- Cloth menstrual pads: Until disposable sanitary towels were created, cloth or reusable pads were widely used to collect menstrual blood. Women often used a variety of homemade menstrual pads which they crafted from various fabrics, left over scraps, grass, or other absorbent materials, to collect menstrual blood
- Washable menstrual pads do not need to be disposed of after use and therefore, offer a more economical alternative for women. Reusable menstrual pads also called “mama cloth” have become the popular alternative and gaining in popularity among women because they are the allergen and perfume-free and can be more comfortable for women who suffer from irritations from using disposable pads.
- They are now made from a number of types of fabric, most often cotton flannel, or hemp which is highly absorbent and not as bulky as cotton. Most styles have wings that secure around the underpants, but some are just held in place (without wings) between the body and the underpants. Some (particularly the older styles) are available in belted styles.
- Disposable sanitary towels: Disposable sanitary towels grew from Benjamin Franklin’s invention designed to save soldiers with buckshot wounds. (Hartman, 2008)Disposable pads had their start with nurses using their wood pulp bandages to catch their menstrual flow, creating a pad that was made from easily obtainable materials and inexpensive enough to throw away after use. The manufacturers of bandages borrowed the idea and started producing pads from these easily obtainable and inexpensive materials. The first commercially available American disposable sanitary pads were Lister’s Towels created by Johnson and Johnson in 1896.
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There are several different types of disposable sanitary towels which include:
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i) Pantyliner: This is designed to absorb daily vaginal discharge, light menstrual flow, “spotting”, slight urinary incontinence, or as a backup for tampon on menstrual cup use.
ii)Ultra-thin: This is a compact (thin) pad, which may be as absorbent as a Regular or maxi/super pad but with less bulk.
iii) Regular: This is a middle range absorbency pad.
iv) Maxi/super: A larger absorbency pad, useful for the start of the menstrual cycle when menstruation is often heaviest.
v)Nocturnal: A longer pad to allow for more protection while the wearer is lying down with absorbency suitable for overnight use.
vi) Maternity: These are usually slightly longer than a maxi/super pad and are designed to be worn to absorb lochia (bleeding after Childbirth).
Sanitary Towel: Sanitary Towel and its Types