Anyone who has a period each month knows how costly buying tampons and pads can be. Plus, there’s the fear of getting up from a chair and seeing you’ve left a blood stain behind. One way to save money and perhaps prevent leaks is to wear period underwear, which look just like regular panties but are absorbent. You can pair them with other protection like a tampon or menstrual cup, or you can just use the underwear on its own.
It might feel a little different to just freely bleed into your underwear, and if it’s your first time trying them out, maybe start at home and on a lighter day or with a tampon in place to see how it works for you. And if you haven’t ever seen them before, something like a diaper might come to mind. However, they’re all designed to fit and feel like your regular underwear, just a bit thicker (via Wired). Styles vary from boy shorts to high cut, and one company even has a period thong!
Don’t just go by what they look like though. Make sure to find out if the period underwear you’re thinking of using is designed to be a pad or tampon replacement, or if they’re more for just leak prevention, considering they may range from being able to absorb half a tampon to ten tampons worth (via Wired).
Keep period underwear working well by washing them properly
You might also be concerned about, well, smell. But not to worry. Dr. Nicole Sparks, ob-gyn, told Women’s Health, “Period panties are sanitary and are designed with anti-microbial and moisture-wicking properties to prevent odors.”
You’ll need to follow the company’s specific washing instructions to help keep them in working shape, including rinsing them first. Dr. Sparks explained that, “To keep your period panties clean make sure you first rinse them under cold water before placing them in the washing machine. You want to make sure you clean your period underwear properly as leftover blood can lead to bacterial growth.” You also want to avoid fabric softener and hang them to dry (via The Better Period).
Wearing them doesn’t just help with leaks; since they can be used as a replacement for single-use pads and tampons, it also helps the environment. According to National Geographic, “Over the course of a lifetime, a single menstruator will use somewhere between 5 and 15 thousand pads and tampons, the vast majority of which will wind up in landfills as plastic waste.”
If you’re tempted to try them out, now may be a good time. Recently, popular period underwear brand Thinx announced a new line of their products that will be available at Target starting at $17 per pair, which is half the cost of their original line (via WWD).
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