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3 Common Errors Women Make

When Choosing Their Sanitary Pads

Having menses monthly is a normal cycle. And whenever we have our menses, the right thing to do is to use sanitary pads, right?

What if the “right” thing we do can turn out so wrong?

What if the wrong use of sanitary pads can have harmful effects on you?

Today sanitary pads (aka period or menstrual pads) and panty liners are the most common and convenient menstrual hygiene products women use during our periods.

For most of us, period means putting on a sanitary pad.

We simply assumed that it is common sense and a hygienic thing to do. Period.

However, before even buying sanitary pads to put on the most sensitive area of our body, shouldn’t we pause and ask the below questions?

  • Is this sanitary pad good for me?
  • Does it contain harmful materials?
  • Can it cause or prevent infections?

However, many of us are unaware that we often choose pads that are actually unsanitary and they most likely contain harmful chemicals.

These wrong sanitary pads when used over a prolonged period of time can prove to be damaging to our health.

Users may suffer from infections, irritations, and possibly other lethal diseases.

Are All Sanitary Pads Truly Sterile?

Since the use of sanitary pads laced with chemicals and bacteria can be harmful to women in the long run, why is it still sold in shops?

Most products that come in contact with blood such as gauze, needles and surgical blades are regulated as medical devices. Hence these products adhere to stricter requirements to ensure that they are safe to use.

However, despite the fact that sanitary pads and pantyliners do come in contact with blood, the way they are regulated is similar to how toilet papers are regulated. Hence, there are no strict requirements to packing and materials used.

Whether or not they are sterile and safe to begin with is questionable.

As such, can we really trust that the sanitary pads we use every single month are sterile and truly sanitary?

Below we will discuss 3 main points you have to take note of when choosing a sanitary pad.

1. Are Your Sanitary Pads in Sterile Packings?

The material used to pack sanitary pads and pantyliners is one of the most overlooked requirement when we choose our sanitary pads.

Most pads sold in supermarkets come in flimsy boxes and thin plastics. However, do they really serve the purpose of keeping our sanitary pads sanitary?

Won’t it be ironic if our sanitary pads are unsanitary even before usage?

To keep a pad sanitary, its packing has to be sterile. But what we usually end up with is either a thin plastic wrap or a paper box – both of which are not sterile.

For example, common store-bought potato chips are not packed in thin plastic wraps and paper boxes.

Instead, their packing uses a layer of aluminum foil to keep them fresh and safe for your consumption.

Considering that your sanitary pads will be in direct contact with both your blood and v-zone, shouldn’t sterile packing be a must-have for all sanitary pads?

For starters, look for packings that incorporates aluminum foil. Aluminum foil is impervious to bacteria, light, moisture, germs and all gases.

It keeps your pads sterile, and very safe for your usage.

Dust, dirt, bacteria and fungus on a sanitary pad are invisible to the naked eye and should you wear a pad that has been contaminated, you risk contracting an unnecessary infection.

The next time you see sanitary pads on sale, don’t just jump in and buy immediately.

First, check if the packing is sterile.

What is the point of buying cheap pads that may be contaminated even before usage?  Let’s not save the dollar only to go to the doctor.

2. Are Your Pads Really Made of Cotton?

There is a misconception that all sanitary pads are made of cotton due to the constant marketing gimmicks used in their marketing efforts.

For example, some brands in the market describe their sanitary pads as “cottony-soft sanitary napkins”, some claim that their pads “feel like cotton“.

However, as long as they do not mention “100% Cotton”, chances are they are not made of cotton.

Should they be made of cotton, most companies would boast aloud about it as cotton has many advantages as a type of fabric used for personal wear.

When used as a material for the top layer of sanitary pads, it reduces itch, rash and discomfort due to its highly breathable and soft nature. Also, it is safe to use on sensitive skin.

3. Do Your Sanitary Pads Encourage or Discourage UTI?

Yes, the improper use and choice of sanitary pads can lead to Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs). In fact, according to Singapore General Hospital (SGH), 

  • 20% of women aged 20-65 experience UTI at least once per year. 
  • Around 50% of women experience UTI at least once in their lifetime.

A test was conducted in TUV-SUD-PSB Singapore to test the rate of bacterial growth on common sanitary pads within 3 hours.

The result was astonishing.

Bacteria: Staphylococcus Aureus (aka Staph.A)

  • Associated with bad odor, itch and rash
  • Leading cause of skin infections such as boils and abscesses
  • Can result in TSS which is rare but life-threatening
  • Bacteria count multiplied from 94 000 to 270 000 within 3hours

Just imagine how much bacteria is accumulating on your sanitary pads the next time you use them.

Quick Summary

In conclusion, the next time you use your sanitary pad, do check the following:

Unfortunately for us ladies, we have always been suffering in silence. Menstrual issues such as itch, smell and infections can be an embarrassing subject to approach. However, this problem can be greatly reduced through the education and usage of better menstrual products.

So once again, before we rush into buying the next period product that is on sale, be empowered with this new information and check through the above points.

Let’s steer clear of being penny-wise and pound-foolish.

In case you are wondering which sanitary pads are safe to use and good for your health, we recommend Alchemy pads.

If you would like to learn more about how to choose your sanitary pads to reduce menstrual problems here.

Elisabeth Tan,
Be Transformed. Period.

Commonly Asked Questions

It is possible when bacteria from your sanitary pads enters your bladder through your urethra. If you are having UTI now, this article may be of some help to you.

Toxic Shock Syndrome is caused by excessive bacterial buildup. It is uncommon, but it does happen. Hence we highly encourage the use of good antibacterial pads.

Infections can sometimes be caused by sanitary pads. A scenario is when the sanitary pads is contaminated, leading to infections.

Infections can be caused by both unsanitary sanitary pads and poor menstrual hygiene.

Typical scenarios that lead to infections when:

  1. We wear sanitary pads that have already contaminated
  2. Bacteria infests on the sanitary pads we wear. As long as your sanitary pads do not have strong antibacterial functions, chances are massive amount of bacteria can accumulate within 30min of wearing.

You can learn more about how to prevent these avoidable infections from happening here.

Yes. Itch is usually caused by bacterial accumulation. You can either change your sanitary pads more often or use good antibacterial pads to reduce the problem. Check out this article for more information.

Yes. Some materials / chemicals in your sanitary pads may be causing boils and rashes. Learn how to identify and choose the rights pads for yourself here.

If you are allergic to the material or chemicals in your sanitary pads, you may experience these symptom – itching, rashes, irritation, pain, inflammation, sores, bumps, acne.

You can learn how to choose right pads for yourself here. Based on the feedback we have received, positive effects of choosing the right sanitary pads and pantyliners on big blood clots during menses usually occur within 3 – 6 months.

If your menses blood is black, please consult the doctor to conduct a pap test. If your menses blood is cloudy white / yellowish / dark red, choosing the right pads can help. To find out what you should pay attention to, refer to this article.

If you have any other questions, you can contact us via
1. WhatsApp
2. Email su*****@al**********.com
3. Drop us a message here.

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    About Alchemy

    Hi I’m Elisabeth, the founder of Alchemy. We are determined to improve the state of women’s health and have been conducting health talks in schools and companies for the past 11 years.

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    Do you want to
    Have Blissful Periods?

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      Do you want to
      Have Blissful Periods?

      Learn how to prevent and reduce menstrual issues such as period cramps, UTI and foul smell through your choice of menstrual products.