Red period underwear hanging

Do Period Underwear Work? – A Sustainable Way Of Handling Menses

So, you’ve decided to hop on board the period underwear trend and to invest in a pair yourself. Good for you! You’re now one step closer to a more sustainable way of handling your period. 

However, while you’ve made the purchase, you might feel nervous about actually trying them out – I get it! It took me years to make the switch! After all, will they really work? And, can they handle your flow on both your heavy and light days?

Good news! Period underwear does work to successfully catch your flow. They’re a functional alternative – or addition – to pads, tampons, and menstrual cups for dealing with menstruation.

How Does Period Underwear Work?

Before we talk any more about whether or not period underwear works, let’s talk about how they work. After all, knowing how they work will help boost your confidence in wearing these ingenious inventions!

Period underwear is made up of at least three core layers. Each layer is made out of moisture-absorbing material such as merino wool, bamboo, cotton, hemp or synthetic fibers. The materials are usually blended to create underwear that soaks up your period. 

The materials used in period underwear contain amyl chemicals and hydroxyl. These chemicals react with your period fluids to keep them close to the material and prevent leakage.

black and red period underwear

Inner Layer

The inner layer is the layer that sits next to the skin. This is a knitted layer that quickly moves moisture away from the body and that helps the fluid flow through the fabric and into the other layers.

Middle Layer

The middle layer is the most absorbant layer of fabric. This layer is made out of a water-loving material that will hold onto the liquid and protect your period even in heavier flows. 

Outer Layer

The outer layer is the layer that’s farthest away from the skin. This layer is made out of an impermeable material to stop fluid from leaking through the underwear and getting onto your clothes.

How Well Does Period Underwear Work?

Although the first pairs of period panties first appeared back in the 1990s, they’ve come a long way since their debut. Period panties today are not only available in a wider variety, but they’re also much more reliable. 

How well period underwear works will vary depending on what type of panties you choose, the fit of the underwear, and the fabric they’re made of. 

Generally, the more coverage your underwear has, the more protection it offers you from leakage. That means that if you usually have a heavy flow, you might want to opt for boy shorts rather than a G-string. 

Another factor that affects the effectiveness of your period panties is what materials they’re made of. Some materials are more absorbent than others and will be able to last you longer before you need to change your underwear. 

Finally, the number of layers a pair of period underwear has will also affect how well the undies work. The more layers the underwear has, the more absorbent and effective it will be.

The Types of Period Panties

When looking at how well period panties work, it’s important to recognize that there are a couple of different types of period panties. The two main types of period panties are absorbent and non-absorbent, and each one will vary in how well they work for your flow.

Absorbent Period Panties

Absorbent panties are made up of antimicrobial, leakproof material that consists of several layers. Absorbent panties are designed to withstand several tampons full of fluid. 

Absorbent panties work well as a replacement for pads and tampons. They’re a great solution for anyone who has a heavier flow or who wants to do away with disposable products once and for all. 

A few brands of absorbent period panties include: 

  • Thinx
  • Modibodi Period Panties
  • Lilova Period Panties
  • FLUX Undies Period Panties
  • Wuka Period Panties

Nonabsorbent Period Panties

The second type of period panties out there are nonabsorbent period panties. These panties DO NOT have a core lining for absorbing fluid. 

Instead, nonabsorbent panties use waterproof fabric sandwiched between cotton. They’re best for spotting, light flow, discharge, or a backup to a menstrual cup or tampon.

A few good nonabsorbent period panty brands include: 

  • NOOI Period Panties
  • Neione Period Panties

Front vs Back Bleeding

Whether you typically bleed farther forward or farther back will also affect how well your period panties work. The direction of your flow can impact what type of panties you need in order to stay covered. 

If you’re a front bleeder, nonabsorbent period panties may be a good choice. These panties tend to work best for women who bleed farther forward. 

Women who tend to have a lot of blood extending from the front to the back may need absorbent period underwear. That way, they’ll be covered from all angles and can reduce leakage. 

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’ve still got some questions about period underwear, you’re not the only one. Here are some frequently asked questions about period underwear.

Do you wear a pad with period underwear?

The great thing about period underwear is that you don’t need to wear a pad with them! That way, you can avoid producing waste that can build up and pollute the environment. If you feel really uncomfortable, you can wear two layers of period underwear to keep yourself protected.

Can you wear period underwear all day?

Period underwear is designed to hold a couple of tampons full of fluid. That means that most women will be able to wear one pair of period underwear throughout the day without having to change them. 

Can you bleed through period underwear?

Although it’s uncommon, you can from time to time bleed through period underwear. This is usually due to ill-fitting underwear that allows fluid to escape around the sides of the panties rather than from the underwear itself.