#WomenExplain: How Sanitary Products Work

February 6, 2019
For as long as time itself, women have used different forms of sanitary products. But disposable sanitary pads as we know them today surfaced sometime around 1888. Which means that for the last 131 years sanitary products as we know it today have been in existence.
So the fact that some men still ask questions like ‘Why can’t they use strips of cloth like their grandmothers’ or make statements like ‘Sanitary pads are not a necessity’ is mindblowing. In this 20th century, the age of smartphones and 4g internet.
Because women stay doing the Lord’s work, #WomenExplain is our new web series. Here women deconstruct in the simplest of terms everything and anything that has to do with the female struggle. Starting with how sanitary products work.

What are even sanitary products?

These include everything from tampons to sanitary pads used to absorb blood when women are on their periods.

What’s all the fuss about them these days?

Women have been talking about sanitary products and all of its shortcomings for years and years. And one of our biggest challenges has and is still its cost. Especially for women who live in a third world country. Organizations like Sanitary Aid For Nigerian Girls are doing the Lord’s work by providing women with free sanitary products and raising awareness about the need for them.

Shey there are reusable pads and cups, why can’t women just use that if it’s so expensive?

Sanitary products like these need constant access to bathroom facilities and constantly running water. It’s very unlikely that women who already can’t afford the disposable sanitary products will have this kind of access.

Ehn but it’s because they are buying the expensive ones, some are as cheap as 50 naira.

Cheap almost never equates to quality. If you had to use a particular product in the most sensitive area of your body 5 to 7 days every single month, I’m pretty sure you’d want only the best.

But our grandmothers used strips of cloth and nothing happened to them.

They only used it because there were either no other options or they just couldn’t afford sanitary products. Using strips of cloth is unsanitary and can lead to health complications for women.

What about tissue paper

Again. Unsanitary. Unhygienic. Can lead to health complications.

But what’s the difference between tissues and sanitary pads?

First of all, they are not as absorbent as sanitary pads which means you could soak through them in minutes. More importantly, tissues, unlike sanitary pads, have a ton lint which could travel up the vagina and cause a nasty infection.

But some of the women saying these things are expensive have money to be buying MAC makeup

How does that take away from the fact that they are expensive?

Don’t you just need like one or two packs every month? Can’t be that bad.

Menstrual flows vary from women to women. While some women might need only one or two packs every month, some might need up to 7 or eight. Over 120 million Nigerian live on less than 720 naira a day. The average cost of a pack of sanitary pads is 400 naira. Do the math.

The same Always you women are throwing away after every use, some women wash and use again.

The only reason these women feel the need to do so is because they can’t afford to buy sanitary products every months. It’s not a ‘savings hack’ and should not be encouraged. It’s beyond unsanitary and can lead to pretty severe health complications.

I heard women who use tampons are not virgins.

That is absolute nonsense and you really shouldn’t repeat this outside.

What other questions and misconceptions do you guys have about sanitary products. Feel free to ask, as always this a safe space.

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Toketemu Ohwovoriole

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