There are many topics in life that people don’t talk openly about. Sometimes a conversation feels inappropriate, personal, or insensitive. This is completely okay—you shouldn’t have to talk about things that make you feel uncomfortable with people you don’t feel comfortable speaking with. This being said, sometimes useful information isn’t shared as a result.
The following aims to explore just one topic that isn’t discussed much: disposable underpads. It turns out that underpads have a lot of uses, and they might be able to help you or someone you know with an experience that feels difficult or problematic. Of course, every person is different, as are their comfort levels, so only consider the uses that feel like they might help you.
Giving birth is an intense experience, to say the least. Often postpartum is filled with a ton of new thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations—some pleasant, but others not so much. Disposable underpads can help not only with any bleeding (a little bleeding is common as you heal, but a lot of bleeding is something you might want to speak to your midwife, doula, or doctor about) but also with pain. Soreness is part of healing, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to bear. Many women in the postpartum phase find it helpful to drip a little bit of clean, filtered water onto a pad and store it in the freezer for a short time. The result is a cooling pad that can help numb pain without requiring the use of painkilling medications, as many medication options have warnings for breastfeeding women. Since many postpartum women are breastfeeding, awareness of non-pharmaceutical options is often appreciated.
It is a topic that is tough to talk about. There are tons of reasons for incontinence, but previous pregnancies, injuries, or medical conditions call all be part of the situation where incontinence appears. If you’re someone that experiences the occasional (or not so occasional leak) when you cough, laugh, or are simply full, disposable underpads can help you feel safe and clean throughout the day. If a leak occurs, you can simply change your underpad and carry on with your day. Incorporating disposable underpads can help reduce the impact incontinence has on your social and work life, as you can go about your day without needing to run home and shower or change your clothing.
This is probably the most commonly discussed use of disposable underpads. Menstruation is an experience that most women have after puberty, and it can be frustrating to explore all the different ways of handling it until you find the one that works for you. Many women find that they have a preference for pad thickness, absorbency, texture, and material. It also takes a while to find the right amount of time to wait before changing a pad, whether or not it is full. The common advice is to leave one on for no longer than six hours, but some women find they need to change it far more often to feel comfortable.
Notes About Disposal
Disposable underpads are meant to be thrown away. This being said, there are some important notes to make about how and where you can throw them away. Pads should never be flushed down the toilet—they’re thicker and can cause septic issues or clogging. In public women’s bathrooms, there are often disposal units within each stall. Remember that it is someone’s job to empty these units and make sure that your pad is inside the unit in a way that isn’t going to cause leaking or messes for the person emptying it. Many people find that wrapping the pad up in the wrapper from the pad they just opened is a clean and tidy way to handle this. If there’s no unit specifically for pads, simply wrap it in packaging or toilet paper and throw it out in a regular garbage can (again, making sure that people emptying the trash can are able to do so without coming in contact with another person’s bodily fluids). Finally, if the pad contains blood and you are in an outdoor environment, think carefully about where you dispose of it as the scent of blood can attract animals.
The above information should have revealed a few uses of disposable pads. If disposable underpads seem like something you might find useful, you can typically find them at your local drug store. Alternatively, you can order them online. It’s worth noting that most pad providers will offer a range of absorbancies. The thinner options tend to be less noticeable when you’re wearing them, but the thicker options tend to be more absorbent. You’ll need to find a balance that works for you.