Saturday, February 24Not Your Ordinary English-Tagalog Dictionary

What is Sanitary Napkin in Tagalog? History and Design Evolution

The sanitary napkin in Tagalog is called “pasador.” However, Filipinos today use this term very rarely and call sanitary napkins as they are. As we all know, this feminine hygiene product is used by women who are currently dealing with menstruation. Also called sanitary pads or menstrual pads, today’s sanitary napkins are not the way they used to be. 

sanitary napkin in Tagalog
Sanitary belt and sanitary napkins in the Philippines

According to history, ancient Greek women used homemade rags wrapped around wooden plugs during their menstrual period. Ancient Romans used disposable woolen pads made of woven cotton, which holds the blood odor. On the other hand, ancient Egyptians used papyrus (the earliest form of paper) to create a tampon-shaped device. 

Between 1854 and 1915, several menstrual products were submitted for patent but were taken out. This includes the first menstrual cups, which were made of aluminum or hard rubber. In the late 1800s, menstrual tools with elastic belts such as Ladies Elastic Doily Belt and Hoosier Sanitary Belt were introduced and appeared in ads. 

In 1896, Johnson and Johnson released its first disposable sanitary pad named Lister’s Towels. The product was made of gauze and cotton and was better than belted napkins. However, it failed commercially in the US since women at that time were embarrassed to buy them in stores. This dilemma continued until shortly after World War 1. 

An employee of Kimberly-Clark observed that the bandages used during the war had a “cotton-like texture.” So, in 1920, the company launched its first disposable sanitary pad called Kotex, which was originally called Cotex. Kotex became an instant hit since the company marketed the product in a way that women would not be embarrassed to buy. 

In 1956, Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner patented her sanitary belt with adhesive to keep the pad in place. But because she was African-American and racism was rampant at that time, her invention was declined by companies and manufacturers. Yet, her design had a very strong influence on the disposable sanitary napkins we know today. 

Meanwhile, tampons continued to be an alternative to disposable napkins until the 1980s. However, there were over 5,000 reported cases of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) across the US. This illness was linked to a specific tampon brand, which discouraged women to use tampons in general. This also led to the introduction of scented sanitary napkins. 

Today, sanitary napkins are thinner and come in different designs, and women feel comfortable buying them. Like in other countries, female celebrities in the Philippines help promote feminine hygiene products and men buy them, too. Among the popular sanitary napkin brands in the country are Charmee, Modess, Whisper, and Kotex.

Use pasador in a sentence.


Dalaga na ang anak ko, kelangan na niya matuto gumamit ng pasador.


My daughter is now a lady, she now needs to learn how to use sanitary napkins.

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