Most uterus-owners know that periods create waste, but they don’t really stop and think just how many pads and tampons end up in the trash. According to Flow: The Cultural History of Menstruation, the average woman disposes of 250 to 300 pounds of “pads, plugs, and applicators” in her lifetime. Unfortunately, all of this non-biodegradable waste clogs up our landfills.
Thankfully, “eco” period products have caught on in recent years, so people with uteri now have more choices than ever.
Of course, period underwear is one of the more expensive options on the market. This product appealed to me, though, so after hemming and hawing for a while, I decided to take the plunge and purchase a pair.
First thing’s first: I bought these with my own money. Therefore, this review is unbiased, unsponsored, and extremely thorough.
The underwear is made from lycra, merino, spandex, polyester, nylon, and bamboo. While these fabrics may not be sustainable or biodegradable, Modibodi states that their supplier complies with Oeko-Tex fair work standards and wages. (There is also a vegan range that doesn’t use merino.) So… not great on the fabrics, but if compliance is met that is still better than the amount of pads and panty liners you’d save on. That is, if the thing works in the first place.
Regardless of the materials, the real question everyone wants to know is whether period panties really work.
After placing my order, I received the garments within a week. The site’s sizing recommendations were on point. However, once washing them, I discovered the first big issue: the panties take forever to dry. Obviously, that’s not ideal if you have a heavy flow or don’t have easy access to a washing machine or space to hang the underwear to dry.
To be honest, I didn’t feel confident about the eco-friendly panties before using them. When I started with them, though, the underwear proved me wrong.
I took spare clothes with me the first day, just in case. However, I wore the garments for 12 hours without changing them at all! Over the course of the week, I wore the panties to an all-day event, spent 3.5 hours in the car, and jogged for 40 minutes. As promised, I experienced no leaks or discomfort. Although I could feel my flow, it wasn’t any more noticeable than when I wear traditional pads. Thankfully, the underwear lasted much longer than any conventional pad I’ve ever used.
So, are period panties really worth the money?
While they seem like a worthwhile investment, Modibodi’s website claims that their garments last 6 to 24 months. Since a package of seven pairs costs $159.50 USD, these panties pay for themselves in about a year-and-a-half, then end up in a landfill. Although designer lingerie costs just as much, not everyone can afford this eco-friendly alternative.
Seven pairs of non-biodegradable underwear may sound better for the environment than over 800 used tampons, and that’s fine. You may also decide that the investment is worth not dealing with allergic reactions to conventional products. Furthermore, period underwear may be the answer to your prayers if you have a disability, suffer from vaginismus, or battle incontinence. And, if you only use them when Aunt Flo comes to town, who knows? You may extend their lifetime beyond the two-year guarantee.
Also, many “eco period” companies offer charity donation programmes and zero-waste programmes and show real, diverse models. With multiple companies on the market, you can shop around for the period product you like best. Despite my reservations, I was pleasantly surprised with my overall experience. I’m pretty excited to ditch the pantiliners and start wearing this period underwear full-time.