What are tampons and pads made up off?

What are tampons and pads made up off?

For many women, tampons and pads are essential components of managing their menstrual cycles. However, despite their widespread use, there's often limited awareness about what these products are made of. In this blog, we'll delve into the composition of tampons and pads, shedding light on the materials used and their potential implications for health and the environment. 

What Are Tampons Made Of? 

Tampons are absorbent products designed to be inserted into the vagina to absorb menstrual blood. While the specific materials used may vary between brands, most tampons typically consist of the following components: 

  • Cotton: The primary absorbent material used in tampons is typically cotton, which is known for its absorbency and soft texture. However, it's essential to note that conventional cotton production may involve the use of pesticides and other chemicals. 
  • Rayon: In addition to cotton, many tampons contain rayon, a synthetic fiber derived from cellulose. Rayon can enhance the absorbency of tampons and may be used in combination with cotton to create tampons with different absorbency levels. 
  • Polyester: Some tampons may also contain polyester fibers, which are added to enhance the structural integrity of the tampon and provide a smoother surface for insertion. 
  • Fragrances and Dyes: Certain tampons may contain added fragrances or dyes to mask odours or enhance the aesthetic appeal of the product. However, these additives may increase the risk of skin irritation or allergic reactions for some individuals. 

What Are Pads Made Of? 

Menstrual pads, also known as sanitary napkins, are absorbent products worn externally to absorb menstrual flow. Similar to tampons, pads are composed of various materials, including: 

  • Absorbent Core: The absorbent core of pads is typically made of a blend of materials such as cotton, rayon, and super absorbent polymers (SAPs). SAPs are highly absorbent materials that can retain large amounts of liquid, helping to keep the surface of the pad dry. 
  • Plastic Backing: Many pads feature a plastic backing layer to provide leak protection and prevent menstrual blood from seeping through the pad onto clothing. However, the use of plastic in pads raises environmental concerns due to its non-biodegradable nature. 
  • Adhesive Strip: Pads are equipped with an adhesive strip on the underside to secure them in place within underwear during wear. 
  • Fragrances and Dyes: Similar to tampons, some pads may contain added fragrances or dyes, which may pose risks of skin irritation or allergic reactions for some individuals. 

Implications for Health and the Environment: 

While tampons and pads serve a vital purpose in managing menstrual flow, there are potential implications associated with their composition: 

  • Health Concerns: The use of synthetic materials, fragrances, and dyes in tampons and pads may increase the risk of skin irritation, allergic reactions, and other adverse health effects for some individuals. Additionally, there have been concerns raised about the potential link between prolonged tampon use and the risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS), a rare but serious condition. 
  • Environmental Impact: The production and disposal of tampons and pads contribute to environmental pollution and waste. Conventional menstrual products often contain non-biodegradable materials such as plastic, which can persist in the environment for hundreds of years. Additionally, the use of pesticides and chemicals in conventional cotton production may have negative environmental implications.

While tampons and pads are essential menstrual products for many women, it's essential to be informed about their composition and potential implications for health and the environment. As consumers, we can advocate for greater transparency and sustainability in the menstrual product industry by choosing products made from organic, biodegradable materials and supporting initiatives that promote menstrual equity and environmental stewardship. By raising awareness and making informed choices, we can work towards a future where menstrual products are safe, sustainable, and accessible for all. 

Back to blog