Are you tired of the years and money spent suffering from pads or tampons, disappointed by the lack of effective improvements made to feminine products? Well, ladies, meet period underwear. This innovative method of using material that is stain-resistant, leak-proof and still comfortable is the perfect way to free yourself of worry during this already stressful time of your life.
EmpowHER found several companies that sell period undies, finding out how their products help women everywhere to have a happier and healthier period.
Lunapads has been around since 1993 and created a line of period underwear called Lunapanties. Suzanne Siemens, the co-founder of Lunapads, spoke with EmpowHER about the inspiration behind the brand.
"It really started out of our own basic needs; originally, Madeleine [co-founder] created Lunapads because she was experiencing health complications from using tampons, so she wanted to use a more natural alternative," said Siemens. Lunapanties developed as a result of those pads, as the two women realizes it would be a lot more convenient to just put the pad in the panty.
The brand itself was invented in response to two primary issues.
First, "some of the content in pads and tampons is questionable and they are not the best option for people with chemical sensitivities. Second, [there are] the environmental consequences. On average, a single woman will use up to 11,000 pads and tampons in their lifetime," Siemens said, expressing concern.
What with the waste that comes of these products as well as the use of so much material that is not recyclable, it is clear that such products do create a big environmental issue. Lunapanties allows you to protect both your own body and our environment.
Three sisters started development of Vv SkiVvys in 2005. These panties are now known as "the prettiest protection you will ever wear!" according to their site. This brand of underwear was created in an effort to move past products that were already available and did not sufficiently protect women from leaking through "needle holes, or ... the leg opening."
In addition, the founders felt that most of these products were not feminine or appealing, often appearing thick and bulging. The goal with Vv SkiVvys was to create "a protective panty that when worn in conjunction with a tampon or pad it would be effective, colorful and pretty!" according to the site's "About Us" page.
Most significantly, the founders of Vv SkiVvys truly feel that every young girl who is starting her menstrual cycle should have a pair of period underwear ready to go, "so she is ready to have confidence instead of the fear of unexpected leaks the instant she gets her period," a feeling that many women can recall from their teenage years.
"We can change the way women feel about their period, so starting from the very beginning is the perfect way," Vv SkivVys' FAQ page details.
The company, Adira, is based in India and has a line of period panties for both teenage girls and women. Adira firmly believes in providing protection for women once they start their periods, offering several options for young girls who are just beginning to develop.
Three lines are available: Adira Girl, Teen and Lady. In addition to period panties, Adira offers bras and camisoles that provide support when breasts are just beginning to develop and dry panties that keep moisture out of the area.
Such products make it clear that Adira firmly believes that a girl's first experience with her developing body should be a comfortable one, as menstruation is often hardest to deal with when we're young.
Adira's site points out that stains are not only painful to endure and a source of embarrassment, but they are also cause for bacterial growth. These panties will ensure that your menstrual cycle is hygienic, for the safety of yourself and others.
Dear Kate is a brand that reimagines the definition of "period underwear” and keeps women from being held back by their periods. Dear Kates use Underlux technology, "the silky-soft, fabric behind each pair ... This patent-pending fabric is comprised [of] two luxurious microfiber layers and a thin, breathable outer layer," said Isabella Giancarlo, Marketing Manager at Dear Kate.
As to why period underwear is more than necessary for women's health, it's an issue that has gone too long without being truly addressed. "The fact that most underwear don't have periods in mind still shocks me," Giancarlo added. Dear Kates have "the ability to give women confidence and peace of mind." They "take the stress out of periods so that your period never holds you back," Giancarlo said.
This brand reclaims the phrase "period panties" by "offering a sophisticated and cute alternative so that women are always prepared, no matter what time of the month it is." Dear Kates also has an exclusive line of athletic period underwear, understanding that no woman’s period should be keeping her from any physical activity.
According to THINX Director of Marketing, Veronica del Rosario, the inspiration behind THINX was just understanding that women deserve better, especially in developing countries.
"… The idea really got its legs when our CEO, Miki, travelled to South Africa in 2010 ... There, she met a 12 year-old girl in a rural area. Miki asked, ‘Why aren’t you in school?’ and the girl quietly responded, 'It’s my week of shame.' Upon her return, the founding ladies discovered that 100 million girls around the world miss school just because they lack the sanitary supplies they need to manage their periods," said del Rosario.
What’s most important about THINX is that is addresses the fact that periods are a struggle everywhere, but especially in developing countries. Women’s health and hygiene is a global priority and we should pursue options that will aid in the development of better, more accessible options to keep women happy and healthy during their periods.
“I’ve found that the feeling of wearing THINX … and then just knowing … that you’re PROTECTED, for an extended period of time? It’s something that we could never really market effectively, but every woman feels it. Feeling safe and secure when you're on your period is a big deal," del Rosario explained.
With continuing innovation and forward thinking, these five brands are mere examples of the growing movement to provide women with easier, cleaner, prettier protection for their periods. This sends the message that women's health and hygiene needs to be a priority, especially in developing countries.
These brands make it clear that we continue to make positive improvements all around the world on the front of derailing the stigma that often accompanies menstruation.
Email interview with Veronica del Rosario, June 8, 2015.
Phone interview with Suzanne Siemens, June 8, 2015.
Email interview with Isabella Giancarlo, June 22, 2015.
Adira Period Panties. Adira. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
About Us. Vv SkiVvys. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
Reviewed June 24, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN