Welcome to Chapter 1 of my new series – Girl Guide. What better way to start than with menstrual cycles? They, unfortunately, come part and parcel with being born a female.
For all those new to periods – hello, welcome to the gore, pain and mood swings! Come on in. So what is a period? A period or menstrual cycle is the release of menstrual blood from the womb through the vagina only once a month (for most) for around 3-8 days. This happens because our wombs are creating a safe wall of blood for a baby to latch onto and bed down in, and when this doesn’t happen the womb releases the wall of blood to start all over again in a months time. Sounds thrilling, doesn’t it?
Periods commonly last 3-8 days and come around every 28 days however this can vary depending on a few things, the most common reasons are your contraceptive (we’ll move onto this), you are stressed or you have an infection. If you’re missing periods and haven’t had sex you should see a doctor to discuss possible reasons why and what can be done. If you have had sex recently and miss your period then you may want to take a pregnancy test.
What sanitary products are there?
Tampons – These little cotton pieces are inserted into your vagina. They come in varying sizes for heavy to light flow. Tampons can be your knight in shining armour if you are planning on wearing tight trousers or a swimsuit.
Sanitary Pads – These are personal favourites of mine. They are much easier to see when they need changing as opposed to tampons which you need to take out! They’re especially good to sleep in, on heavy days I tend to sleep with a tampon and a pad for extra protection.
Menstrual Cups – I have never personally used these but I’ve heard great things about them! A big win for these is that they don’t use single-use plastic.
FAQ about periods:
- What else does a period do to your body? Most people experience headaches, nausea, cramps, bloating, mood swings, tender breasts, irritability, acne and more. Everyone experiences different effects during their period.
- Does your period smell? It sometimes does at the end. If you use a tampon then you probably won’t ever smell it, and most pads are scented to cover the smell.
- When will it end? You can go on the progestogen-only pill which will stop your period if taken correctly, it will also most likely stop during pregnancy.
- Can you get pregnant on your period? Yes, you need to practice safe sex if you want to have sex on your period.
- How many contraceptives are there? Check out this NHS post for information on all the different contraceptives.
- How can I stop the pain? I personally take a Nurofen if the headaches get worse, but for cramps, a hot water bottle is your saving glory.
Well, that’s it for chapter 1! I hope this helps some young girls with their period. Chapter 2 will be out 29th March 2019!