Pros and Cons of Sanitary Pads — What Every Woman Needs to Know About Sanitary Products

If you’ve had your period for more than a minute, you've probably used a pad.

In fact, an estimated 62% of US women use disposable menstrual pads during ‘that time of the month.’ 

Lately, you may have heard some concerning things about disposable pads, and might be wondering if they're okay to use. 

In this guide, we'll take a look at the pros and cons of sanitary pads and give you a few other options for period care.

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Table of Contents

What Are the Pros and Cons of Pads?

Let's take a look at the pros and cons of reusable sanitary pads.

The pros of pads include:

  • Various absorbency levels
  • Less risk of toxic shock
  • Healthier than tampons

A few of the cons of pads are:

  • Not environmentally friendly
  • Contain chemicals
  • Can be bulky
  • May cause irritation
  • Are expensive

3 Pros for Sanitary Pads

#1: Pads Have Options to Accommodate Flow and Activity Level

A great thing about period pads is that they go with the flow. There is a menstrual pad for every type of period.

Are you looking for protection, “just in case?” Grab a panty liner.

Is it a normal flow day? An ultra-thin pad should do the trick.

Nighttime? There's a pad for that, too — just reach for the extra-long overnight with wings.

#2: Pads Carry Almost No Risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome

You may have heard of toxic shock syndrome — the scary but rare, life-threatening condition that can be brought about by some types of bacterial infections.

The symptoms of toxic shock syndrome, or TSS, come on suddenly and can include: 

  • A high fever that spikes out of nowhere
  • Vomiting
  • A drop in blood pressure
  • Frequent, watery bowel movements
  • A rash that looks like you have a sunburn, especially on the palms of your hands and bottoms of your feet
  • Mental confusion
  • Headaches
  • Achy muscles
  • Red mouth, throat, and eyes 
  • Seizures

Studies have shown that women who use menstrual pads have a much lower risk of toxic shock syndrome than women who use tampons. 

#3: Pads Are a Healthier Option Than Tampons

Pads are just overall healthier for you than tampons are. 

For starters, tampons can be tricky to insert and may irritate and scratch the tender lining of your vagina.

But since pads sit on the outside of your body, there's no risk of damaging your insides — or of an accumulation of dangerous bacteria.

Pads may be healthier than tampons, but if you're looking for the healthiest option for managing that time of the month, You might want to consider trying period-proof panties.

ONDRwear period panties come in every size — from 3XS to 4XL — and in all your favorite styles, including: 

  • Bikini
  • Thong
  • Boy short; and
  • High-waisted brief

Plus, they're made of all-natural fibers and can easily be tossed in the wash to be used month after month.

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4 Cons for Sanitary Pads

#1: Pads Are Not Environmentally Friendly

Are you environmentally conscious? 

If so, you have probably heard all about how dangerous period pads are for our environment. 

Disposable pads:

  • Are not biodegradable
  • Break down into dangerous microplastics
  • End up in our landfills
  • Pollute our oceans, beaches, and rivers; and 
  • Contaminate our water supply

If decreasing your carbon footprint on the planet is high on your list of priorities, then you will want to look beyond disposable pads.

#2: Pads Have Scents and Other Chemicals in the Fibers

Have you ever gotten a rash from using a pad? It's awful. And there's no way to get over it until your flow is finished for the month

“Period rash” is a form of contact dermatitis, and is a close relative of diaper rash.

Research has shown that most pads contain elevated levels of harmful chemicals that are known to cause damage to your reproductive system, including:

Plus, the perfume and other types of fragrance used in disposable pads can be irritating to your “down-there” parts.

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#3: Pads Are Bulky and Sometimes Don’t Fit Well

We all know the yucky feeling of having a bunched-up pad in our underwear, or the struggle of trying to keep a pad perfectly positioned in your panties — so you don't end up with an embarrassing leak.

And forget about wearing a pad with leggings. Unless you want everyone to know your secret, just don’t.

#4: Pads Get Expensive Over Time

If you use disposable pads, you have to keep buying them month after month. 

And that cost adds up.

The fact is, the average cost of period pads in one year is roughly $168. 

Multiply that by the 33 years most of us have a period, and you spend a whopping $5,544 over your lifetime — just on disposable pads. 

Yikes. There’s got to be a better way.

3 Alternative Solutions for Sanitary Products

These days, we've got plenty of options when it comes to dealing with Aunt Flo. Let's take a close-up look at the pros and cons of the three most common choices for period care: 

  1. Tampons
  2. Menstrual cups; and 
  3. Reusable menstrual underwear

#1: Tampons

The advantages of using tampons:

  • While tampons are generally more comfortable on medium to heavy days, they can be used for almost every level of period flow. 
  • They last for four to eight hours, but the FDA recommends changing your tampon every four to six hours, just to be safe.
  • They are perfect for swimming. 

The disadvantages of using tampons:

  • They are disposable — meaning tampons and their inserters, end up in landfills.
  • They increase the risk of harmful bacteria growing in your vagina — and your risk for toxic shock syndrome.
  • They can safely be left in for six hours at the most, which can cause problems if you decide to wear them overnight.
  • They can irritate your insides, making your vagina feel itchy, dry, and terribly uncomfortable.
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#2: Reusable Menstrual Cups

The advantages of using menstrual cups:

  • One cup can last for years.
  • At $25 to $40 each, they are inexpensive when compared to pads and tampons.
  • They come in a wide variety of sizes, styles, and colors, so it is easy to find one to fit your body. 
  • The same cup can be used for light to heavy flow days.
  • They can be left in for up to 12 hours.
  • They are a no-show period solution, so you can wear them with anything.
  • They are swim-friendly.
  • They don't damage the lining of your vagina when you insert or remove them.
  • As long as you have your cup inserted properly, you don't feel a thing.
  • They cut down on the dreaded period smell because the blood is kept inside until the cup is removed.

The disadvantages of using menstrual cups:

  • There is a learning curve to getting them inserted just right.
  • They can be messy to put in and take out.
  • If you have fibroids, a cup may be more difficult to insert and remove.
  • They need to be emptied and rinsed out in the sink after each use. 
  • If you wear an IUD, the cup could dislodge it.
  • Some brands contain latex, so if you have a latex allergy, you will want to be sure to read the labels carefully.
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#3: Reusable Period Underwear

The advantages of using reusable period underwear:

  • They are machine washable, so you can use them month after month.
  • They are good for the environment. 
  • Some are plant-based, meaning the use of fewer synthetic fibers and chemicals. 
  • Since they are panties and a pad all in one, they don't shift like reusable pads tend to do.
  • As long as they are made from natural fibers, they won't irritate your bottom.
  • Some (like ONDRwear) can hold up to 9 teaspoons of liquid — as much as two pads or tampons.
  • They can be used for backup on extra heavy days if you combine them with a period cup or tampon.

The disadvantages of using reusable period underwear:

  • They have to be washed after each use.
  • If your flow is extra heavy, you may have to add a disposable pad to make it through the day.
  • Depending on the material the undies are made from, they may get stinky.
  • Sometimes you may want to stain treat them before washing.
  • They need to be air-dried, so you will need to plan ahead.
  • They can be expensive.

Replace Your Sanitary Pads With a Healthy and Safe Alternative: ONDRwear — Reusable and Period Proof Underwear

At ONDRwear, we think you deserve comfort and peace of mind when you're on your period. 

That's one of the reasons we created our period-proof ONDRwear undies.

ONDRwear leak-proof period underwear comes in sizes to fit every shape, and in your favorite undie styles, including:

  • Thong
  • Boy short
  • Bikini; and
  • High-waisted brief

Besides being super comfy, ONDRwear products are:

  • Machine washable
  • Plant-based 
  • Lightweight
  • Ultra-absorbent; and
  • Odor-resistant (which means you can wave goodbye to that funky period stank)

And they are the perfect replacement for disposable pads and will keep you feeling fresh and confident all cycle long.

Click here to give ONDRwear a try today.

pros-and-cons-of-sanitary-pads