Health & Fitness

I tried period pants for the first time, and here’s what happened

Day three was a complete disaster.

When the opportunity arose to trial period pants for Cosmo, I was a little apprehensive. As a loyal member of the tampon-only-and-always club, switching back to this pad-esque, free-bleeding malarkey sounded dangerous, and if anything, a little messy. But, for the sake of science, I thought “sod it, let’s give it a go.”

When the undies from Modibodi and THINX (the two leading period pant brands in the world) arrived at the office, the whole team gathered around to witness the unpacking like it was a nerdy iPhone-unpacking tech video. Everyone copped a feel and looked hesitant about whether these bad boys were going to do what they promised: capture all the blood and make you forget you’re even on your period.

I flipped the label of one of the undies and saw my first red flag: “For medium to light flow.” Uh oh. As grateful as I am for my period, I would never call it ‘light’ or ‘medium’ — perhaps, at the very least, it could be described as the entirety of the red sea falling out of my womb.

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However, I was in this experiment for the long haul, and if that involved pushing these poor, innocent undies to their limits, so be it.

DAY 1

My period arrived, as if by magic, the evening after the undies arrived in the post. It was almost as if my vagina was excited about the experiment.

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I decided to choose the THINX Sport pants ($32), as I was hitting up the gym (for the first time in months). They have a sorta swimsuit fabric feel, and you can definitely feel with your hands that the gusset is a little thicker than usual, but it isn’t like a pad is stuffed in there. It’s subtle. The undies feel real nice on, super smooth and trustworthy, and they don’t look at all like I thought they would on — but that may be because I was pessimistically predicting some sort of nappy situation.

Task number one: the gym. The gym is not somewhere I often worry about my period as everything is safely tucked away in my tampon, but now my menstruation was out and about, I felt super self-conscious, and slipped back to my 13-year-old just-started-my-period-mindset where I am convinced that everybody (and I mean everybody) knows that I am on my period.

I avoid any legs-open activities in the gym, and stick to the elliptical and arm weights. When I hit the shower after the gym, I am happily surprised that there is zero blood on my legs or gym tights. TICK.

DAY 2

Just a standard office day for me, so I select the Modibodi Sensual High-Waist Bikini ($36.50), which is hella cute with its little lace detail at the top . The gusset is noticeably thicker, but that’s because I’ve gone for ‘heavy’ absorbency option. You can definitely sense the thickness when you put them on, but you can’t see it in the mirror, and there is none of that annoying scratchiness of a pad’s sticky wings getting in the way.

(Side note: Modibodi are so good at using real women of all shapes and sizes in their ads and they are a local Aussie brand. Feel free to fall more in love with them.)

Leaving the house I feel prepared and ready for a full day of free-bleeding — but I pack a few emergency tampons, just in case things go haywire.

I arrive at my desk and sit down to work, but it’s not long 'til I notice a ‘dripping’ feeling. Sorry for the graphic nature, but I am so used to tampons that this came as a shock, and I was worried I was like a leaky tap and the undies were gonna overflow.

I headed off to the toilet to find that, actually, everything was intact and there wasn’t even an outrageous amount of blood. For sure, it’s an adjustment seeing period blood right there when you haven’t used pads in years and have kinda forgotten just how red everything is — but it was nothing to worry about. My womb was doing its job, and the pants were keeping up. TICK.

DAY 3

By far the heaviest day of my cycle, and one that usually involves hot water bottles and copious amounts of chocolate to get me through. I was worried about this day and my undies being able to hold their own on the day when my womb is having a full on tantrum.

I thought about packing two pairs to last me the day, but then I remembered one slightly fatal flaw of menstruation underwear—you can’t just change mid-way through the day unless you want to chuck a pair out on the reg.

There are no removable parts of period pants, they are just one whole entity. When you are done with them for the day, you have to wash them — either by hand or in the washing machine. You technically could take them off, but they’re not something you want to be carrying around in your bag. Like, they’re pretty good at keeping the smell on lock down when you’re wearing them, but I doubt wafting your bloody undies around would be particularly pleasant for anyone else. Just sayin’.

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For today’s hardcore flow I opted for the THINX Hiphugger ($34), that promises to hold two tampon’s worth — which is my normal office day amount before I head home.

Though I feel less panicky about the chance of a leak today, I am definitely wary of smell. Again, as a chronic tampon user, my nostrils have sorta forgotten the smell of the monthly prez from mother nature. I’m not saying our natural odours should be covered up, but more that I was just inherently aware of it, and was semi-concerned that my co-workers would sniff me out.

However, unless they were being incredibly polite and didn’t want to hurt my feelings by speaking out, no one mentioned a thing. Perhaps my own crazy-conscious was working overtime again.

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However, around 3 p.m. disaster struck. I slipped off to the bathroom thinking everything was a-okay, but when I whipped off my undies I noticed that there was blood on my upper thighs and on the inside of my jeans. It was then that I prayed to the denim gods for inventing black jeans that hide a multitude of sins.

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There was a lot of wiping and stressing that occurred after my discovery, but everything was able to patched up pretty well. It seemed there was more a side-leakage than a full soak through. Apologies for the graphic chat, but I’m trying to keep it real here!

DAY 4

For my penultimate period day, I chose the THINX Cheeky Panties ($30), as it was the weekend and I wanted to wear something a little tighter and I didn’t want giant pair of pants to be seen through my dress.

If I do say so myself, these undies were cute AF. So much so that when I stayed over at my SO’s that night, he couldn’t believe that they were period pants. TICK.

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DAY 5

THE FINAL FLOW. For my monumental menstruation end, I decided to go with my riskiest pick yet: the Modibodi Sensual Boyleg ($28.50). Why so risky, you ask? Well, because these undies are pale pink — far flung from my all-black safety net.

These undies did look nice on, and felt the most like regular knickers. They are intended for ‘light absorbency’ so these are ones to avoid mid-menstruation, but I trusted them for the last day of my period.

I do admit that I was a little bit of a chicken and opted for my black jeans again today, just in case there was a disaster ahead. But, everything went swimmingly! The undies held up all day, and although it was a little confronting seeing specks of blood on a pale pink pair of pants, nothing leaked through. TICK.

(Just as a heads up, you will have to wash these ones pretty intensely, but the blood does come out. Promise.)

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THE VERDICT

I have to admit, I am a bit of a convert! I would probably avoid using these at the peak of my period — but that is mainly because I have crazy periods — but for the start and finish of your flow, these a bloody brilliant.

More big fans of these undies were my mum and my best friend. My mum is winding her way towards menopause and just has occasional spotting now, and my best friend is on a contraception which means that she gets a day-ish of light bleeding — too little for a tampon or pad — so something like the Modibodi or THINX undies is a great solution.

ALSO, these are so good for the environment. Think about all the waste that’s involved with other sanitary products, and compare that to a simple handwash of these five pairs that you need to get through a period and, theoretically, could last you a lifetime.

Get amongst the period pants, people!