When you hear about period undies, your first reaction might be confusion. Do you really need special undies for a few days a month (other than those comfy gray pairs at the back of your closet)? Can they really hold period blood and if so, doesn’t that make them plastic-y and bulky? What advantages do period undies have over other period products? Allow us to fill you in…
How do they differ from other underwear?
They’re specially designed for when you have your period, so they wick the blood away from your body rather than leaving you sitting feeling wet. They also have odor protection which should give you a little extra confidence if you’re traveling, going camping, or just headed into a long day of meetings on too little sleep. They have a soft, silky feel and when you wash them, they’ll come out clean – no staining.
Can they replace other period products?
The idea is that they’re a backup to your tampon, pad, or whatever you normally use, especially on heavy flow days. If your flow’s lighter, they may be sufficient on their own, though, and they’re also handy if your cycle tends to be erratic – making sure your white pants are safe to wear even if Aunt Flo turns up early. You could also use them to sunbathe in instead of your usual bikini bottoms, for a little extra reassurance.
What different types are there?
There are several different brands but we’re understandably partial to the ones made by Dear Kate. They make mini lined pairs that hold about 1 tsp of liquid and fully lined underwear that hold closer to 3 tsp (about two tampons’ worth). Styles vary from full briefs to thongs and sizes run from XS to 3X. Plus there are yoga pants, so you can downward dog without restrictions.
Do you only need them once week a month?
That depends on your cycle and your needs. But they’re not only great for when you’re on your period. If you get discharge throughout the month, have some light bladder leakage, or tend to sweat, especially at this time of year, they’ll help you feel more comfortable. Plus Dear Kate’s research found them to be more breathable than other types of underwear and less likely than pantyliners to harbor bacteria. (That means they’re a better choice if you’re prone to yeast infections.)
What other benefits do they have?
If you wear them as a backup rather than pantyliners or are able to skip other forms of sanitary protection some or all of the time, you’ll be doing the environment a big favor. According to the Women’s Environmental Network, the average person who menstruates will use 11,000 or more disposable menstrual products over a lifetime. All Dear Kate products are made from 100% fabric (micro-polyester and spandex, to be exact, with a nylon and Lycra lining) and contain no plastic, film or latex. You can wash and wear them like you do any other underwear, safe in the knowledge that they’ve got you covered.