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Period underwear: panties are so safe!

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 401 views

Period underwear is an environmentally friendly alternative to tampons and pads. The multi-layer panties are designed to absorb menstrual blood for up to six hours. Read here how safe period underwear really is, how to use it correctly and whether you can also use the panties if you have a weak bladder.

What is period underwear?

Period underwear or menstrual underwear refers to multi-layer, breathable panties that collect the excreted blood during the period .

The concept originally comes from the USA and has already established itself on the market there. There are now manufacturers in Germany and throughout Europe who offer their products online or in drugstores. A panty costs between 20 and 40 euros.

The underpants are available in different cuts and colors and consist of several layers: The first layer ensures a dry feeling in the crotch. It absorbs the menstrual blood and passes it on to the layer below. This is absorbent and antibacterial, it sucks about as much as two to three tampons – depending on the thickness of the panties. That’s about 5 to 30 milliliters. In the case of heavy menstrual bleeding, an additional product such as a menstrual cup or a tampon is often useful. However, the panties are often treated with biocides, which are suspected of being harmful to health.

The outer layer consists of a liquid-impermeable membrane. This keeps the slip stain-free. In most cases, a skin-friendly fabric also closes the layers.

From the outside, the period underpants look like normal underwear. The underpants are only slightly thicker at the crotch due to these multi-layered layers.

How to use period underwear

Period underwear is available in different designs and strengths. The manufacturers provide detailed advice on this on their websites.

Menstrual panties are easy to use: they are worn like normal underwear and automatically collect the expelled blood. It is important to note the wearing time of the underpants and how they are washed after use.

How long can period underwear be worn?

According to the various manufacturers, it is possible to switch completely to period underwear on light menstrual days or when there is little bleeding. In this case, change your panties in the morning and in the evening. If the bleeding is heavier, additional protection with a menstrual cup or tampons makes sense.

If you want to do without conventional menstrual products even with heavy bleeding, manufacturers recommend changing your underpants every six hours at the latest. If you are out and about during this time, it is best to take a reusable bag with you to safely stow away the underpants you have worn.

Overall, menstrual panties have a lifespan like other underwear. If these are treated with biocides, they last for two years, after which the antibacterial effect wears off.

Wash period underwear

In principle, period underwear can be washed at 40 degrees together with the rest of your clothing. However, you should rinse the panties with cold water beforehand. Avoid using fabric softeners and bleach during the wash cycle, as these attack the antibacterial layer. Then let the period underwear air dry. Never iron them.

Add 1/2 cup of white table vinegar (5 percent) to the wash cycle to further sanitize the panties.

Period underwear: you have to pay attention to this!

The antibacterial layer of period underwear is usually treated with biocides. These are chemicals that are used specifically to control pests. They inhibit the growth of bacteria and thus prevent unpleasant odors from developing.

According to the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), biocides often trigger allergic reactions and impair the body’s bacterial flora. Resistance to pathogens are also possible consequences.

Certain biocides are also suspected of endangering fertility. In addition, the substances dissolve easily during washing and damage aquatic organisms.

When buying, therefore, pay attention to the composition of the briefs and it is best to use organic cotton.

Benefits of period underwear

Period underwear has certain advantages over other menstrual products. We have summarized them for you:

  • Period underwear can be reused for around two years and is therefore more sustainable than tampons or pads, for example, which produce a lot of waste.
  • Period underwear is easy to use.
  • The absorbent briefs do not slip, as is the case with cloth pads.
  • The panties have an antibacterial effect and thus prevent an unpleasant odor during the period and the formation of bacteria and fungi during menstruation.
  • A period panty is as absorbent as two to three tampons.

Disadvantages of period underwear

Despite the advantages, menstrual panties also have disadvantages.

  • Period underwear is not as absorbent as, for example, the menstrual cup. The latter is also somewhat more durable.
  • Biocides are often used for the antibacterial layer of panties. These substances can not only cause allergic reactions, but also negatively affect the skin’s own bacterial flora. If the biocides dissolve during washing, they also end up in the waste water
  • If you are out and about all day, period underwear is impractical: the change then has to take place in public toilets, and the used period underwear is kept in a plastic bag.
  • Due to the antibacterial agents, the panties may be washed at a maximum of 40 degrees.
  • When you have a heavy period, period panties do not stay tight for long. They are therefore more suitable for light menstruation or in combination with a cup or a so-called menstrual sponge.
  • Period underwear is expensive compared to menstrual cups or sponges.

Period underwear for bladder weakness

Most period panties have an absorbency of between five and 30 milliliters. This offers sufficient protection for mild bladder weakness. If you suffer from severe incontinence, ask your gynecologist for advice.

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