Oh the wonders of a good pad! Personally, they’ve always been my feminine hygiene product of choice. All of my friends in high school were big tampon fans, but I never really liked them. I found them to be uncomfortable, and they just did not really work for me.
For those of you who are in the same boat, I’m here to say let there be no shame in being a “pad” girl. They are lifesavers; however, choosing the right pad can be somewhat overwhelming. Why heck, I’ve been buying pads for years, and I still get distracted by all of the different sizes and styles that are out there now. I mean, you walk down the feminine hygiene aisle, and it’s like walking through Candyland or something with all of the brightly colored boxes that decorate the aisle. Where do you even start?!
To help make the search for the right pad a little less overwhelming, here are three things that you should take into consideration the next time you go shopping.
The absorbency of a pad is crucial. Fortunately, there are many different types of pads out there for you to choose from. If you typically have lighter periods (only having to change your pad every three to four hours or so), you will probably do just fine buying pads that say “regular” on the box. If you have heavy periods (having to change them one to two hours or even more frequently), you will probably want to look for some that are listed as “heavy,” “extra heavy,” or “extra absorbent” on the box.
At night, I recommend buying pads that specifically say that they are for overnight protection. These are wonderful because you probably will not need to change your pad as frequently throughout the night, and you will be able to sleep well knowing that your underwear, pajamas, and sheets are safe.
Near the end of your period, when it is super light, I would buy some panty liners. They are super thin and will help protect you from any small leaks that may occur. I always just throw a few panty liners my purse so that I will always have some on hand in case of an emergency. They have come in handy many times for me! Panty liners come in all kinds of shapes. They even have panty liners that are designed to fit the kind of underwear that you like to wear! From thongs to boy shorts, they have liners that are made to fit your underwear preference.
Another thing to take into consideration is the size of a pad. You can protect yourself from leaking from the front, back, sides or all three. If you tend to leak from the front/back, look for pads that say “long” or “extra-long.” They may feel a bit like wearing a diaper, but hey, your pants will thank you! You can even get pads with “wings” that help protect leaking from the sides and help to hold the pad in place so it doesn’t slide around. Personally, even if you do not have super heavy periods, I would highly suggest getting some with wings on it just for your peace of mind. The one con of using wings is that they sometimes can get really stuck to your panties and can make the whole pad changing process a bit of a headache, especially if you are in a hurry.
On top of all of the other choices that you have to make when shopping for pads, there is even the option of having them scented or “odorized.” I was walking through the drugstore the other day, and I saw that they were selling pads that smelled like pumpkin spice.
If you don’t want your pads to smell like a pumpkin, you can find scents that are more light and fresh. There are also pads that have a more floral smell to them as well. Fair warning though, sometimes scented pads do cause irritation and other issues. If you have sensitive skin, these may not be the best option for you, and you should probably just stick with the non-scented pads.
Looking for pads can be a daunting task, mainly because there are just so many options out there. You may even find that you do not like pads at all and completely prefer tampons or menstrual cups, which is completely fine! You need to do what is best for you. Experiment with pads, tampons, menstrual cups, and other options to see what you like the best. Even though this whole pad-buying thing can be intimidating, it WILL get easier. Promise!
Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.