com
- “Menstrual Cycle: What’s Normal, What’s Not“, MayoClinic.org
- “Safety Assessment of Sanitary Pads with a Polymeric Foam Absorbent Core“, ScienceDirect.com
- “Why Does My Period Smell?“, HealthLine.com
- “An Overview on Sanitary Napkins“, TechnicalTextile.net
- “Making Women’s Sanitary Products Safer and Cheaper“, Elsevier.com