A few years ago I wrote an article about the potential health risks associated with the use of conventional menstruation products such as tampons and pads. In this article I also mentioned some much safer alternatives to these typical products. Recently, three women have come up with another incredible alternative that is not only safer for menstruating women, but has the potential for amazing success in many developing countries where conventional menstruation products aren’t readily available.
Some girls in Uganda miss around 11% of their academic year because of their periods, according to a report on menstrual management. This was part of what fuelled the fire to develop an alternative to these disposable sanitary products. The three women – sisters Radha and Miki Agrawal, along with friend Antonia Dunbar – have designed the self-absorbing THINX underwear. This product in particular is made to be used as a backup for tampons or menstrual cups, and on lighter days can eliminate the need altogether.
How It Works
The women have patented a technology called THINX QuadTECH, which is a type of underwear with, essentially, a built in reusable pad. This garment has 4 layers: a moisture-removing layer, then a stain resistant anti-microbial layer, then what is the equivalent of a pad which “can hold from 2-6 teaspoons of blood,” and lastly a leak resistant layer. These resourceful undies come in three different styles: Thong, Cheeky, and Hiphugger, with a price tag ranging from $24 to $34. While it is recommended that these underwear be hand rinsed before washing, you can easily throw them in the wash machine to clean.
The underwear are moisture wicking, which means you will stay feeling dry and fresh, and they are anti-microbial, because they contain an invisible silver treatment. Depending on the style they can absorb up to two tampons worth of liquid. These are also leak resistant. It is important to know your flow, and choose accordingly. These can be used in conjunction with menstrual cups if you wish, and can definitely eradicate the need for wasteful panty liners.
“Women in our culture don’t want to talk about their periods – most still think about it as crass and disgusting, I want to change the culture around women’s most normal time of month – and not while wearing grandma panties or pads that feel like a diaper.” – Miki Agrawal, CEO and Founder of THINX, in an interview with Forbes.
I’m sure many of us women can relate to that statement. The founders of THINX are on a mission to change the conversation around menstruation and they also aim to assist women in the developing world who still have very limited access to menstruation products and who are also subject to menstruation associated shame.
THINX has now teamed up with another wonderful company called AFRIpads, a company based out of Uganda that makes and distributes washable, reusable pads to women in need. For every pair of THINX panties sold, seven pads are donated to AFRIpads, affording women and girls who are having their period the ability to go to school and work, and offering them a more sanitary menstruation time in the process.
Its about time we started discussing some alternative options for menstruation products! The industry has been quite stagnant for a while, so why not get the conversation going? THINX has already raised millions of dollars in venture capital funding and they plan to keep their business online as they continue to grow so they can “control our brand, our story.”
To buy a pair of THINX underwear click here.
To directly support AFRIpads, click here.
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