What are Sanitary Pads / Types


A sanitary pad also known as sanitary napkin, menstrual pad, rag or maxi pad is a menstruation product used by females to absorb the blood flow during their menstruation / periods.


Types of sanitary pads:

There are 2 types of sanitary pads/ napkins that one can choose from: Disposable sanitary pads and reusable sanitary pads.

Click here for:  Reusable / washable sanitary pads


Disposable sanitary pads:


As the name suggests, disposable sanitary pads are disposed off once used. These pads are easily available at all pharmacy stores around the world.

The basic anatomy of a disposable sanitary pad comprises of an underlying layer, absorbent layer and a surface layer.

  • The underlying layer is the back side of the napkin (adhesive or non-adhesive) that lies on the crotch of the panty.
  • The middle layer also called the absorbent layer lies between the underlying layer and the surface layer. It is made of absorbent wood cellulose fibers. The absorbent panel consist polyacrylate gel which sucks up the liquid quickly, holds it in a suspension and prevents blood leakage.
  • An additional top layer or the surface layer sits right against the skin. It is made of perforated plastic that keeps the skin dry and acts as a barrier between the skin and the absorbent panel.

Disposable sanitary pads vary in design, functionality and comfort from manufacturer to manufacturer. There is a huge variety of sanitary pads available to suit the customer needs and pocket.


Variations in disposable sanitary pads:

A few years back, pads were available with only one type of absorbency, length and thickness and women didn’t had too many options to look for. But thanks to the advancements, there are more options today and women can choose the one that suits her needs the best.


  • Shape: The pad can be rectangular, slender or curved in shape to fit your body better.
  • Size: The size ranges from short and slender panty liners to large and extra large ones to hold different level of blood flow.
  • Panty liners: A panty liner is very thin with little absorbency. Panty liners may come with or without wings, tapered shape or rectangular shape and with or without fragrance. These are designed to absorb light menstrual blood flow, spotting and daily vaginal discharge.
  • Ultra-thin: These are very thin pads with a normal length and a high absorbency, designed to offer more comfort and are not at all bulky.
  • Regular: These are a middle range absorbency pad and are designed to be used during the day time.
  • Maxi- super: These are larger absorbency pads and are useful when the menstrual flow is the heaviest.
  • Night: These are little longer than the regular pads and are designed to offer more protection to the wearer when she is sleeping.
  • Maternity: These are longer and more absorbent than the maxi pad and are designed to absorb the bleeding that occurs after child birth, abortion or vaginal surgery.
  • Design: Some pads may feature extra features such as wings with adhesives that wrap around the sides of the panty and stick to help secure the pad in place and provide an additional side leak protection.
  • Fragrance: Some pads come along with fragrance and deodorants added to them to cover the menstrual blood odor.


Non-adhesive disposable sanitary pads:


  • A non-adhesive disposable sanitary pad is the one that comes without an adhesive and needs to be placed directly on the crotch of the panty.
  • Another variation is the belted sanitary napkin. These pads come along with a special elastic belt or a girdle to be worn under the undergarment. The absorbent liners of the pad are extended on the front and the back so that they can fit into the loops of the belt. However, these pads are less comfortable to use and there is always a problem of getting your panty and clothes soaked.

Disposable sanitary pads with adhesive:

  • The underlying layer of an adhesive disposable sanitary pad consists of fabric adhering glue which is covered with a paper sticker. If the pad has wings, then the adhering glue and the paper sticker is present on the wings as well.
  • The pads with adhesives help to safely secure the pad in place.
  • One needs to peel off the paper sticker and carefully place the pad to safely adhere it around the crotch of the panty.


Advantages of using a disposable sanitary pad:
  • Disposable sanitary pads are easier to use especially the ones with adhesives and wings.
  • They leave you fresh and dry throughout the day.
  • The ultra thin ones are the most comfortable ones as they are very thin and compact.
  • They are more hygienic and safe.
  • No fear of developing Toxic Shock Syndrome as in the case of using a tampon.
  • Available in different varieties to suit different needs.
  • Easier to be used by women of all age group.