Thinking of switching from pads and tampons to period pants, but have some questions about it first? You’re in the right place. It’s a good idea to learn as much as you can about period pants before giving them a go, so you know what to expect and how to choose the right ones for you.
If your biology classes were a while ago or you just need a refresher, don’t worry. We thought we’d start by explaining a bit about periods. Essentially, a period is the part of a menstrual cycle where blood comes out of the vagina.
This usually happens roughly every 28 days, but for a lot of people this can take place anywhere between every 23-35 days.
Period underwear has gained popularity in recent years, with more and more options becoming available in shops and online. Just imagine a regular pair of knickers, usually in a darker colour, that you can wear instead of using a tampon, a pad or a cup!.
It may take a little while to figure out the ideal timing for you, but most people change the pants every 4-6 hours – depending on how light or heavy their period is.2 So if you only want to wear period underwear (and no other kind of product), it may be worth getting a few different options that you can wear on rotation.
Nope! Once the blood has been trapped by the absorbent fabric, the waterproof layer holds it in. However, if you wear them for longer than the recommended time, you may experience some leaks – so it’s worth bearing this in mind if you’re out and about all day.
Also, washing your pants at a hot temperature, using the tumble dryer and ironing them may affect the elasticity, which may lead to leaks over time. But more on how to wash and take care of your period pants below
It’s important to follow the care instructions that come with your underwear, but generally speaking, when washing period pants all you have to do is:3
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They shouldn’t do! Since they work in the same way as pads, your period pants shouldn’t smell if you use them for the recommended time.
However, if you do notice a smell, this may be due not washing them correctly or enough. So as long as you follow the washing instructions and guidelines, you should be all good on the odour front.
Still not sure whether to stick with tampons and pads or make the switch to period underwear? To help you make your decision, we’ve created this table to highlight the key differences between each product:
|Period pants||Tampons||Pads||Menstrual cups|
|Internal or external use?||External||Internal||External||Internal|
|When to change?||4-6 hours||4-6 hours||4-6 hours||4-6 hours|
*Reusable products cost more upfront, but they may save you money in the long run.4
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And to round things off, some of our top tips for using period underwear are: