An Ode to Period Panties

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

And no, I’m not talking about those giant granny panties you probably wear when it’s that time of the month. Though, I’m sure they’re great.

No, I’m talking about the super absorbent, comfortable, stylish period underwear from brands like Thinx, Knix, and various other companies that you wear instead of a pad or a tampon.

Because listen, all my fellow vagina owners…

They. Are. Magic.

Freeing.

Comfortable.

I will NEVER go back to the horror of disposable pads and tampons again. So pull up a chair and grab a snack while I hop up on my soapbox. *Ahem*

If I seem a bit intense about this, I am. For several reasons.

First, periods suck. All cramps, headaches, backaches, bloating, and hormonal acne aside, the fact that you are bleeding, sometimes profusely, out of your vagina for DAYS is just obnoxious. Then, you have the indignity of having to pay good money for uncomfortable disposable products.

Though at least in Louisiana, the “Pink Tax” has been eliminated it doesn’t change the fact that paying for your period adds up. According to a recent survey, women spend on average between $9-$13.25 per month on menstrual products. Given that the average reproductive span of a woman is from ages 12-55 this amount adds up—that’s up to $6,360 in a lifetime!

Compare that to a period panty bundle.

At the time of writing, the Heavy Flow bundle from Knix cost $125 for five pairs of period panties. And if that sounds like a lot, just remember that I’ve been wearing the same period underwear for almost 5 years now, which would make that come to around $2 a month. Which means I saved about $660.

And remember, that $13 a month you’re spending on your period doesn’t even include the other period-related necessities such as the cost of pain relievers, hot water bottles or heating pads, and, of course, chocolate.

Then, there are the products themselves on which we spend our hard-earned cash.

People, we are paying for discomfort.

Pads are itchy, they stick, or bunch up and don’t even get me started on the particular brand of hell that comes when you maybe aren’t the most religious waxer and those wings decide to stick someplace other than your underwear (which is, let’s be honest, pretty frequent) And have you ever gone to pull out a tampon and realized that maybe your flow wasn’t as heavy as you thought? Shudder.

I was a bit of an early bloomer, having gotten my first visit from Aunt Flo at the ripe old age of 11 while watching the movie Jaws—and yes, it was as traumatic as it sounds. However, what was even more traumatizing was realizing I was going to have to wear the diaper-like abomination known as the maxi pad every month for what felt like the rest of my life. It was horrifying. My later discovery of tampons wasn’t much better.

Having a period filled me with untold anxiety throughout middle and high school (and college honestly.)

I was terrified of having a leak or suddenly starting my period someplace other than my house. However, even being prepared for this eventuality gave me anxiety because pads feel like diapers and I swear you can hear them rustle as you walk. Not to mention the aforementioned itching. Wearing a pad, which I always did, even with a tampon (please see above anxiety) always made me feel like I had a sign stuck to my back that read “We’ve Got a Bleeder!”

hated my period and would carry this anxiety with me (along with stashes of pads and tampons in every conceivable hiding place) until I was almost 30.

Because that’s when I had an epiphany.

This brings me to my final reason for being so intense about my period panty love—it’s MUCH better for the environment.

People with periods will have, on average, 450 cycles in their lifetimes. That equates to roughly 10 years of your life, or 3,500 days, spent bleeding out of your vagina.
And, unless you are part of the free bleed movement then the average person with a period is going to use a lot of disposable pads and tampons. In fact, roughly 12 billion pads and 7 billion tampons are discarded in the United States alone each year.

Let that sink in.

And, while the majority of these products end up in landfills, many clog up sewers and make their way into the oceans, contributing to the ever-growing plastic problem polluting our waters and killing sea life.

I cloth diapered two babies because it was better for the environment. If I’m willing to wash my kids poopy diapers, why am I still throwing away pads and tampons every month?

Not only do my period panties save me money in the long run, but they also alleviate pretty much all of my leak-related anxiety (including that related to mommy bladder!) and are a much better alternative for the environment!

Have I convinced you yet?

Maybe?

Here are a few FAQs to hopefully push you to take the plunge!

HOW DO I START?: I personally own period panties from Thinx and Knix, which I LOVE. But there are a few brands of period panties out there right now to cover every budget. Most of the companies offer bundles to get started. The initial price point can be a bit intimidating, but I think of it as an investment in your comfort, the environment, and, in the end, your bank account. I bought a 5 piece bundle and have been using that same underwear for the past 5 years without any issues, though I’ve since added a few other ones to try different styles and patterns. I definitely feel I’ve gotten a return on my investment.

BUT WHAT IF MY PERIOD IS REALLY HEAVY?: You have a few options! On days that are heavy, I pair my period underwear with my menstrual cup (usually 2-3 days of my cycle). With this combo, I can go all day (like, literally from the time I get up until the time I shower that night) without having to empty my cup or change my underwear. If you don’t like the concept of the cup or have a condition, such as vaginismus, that makes wearing a cup impossible, I also have snap-in reusable pads from Aisle which are super handy.

BUT WHAT ABOUT OVERNIGHT?: Every brand I’ve come across has underwear designed to hold more. I usually use these overnight. If my flow is getting heavy, I’ll either add in my menstrual cup or a snap-in reusable maxi pad for added protection, just like I would for heavy days. Both options are incredibly comfortable and I have never leaked through this underwear. This was an issue I had using tampons and disposable pads.

WHAT’S THE LAUNDRY LIKE?: Much easier than you think! I like to rinse my underwear and snap-in maxi pads out and then toss them in a small wet bag I keep in my bathroom for this purpose. I then toss them in with the next load of laundry I’m washing on cold or warm. The hardest part is the wait for letting them air dry. But I air dry all of my underwear and bras because it preserves the elastic, so this isn’t really an issue for me and you can always toss them in the dryer on low if you needed to. I have currently had eight pairs of absorbent period underwear and five snap-in maxi pads and I have never run out during my cycle. I even usually start wearing them a day or two before my cycle is supposed to start in case of any early spotting. Believe me, after washing cloth diapers for almost four years, pre-rinsing some underwear is a blip on my laundry radar.

Well..?

Come. Join me, friends. Your period will never feel the same again.

P.S. If you have any other questions ask away!

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