In this age of sustainability and caring for the environment, there is a lot of talk about how to make our periods more sustainable and environmentally-friendly as a person with a vagina. As such, I recently decided to buy some period panties and try them out for myself!
There are a lot of products out there for people with vaginas who want to make their periods more sustainable.
The product that seems to have gained the most popularity is a Moon Cup. This is a small plastic cup lies lowdown in the vagina and collects the blood. You can easily empty it into any toilet and boil it to clean it at the end of each cycle. It is claimed that you can use it for up to five years and is therefore a real money saver, as well as being sustainable. However, it’s suitable for everyone. For me personally, I have tried it, but since getting a copper coil (IUD) fitted, I am slightly concerned about using it because of the suction involved. As it is a relatively new invention, there is a little guidance online about the safety of using a Moon Cup while you have a copper coil fitted (as in, will the suction pull the coil out of place!) and, as I hadn’t particularly got that comfortable with the Moon Cup in the first place, I have decided to put it aside for now.
Therefore, period pants seemed like the best option for me. They are reusable pants that have a gusset that is reinforced with moisture wicking material to keep you comfortable, clean and fresh. There are loads of brands out there (like Wuka and Thinx) so you have a lot of choice! Also, many brands work in partnership with women’s health and period charities, as well as often being made of sustainably sourced materials, so you certainly feel like they are a very ethical choice!
Period Panties Review
Money money money
I had a little think about the financial impact of buying sustainable period products. If an average pack of sanitary towels costs £1, most women use up to two per period and have 12 cycles per year, a woman spends on average £24 per year on menstrual products (although this is set to go down since the government have announced they are going to scrap the tampon tax). A menstrual cup (such as the Moon Cup) costs about £20, so it’s clear that you’re gaining money within a year. Period pants tend to be more expensive – usually around £20-30 per pair, although this is cheaper if you buy a multi-pack. You can wear them for up to 8 hours, so most women would need at least two per day, so if you had an average 5 day cycle, you would need 10 pairs. As you can see, it would take around a decade before you started to earn your money back, at which point you may need to replace the pants anyway, so it has less financial benefit than the Moon Cup.
Wuka Period Pants
Nonetheless, I decided that the environmental benefits outweigh the financial costs and opted for Wuka’s First Period Pack, purely due to this being the cheapest option for me, especially as there was a 50% offer one when I bought them. As period pants can be very expensive, three pairs of pants and a little bag to keep them in (made by a women’s cooperative in Nepal) for about £50 seemed like a bargain.
I have only used them for one cycle so far, but I am very pleased with the results. The pants themselves are very comfortable and fit well around my body, meaning that I had no worries about any leaks. I also work from home, so in terms of experimenting and worrying about leaks, it wouldn’t really have mattered had I had an ‘accident’. Thankfully, this didn’t happen and I was very pleased that the period panties held for the entire 8 hours! I would caveat this, however, by saying that I have medium to light periods and I was using a medium absorbancy pant.
One of my concerns was that the reinforced gusset might feel like wearing a nappy (or that time I had to borrow a maternity pad from my sister when my period surprised me). However, I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t notice the extra thickness at all and actually they were more comfortable than pads.
The only slight downside to the period pants, as I see it, is that after you wear them for several hours, there is a small amount of odour. I didn’t notice it when wearing them generally (and hope no one else did, my husband couldn’t tell me because he has no sense of smell!), but noticed it when I went to the loo. However, I would chalk this up as much nuisance as seeing your period blood if you use a Moon Cup or sanitary towel – if you can get used to those, you can get used to this.
Finally, I wanted to talk about washing. As I only had three pairs, I tried hand washing them and then hanging them on the radiator overnight so I had a clean pair for the morning. This seemed to be satisfactory after one use and after the second, I just popped them into the wash on a 40 degree cycle with no fabric softener, just detergent, and they came out clean as a whistle and hadn’t stained any of my other clothes!
All in all, I felt that they were a fantastic purchase and I will certainly use them next period, while using up the supply of sanitary products I already own, and will be buying more slowly until I have enough to cover me for my entire period!