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Always Maxi Leakguard Plus with Odor Lock (Regular) Review

So after receiving quite a few emails, IM’s and tweets inquiring about the lack of reviews lately, I finally decided to pony-up and do one. Suffice to say, I only blame my own laziness since I tested this product like 3 weeks ago but just never gotten around to writing something for it. It’s one of those few Always products that I’m really impressed with and the last one to truly make me go “wow” was the Always Infinity. The Always Maxi Leakguard Plus with Odor Lock has really changed the face of Always for me, particularly when it comes to their worst “feature” – the comfort level of their ‘like cotton’ top-layer, which really, feels more like plastic. Another reason why I had delayed the posting of this was to give it to two of my girls to try and lucky for me, when I acquired the pads, 2 of them were days away from getting their periods so I thought, “Hey, I might as well wait until their period comes around to test them with me!” and thus, the procrastination began. Bebe bought these pads for me, so it was extra sweet-sweet 😛

So people have often asked me what is it that I have ‘against’ Always… is it just because they’re such a big brand name and they’re so “popular” that I force myself to dislike their products? Absolutely not. I’m one of those people who like to give credit where due, so if they do make a good product, despite how much (example only) I dislike them, I would still give them the thumbs up. As I previously mentioned, my biggest “problem” with Always pads is ever since they switched to the so called “feels like cotton” top layer, which I have found to actually be more “feels like plastic” giving a very wet, uncomfortable feel. The worst is when there’s sweat involved, then it just compounds the feeling of the plastic-feeling. You don’t have to take my word for it since most people will point out, “But you’re a non-menstruating guy, how would you know?” – well, at least you can take my girls’ word for it. My ex was a huge “Always girl” even when she was with me and we were exploring with different stuff, but after a long-day out in a hot summer’s day or if we were involved in strenuous activities, whenever she changed her pad in the washroom she’d always complain about how terrible the sweat on the pad felt because it caused a “rough sliding” feeling due to the plastic-feeling of the top layer of the traditional series of the Always pads. Whenever she tossed me her wrapped pad to throw in the garbage, the days where her sweat started to collect in the pad was noticeable and rather gross, so I can only imagine how the feeling of a sweaty-period-soaked pad felt on her. In the Leakguard w/ Odor Lock series of the Always pads, they really stepped up their game by changing the top-cover to truly be comfortable, with a dry weave that REALLY feels like cotton, is smooth and flexible to conform to the contours of the body.

It would appear that none of the Leakguard w/ Odor Lock pads come with wings and why not, I have no idea. However, despite not having wings, they still fit well and hold well to undergarment. I’m sure for the women who are devoted to using winged-pads only, this might be a worrying test for them. When it comes to getting the pad out of the package, it is just like any typical Always pad. The pad unfolds into 3 sections and you simply remove the pad from the adhesive. The wrapper has a white resealing tape that allows you to wrap/roll up the old pad, secure it and dispose of it. Because the pad itself does have a light scent it even passes it to the wrapper and helps mask the used and disposed product. This is very useful for the women who often will “pool up” numerous used pads before taking out the garbage, because it helps control the amount of dried menstrual fluid that it begins to affect air quality. This was a very noticeable thing because when I went over to one of my girl’s house who was testing this product for me, her trash full of these (and different) pads didn’t give off the usual menstrual smell. Since she’s living with 2 other female friends who appears to also be having their period, the scenting from the disposed wrappers really helped to kill odour which emits from wrapped, saturated pads.

Another weird thing is that this line of product doesn’t have a lot of variety, they only come in two sizes/absorbency: Regular and Super, limiting the flexibility of the product since it cannot tailor to the various changes while menstruating or that is, unless you simply over-use or under-use the product. Supposedly, the pad is supposed to be able to deal with slight urine-loss, not that most pads can’t do that if it’s only a minor amount, but there’s one thing that’s particularly important when it comes to incontinence problems. Because urine is actually a lot smellier than menstrual flow, it’s an absolutely necessity for any form of odour control to be present in incontinence or partial-incontinence products. Since these pads had both period and incontinence handling in mind, the odour locking methods were rightfully used to design the product. Mind you, a pad like this does not replace pads like Poise or Tena, since those were truly designed for a higher degree of non-menstrual fluid absorbency and the Always Maxi would only be suitable for those who have leakage as a result of a sneeze, cough or a small tinkle, but will not be capable of absorbing a bladder-full of urine – leave that up to the REAL incontinence products.

As you can see, these pad wrapper design has followed suit with the changes to their regular Always-line. The colour coding for the pad wrapper is the same as their regular series as well, yellow for REGULAR and green for SUPER. It has been a while since I’ve last held a REGULAR Always Maxi (original one), but I actually think the Leakguard Odor Lock series is actually lighter, probably due to the composition of the pad. Dimensionally, it FEELS smaller/shorter, but I think probably not, so maybe it’s just my own bias. The regular-sized package of these pads come in 22 units. I paid (or well, Bebe paid) $3.88 for a pack of these, working out to 17.6 cents per pad. I was talking to one of my regular readers, Andie, and it seems like Walmart only likes to stock the REGULAR absorbency and not the SUPER, because the only place I’ve been able to find the SUPER absorbency ones are at the Rexall’s and SDM’s… so what’s up with Walmart not buying the larger ones? LOL. Speaking of which, I can tell that this line of product does not really appeal to the masses, because the inventory on them were nearly untouched compared to other brands or absorbency. I realize it’s a new product and not everyone likes to dive head-first, so hopefully this review will be able to help people out. Really, the pad is far from being an incontinence product, so there should not be a fear or shame that buying these pads will automatically mean you have bladder issues.

As you can see, just by the looks of it, it appears to be a lot more comfier than the traditional Always pad. They’ve finally decided that the rough, plasticky dry weave isn’t good enough for a “new product” and decided to use some REAL material that helps make the wearer feel much more comfortable and secure. Like the typical Always pad, they have the famous blue lock-in core. What’s very noticeable the first time you get a hold of the package or open the first pad is the scent. The scent is not strong like the Stayfree pads, but is still quite pungent. It takes a bit of getting used to and while it is “light” in terms of the strength of the scent, it is one of those unmistakable smells. The smell luckily does not stick around as long as the Stayfree pads, but it is noticeable when the pad is worn, especially if the girl is wearing something that allows air to travel between her legs, like shorts or a skirt. I don’t want to get people all riled up over it not being discrete or obvious, since a smell like this would only ever be detectable by someone who even knows what the scent is, such as a fellow female or menstrual enthusiast. The scent is really useful however as I stated before, both during period-use and as well as for post-usage when it is disposed. The pad is 8 inches (~20 cm) long and is a uniform 3 inches wide (~7.6 cm), except at the front & rear of the pad.

   

The scent is very interesting, because it does more than give off a light smell or to cover-up odour, but also acts as a very cool and smooth feeling against the body. The feeling of this pad when used is similar to that of the Stayfree Thermocontrol pads, where it leaves a cool and comfortable feel on the skin. The pad cover, when saturated, begins to lock in odour, absorb quickly and emits a cool-like feeling. The smell of the scent is hard to describe, I would actually say that the smell is similar to herbs and gives a very soothing type of aroma. The absorbency of the pad is not as quick as the Always Infinity line, but is faster than the standard Always line. The pad itself is lightweight, again, lighter than the standard Always, but not as weightless as the Infinity.

The disposal of the used pad is also nice because of the soft cover, unlike the standard Always line it isn’t as hard and tough to roll or fold up. When doing a test and twisting the pad, the flow managed to stay well-locked in the pad and did not flow back to the surface. With the suggestion of Andie, I disassembled the pad and could not find any obvious traces of absorbing gel and appeared to be made completely of cotton and cellulose-type material. The top cover continued to stay intact even during disassembling and it was very obviously that the “contents” of the pad were locked underneath and not sitting on the top layer, therefore, creating a very comfortable feel when the pad is saturated. The only problem with this design is that because it absorbs so well, it’s hard to tell when the pad has absorbed enough to be changed since it stays light and distributes flow underneath well where it isn’t apparent that it’s already “on the fringe” of leaking. One of my girls who tested this for me did mention that she came to a near-leak incident because the pad didn’t appear or feel like it was ready to overflow because the center of the pad did not look saturated, nor did the pad feel weighty that would make you think it has collected quite a bit. I suppose this pad may take some getting-used-to to avoid the possibility of not being able to gauge when it is necessary to change.

I would definitely recommend this pad to others and has given me renewed confidence in Always. It’s nice to know that they’re trying to get ahead-of-the-game and also moving away from their so-called “like cotton” dry weave and moving to one which feels comfortable, regardless of the weather. After all, pads are terrible when it’s gross outside and you’re sweating, mixed with menstrual flow smell and if incontinent, even urine – so to have a pad that can stand up to that really is impressive. Although the price is steeper than the usual line of pads or other brands, for $3.88 everyday low price at Walmart, I can’t complain. While at first glance this pad might not seem like a good idea to switch because of the price point, remember that comfort, security and absorbency brings a very important feeling to a menstruating individual. If Always continues to modify their pads with comfort in-mind, I’d be a lot happier to start supporting more of their products and perhaps they can win their business back from me and my girls!

Conventional Maxi Pads and Incontinence Pads

Having spoken to lots of friends and sometimes even internet bloggers about purchases of maxi pads versus incontinence pads, I figured I’d take the time to write a small posting regarding that. Hopefully this post will make some men aware that there is a distinct difference between pads used for menstruation and incontinence.

I’ve had several friends who’ve worked worked in drugstores and large supermarkets who have seen their fair-share of men buying the wrong product. Of course, there are men who are actually purchasing the right products for their intended purpose, but I have heard of many stories where after a period (lol) of time return to the store only to ask to get a refund/exchange for the product product required by their girlfriend/wife/daughter/mother, etc.

Poise Pads for Female Urinary Incontinence (Maximum)

Poise Pads for Female Urinary Incontinence (Maximum)

As shown in the above figure, this is a package of a well-known brand in Canada for urinary incontinence, Poise. The primary function of incontinence pads are to absorb urine and larger adult diaper versions are for absorbing feces as well. There are a variety of conditions or illnesses which lead to incontinence. One of the more common incontinence type is “stress incontinence” for women. Risk factors for stress incontinence may include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Childbirth
  • Obesity
  • Chronic coughing
  • Smoking
  • Natural aging

Stress incontinence can be simply described as an involuntary loss of urine, particularly when:

  • Coughing
  • Exercising
  • Engaging in other physical activity
  • Engaging in sexual intercourse
  • Sneezing
  • Standing
Poise pad w/ Wrapper

Poise pad w/ Wrapper

Like any disorder, incontinence is no laughing matter and can cause stress and embarrassment from sufferers of it. However, this is the intention of incontinence pads, to provide a peace-of-mind to women (and men – however they use different products) in the event of loss-of-urine. Incontinence has several levels, usually referred to as light, moderate, heavy and severe. In general, most incontinence pads are meant to tackle urine-loss only, although larger pads or ones in a diaper-form provide protection against fecal-loss as well.

In general, conventional maxi pads and incontinence pads do not carry the opposite-role well. Maxi pads are usually made to hold thicker-fluids, such as that expelled during menstruation. Incontinence pads deal with lighter-fluids well, such as urine. To a degree, both types of pads could deal with the opposite absorption-type to a degree, but will generally not “out-do” that of its counterpart. Specific maxi pads made from makers like Stayfree and Incognito claim to be able to deal with light incontinence.

Suffice to say, there are some women who have such heavy periods that they use incontinence pads – I in fact know one woman personally who has such heavy periods where she would sometimes require the use of maximum-sized incontinence pads to prevent her menstrual flow from staining her bed overnight. I guess from this anecdotal wisdom, it seems that incontinence pads work better for periods than period-pads working well for incontinence!

A note about bladder leakage is the fact that although it is common, it is not normal or an inevitability. Also, incontinence can occur at any age and under various circumstances in life. I happen to know that one of my girls suffered from incontinence when she was 14. I’m happy to report that after 2 years of diagnosis and treatment, she is now “incontinence-free” and has since then, been able to rid her cupboards of her incontinence pads.

Both period and incontinence pads are used the same, by placing it firmly in the crotch of one’s underwear to catch fluid as it is expelled from the urethra (urine) or vagina (menstrual flow). Incontinence products are not only in pad-form as mentioned, but also pantiliners, diapers, inserts or a complete underwear-replacement. Both forms of pads are also offered in winged and non-winged formats. In terms of disposal pads, they can be disposed of regularly in a sanitary-bin or regular waste-bin. For a more economical and environmentally-friendly approach, one can also use reusable nappies or incontinence articles. I think most people have a easier time washing out urine than washing/dumping their menstrual flow.

She clearly loves her Poise pads! =P

She clearly loves her Poise pads! =P

So hopefully this will help you guys out the next time you run to the store to make a purchase! Pads designed for menstruation and incontinence should be used for their intended role, unless your girl specifically tells you to buy otherwise. You don’t want to be the guy going right back to the store to have to sheepishly tell the cashier that you bought the wrong product – not only the wrong brand and absorbency – but it was completely the wrong type of pad!

Ontario HST – How Will It Affect Your Feminine Hygiene Products?

This article is just some FYI for (Ontarians) regarding the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) implementation on July 1, 2010. Luckily for many of us who purchase feminine hygiene supplies, you should be pleased to know (not that a tax-hike is exactly anything ‘good’) that there will be point-of-sale rebates for the provincial portion of the HST (8%) for several categories of items, one of which, includes feminine hygiene products.

As per the Ontario Ministry of Revenue,

Point-of-sale rebate

Other products will be eligible for a point-of-sale rebate for the provincial part of the HST. This means you will only pay the 5 per cent federal portion of the HST. These include print newspapers, books (including audio books), diapers, children’s clothing and footwear, children’s car seats and booster seats, feminine hygiene products, and qualifying prepared food and beverages sold for $4.00 or less.

The bottom line is that the new changes with HST implementation in 2 days will not affect your purchase of pads, tampons or reusable menstrual hygiene products in Ontario. The current tax rate for feminine hygiene products are staying steady at 5% (the GST portion).

Of particular interest to those who may require the use of incontinence products should also be relieved as there are also no changes to the existing tax rates. Adult incontinence products currently are not taxed by GST or PST and will not be taxed under the new HST terms.

Health Products and Services

GST-taxable before July 1, 2010 PST-taxable before July 1,2010 Is there a change to the amount of tax payable under the HST?
Adult Incontinence Products No GST No PST No HST

All this HST is bullshit anyways, but at the very least, ladies and flow-lovers should be happy to know that we won’t have to pay attentional taxes for feminine hygiene, incontinence products and diapers.

Anyways, the government does a great job of hurting law-abiding taxpayers, so I can’t wait to see everything start going underground to avoid taxes. It’s been happening since day 1 that taxes were implemented, and now that they’re hurting people even more with this, they can sure as hell expect a lot of cash and black-market transactions happening more and more to avoid that nasty 13%. Do they think there’s more corrupt citizens than the number of auditors they have? Way to encourage more people to think of “alternate” methods!

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