A Sanitary pad, which is also known as a sanitary napkin or menstrual pad, is a thin pad made of absorbent material that absorbs the menstrual fluid during menstruation. Some sanitary pads are disposable and are meant for single use only. Most sanitary pads available in the market are disposable ones. Reusable sanitary pads are mostly cloth pads that can be washed, dried, and reused a number of times. SEE: How to Calculate Safe Period to Avoid Pregnancy
Sanitary pads come in different shapes and sizes, with different capacities to absorb for days of heavy and light menstrual bleeding. You will have to experiment with different kinds of sanitary pads to know which one best suits your needs.
Many girls also cannot afford sanitary products: in rural Nigeria, a package of pads costs 500 Naira which is roughly the cost of a meal for a poor family. With this cost, most male-dominated households will forgo providing necessary products for the women and girls in the family. In these circumstances, rural women and girls make do with what they can find: old rags, magazines, leaves, and even feathers.
Mismanagement of menstruation costs girls in every aspect of their lives. Girls in Nigeria miss an average of 24% of school year due to a lack of sustainable menstrual hygiene solutions, and many drop out of school because of poor performance after so many absences.
Different Types Of Sanitary Pads and Tampoons In Nigeria
Reusable and Washable Cloth Pads
This is the most common type of sanitary pad in Nigeria. They are widely used in rural areas due to their affordability. They may be a sustainable sanitary option but must be hygienically washed and dried in the sunlight. The sun’s heat is a natural sterilizer and drying the cloths/cloth pads under it sterilizes them for future use. These cloth pads are reusable so they are cost-effective, easily available, and eco-friendly. They also need to be stored in a clean dry place for reuse to avoid contamination.
Commercial Sanitary Pads
They are easily available at many stores, chemist shops, or online. They are expensive, compared to cloth pads, nonreusable, and not very environment-friendly. The cotton used in their making is not 100% natural and may contain pesticides. The common types of sanitary pad brands in Nigeria include; Always Sanitary pad, Always Ultra Sanitary Pad, Virony sanitary pad, Longrich Normal Flow Pad, Royal Princesse Sanitary Pads, Lady Care Sanitary Pads, U by Kotex Security Maxi Pads.
However, a worrisome trend lately is the influx of fake and substandard menstrual pads finding their way into the market from both within and foreign countries. Nigeria alone boasts of over 12 sanitary pad brands, including popular ones listed above.
In addition, quite a good number of these popular brands are battling adulteration, while unbranded ones, many of which do not meet up with standards and whose sources are untraceable, is another menace confronting menstruation safety in the country.
They are the type of absorbent that provides internal protection. They are a kind of plug of soft material (cotton) that is inserted into the vagina to absorb the menstrual flow before it leaves the body. They are expensive, not easily degradable in nature, and, hence, not very environmentally friendly. Nowadays, sea sponge tampons are available in the market which is a natural alternative to synthetic tampons.
These are washable tampons made up of natural materials like bamboo, wool, cotton, or hemp. They are also knitted or crocheted using natural absorbent material like cotton or wool. They are inserted into the vagina to absorb menstrual flow same as the disposable tampons.
They may be a new technology for poor women and girls and an alternative to sanitary pads and tampons. They are like cups made of medical-grade silicone rubber which makes the cup easy to fold and get inserted into the vagina to collect menstrual blood. They can be worn up to 6–12 hours depending upon the amount of menstrual flow, so it needs to be removed and emptied less frequently. They are reusable and environment-friendly. It offers sustainable, practical, and cost-effective alternatives where sanitation conditions are not good.
Bamboo Fibre Pads
Instead of wood pulp, bamboo pulp is used as an absorbing material in these sanitary pads. It has more absorbing capacity and is safer to use. They are affordable, easily decomposed, and environment-friendly pads that also possess antibacterial properties. This provides infection and irritation-free menstruation. Also, bamboo charcoal pads are available in the market with the advantage that blood stains are not clearly visible and are also reusable in nature.
Banana Fibre Pads
Nowadays, low-cost sanitary pads for rural women made from waste banana tree fibre were sold under the trade name “Saathi” in India. They are environment-friendly and decompose within six months after use. Besides these products, women in remote rural areas also use natural materials like cow dung, leaves, and mud.
Water Hyacinth Pads
Menstrual pads manufactured using water hyacinth are sold under the trade name “Jani.” They are cost-effective, easily biodegradable, and eco-friendly in nature. How to Dispose Sanitary Pad in Nigeria