Disposable sanitary napkins had become a hot topic of conversation because it was feared to contain dangerous chemicals. Actually is this product safe to use?
When you experience menstruation, you need a container to collect blood from the vagina. The ancients used cloth that was folded and placed under the vagina. As time has evolved, disposable sanitary napkins were created.
Disposable sanitary napkins are rectangular shaped objects that function to absorb fluid from the vagina. How to use it is to remove the adhesive, then attach it to the underwear. Some types of sanitary napkins have extra adhesive on the sides which are commonly called wings.
What Types of Sanitary Napkins?
Sanitary napkins are available in different brands, sizes, types, shapes and functions. Some even offer scented pads. Most pads are available in disposable materials. But there are also pads that can be used repeatedly. Most sanitary napkins on the market are made of synthetic fibers or cotton, so they have a high absorption.
Based on its function, there are several types of sanitary napkins:
Super / Maxi
Overnight / night
Especially for postpartum mothers
Used to absorb vaginal mucus or fluid daily.
Used on menstruation days.
Used when menstrual volume is high.
Used at night. Pads for the night are usually longer in the form of the back, to prevent leakage.
Usually thicker, used to absorb puerperal blood after delivery.
Does Sanitary Napkin Contain Harmful Material?
In Indonesia, sanitary napkins had become a hot topic. The Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) states a number of brands of sanitary napkin contain dangerous substances with levels above the threshold. The material is a chlorine compound that is feared to be dangerous to the health of the body and female organs. However, based on the Ministry of Health’s release, these products have been tested and are safe to use.
In accordance with Health Law No. 36 of 2009 sanitary napkin is categorized as a low-risk medical device. Low risk means the impact on the health of its users is minimal.
In granting marketing authorization, the Ministry of Health requires every sanitary napkin to meet the requirements regarding sanitary napkin, which is a minimum of 10 times the absorption capacity of the initial weight and is not fluorescent strongly. Fluorescence is a test carried out to check chlorine levels in sanitary napkins, based on the Indonesian National Standard (SNI).
Sanitary napkins are generally made of cellulose or synthetic fibers as absorbent menstrual fluid that needs to go through the process of bleaching or bleaching. Referring to the standards of the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is also the standard of the Indonesian Ministry of Health, bleaching is carried out using the following methods:
Elemental Chlorine-Free (ECF) Bleaching
Totally Chlorine-Free (TCF) Bleaching
Bleaching that does not use the chlorine gas element, but uses chlorine dioxide which is declared free of dioxin.
Bleaching that does not use chlorine compounds, but hydrogen peroxide.
All products must go through one of these two methods to ensure the absence of dioxin in the dressing. Dioxin itself is a substance that can dissolve in fat and survive in the body. The use of chlorine gas in the bleaching process in the making of sanitary napkins carries the risk of producing carcinogenic dioxin compounds, which can increase the risk of cancer.
How to Minimize the Risk of Using Sanitary Napkins?
To minimize the risk of using disposable pads, here are some things you can do:
- Make sure the sanitary napkin chosen contains information on the marketing authorization from the Ministry of Health on the packaging.
- Know the composition of the pads on the packaging label.
- Change pads regularly every 3-4 hours, even if the amount of menstrual blood is not too much. The more menstrual blood, the more often you have to replace the pads. Changing pads regularly can prevent odor and bacterial growth.
- It is recommended to choose sanitary napkins that are not scented to avoid the risk of irritation due to chemical fragrances.
Some people switch to using cloth pads that can be washed and used repeatedly. Although made of cloth, the shape of a modern cloth sanitary napkin is made like a disposable sanitary pad to keep it comfortable when worn. Modern fabric covers have wings and buttons to be attached to the underwear so they do not shift.
Cloth pads can be an option for women who are easily irritated when using disposable sanitary pads. With notes, provided the fabric used is pure cotton. Currently cloth pads are widely available in Indonesia. However, you must order online because it has not been widely sold on the market.
Another alternative that is claimed to be healthier is to use a menstrual cup (menstrual cup). Menstrual Cups are made of rubber or silicone that is compliant with medical standards. How to use it is to put it in the vagina like a tampon. The difference, if tampons absorb, menstrual cup works by storing menstrual blood. If it is full, remove the menstrual cup and then wash thoroughly.
Menstrual cups can be used once or used repeatedly. For repeated use, can be used 6-12 hours depending on menstrual blood volume and can be used for up to 10 years. When the menstrual cycle is complete, boil the menstrual cup to sterilize it, then keep it in a clean place.
Reading the explanation above, it can be ascertained that sanitary napkins that have obtained a marketing authorization from the Ministry of Health are safe to use because they have passed a series of test standards. In the end, by choosing and using proper sanitary napkins, all women can go through the period of menstruation comfortably, without worrying about the risk of disease. Now, you can switch to cloth pads or menstrual plates that are claimed to be healthier because they are free of chemicals.