I think we can all agree that periods are annoying — from the pain, spots, and mood swings, to the surprise blood stains on your bedsheets after a night of tossing and turning. If you're like us, you'd try just about anything to make that time of the month a bit easier — like period pants.
Pads and tampons aren't good for the environment, and menstrual cups aren't for everyone. That's why our editors tried various brands of period knickers to give you all the facts you need to make an informed purchase — and period pants aren't just for menstruation, they're also great for postpartum discharge, bladder leaks, and endometriosis flow.
We had five women test five different brands of period pants — LoveLuna, Modibodi, Wuka, Flux, and Cheeky Wipes — and it was, surprisingly, a mixed bag. While three of us loved the convenience of leakproof underwear and only saw solutions, two of us risked urinary tract and vaginal infections. Before we get into our favourite period pants and what they're made of — we had to check in with some gynaecologists as to why period knickers might not be the best option for women with sensitive vaginal areas.
"Period knickers may prevent your vagina from being able to 'breathe', or getting enough air to stay dry, which may increase the levels of bacteria and the risk of infection." — Dr Shirin Lakhani
"Any type of underwear which creates a damp environment or irritates the skin can increase the risk of infection, because this encourages bacteria to grow," says Dr Shree Datta MD MRCOG LLM MBBS. Additionally, "period knickers may prevent your vagina from being able to 'breathe', or getting enough air to stay dry, which may increase the levels of bacteria and the risk of infection," says Dr Shirin Lakhani MBBS MRCGP DRCOG.
Some women are just more prone to vaginal infections than others, shared Dr Deborah Lee MB ChB MFFP MRCGP DRCOG, and this could be for a number of reasons: from anatomy, genetics, and certain blood groups, to pregnancy, diabetes, and not emptying the bladder completely. If you've had recurrent UTIs or vaginal infections and still want to try period pants, then it's recommended (for everyone) that you change them very regularly, and make sure you aren't allergic to any of the fabrics used in the knickers.
As soon as you get your leakproof undies, make sure to give them a good machine wash on a cold, delicate cycle — no fabric softener, no soaking, no bleach, no tumble drying, ironing, or dry cleaning. Once washed, simply hang to dry and once ready, don't wear them for more than eight hours.
When you're done with the pants, rinse them in cold water until the water runs clear, machine wash on a 40 degree delicate cycle, and hang to dry — that's it. Now, read ahead for our honest reviews on some of the best-selling period pants on the market.