Period Underwear. Before we go any further, let’s just clarify that period underwear aren’t the ratty, saggy undies you wear during your period. Nope. Period Underwear are underwear with an inbuilt absorbency that you wear during your period, to deal with your period.
Q: You mean, you just wear UNDIES? You BLEED INTO UNDIES?
A: Yep. That’s exactly what I mean.
Q: So you don’t use a tampon? Or a cup? Or a pad? You just wear the undies??
A: Yep. Just the undies.
I know I know right, it’s a radical concept. Period underwear hasn’t been around for that long so many people haven’t even heard of it, and when they do, they have a gazillion questions.
So how did I hear of them? Well, with the community work around period poverty I do, I get a LOT of period related questions. At the last kōrero I held, one mum asked about options for her daughter that didn’t involve insertion. We talked about cloth pads, and then she asked ‘what about those period undies?’
I couldn’t answer, because I hadn’t used them. So I got my hands on a few pairs.
When I posted about it on Instagram the questions FLOODED in and I thought, shit, 2 pairs isn’t going to cut it. So I got in touch with Modibodi to see if they’d send me a few more, they said ‘yeah sure’, and instead of my cup, I used period underwear and documented the whole experience. So, If you missed the most revealing week of Insta Stories in the history of Instagram . . . here’s how it went.
Q: What are Period Underwear?
A: Period Underwear are specially designed underwear you use while menstruating to collect your menstrual blood. They are made from breathable fibers like bamboo, and they have an absorbent area to catch everything. They have a top layer that wicks away moisture, a middle layer that hold it, and a bottom layer that stops it leaking through. Basically. I didn’t make them, I just wore them. I learnt all of this from their website.
Q: What do they look like?
A: Like undies. They come in a range of styles, colours and absorbencies. Even a G-string! And swimwear!
Q: What do they feel like?
A: Like undies. Surprisingly comfortable undies.
Q: But like, what do they ‘feel’ like. When you have your period.
A: Like undies. They actually do. They’re not soggy or anything. There’s no layer of blood on top touching your labia unless you’ve just had a gush, but that soaks away quickly.
Q: So like wearing a pad?
A: Kind of. But more comfortable. They don’t scrunch up or move around, there’s nothing slipping and you don’t feel like you have to jam it up in there to stay in place.
Q: Different to a tampon or a cup?
A: Yes. You can feel yourself bleeding and you feel wet between your labia as the menstrual blood makes its way out. There were times during the day I would feel a gush of fluid, but when I went to the toilet later, the top layer of the underwear had done it’s job and taken the moisture away.
Q: So is it messy when you go to the toilet.
A: Yes and no. When you wipe after a mimi, yes there is blood all over the toilet paper. But the undies aren’t all in your face red and brown and bloody like a pad. They just look like undies, with a bit of wetness on the crotch.
Q: Like wet wet?
A:The only time it was overly moist and I didn’t want to put the undies back on was one morning on day three. I got up to pee around 6am, and was bleeding heavily so there was a wet sheen. I blotted it with toilet paper, sweet as, went back to bed for an hour or so then rinsed them when I got up to shower and put new ones on for the day.
Q: Do they smell?
A: This question came up a lot! And so I did what all good researchers do. I sniffed them! Yes of course they smell, they’re undies you bleed into. The question to ask is ‘do they make you smell?’
Q: Well, do they make you smell?
A: Nope. Not once during my period did I smell. I even got AJ to sniff around my belly and general crotch area and he said there was no smell. Many people worry about the smell because of the odour disposable pads cause, but that’s the pad, not your body that smells. Like yeah, shove your nose up in there and you’ll smell something, but you don’t have period aroma wafting off you.
Q: Can you wear them overnight?
A: Yep! The overnight ones have a bigger absorbent pad that goes all the way up your bum. Sexy AF.
Q: Do they leak?
A: They come in different absorbencies. On my heaviest day, I had to change them at lunchtime as the blood had leaked from the pad to the trim. That was the only leak I had, and nothing leaked onto my clothes. They were the tan colour ones however, I’m unsure I would have noticed the leaking in the black ones.
Q: How do you wash them?
A: Rinse them in cold water till the water runs clear, then biff them in the wash. I put mine in a delicates bag. In with all the other washing is fine. Line dry, don’t tumble dry.
Q: Do they take ages to dry?
A: It’s nearly summer here in NZ, so they dried pretty fast. Winter would be harder, a bit like cloth nappies you’d want a sock hanger or something I reckon.
Q: Are there different styles?
A: Yep! Boyleg and high waist and they range from size 8 to 24. They’ve a lot of options!
Q: How long do they last?
A: Modibodi say they last “as long as a normal pair of undies” which they work out to 2 – 3 years if looked after. Obviously I’ve not owned them long enough to know, and my undies have looooooong lifespans . . . let’s just say most of the underwear I own is from before I was pregnant with Ziggy!
Q: Are they an option for my teenager?
A: Yes. In fact they stock a specific teen range (and the discount below will work on these products too). When I was younger, the only options offered to us were tampons or disposable pads. I think it’s so important our girls know there are more choices out there for them.
Q: Will they work for heavy heavy bleeding?
A: They have both heavy and overnight absorbencies which hold up to 20ml, but I wasn’t measuring it before it hit the undies so I don’t know what my liquid output was. When I use a cup I generally change it morning and night (I used to change a regular tampon every 4 or so hours). I have had feedback from women who have used the overnight ones for postpartum bleeding say they are great.
Q: Will I use them again?
A: Hell yes. Hell yes. Do you know how much easier it is to wake up and put underwear on than to insert a menstrual cup or a tampon? However I’m not keen on the gush feeling, so I’m still planning to use my cup on the heavier middle days of my period, and use the underwear at the beginning and the end. I think they’d also be great to wear with a cup or a tampon to catch any leaks, so you can still wear nice underwear that looks pretty and feels comfortable, and not worry about ruining it.
I did wear a cup during this period (waiting for the extra pairs to arrive), and it actually felt weird having something inside me, even though I’ve been managing my period internally since I was 15.
So yeah, there you go. Period underwear. I think they are a bloody awesome option if you’re looking for a comfortable, reusable option for your period.
If you want to get some for yourself, use the code ZIGGY15, for 15% off at Modibodi.
* This was not a paid review.
** For a more affordable option (for spotting, light or regular flow, check out Bear & Moo and use the code OFFICIALLYEM to save 10% on all period related products.
*** I also have an affiliate partnership with the NZ business – Vitals. The code OFFICIALLYEM saves 10%.