Period undies always confused me. Wouldn’t you want to change them multiple times a day?
But period undies are typically designed to be worn all day, with many brands selling various absorbency levels. That said, even if a pair were absorbent enough for my very heavy flow, I really prefer to freshen up over the course of the day (especially when I’m flooding …). That’s why I primarily use a combination of reusable pads and a high-capacity menstrual cup.
I have enjoyed using various brands of period underwear on my light-to-medium flow days, and I know for many, almost their entire flow is what for me is “light,” so those lucky duckies are likely big believers in period undies.
I have used period undies as back up to my menstrual cup on heavy days, but still find myself wanting to change the whole pair if I’ve had a massive overflow. (Which is more often than I’d like, frankly!)
Luckily, my dear friends at Öko Creations had an idea. What about combining an absorbent period panty with a removable insert? The best of both worlds: pads and period panties and performance! With removable, combinable inserts, Öko-Flow period underwear are a workable solution for heavy periods and for frequent-changers like me.
How do Öko-Flow period undies work?
Öko-Flow underwear are stretchy, comfortable, midrise underwear with a sewn-in absorbent liner. The absorbent liner is composed of a single layer of the same breathable, fast-absorbing and stay-dry organic cotton as their flagship menstrual pads. Sandwiched between the absorbent layer and the exterior fabric of the underwear is a waterproof, breathable layer. The absorbent liner extends, at least on my body, quite high up and quite far back, although it does not go all the way up to the waistband.
Each pair of Öko-Flow underwear also comes with a removable, hourglass-shaped insert. This insert slides under the two elastics (more on those soon) in the gusset of the underwear to provide three extra layers of absorbent cotton and hemp.
You can also purchase additional 2-packs of these inserts. That means you can use two inserts at a time if you need that much absorbency, or you can swap in a fresh insert as needed, without having to change the entire pair of underwear.
Öko-Flow inserts and undies are easy to wash and easy to care for, and Öko has lots of great care information on their website.
How well do Öko-Flow period undies work?
For me, the single layer of built-in absorbency is not enough on my heavy days. But it would be plenty as back-up to your preferred internal protection or for light flow.
I know a lot of folks cannot stand any bulkiness to their period protection, and worn without the insert, Öko-Flow’s absorbent layer is imperceptible. I’m so used to wearing a daily liner that I actually had to get used to how it felt to have what feels like just underwear on. If you don’t experience big leaks when using internal protection, you’ll love the imperceptible absorbent layer of Öko-Flow sans insert. It’s like wearing your favourite pair of undies. For spotting and light flow, I also found Öko-Flow without an insert to be great.
The other period underwear I’ve tried have a synthetic fabric as the top layer that is worn against the vulva. I have experienced minor irritation from this type of fabric against my skin. I have never experienced such discomfort from Öko’s carefully chosen natural fabrics.
Are the elastics that hold the insert in place irritating?
My very honest concern when I first saw the Öko-Flow design (and since I helped with translation, I got to see sneak peaks of product photos) was that the two elastics across the gusset that hold the removable insert in place would be uncomfortable and also a bit gross. I worried that I’d feel them and they’d irritate me, and I worried that they’d be quickly blood-soaked. I was equally concerned that the elastics would not adequately hold the inserts in place over the course of the day.
I have now used my Öko-Flow at every possible moment for my last three periods (and to do so, I did some extra laundry, so don’t say I never did nothin’ for ya!) and I can state with absolute conviction that I could not feel the elastics, and they did not get blood on them at any time. Now, is it possible that a different body shape and bleeding patterns could have different results? Most definitely. But in my experience, even worn overnight during my heaviest 24 hours, I did not have this issue.
Do Öko-Flow period undies work for a heavy flow?
Let’s talk about using Öko-Flow overnight during my heaviest flow. On my heavy flow night, I usually overflow my cup and soak a cloth pad, and if I’m lucky, I also get some spots on my sheets or my pajamas because overnight the pad has managed to shift out of the target area.
For overnight with my Öko-Flow, I used two inserts. Now, I don’t think I’d care for a two-insert sandwich if I’m out and about during the day. It’s pretty thick. But it’s by no means too thick to be uncomfortable at bedtime, and it feels a lot better than a sticky disposable pad. Because of the absorbency built in to the underwear and the overall snug (but comfortable) fit of the inserts + undies combo, I felt reasonably sure I would wake up leak free. And I did! Blood had passed all the way through to the built-in layer of the undies, so I am mindful that if I had wanted to just swap out inserts in the morning I’d have been disappointed. The inserts themselves do not have a waterproof layer, so this wasn’t a surprise.
Overnight, I did experience one case of a leak onto my sheets, but I wouldn’t chalk it up to insufficient absorbency, but rather gravity and shifting positions constantly in my sleep.
On my heavy flow day using one insert, blood seeped through the insert after many hours of use, but there were no leaks.
When using an insert during a particularly active day, I found the insert would bunch a bit towards the centre. Because of the built-in absorbency of the underwear themselves, this did not lead to any leaks. Front to back, the insert stays easily in place without issue.
If you already own reusable pads but find they shift too much, you might even consider pairing them with Öko-Flow! If the pad is long enough, you can slide it under the elastics and also benefit from the back-up protection provided by the built-in liner of Öko-Flow undies.
My favourite things about Öko-Flow period undies:
- Natural fibre absorbent layer against the skin.
- Removable inserts mean not changing the entire pair.
- Combinable inserts mean the same pair can work for all types of flow.
- Made ethically in Canada.
I usually balance my list of favourite things with a list of things I’d improve, but I don’t really have any big cons to list for Öko-Flow—they’re the best period undies I have tried. So here are some things I’d love to see Öko do in the future with the Öko-Flow line:
- Offer a “heavy flow” optional insert with a second layer of internal absorbency and a waterproof layer for super heavy flows, so you can use the same pair of undies all day even when you can’t change the insert right away.
- Make solid coloured undies; the purple flowers are cute but not for everyone.
- Design a “boy shorts” style with wider absorbency in the gusset, potentially even down the leg; I think it’s the only way to completely eliminate the leaks I experience from moving around so much at night. (Leaks that occur no matter what type of pad or period underwear I use, if I shift just the right way in my sleep.)
Öko-Flow period undies are currently available in sizes XS to XL. Their size range will increase, including 3XS all the way up to 3XL within the year. Both my sister-in-law and I find they fit true to size.
Inserts are sold in 2-packs, with three different insert sizes depending on the size of the underwear.
Use code Lindsay.20 to save 20% on all Öko period products at Ökocreations.ca