Ah, yes, puberty (usually). A time when breasts start swelling up, hormones go crazy, and girls start having the ability to have babies. Menstruation isn’t really something I was expecting to talk about.
However, I feel like this is something that needs to be shared with the world, considering how little information is released to the public for both girls and guys (!!! What if you’re a single dad? How are you going to explain why your daughter is suddenly bleeding between her legs?) about sex education.
So here’s a how to guide for dealing with your period.
1. Why do women bleed? – a simple introduction
There’s the scientific explanation. Women bleed because they have a cycle. Every month or so, a mature egg is released and attaches itself to the lining, waiting to be fertilized by that one special sperm cell. However, when that day doesn’t come, all hell breaks loose.
Normally, the cycle happens every month. Some women have irregular cycles wherein they don’t bleed for several months and suddenly bleed for one month straight. It really depends. If you’re worried, go to a gynaecologist and talk to them about your condition.
And if you haven’t already, download an app that records and predicts your period. There are tons out there for free. Here’s an app for Android. Here’s one for the iPhone. It’s good to know when you’re going to bleed, ovulate, or plainly have PMS.
I can vouch for My Period Calendar for Android because that’s what I use. It reminds you at least 2 days before your period to remind you to prep for it.
2. Always be prepared for bloodshed. Tampons, napkins, whatever works.
Even if you know that your period isn’t coming in the next few days, you should always have one or two spare sanitary napkins in your bag. Your period could surprise you by coming a few days early or your friend’s period could come and she might not have any for herself. It’s just good to carry them out in case of emergencies like that. Yes, even if you’re a guy.
It’s best that everyone is aware of periods and what they do just so that genders can understand one another better.
Anyway, there are several period supplies. The most common in the Philippines is the sanitary napkin:
It’s pretty straightforward. You apply in inside your underwear and change it every few hours. Depending on how light or heavy your flow is, you’d also want to adapt if you’d want a regular napkin or a heavy overnight napkin. If you’re not sure, it’s best to experiment on what works best for you.
Negative on napkins: Sometimes they move in your underwear and can seep through your clothes. It took me years before I became an expert at putting these on and even then I still get the occasional leak.
The next one is more common in USA, the tampon:
The tampon is basically a very dense cotton that absorbs the blood before it even drips on your underwear. All you have to do is stick it up in your vagina and you’re good for a few hours. It’s pretty cool because you don’t actually feel it inside you when you do it properly.
Negative on tampons: If you leave it up there for too long, you could have Toxic Shock Syndrome. It’s a life threatening thing. However, used properly, tampons are pretty neat-o.
The next one is a Diva cup.
These things are starting to trend because unlike the tampon and the sanitary napkin, they’re environment friendly. You just shove it up your vagina and it literally acts as a cup or basin where the blood drips down. It works for 12 hours. Once you’re done, you just have to get it out, pour the blood down the toilet and just wash it again.
Negatives on diva cups: If you haven’t put it on properly, it’s possible to have leakage all over your underwear. Also, according to reviews it takes some getting used to. However, it’s pretty good for the environment so yeay for that! You can buy them here.
The last one that I’m aware of are the period panties.
Pretty steep prices, but the reviews are pretty good. The best way to explain it is to mold a sanitary napkin into underwear. The entire underwear works as your period catcher. The reviews are pretty good, stating that you still feel dry the whole day. You’ll also feel secure in knowing that your blood won’t be seeping through your clothes. Environment friendly too!
Negatives on period panties: Pretty. fucking. expensive. However, considering how much you spend on napkins, tampons, or whatever, it’s a pretty good investment.
You can buy them here.
3. Prepare for pain.
With periods come cramps. I’m not alone in the world when I say I hate period cramps. They hurt so much. At some point in my life, I woke up in the middle of the night from how painful these cramps could be. There are several ways to deal with them.
There’s painkillers. Standard painkillers will do every few hours. However, if you don’t want to spend money on painkillers there are other means as well. My favorite way to deal with cramps is
to lie down and cry heat up some water, put it in a jug and place it on my lower abdomen. The warm water helps blood flow and keeps the pain to a minimum.
Apparently, sex helps, if you’re up for it.
There’s also exercising. Exercise helps the blood flow to your uterus as well. Do this if you truly have the willpower to get up even after all that pain.
4. Take that much needed rest.
If it’s not important, if that phone call, that email, or that reading can wait, do it. Stay at home, watch a few good movies, sleep for the remainder of that day. Take your time and deal with this as you please. Make sure you’re doing your responsibilities but at the end of the day, you deserve some time off.
You bleed through your vagina for three months a year (one week per month, there are 12 months, that’s 12 weeks, 12 weeks equate to 3 months). That’s pretty fucking impressive. You have a full time job, career, or student responsibilities and you’re doing all that while your uterus screams at you to have a baby.
Girls are amazing.
Learn to embrace yourself and rest if you can.
Or, you know, opt to skip out that period entirely through birth control pills. It works, it’s possible. Talk to your gyno about it.
I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post, I thoroughly enjoyed typing down what I know. If you know anything more about periods, tips, tricks, or just want to help out other girls by putting the knowledge out there, leave a comment down below! ;D