The Difference in Maxi Pads & Ultra Thin Pads

Gynecologically speaking, all sanitary pads are referred to as maxi pads. Basically, these pads come in two thickness variations—thick and ultra thin. Women wear these sanitary napkins to absorb blood flow during menstrual period, post natal period or any other vaginal-related surgeries. Choosing between maxi pads and ultra thin pads depends not only on a woman’s comfort and blood flow, but also her level of physical activity.

Types of Sanitary Pads

The two main types of sanitary pads are maxi pads and ultra thin pads. Maxi pads feature higher absorbency, while ultra thin pads offer discreet protection. Maxi pads come in three sub-categories: regular, super and overnight pads. A regular pad offers a middle-range absorbency and size. A super absorbs more flow than a regular pad, while overnight pads are longer in size to prevent leaks during sleep.

Common Features

Maxi pads generally have a soft, absorbent cushion 1. Cotton is commonly used to achieve comfort. Ultra thin pads, on the other hand, are made of compressed, absorbent core, which makes them thinner. This compressed core is usually made from wood pulp or cotton with embedded super-absorbent powder from crude oil or plant starches. Additional features called wings or tabs keep the pad in place. Some pads are also scented to block odor. Some even come in different shapes to fit the contour of undergarments.

Choosing a Pad

First, consider the absorbency rate of the pad. Choose a pad that best absorbs blood flow and keeps you dry. Second, think of comfort. Some people are comfortable with thick pads and others are comfortable with thin pads. Comfort really depends on your physical activities. Lastly, be familiar with other features like adhesive wings or different contour designs. These additional features help prevent leakage and pad slippage.


Maxi pads and ultra thin pads are available in most supermarkets, drug stores and even in public bathrooms and lavatories. School nurses and women's health centers will also have pads. Individually-wrapped sanitary napkins are also available, so you can carry a single pad around in your purse discreetly. Some makers of maxi pads also include individual cleaning wipes attached to each individually packaged pad, for enhanced feminine hygiene 1.