Have you heard of period panties? You’ve probably seen them promoted on social media or discussed in magazines. Just like pads, tampons and menstrual cups, period panties are products you use during your period. You can wear them under any clothes, just like regular panties. After you wear them, you wash them, dry them, and they’re ready for you to put them on again.
A basic answer to the question, “What are period underwear?” is: Period panties are underwear with unique features that absorb menstrual blood or stop leaks from getting through onto clothes. Some of them have waterproof barriers. Others use special fabrics that absorb fluid and wick away moisture. And, some period underwear does both things: block leaks and absorb fluids. Many period panty designs use three to four layers of fabric in the crotch area.
Period underwear can be worn as period protection every month or kept on hand for special times, like a long airplane flight or big event when you want extra peace of mind against menstrual leaks. You can wear them alone on light days or as a backup on heavy days.
Who Wears Period Panties?
Women of all ages wear period underwear, and what is period panties’ purpose can be different for each person.
Tweens and Teens
Young women who are waiting for their first periods or who still don’t have regular periods wear them for peace of mind so that they don’t have to deal with embarrassing leaks—like if they get a surprise period during class or when sleeping over at a friend’s house.
Many women in their 20s see them as a life-changing way of dealing with periods and wearing them is a statement against the old ways of coping with normal female body functions. And with a wardrobe of high-quality period undies, they can say goodbye to bad-for-the-planet tampons and pads and free themselves from regular pricy purchases of feminine hygiene supplies.
Thirty-somethings and Above
In the 30s, women get busy with their careers and families. Having period panties on hand gives them one less thing to worry about. Menstrual underwear are also amazing solutions for dealing with post-partum bleeding after you have a baby.
Women going into perimenopause, which is the early transition into menopause, often get irregular or extra-heavy period flow, and they love the extra protection they get from period-proof underwear.
So, the answer to what is period underwear can be different from one woman to the next. Menstrual undies can cover lots of needs, ranging from acting as an extra layer of cover against period-protection fails to a totally new way of dealing with your period, free-bleeding from the first day to the last.
Types of Period Panties
You can find several types of period panties. The main types are:
- Panties that help hold pads in place
- Panties that block leaks
- Panties that hold pads and block leaks
- Panties that absorb menstrual blood
- Panties that prevent leaks and absorb menstrual blood
You can find a breakdown of these different types and how they work here.
Some menstrual underwear is made to help you feel super sexy during your period, with lace trims and sheer fabrics, and other panties have a more basic, classic style. You can find period panties almost every style that you’ll find regular underwear in. So, as you can see, there are several types of garments that each give a slightly different answer to “What is period underwear?”
Why Wear Period Underwear?
A big reason why women choose period panties is that they’re like a reusable form of pads and pantyliners. You can buy cloth menstrual pads that are reusable, but they can move out of place since they are usually held in place with snaps. You get an extra layer of period protection without having to worry about buying more plastic-based pads that are then going to stay forever in landfills, polluting the earth.
You can also potentially save money when you wear period underwear since they’re reusable and you might not need to buy any other period protection once you have a few pairs. Of course, whether you can totally replace your pads or tampons with period panties depends on the type of period panties you buy and how heavy your flow is, light, medium or heavy.
If you’d like to find out more about how to use period panties, check out this blog post.
Who Makes Period Panties?
Most period panty companies are small and women-owned. In the United States, several companies are based in California, and some are in New York City, among other places. Other leading period panty brands are found in the U.K., Canada and Australia.
Are Period Panties New?
Period panties aren’t new; in fact, a type of “period petticoat” was patented in 1967, but it seems like very few people knew about or used them until somewhat recently. The main reason for their rise in popularity seems to be that women are more comfortable talking about periods; it’s no longer a taboo subject like it used to be.
We hope this helped to explain what period panties are and why women and girls wear them. If you’re not sure which ones to get for yourself, check out the Top 10 Period Panty Reviews to find the best period underwear for your lifestyle.