After having cramps on and off for about 6 months with constant anxiety of whether this “is it” – a few weeks before my 12th birthday at midnight it finally happened. Screaming for mum at the top of my lungs after the sudden panic at seeing my own blood. I mean I was 11, it was pretty damn scary! Of course, I knew it was coming and I was prepared but until it does you can’t quite get your head round it. Gone are the days of me wishing to get my period to become a ‘woman’ (10 years later and I’m only just getting there). So many questions I was too embarrassed to ask mum about, probably too many things she felt uncomfortable to go through – like my first ever tampon, I mean how do you explain that to an 11 year old?
So for all you questionable girls out there or mums looking for a bit of help from someone a bit closer to your daughters age – I gotcha covered.
Periods can start from age 8-18, either end of the spectrum is considered rare but of course there are some cases of it happening so if you’re 16 and wondering why mother nature hasn’t come banging down your door with red confetti yet – no stress, it may just be a little late. Of course if you’re worried you should always go see your doctor – I’m no healthcare professional and I am only offering advice from what I have learned over the past 10 years of having periods (now I feel old!)
So in case you didn’t know, a period only happens when an egg and sperm haven’t fertilised, and essentially your womb is a bit of a stress-head that so desperately wants to get pregnant and when she doesn’t she throws a full fledged meltdown on you. Your womb lining thickens as she waits to create a cushion for a baby, think of your womb as a teenager waiting for a celebrity to walk by her room – she gets all excited and starts prepping her room to look neat and tidy only to realise they’re not coming, so she immediately throws a temper tantrum throwing posters and pictures of them out of her room. This ‘temper tantrum’ also causes cramps, we’ll touch on that in a bit.
The first time you get your period, don’t panic or feel embarrassed, most women on the planet will have gone through it at some point. The blood will always look more than it is. It’s always good to have pads in the house – I’m sure your mum will have some. If you live with your dad I know it may be uncomfortable to ask him to buy some, try asking for ‘lady things’ if you’re too embarrassed but your dad will get it too. Majority of men have had to spend time with a woman so they know all the ins and outs!
Speaking of pads, lets touch on the sanitary wear you can get but you may not have heard about!
Pads – one of the most common one, made with or without wings. Personally wings are the best option, they make sure it stays in place and prevents any leakages from the side. Cons are that some a heavily perfumed which can cause irritation and they feel like you’re wearing a nappy unless you go for more expensive brands like Always that offer a memory foam one that fits your body.
Reusable sanitary pads – work exactly the same as normal pads except they are washable. A bit more expensive out cost but save you money in the long run – usually come with a wash bag to pop in the washing machine. More environmentally friendly than plastic disposable ones!
Tampons – either come with a cardboard or plastic applicator or not (save your self some pain the first time round and get one with the applicator!) These are inserted into your vagina and need replacing every 6-8 hours, you need to make sure you use one to accommodate your flow and if not you could run the risk of TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome).
Menstrual cup – a cup that is inserted inside that holds the blood inside it. Once figured out correct positioning and length of time needed compared to flow – these feel like nothing and do not leak. They need to be removed, cleaned and replaced every 12 hours with a very tiny risk of TSS.
All of the above forms of sanitary wear are 100% okay and you should never let anyone peer pressure you into using anything you’re not comfortable with! I personally started out with disposable pads, then tampons and now a cup. It can take years to find out what is most comfortable to you, so try all of them and figure out what suits you best!
Now onto some truths about periods you may not know:
- Not all girls have cramps – some girls have pain thresholds of steel and others (like me) feel like mini elves are jumping on their ovaries with heels on.
- It can take up to 1 year for your period cycle to sort itself out. Some girls go regular from the very first month. Some girls take a bit longer and will have irregular periods. Most doctors will ask you to wait 6 months to a year before referring you to a gynaecologist for irregular periods. Having said that, if you really feel off and know something isn’t right with your body do go and see them.
- You can get pregnant on your period.
- The average women will have over 400 periods in their lifetime (poor us!)
- On average you lose 2.7 ounces of blood which is equal to two shot glasses or 16 teaspoons.
Things that will help you hugely:
- Hot water bottles are your best friend – heat helps loosen your muscles so when they’re cramping like mad it’s a welcome soother.
- Feminax, in my opinion, is the only thing that helps pains. It’s essentially ibuprofen but its present as ibuprofen lysine that targets cramps and its a higher mg than normal ibuprofen. Other ones just don’t do it for me!
- Invest in some PH friendly feminine wipes, like femfresh, it will hugely make your day a lot better when you’re on. Especially if you’re new to it all! I hate getting my period and always feel so gross so it’s nice to freshen up through the day!
- Get an app like Clue, you can track your period and it will even let you have the option of sending you a text when mother nature is looming. It’s really important for your menstrual health to keep a check on everything, I like Clue simply because I can always track everything to do with periods – from cramps to PMS, it even gives you a rough window of ovulation. So when the time comes when we want to start a family it will be easier (hopefully) – also good to know if you want to be super safe when having sex that week.
- Chocolate is actually good for your period (and sanity). However, unfortunately it’s only dark chocolate that helps cramps, boo! That being said, absolutely no one is judging you if you eat an entire share bar of galaxy – we all do it.
All women have periods at some point in their life, so we should all take strength from each other and encourage each other. Which is exactly the reason I’m publishing this post, teenage me would be horrified I was even saying period out loud! As Andy loves to say FISH! (F*ck it sh*t happens!)
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- How to turn your flaws into your biggest asset.
- 21 things I’ve learnt at 21
- How to make your relationship last the long haul.
- Don’t say ‘Have you tried washing your face?’