It can’t be.
But I’m still breastfeeding!
My period returned 11 months after baby #1.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my 20 period-free months. No cramps, no PMS, no period-related acne, no ruined underwear. All I had to do was get pregnant! (and essentially experience all of those same period symptoms, but this time, I also gained a bunch of weight and grew a baby!).
Since birthing a babe, I’m less self-conscious about my body and feel more confident than ever. Or maybe it’s just that after a complete stranger assists you out of surgical-grade mesh underwear and/or manually milks your engorged breast, you just stop giving a rip.
Anyhow, with my new-found appreciation for my womanliness, I decided to ditch my old-school period tactics and try two alternative approaches: THINX and the DivaCup. Here’s what happened.
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What they are: Period proof underwear that can replace pads & liners and be used as a backup or replacement to tampons or cups, depending on your flow.
How it works: The top layer fights bacteria and absorbs any liquid into the über thin layer right beneath it, so you always stay dry. They absorb up to two tampons’ worth of blood, yet they look and feel like a regular pair of underwear.
Cost: Between $24 – 38 a pair (get $10 off your 1st order here)
Preconception: I’ll be honest: The first time I heard about THINX, I recoiled in disgust.
You’re telling me that I just let nature happen into the underwear? Isn’t it messy? Isn’t it gross? Isn’t it weird?
A friend took the leap first and gave a rave review. So I said, “Hey Eleanor!” and bought three pairs of the hiphugger variety.
What I liked:
- I love that there’s no gross tampon string to be peed on. Also, no pad or pantyliner to bunch or somehow not line up exactly where you thought it would.
- Less wasteful than buying tampons or pads, and over time, less expensive.
- No more underwear “ruined” from your period. And when I say ruined, I mean you still keep them and wear them when you haven’t done laundry in awhile and just pray to god no one sees.
- They’re black and easy to clean. Just pre-rinse after use, then wash them with your delicates (do people really do that?) in cold water, then air dry. Definitely not as gross as I thought!
What I didn’t like:
- Overflow. THINX gives you a nice legend for what style of underwear works best with your flow. Their site claims the ones I purchased hold up to two tampons worth of messy mess. I’m not so sure– just ask the Gilligan O’Malley pajama pants I may never wear again.
- VPL, aka visible panty line. Definitely can’t wear these with anything tight fitting, like leggings, a fitted skirt or tight jeans. They claim some of their other undies don’t have a VPL.
- Expensive. At $24-39 a pop, they’re certainly more expensive than what I’m used to. That said, over time, they pay for themselves.
- Laundry. Though they’re easy to clean, you have to remember that they don’t go in the dryer.
- Availability. The first time I tried to buy mine, THINX were sold out of my size. I had to wait a few weeks until they were back in stock. They were not available on Amazon, and took awhile to ship.
- Totally bizarre company culture at THINX. See Exhibit A.
I’m actually quite pleased with this purchase. I wouldn’t recommend them as a stand-alone on your heaviest period days. I’m planning on using them for lighter days, or as back up on heavier days. They’re officially my non-embarrassing period underwear.
What it is: The DivaCup is a reusable, bell-shaped menstrual cup that is worn internally and collects menstrual flow.
How it works: The cup can be worn up to 12 consecutive hours and should be emptied, washed and rinsed 2-3 times daily. Due to its soft, silicone material, the cup forms to your body.
Preconceptions: I thought menstrual cups were only for hippies. Collecting my period in a cup seemed akin to burying my poop in the woods on a camping trip, or living in a tiny house. But again, a trusted friend said she’s become a DivaCup evangelist. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
What I liked:
- Like THINX, I love that there’s no gross tampon string to be peed on. It sounds counterintuitive, but it actually felt more hygienic than any other period product I’ve used.
- No leakage. Zero. The cup holds one ounce of fluid. Apparently, a typical period produces two ounces over the course of a few days, so if you’re emptying your cup twice daily, you should be good.
- Once in place, I couldn’t feel a damn thing.
- Easy to clean. Simply dump contents in the toilet, then rinse with water-based unscented soap.
- Doesn’t contain latex, plastic, PVC, acrylic, acrylate, BPA, phthalate, elastomer, polyethylene, and free of colors and dyes.
- Reusable and eco-friendly – no waste, no chemicals.
- Gentle on your bits. Anyone who’s removed a tampon on a very light day knows the delicate nature of your vaginal walls.
- Not as gross as I thought. The cup was never as full as I expected, and the experience was nowhere near a freaky-deaky horror show.
- Straightforward sizing. There’s a cup for every cooter. Model 1 is recommended for women under the age of 30 who have never delivered vaginally or by caesarean section; Model 2 is recommended for women age 30 and over and/or for women who have delivered vaginally or by caesarean section. Thank you for using the terms like “Model 1.” No one wants to say they have a large va-jay.
- Availability. Prime this shiz on Amazon, or at CVS/Walgreens/Whole Foods/co-op.
What I didn’t like:
- Learning curve. The first few times I used mine, I kept worrying that I’d done it wrong. It didn’t feel off, and I didn’t experience any leaks, but I just wasn’t sure. I think you just build confidence over time.
- Cost. At $39.99 a pop, a DivaCup ain’t cheap. But it’s cheaper than buying tampons and pads (and occasionally, new underwear) every month or two. If you commit, it pays for itself.
- Up close and personal. This wasn’t an issue for me, but if the thought of your hands interacting with your period or vagina in this manor grosses you out, you may not like the DivaCup. But trust me, it’s not bad.
- Removal panic. I wouldn’t say it’s a breeze to remove. My DivaCup evangelist friend warned that if I panicked, I should “walk away from the bathroom, get yourself together, and try again. It’ll be just fine.” Trust me, if it’s possible to squeeze a baby out of that thing, you will eventually remove the DivaCup.
I think I’m the newest DivaCup convert. Adios, tampons!
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I suspect a THINX/DivaCup combo will work best for me. I’ll use the cup on most days, wearing THINX as a back-up. Then on the last day or two, it’ll be THINX flying solo.
So… have you tried either of these products? Or something else that’s made your period less annoying? Share in the comments, y’all!
PS This is not a sponsored post, but I did include a few affiliate links.