Welcome to my Journey to eco-friendly periods blog series, where I talk about how I’ve made changes to the way I manage my period so it is more sustainable. Look back at the introduction to my journey and the first part all about the menstrual cup.
Until I started looking into ways to live more eco-friendly, I didn’t know period pants existed. Then, because technology is most likely always listening, I started seeing them everywhere. In books I was reading, Instagram ads, and I heard people talking about them.
Essentially, the pants/knickers collect your menstrual blood without the need for an additional item like a tampon, sanitary towel, or menstrual cup. Like the cup, pants are reusable. They need a quick rinse after use, then a wash in the washing machine before drying and re-using again. Understandably people tend to be the most hesitant to the idea of period pants/knickers. Disposable items like towels and tampons can be quickly and discreetly binned, whereas period pants need to be washed. I think people assume the pants are unhygienic because they need to be washed and too much hassle, plus they are only a recent sanitary development which is why they’re uncommon. Though as society is shifting towards being period positive and eco-friendly, period knickers are becoming more popular.
I have been using mine for 12 months and would never have believed I would love bleeding into knickers so much! At first I wanted another eco-friendly alternative to managing my period, however I have discovered a life-changing product that I wish I had as a teenager.
Reasons period pants are eco-friendly:
- They’re reusable
- There is no (frequent) waste to dispose of
- They’re kinder to the body, as you can bleed ‘freely’
- They are safe to wear overnight unlike tampons and cups
- Some research suggests using them can lead to less/lighter cramps
I don’t want to gloss over any negatives, so here were a few things I was dubious of:
- They can be pricey
- It can be difficult to change if you are heavy
If these concern you too, then I would suggest doing research into them before making the purchase. Although they are cheaper in the long run if you stop buying disposables altogether, it doesn’t change how expensive they are to begin with. It’s a valid apprehension, so be sure to research if it’s a worry for you. In the end I took the plunge and I’m glad I did.
In terms of heaviness, the best thing about period pants like any other sanitary product is that you don’t have to only ever use them. You can still use a cup or tampon when you’re heaviest, if that’s what you feel most comfortable with, then use pants during the night to use less pads. Or wear knickers all through the day and night. Managing periods, sustainably or not, should be flexible. I tend to wear the pants at night, while continuing to use a cup when I’m heaviest personally.
How I got on using period pants
My period pants have been the biggest blessing of my eco-friendly period journey so far. In 12 months of using them and wearing them overnight for a minimum of 4 nights of my period each cycle (quick maths tells me that’s 48 times at least that I’ve worn them while I sleep, but I reckon it’s more like 60+), I have not leaked ONCE. Not on my mattress, on my bed sheet, on my pajamas, not at all.
TMI: You know that feeling when you wake up after wearing a pad all night, where you can feel the blood around your area/groin just waiting to move the second you stand up and waddle to the toilet? I haven’t had that feeling after wearing period knickers to bed. Because the pants absorb everything, I don’t get that weird slouchy feeling where the blood is all over me and in a pad like a nappy. When I would wear pads and was heavy, the second I woke up I would have to go to the toilet to change and would have it all over my groin area. With the knickers and even the heaviest of nights, I get to have a little lie-in in bed as I’m not in a rush to change as there’s nothing around me to clean. There’s no blood mess when I have a morning wee either.
It took me a few months to prepare myself for period pants at work. I can’t say that I have worn my pants on my heaviest of days at work yet, because I prefer to use my cup, but I have worn them on my lighter days. It’s hard to tell how heavy you are because the pants absorb everything, which can be a bit of a worry at work, but I’ve worn them on light days and been fine.
Rinsing and washing them
This is the part that puts people off, although I haven’t found it bad at all. The only downside is that my hands get cold rinsing my knickers under cold water, but it only takes a couple of minutes until the water runs clear. Then I hang them up on an airer and give them a wash once I have a few pairs that need it. Personally I don’t find it yucky, though I get that some people could. I make sure to rinse my sink after out of respect for others in the house obviously.
Washing them is easy, use detergent but no softer and put it on an eco/cold wash. I put mine in a delicates bag just to be safe. Then I hang them up on the airer and within a day or two depending on the time of year, they’re dry. They feel as good as new, smell fresh, and are clean.
Like I said, period knickers are becoming more popular so there are loads of brands out there. I bought mine from ModiBodi, which I’ve ordered from twice now and always had good experience with. There’s also: Wuka, Thinx, Flux, and more. If you use a brand you like, let me know please!
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Long story short: I love my period knickers. I cannot praise them enough. They are pricey, however for the way they make me feel on my period I would recommend them to everyone.
I no longer dread going to bed on my period and having an uncomfortable nights sleep by laying in one position all night. I prefer sleeping on my front with one leg slightly raised, which has always been impossible to do on my period as it usually results in leaking. I can sleep like that now with my period knickers.
Period knickers give my body a break to be free during the night, as I tend to use a cup throughout the day. For sleeping alone, the period pants have changed the way I handle my period and how I view it. Like the cup, I feel more connected to my time of the month plus my body feels good from the ‘free bleeding’ of not having anything too invasive while I sleep.
If you’ve ever been curious about period pants, I urge you to give them a try.