Sanitary pads have long been something most men ignorantly shrink away from even talking about. But turns out this feminine product actually has a fascinating history that’s closely linked with men in all their glorious macho manliness.

A post on My Period Blog revealed that the first disposable sanitary pads were developed by nurses during the war in France. They were looking for a way to control the excessive bleeding among soldiers wounded on the battlefield.


Inspired by a Ben Franklin invention that saved soldiers from buckshot wounds, these disposable napkins were made from materials that were easily obtainable during wartime. They were extremely absorbent and cheap enough to throw away after use.

The Road Less Travelled

Before this, women either did not use any menstrual devices or used reusable sanitary pads.

It was only later when the pads developed during the war started being used by American nurses in France that they came to be known as menstrual pads.

Subsequently in 1888, Kotex manufactured and commercially advertised ‘Sanitary Towels for Ladies’ based on the same model of WWI bandages only.


The basic structure of these pads involved cotton wool or a similar fibrous rectangle covered with an absorbent liner.

However, even after disposable pads were commercially available, for several years they were too expensive for many women to afford on a regular basis. It took several years for the item to become commonplace.


From there began the largely profitable industry of feminine hygiene with a variety of menstrual pads and tampons.

And the rest as they say, is history.