When I started cutting plastic out of my travels, I thought I’d found the answer to the problem of periods in the form of a menstrual cup. I’ve been using one for almost two years at the time of writing, and it’s saved me $130 USD in the process. Can’t fault that.
Yet, there were times when the menstrual cup wasn’t enough. Sometimes my periods were too heavy. I would often get cramps and during those moments of excruciating pain, the cup’s presence was hardly soothing.
Then, there were the times during travel where I really could have done with a little extra assistance in the form of period protection. Long-haul plane trips and horse riding (which both feature commonly in my travels) are two instances that come to mind.
I had thought about investing in reusable cloth pads to keep on hand in times of crisis, but I had always hated how bulky run-of-the-mill disposable pads are, so I never got around to purchasing them, not knowing if I’d find them comfortable enough to wear on a regular basis.
So, I went about my business, traveling, adventuring, and hoping I would eventually stumble upon a solution to my period problems.
Enter THINX period panties.
“Period panties?!” I hear you cry out, in disgust. Please bear with me.
THINX has created several different types of panties that are designed to be worn during your period — with or without the assistance of anything else. You can choose to use a menstrual cup or tampon in conjunction with the panties, but they’re intended to eliminate disposable pads and pantiliners from your toiletries drawer entirely.
Are you picturing a pair of panties with diaper-like proportions? Don’t worry, I did too.
THINX has designed the panties to look like any other pair of knickers. In fact, they can even be a little bit sexy, depending on which type you go for. There are currently six different panties to choose from — the Hiphugger, Hi-Waist, Boyshort, Sport, Cheeky, and Thong.
Each pair of panties is designed for a different day in your cycle. You can start off with the Hiphugger or Hi-Waist panties when your cycle first starts and swap out to the Cheeky or Thong towards the tail-end.
They each feature THINX’s own technology of absorbent layers that are engineered to suck your period right up. This way, it doesn’t feel like you’re sitting in your own blood — I’m sure we can all agree that that would feel quite unpleasant.
After trialling the underwear on three different occasions, I’ve come to several conclusions — some good, some bad. Read on, before you make your mind up on the panties for yourself.
THINX: The good stuff.
As with any reusable item, they’ll save you money.
Here’s the number one reason for making the swap to reusable items. If you buy something of a certain quality once, it will outlast everything else.
Reusable drink bottles are cheaper than constantly buying bottled water. A handkerchief eliminates the need to constantly buy packets or boxes of tissues. Items like period panties or menstrual cups are designed to be reused for years. You’ll save a ton of cash on sanitary items in the long run.
They’re good for the environment.
Here’s another cause for celebration!
A person with a monthly menstrual cycle will use over 11,000 pads and tampons combined (give or take) in their lifetime. That’s a lot of trash.
In sticking to reusable sanitary items, you’re minimizing your waste output in a big way. Double thumbs up to that.
They pack well into a suitcase (and you can leave your pads at home).
When I used disposable pads, I found I was pretty attached to a certain brand.
So, when I went traveling, I’d take enough with me to last the entire trip. They took up quite a lot of space, as you can imagine!
The period panties, on the other hand, take up next to no room. You can just fold them up and pack them with the rest of your underwear. Easy.
You can protect your normal panties by wearing them around the time that your period is due.
Some periods arrive every 28 days, right on the dot.
Others are all over the place. It’ll take you by surprise by arriving early, or stress you out by being days late.
The downside of this is that you can often end up with unshiftable stains on your underwear, which can be a real bummer.
By slipping your THINX on around the time that your period is due, you can save your normal panties from stains. Once your period has arrived, you can continue to wear the THINX, or pop your menstrual cup in.
THINX: What could be improved.
Swimming is not an option.
There’s a lot you can still do while wearing THINX, but swimming is not one of them.
Can you imagine how upsetting the experience of wearing them in a pool or lake would be, particularly when you’re meant to rinse the blood out with cold water? Stick to a tampon or menstrual cup.
Washing them in public could be quite awkward.
In terms of general maintenance, these panties are a bit harder to manage than a menstrual cup.
If you’re staying in hotels, or have your own private hostel room with an ensuite, you’ll probably be fine. If you’re sharing a bathroom with 11 other people (especially in, say, a mixed hostel dorm), you might encounter issues.
They’re not enough for people who get heavy flows.
THINX states on their website that the panties are designed to eliminate the use of pads and pantiliners, and can be used in conjunction with tampons or menstrual cups. Unless your period is the lightest of light, you probably won’t be able to free ball it with the panties alone.
They could be a pain to use, depending on what kind of travel you’re doing.
THINX are ideal in the way of providing extra protection when you’re out and about all day, traveling. When that turns into days upon days of rushing here, there and everywhere, they’ll probably become a bit of a bummer to use.
Mind you, I wore them on a two day horse trek and considered them a lifesaver, as they were merely back up for my menstrual cup (which I desperately needed).
Would you wear THINX?
I personally wouldn’t rely on THINX alone during my period (at least not for the first few days). From my own experience, they held for around 8 hours before needing to be switched over, and are not as easy to clean and immediately reuse as a menstrual cup.
However, if you’re looking for an item to give you a little extra support when traveling (especially on those long-haul flights), then they’re the ideal solution – lest you end up in a sticky situation.