My 13 year old daughter has been refusing to wear underwear for a few years,  she can’t/won’t tolerate the feeling.  We have tried all sorts of underwear, seam free etc to no avail.  She has recently started her periods and we are having a nightmare.  Does anyone have any advice?   Thanks in advance. Xx 

  • Sorry you are having this issue with your daughter.  No real advice, I'm afraid - but I know it isn't an uncommon thing.  I used to work with an autistic chap who simply refused to wear multiple layers of clothing.  Only ever one layer - winter and summer.  And no underwear at all.

    Can I ask... is she in mainstream schooling?  Does she have learning disabilities?  Does she have any other sensory issues?

  • Is some kind of internal protection an option at all?

    Menstruation cups would potentially be a good option...or may not be an option at all. 

    But they can be a lot more comfortable than tampons and much cheaper in the long run.

    Does she wear any kind of clothing that pads could be attached to? 

    Hope you find some way round the dilemma soon.

  • You might find this helpful...


    Have you had any input from an occupational therapist?  If not, it might be worth talking to her/your GP for advice on this.

  • Sorry, I'm not sure I can be of any help but I just wanted to reach out and say your daughter is not alone with this particular sensory issue. I struggle with underwear too.

    For the upper body I find crop top styles so there are no wires or hooks. 

    For the lower body I wear seam free which isn't comfortable but it's an awful lot better than seams... I know I need to wear something so I wear something and do my best to not have uncomfortable layers on top... I've also shopped around a lot and tried many many style to try and find what feels like the best if a bad bunch.

    For the periods, I take a version of the pill that has stopped them. I'm not sure if this is a suitable option at 13... I guess speaking with a medical professional might be helpful... I know that not everyone speaks favourable about the pill but I was recommended for me by my doctor and for me it has been absolutely life changing. I use it only to control my periods, they have stopped entirely and I don't have the monthly hormonal rollercoaster anymore. It has been greatly helpful for me.

    I found that my sensory issues are better or worse depending on other factors. If I'm distracted and engaging in my special interest then I'm able to somewhat ignore my sensory sensitivities. If I'm anxious, agitated, stressed, tired, overwhelmed, overloaded, etc. then my sensory sensitivities seem much worse. I think the likelihood is that my sensitivities are constant but I'm able to cope with them better at times when life is better. Clothing is a longing standing sensory issue for me but with time I've learned what works best for me and perhaps your daughter will be the same as she matures... I've learned somethings are essential and I need to accept them, whereas other things can be altered to suit my needs. 

  • I can totally relate to this. I've never fully refused to wear it but underwear is an absolute sensory nightmare for me. It's horrible. I really really struggled when I started my periods. They made the sensory issues a million times worse and they don't help me mood wise either. So I get how hard it must be for you and your daughter. If she really can't deal with the sensation at all then it is going to be a really difficult issue. If you've tried lots of types/fits/materials then I'm really not sure what you could do. She would still be able to wear tampons etc as long as she was very good at changing them regularly but I have a massive sensory issue with those so I don't know if that is a possibility either.

    I know this may be a bit controversial especially at 13 and I've no idea how you'd feel about it. But could you speak to her doctor and see if they could prevent her periods for a while? As she gets older perhaps she'll be better able to deal with the sensory issues. Just a suggestion.

    Hope you find a solution.

  • I can understand this too. I’ve always found I can’t tolerate the feeling of pads, for me tampons are ok though. Underwear wise as you’ve obviously tried lots you’ve probably tried this, but has she tried loose shorts type knickers? Might suit her if you can find a material she can tolerate?