What to Look For in a Period Panty
Period panties may be the “new kids” when it comes to menstrual products, but they’re gaining in popularity every year. Not only do they offer the convenience of not having to change a pad or tampon—or menstrual cup—every several hours, they’re reliable, absorbent and built to last. What started as a one-off idea in the early aughts has now blossomed into a movement, with dozens of options to choose from.
When you're looking for a perfect pair of period panties, factor in the following: dependability, comfort, style and price.
We’ve all panicked over whether or not our pad or tampon will keep us leak-free, especially during our heaviest flows. All period panties are designed to prevent leakage, and then some. Made from a combination of fabric and plastic layers designed to contain moisture and optimize breathability, most can hold about as much as two tampons, and many makers of period panties offer versions designed to handle light, medium or heavy flows. While period panties feature optimal leak resistance, sometimes women opt to wear them on lighter-flow days or as a supplement to using a tampon—at least until they’re sure the panties really work.
Because you are essentially wearing underwear, period panties are a more comfortable alternative to bulky pads that tend to bunch or smaller liners that don’t correctly adhere to regular panties and shift, causing you to lose the protection you need in the area you need it most. Even tampons can create comfort issues when not inserted properly. Period panties are slim and made from breathable materials so you won’t feel as if you’re wearing an adult diaper. As a one-piece solution to period protection, they won’t shift out of place.
Even if we’re the only ones who ever see them, it matters that the undies we wear have some style to them. Early period panties were not created with style in mind, but these days there are options available in a number of patterns, colors, fabrics and even cuts. In addition to briefs and bikinis, you can find thong period panties for when you’re wearing bottoms that expose panty lines.
One of the main benefits of using period panties over disposable tampons and pads is that you will pay for them once and keep using them after washing them until it’s time to replace them. This means that even if you purchase several pairs (to accommodate the days your period typically lasts), you’ll enjoy considerable cost savings over the life of your period. No brand of period panties will last forever, but you want to choose ones that won’t break the bank and are made durably to last for years to come.
One more consideration
“Free bleeding” is an option more and more women are starting to choose during their periods, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right option for everyone. Some women worry these products are not as safe as using pads or tampons. Period panties can sometimes contain varying amounts of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), common in many types of treated fabrics. However, the PFAS in period underwear is not necessarily harmful to you as something you wear; PFAS found in foods and liquids or in containers that hold these substances, is of greater concern. Regardless, many manufacturers are looking into alternative ways to provide the protection offered by PFAS.
There are a variety of menstrual products available on the market these days—from pads and tampons to menstrual cups and period panties—and all have pros and cons, so the key is finding the period protection that works best for your unique body.