It all happened in a matter of seconds. At one moment, I was trying to set my foot on the platform as the train came to a slow halt. And in the other, I felt a sudden yet familiar rush of wetness.
Before I could even react (or step down from the train), a trail of warm liquid coursed down my left leg. “Could it be what I think it is?” I thought.
I looked down and there it was: bright red spots showing up against the inseam of my grey trousers.
My untimely periods were about to make a spectacle out of me, and it sure did.
I hobbled all the way home, making the most arduous two-minute walk from the train station to my apartment. Along the way, vegetable vendors, pedestrians and shopkeepers who see me daily wondered why my gait seemed so funny that day.
All I was trying to do was prevent more blood from gushing down my inner thighs unfortunately, I was only grabbing more eyeballs and possibly contributing to the evening gossip.
Heavy periods with blood clots
As someone with severe endometriosis, heavy period bleeding with clots is nothing new to me (although flash period floods are rare). Menorrhagia or heavy menstrual bleeding is a common symptom of endometriosis.
Every cycle, I stain an average of two bedsheets, three pants and one sofa seat. I have also destroyed a few public transport seats. True story.
I’ve given many a wedding of kin, job interview and date a miss because of my unpredictable period problem.
As night approaches, I turn my period panties into a Fort Knox, pasting sanitary pads on every side and in every direction, lest any blood escapes.
There’s no solution in sight but to change pads frequently, even at the cost of a restful night’s sleep. I have even resorted to using diapers when regular sanitary pads stopped working for me.
And that’s when I discovered the holy grail product that changed my life.
The best sanitary pad for heavy flow
Ladies (and gentlemen?), this is not a paid article. This is a genuine love letter to a superb product that needs more publicity than it’s already getting.
I discovered the product quite accidentally after seeing Radhika Apte holding a red balloon on a video thumbnail. It turns out that the video was a campaign for Nobel Hygiene’s (then) latest product — RIO Heavy Flow Pads.
Now, I was not going to be taken for a ride by another sanitary napkin brand that bragged about absorbency. Few have stood against the red tides brought on by my uterus. Sorry, I am feeling particularly poetic today.
I was half expecting to see a lab-coat type lady pouring blue liquid into the pad as we are conditioned to. But that’s where the video had my attention. You see, it already had my curiosity.
Rio is, to my knowledge, the only sanitary pad brand to show blood-like red liquid in its demonstrations. You can watch the ad here.
The product priced at Rs 155 for a 12-pack set claims to have three times more absorption than regular pads. It supposedly absorbs clots and can withstand gushes. The gel-based technology also ensures antibacterial protection.
Rio pads are also fragrance-free apart from being latex and chlorine-free. Quite frankly, I’ve quite had it with brands hawking perfumed pads as a buying proposition, as if the hazards of artificial fragrances aren’t that widely known.
After being turned away from multiple medical stores, I ultimately ordered a 12-pack set from Amazon. The elusive product is, for now, only available online.
(Pink of Health is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. I earn a small percentage from every purchase made through the affiliate link.)
The next step was simple — patiently wait for my periods to start.
And with that, here’s my review.
Rio Heavy Flow Pads Review
It’s a “heavy-duty” pad meant for heavy flow. So don’t expect a dainty one you can slip into your pocket and stealthily scuttle to the ladies room.
These are bigger than the regular ones and are by no means discreet. I mean, look at the message on the sticker.
It doesn’t have the curvy, feminine silhouette (quite pointless IMO) seen in popular pad brands. It’s an interesting subversion; as if it means business.
There’s something old school about the pad’s appearance with its butch, rectangular shape. It’s not individually packed in colourful plastic wrappers, which supposedly help in disposal.
The material inside feels soft to the touch thanks to its cottony top sheet. It doesn’t have any plastic-y edges that make a rustling sound when you move.
When it says that it absorbs 3x times what a regular pad can, it isn’t kidding. On the second day when the flow is particularly heavy, I change an average of 3-4 pads in a day. 5 when it’s a very bad day.
Just to test the pad out, I wanted to see how far I could go without changing. It’s hard to believe but on a heavy flow day, I only needed two of these!
Where it can improve
Now for the only thing I wish the pad could possibly improve upon. Lack of “wings” causes the pad to shift, causing some leakage and staining on the side.
I’m guessing that the company is still testing the waters and the present design will be modified soon.
Apart from this drawback, I pretty much have no complaints. It’s by far the best sanitary pad I have ever used. And I can shout my recommendation from any rooftop.
I rarely follow product pages on social media unless the product changes my life. With that being said, I actively searched out for RIO on Instagram and followed the page.
View this post on Instagram
The team does a great job at creating awareness about menstrual health and hygiene. Check out their page.
My ratings: 4/5