Arushi Bidhuri Published on: 22 November 2022, 13:37 pm IST
Sanitary pads are a go-to when periods come. We believe it to be the safest and the most comfortable way to deal with it. While many people are aware that sanitary pads contain fragrances and chemicals that may harm their skin, are you familiar with the health problems they can lead to? A new study has shocked India, revealing that the most commonly used sanitary pads in India by women, can pose some serious health threats. The chemicals found in these sanitary pads can be reportedly severely harmful and may increase the risk of cancer and infertility in women.
Here’s what you need to know about sanitary pads and their side effects on women’s health.
Sanitary pads may increase the risk of cancer and infertility for women
According to reports, the study conducted by a New Delhi-based non-profit organization, Toxic Link, found that the sanitary pads made by some of the most popular brands in India contain chemicals that can potentially increase your risk of cancer and infertility. For the study, the researchers examined 10 different types of sanitary pads (organic and inorganic) made in India. They found that phthalates and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are two of the most commonly used chemicals in these pads.
Dr Surabhi Siddhartha, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Kharghar, Mumbai, tells Health Shots, “This is a shocking revelation for us as a large number of girls and women use pads, and this will panic them. As per the research, traces of phthalates and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in all the samples have the ability to form cancerous cells. The pads are known to cause infertility. If the chemicals get absorbed by the body, women may experience problems.”
Numerous other harmful chemicals commonly available in sanitary products, including toxic chemicals such as carcinogens, reproductive toxins, endocrine disruptors, and allergens, are found in sanitary pads, explains Dr Siddhartha. “The presence of harmful chemicals, including carcinogens, is a devastating revelation.”
So, what should you use instead of sanitary pads?
While sanitary pads are believed to be a comfortable option and the most commonly used items among women in India, they don’t seem to be the safest. However, this doesn’t mean that you go back to using cloth or newspapers during menstruation. Dr Siddhartha warns, “It is unhealthy and makes women susceptible to various infections.”
Now, after this sanitary pad revelation, the big question is what next? What exactly is suitable for them? Dr Siddhartha suggests the following:
* Opt for tampons and menstrual cups. However, you need to use them safely as per the instructions of the doctor.
* If you choose to continue using sanitary pads, change it frequently.
* Avoid using any pads containing fragrances, and make sure that the pad is made with a soft material that does not lead to allergies or infections.
* Keep your vagina clean to keep likely infections at bay.