Sanitary pads are a basic essential to every woman.
These small, rectangle shaped absorbent material stick inside your underwear and do an important job – to absorb heavy flow of menstruation.
Often, they are called as sanitary napkins, sanitary towel or menstrual pad.
Today, woman has options to use period-proof panties, washable napkins, reusable cups, and many other well designed products.
But, through out the history, sanitary pads remain the primary option for them.
Though, all sanitary pads in the market might look similar to you, but they are not. They come with different absorption capacity and features.
In this article, we will focus upon the various types of sanitary napkins, the best options available in India to buy and the things you should look for while buying the period pads.
We have listed down all the details you require to make an informed decision and not just buy the first one you find over the counter.
Best sanitary pad for heavy flow : Whisper Ultra Clean Sanitary Pads
“Scented, disposable pad. Get the XL for heavy flow.”
Best cotton pads : Azah- Ultra-soft Organic Sanitary Pads
“Cozy, comfortable, and easy to use pads made from organic cotton.”
This article includes:
- History of sanitary pads
- Different types of sanitary pads
- Buying guide
- Top 10 sanitary pads
- Frequently asked questions
History of Sanitary Pads
Sanitary pads are most widely used by women during their menstruation, it is easily available, easy to use, and straightforward.
But same was not the case fifty years back. Do you know when were sanitary pads invented?
Menstrual pads have been mentioned in history during the 10th century in Greece, where a woman threw a piece of her menstrual rag at her admirer to get away from him. 
Before the invention of sanitary pads, most women used cotton, sheep’s wool, or even rags in their panties to hold the flow of blood.
Apart from these, some women also used rabbit fur and grass to hold the menstrual blood.
The thought of menstrual pads came to nurses who were looking for a solution to stop excess bleeding on the battlefield.
The first pads were made using wood pulp by the nurses in France. This option was inexpensive enough to dispose of.
Commercial manufacturers got inspired by this idea and the very first disposable pads were available for sale in 1888. It was known as Southball pad.
Johnson & Johnson created their own version of a sanitary pad in 1896 known as Lister’s Towel.
Women did not feel comfortable asking for the product over the counter and thus in the 1920s the name was changed to Nupak, something that did not relate to the product.
Sanitary pads were available long back, but they were too costly for most women, and thus, they continued with the traditional method.
When women afforded the pads, they used to keep the money in a box themselves and pick the pads from the counter. It took a number of years for disposable pads to become common.
Initially, the disposable pads were made using cotton wool or a similar fibrous piece with an absorbent liner. This used to be a problem for many because it would slip forward or back.
Later, the bottom of the sanitary pads had an adhesive strip that would get glued to the panties and this is what gave a relief to the women.
The sanitary pads industry has grown tremendously over the last two decades. They have now become comfortable and practical than ever with the advanced invention of absorbent materials and designs.
These are the most widely used by women for menstrual management but are expensive in most developing countries.
Different Types of Sanitary Pads
You might be considering all types of pads as one. No doubt there are similarities between every type but there are differences too.
We are here to help you understand how these are different from each other and this may help you buy the right one according to your needs.
As the name states, these are disposable pads that need to be thrown once used. This is the most preferred type of sanitary pads.
Many people are switching towards the reusable type to protect the environment against the landfill caused by disposable pads.
The disposable pads are again differentiated into various types are mentioned below:
These are the thinnest type of sanitary pads available today.
They are designed to absorb regular vaginal discharge, spotting, slight urinary incontinence, light period flow, or even a backup for a menstrual cup or tampon.
Usually, these types are unscented but now some of them come scented.
It is actually very normal for your vagina to have a little different smell during menstruating. Some brands understand this and thus have come up with subtle fragrant panty liners.
These are the regular sanitary pads that most women use. It is a very compact and thin sanitary pad that is as absorbent as the heavy flow pad.
The regular pads used to be thicker than the panty liners but today you will find ultra-thin pads that are not very thick.
Just like liners, these have adhesive too at the bottom to keep it in one place. Some brands also offer scented regular pads.
If you are the one who prefers to change pads regularly, then this is the best option.
These are not the same as regular pads. This type is a bit longer and thicker than the regular ones.
It might feel a little bulky to some so they prefer wearing it with loose-fitting clothes.
Most heavy flow pads have adhesive wings which as sticky flaps that secure the pad in one place. Many brands even make these wings absorbent for extra protection.
Overnight pads are the thickest of all and provide you the maximum coverage.
This is because the brands are aware that you are not going to get up often to change your pad and thus will require additional protection.
These also have adhesive wings like heavy flow pads. These pads can be worn anytime and not necessarily only while you sleep.
These pads are usually a little longer than the heavy flow pads and are designed to absorb the blood that flows after pregnancy. Also, these pads can absorb urine.
This option sounds unappealing to many but it is a great environmentally friendly option that can be customizable as well.
Every reusable pad is made using soft and durable material with a split to insert the absorbent pad. Some brand allows you to insert many liners depending on the level of protection needed.
How to Choose a Sanitary Pad in India? – Buying Guide
Considering the multiple types of sanitary pads available in India, it might be confusing to buy the right one.
This is why we have listed down a few essentials that will help you decide your requirements and thus make the right buying decision.
Decide the type of pad you need
There are multiple types of sanitary pads available in the market for different requirements like an overnight pad is used overnight and the heavy pad is used during the heavy flow days.
Thus, decide on your needs and flow to determine the type of pad to choose.
Absorbency of the pad
This is considered the most important factor to consider while choosing a sanitary pad.
It is crucial for you to know the absorbency level of the pad because that is what makes you decide if you want a regular pad or extra absorbent pad.
Read the reviews and know what other women have to say. Go for a long and extra absorbent pad if you have a heavy flow.
Size of pad
A brand should offer sanitary napkins in different sizes.
This is because a woman does not rely on the same size for the entire menstruation cycle. Thus, check the size before buying.
Length and Flow
Choosing the right pad as per your flow is important. It totally depends on your flow and body shape, whether you want an extra-long pad or a regular one.
It is wise to use the extra-long slim pad on the days with heavy flow and regular pads on other days.
Most pads that you find in the market are super absorbent but that does not mean that you will not have a wet feeling. This is one of the things that can make you uncomfortable.
Check out the reviews online to know if women have a wet feeling while wearing the pad. This will help you make the right choice.
You will find plastic netted as well as cotton pads in the market.
The kind you want to use depends on your preference and skin type. If you have sensitive skin, do not worry because there are pads for sensitive skin as well.
Prefer cotton sanitary pads especially during the last days of your period to prevent rashes.
There are pads available that are not just safe for your body but also for the environment.
You can choose these biodegradable pads if you have sensitive skin and also care for nature as they decompose easily when compared to the synthetic ones.
Wings for extra protection
This is one of the important factors to consider to ensure the pad stays in one place. During various activities you do during the day, if the pad does not stay in one place, there might be a stain.
Thus, make sure the sanitary pads you choose have wings.
Sanitary pads are available at different prices depending on the type, brand, absorbency level, etc. Usually, eco-friendly pads are expensive than plastic netted ones.
Decide your needs, budget and choose accordingly.
Top 10 Best Sanitary Pads in India
Here is the list of best sanitary pads in India –
01. Whisper Ultra Clean Sanitary Pads
Whisper is one of the most trusted and best brands in India and needs no introduction. The brand ensure to have something offered to every user based on their needs and budget.
The Whisper Ultra Clean Sanitary Pads are designed to absorb 100% wetness. It also comes with an odor lock gel technology that offers utmost hygiene protection.
The scent locks the period odor and gives out a delightful scent.
It is one of the pads in the market that offers 40 extra coverage. You can experience soft and dry protection with its Dri-weave cover.
Thus with Whisper Ultra Clean Sanitary Pads, you do not have to worry about heavy flow or odor.
The pad has wings to keep it in one place. This pad would be the right choice to be used during heavy flow days to let you have a stress free and happy period.
02. Stayfree Secure XL
If you are searching for an ultra-thin sanitary pad from a good brand then this is the one. Stayfree sanitary pads are designed to be gentle on the skin with maximum absorbency.
These pads are 50% thinner than the regular pads from Stayfree and are also very convenient to use and carry. Other than being ultra-thin, it also has a 100% fluid lock design that holds up all the wetness.
The brand has designed the pad with gel lock technology that effectively locks the heavy flow and converts it into a gel. Also, you will not feel the wetness because of the dry hygienic cover at the top.
It goes gentle on the skin and can be worn without any issues even on heavy flow days.
03. Sofy Antibacteria Extra Long Pads
Sofy is a new brand in the Indian market and has been one of the most trusted ones. It offers a wide variety of reasonable sanitary pads to the users. One of the features that distinguish Sofy from other brands in the green sheet in the pad that is made using natural ingredients.
This green sheet prevents the formation of 99.9% bacterial growth and provides the users the most hygienic protection also during heavy flow days. It takes care of the odor as well with the perfume tree fragrance that gives a fresh feeling all day long.
The sanitary pads have a deep absorbent sheet that prevents leaks and gives you a dry feeling throughout the day.
04. VWash Wow Ultra Thin Sanitary Napkins
VWash has recently launched its range of feminine hygiene products and has won enormous trust. The brand offers a wide variety of sanitary pads to ensure every user can benefit irrespective of their needs and budget.
The VWash Wow Ultra Thin Sanitary Napkins have an advanced fluid lock that absorbs the flow and provides you a wet-free feel. The pads offer you advanced absorption without any inconvenience.
Using these sanitary pads can give you an irritation-free and stain-free experience. It will make you feel comfortable even during the heavy flow days. The pads have a super dry top sheet that offers hygienic and soft protection. The pads are gentle on the skin and thus can be used by people having sensitive skin as well.
It is designed with side wings so that the pad stays in one place and you do not experience any leaks.
05. Admiria Perfumed Sanitary Pads
If you are looking for an affordable pack of sanitary napkins, then the Admiria Perfumed Sanitary Pads are a good option. These pads have dual cover protection to ensure there are no leakages.
Also, due to the gel absorption technology, you do not feel the wetness as it absorbs the flow instantly. The pads have delicate wings to ensure free movement and at the same time keeps the pad in one place.
You do not have to worry about the period smell because it has a beautiful fragrance that converts the period smell to scent. If heavy flow days are tough for you and you are looking out for a pad specifically for those days, then the XL features a wide back design for additional protection during the heavy flow days.
The only drawback is that it is not individually packed and thus disposing of is a problem.
06. Bella Maxi Softi Wings Classic Sanitary Pads
If you are looking for soft and breathable sanitary pads, then Bella Maxi Softi Sanitary Pads are a good option to consider. Its air breathability makes sure that there is right air circulation for comfort and also protects against skin irritation.
You do not feel irritated by wearing the pad because it feels soft. This is because of the comfort cushion soft absorbent part that lies in the center which gives you a soft feeling and quick absorption.
You can wear these pads overnight as well because it has an extra protective zome at the back which is an extended part that prevents leakage.
The non-woven top sheet is super soft and thus recommended for sensitive skin as well. It also has wings that glue the pad in one place. You also have an option to buy the pads without wings.
07. Feelfree Reusable cloth Menstrual Pads
In case you are looking out for a reusable sanitary pad, then the Feelfree Reusable cloth Menstrual Pad is a great option to consider. These pads are also quite affordable and you can save a lot of money.
Also, these are eco-friendly so with protecting yourself from skin irritations, you also help towards saving the planet. Washing and cleaning the reusable pad is also simple. All you need to do is rinse the pad in cold water separately and then put it in a wet bag. Follow it with a cold rinse and then hot wash with a very little detergent and tumble dry.
The only drawback of using these pads is that if you are away from home, it is difficult to wash the pad as washing it in public toilets is not recommended.
08. Azah Ultra Soft Organic Sanitary Pads
Another eco-friendly pad that we have on the list is the Azah Ultra Soft Organic Sanitary Pad. the only difference with these and the ones mentioned above is that the Azah pads are disposable.
Azah pads are made from the best organic soft cotton that is premium and safe. Even if you have sensitive skin, you can use these because it has a soft cotton top sheet that does not cause any skin rashes. these pads are biodegradable using natural products and comfortably thin. Despite being thin, they are super absorbent and they ensure dryness too.
The pad has perforated layers that enable air circulation for breathability and eliminates odor easily. Every pad comes with a disposable cover that makes it easy for you to dispose off. Also, the covers are biodegradable. These are available in 2 sizes, regular and extra-large, so buy according to your requirements.
With so many benefits, these pads come at a hefty price tag.
09. Sirona Natural Biodegradable Ultra Soft Maternity Pads
If you are looking for maternity pads, we have got you covered. The Sirona Natural Biodegradable Ultra Soft Maternity Pads are one of the most popular choices of mothers around the world.
These pads are not just used post-pregnancy but also suitable for heavy overnight flow. These pads are super soft, rash-free, and breathable because they are made of non-woven fiber. Thus, it can also be used by people having sensitive skin.
The pads are made using sustainable ingredients like sugarcane, corn, cassava as well as straw-bale. These are also your perfect travel partner as it has a wide coverage design that prevents leakage.
The pads are super soft and cushiony, thus providing you utmost comfort. Another plus point is that these are biodegradable and do not contain any chemicals like chlorine, parabens, and other toxins. Also, each pad is individually packed, and thus disposing it is simple.
10. Rio Heavy Flow Pads
Last but not the least in our list of best sanitary pads is the Rio Heavy Flow Pads. As the name suggests, these are ideal for heavy flow. The brand claims that it absorbs 3 times the flow of regular napkins.
It is anti-bacterial and locks in odor, thus always giving you a fresh feeling. Unlike other pads, the shape of this pad is a rectangle. It provides you complete coverage and thus you can wear it worry-free.
The extra glue grip ensures the pad is stuck in one place. The cottony top sheet also absorbs blood clots and gushes easily.
The only downfall is that these are thicker than the other options available in the market.
FAQs about Sanitary Pads
How do I dispose of the sanitary pad?
To dispose of the sanitary pad, make sure to roll it up in the cover given to you with the pad and trash it in the dust bin. Make sure not to flush your pad because it causes serious drainage problems.
Also, if the pad you use does not come with a disposable cover, use some tissues to wrap it and then trash it.
How do you use washable sanitary pads?
Once you have used the pad, soak it in hot water overnight, and then wash it by hand or you can even machine wash it.
After washing, hang them to dry in the sun. Yes, you can wash them in the machine with other clothes and do not worry as other clothes will not get contaminated.
Follow these washing instructions only when there are no particular instructions mentioned on the pad box.
Do cloth menstrual pads smell?
The fact is that cloth pads stay fresh than the disposable pads.
The main reason behind this is that the fabric breathes and thus allows moisture to evaporate. Less moisture means few bacteria that produce a foul smell.
Buying the best sanitary pads is not a simple task. Make sure you do not choose the first option that you find online. We have listed down the different types of sanitary pads thus, consider all the types and then choose a particular one according to your needs.
After you have decided on the type, make certain to consider the important points before buying the sanitary pads to ensure they fulfill your needs. We have also mentioned the buying guide to help you.
Apart from this, also check out the top 10 sanitary pads in the market right now. They are the best for a reason.