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I started wearing period underwear after a chronic infection made my menstrual cup uncomfortable to wear. I needed a new form of external protection since I didn’t want to go back to using disposables, but really didn’t want to wear cloth pads mostly because I’m a snob and don’t like the way they look (crafty, usually). I had heard of period underwear, but honestly never really looked into it because it sounded like a total pipe dream.
A couple months into debating which alternative to switch to, I had coffee with an old friend I’d recently reconnected with. Since we had last seen each other she had started Revol Undies, which at the time was still a made-to-order operation out of her mom’s front room.
With extreme suspicion I said “tell me exactly how this works”. She did, and because I’m that person, in my head I uttered “bullshit”. I just didn’t see any way that period proof underwear could be truly functional.
Even though I was pessimistic, I still really did need a new menstrual product. I bought three pairs and ended up standing exceptionally corrected. I haven’t used anything else since.
If you have recently made the switch to period underwear, or want to, here are a few things I learned in the beginning:
The Importance of the Post-Wear Rinse
I did a dumb thing the first time I free bled into my undies, I waited a full day after wearing before doing the post-wear rinse. Normally I would have done it right away, but my dad was visiting my very small apartment on day 1 of my period. If I was in the bathroom turning the tub faucet on and off for five minutes and then came out holding wet underwear so I could hang dry them in the window… it just seemed like a lot to explain.
I tucked the undies into a corner of my closet and then forgot about them until the next day. Luckily, I was able to do a more intense pre-soak of the underwear and then get them directly into the wash to save the pad. I also popped them in the dryer for a bit to fluff up the pad fabric and make sure the absorbency hadn’t been compromised.
You Will Be Confronted by Your Own Liquids
Even though I had been using a menstrual cup for years and had obviously seen period blood before, it was weird at first to hand wash (or rinse) the underwear.
The first time I wore the underwear on their own (my first wears were as a backup to the cup because, as I have articulated, I really didn’t think these would work) I would go to the bathroom and be blown away that I couldn’t see any blood on the underwear. Where did it go!? Then when I was ready to change into a clean pair, I headed to the sink to do a hand wash before they would go in the machine. I rinsed and rinsed and rinsed and oh my god, there it all is. I felt simultaneously amazed and mildly grossed out. Now it’s nothin’, but in the beginning I had weird feelings about hand laundering blood.
They Are Legit Just Underwear
I, like a lot of other people, did wonder after ordering the undies if they would arrive and feel like big, bulky granny panties. Possibly even a diaper. I’ve seen Depends®, they look smooth and seamless on the box but when you see them in real life it’s pretty disheartening.
When the underwear arrived they were literally just that, underwear. That’s exactly what they looked like as well, underwear. I could also wear them with ANY pants, skirts, general bottoms that I owned comfortably.
Part of what was so wild about this was that I had been used to being inconvenienced by my period pretty much the entire time I’ve had it.
What do you mean I just put these cute undies on and go about my day?? The cynicism continues, but now without merit.