Let’s talk about periods, girls! I know you are all very excited. I can feel it. You know why? Because you girls won’t stop talking about that time of the month! Like, ever.
So, let’s jump into a quick definition as a refresher (like you really need it, right?): Period (n): That time of the month when your body seems to think it’s funny to bleed for, like, a week and cause you lots-o-pain.
Yep, that sounds about right.
Periods are something that a lot of girls deal with on the regular, so it’s pretty obvious why you are all obsessed with them. But periods can also be quite confusing. I get it. That’s why this week, we are dedicating space to answering 5 of your burning questions about periods. Check it out! You know you want to.
Painful, Problem Periods
“I always get cramps when I have my period. Sometimes it is so bad that I curl up and cry because of the pain. I’ve heard that many people suggest using birth control. Should I try to use it?” – Intan
I’m sorry that your period is causing you so much pain! I’m all about trying to solve this problem with you, so let’s look at some options. To start off, you’re right. Birth control is one option you have on the table. For some people, birth control helps to regulate periods and minimize pain. But, it doesn’t work for everyone. Sometimes, things like prescription pain relievers (like Naproxen) might do the trick. They are stronger than the ibuprofen you are probably already taking, and could make the pain a thing of the past. There’s also a few things you could change in your every day life that could help — like kicking caffeine during your time of the month or doing light exercising to help sooth your muscles. Think things like yoga.
Point is, you have lots of options to try, which is great. A great way to find a good place to start? Consult your doctor. Whether you want to go on birth control or try some other method to dull the cramps, chances are a doctor can help you along the way. And, yes, this may involve seeing a gynecologist (which I promise isn’t as terrible as everyone makes it out to be). Your health and comfort are both worth getting this sorted out, so be sure to look at all your options. Wishing you pain-free periods in the near future!
“I recently had a period ‘accident’ during class. I was so embarrassed! We only have nine minutes to go to each class, and all my classes are so far away from each other. I am trying to find a pad that can hold for seven hours of school. Where can I get something like that?” – Mackenzie
Mackenzie, you totally aren’t alone in this one. I know that Heather has been getting lots of questions from girls like you who are just sick of all the period upkeep. Sorry to be the one to break the bad news, but periods are work! They require us to take care of ourselves and our bodies on the regular. The pads you are looking for sadly don’t exist. That being said, I hate to hear that you are struggling with this given your tight schedule. So let’s chat about how to make things better.
First of all, your schedule sounds really strenuous! Maybe the problem isn’t your period, but is your busy school life. Periods are a fact of life and you need time to care for your body. If your schedule isn’t letting you do that, you need to find a solution. Are there any times when you get to class even two minutes early? Are there any times where you can ask for a hall pass and not miss something important in class? What about lunch…can you make it to the bathroom then? See where your schedule allows you to be flexible and work with it. In order to prevent leaks, you have to change your pad or tampon every few hours, depending on how heavy your flow is. So, if it’s heavier, you might need to change it every one to two hours (or even more). If it’s lighter, you may be able to wait up to eight hours.
Another idea? When you have your period, wear dark colors, like black jeans or leggings and a long shirt. That way, even if you do leak, it won’t be AS obvious. You may also want to consider using something besides a tampon or pad. Things like menstrual cups may allow you to hold out longer than a pad or tampon would, but even those should be cared for a couple of times a day. The point is, periods are a part of life and you need to be ready to take care of yourself! So take care!
Pregnancy and Periods…and Sex
“My boyfriend and I sometimes have sex when I am on my period. But I’m a little worried. Are there any problems that can happen by doing this? Can I get pregnant?” – Lessa
If you and your BF are having sex without a condom — whether you are on your period or not — there are a lot of things that could happen that should cause you some concern. Pregnancy is just one of those things. There’s also risk of STDs and STIs that you need to be aware of. So keep those in mind, now and always!
I think it is important to treat having sex on your period like any other time you are having sex, which means committing to wearing a condom to protect against pregnancy and STDs. If you don’t use a condom, it is important to faithfully use some other form of reliable contraceptive to protect against pregnancy and to get tested for STDs on the regular. Seriously. Do it. Like today if you haven’t yet.
All that being said, sure, the chance of getting pregnant is reduced (not gone!) when you are on your period. But does that mean that you should just forget condoms and contraceptives during that time of the month? No, no, no. “Reduced” definitely does not equal a zero percent chance. So it’s better to be safe. Stay smart and protect yourself during all types of sex. You’ve got this!
“I’ve had my periods a few times before, but this time it is really heavy! I’ve stayed off school because of it! I’ve tried eating bananas, drinking lots of water, exercising … but nothing is working! What do I do? Please help!” – Lilly
I’m sorry that your period is causing you such problems. That sounds like the worst! The tricks that you are trying may work for some people, but don’t be discouraged if they aren’t working for you. Things are totally not hopeless and I’m sure you can find a solution to all of this.
You should definitely take a trip to the doctor to see if you can get this sorted out. Having your period interfere with your every day living is, well, no way to live. Your doctor will probably have suggestions about ways to regulate your period and help slow your flow. Things like birth control or prescription medication may be what the doctor orders. And they may work right for you!
Your period is a part of your life, but shouldn’t take over your life. Being dedicated to your health and body is important. So be sure to do just that in this situation. Heavy periods can be a time-to-time occurrence for those of us with vaginas, but they shouldn’t be the standard. Your doctor is your BFF in this case, so don’t be shy! Be open and honest with your doctor about your period problems. You’ll thank yourself when you figure out how to fix all of this!
Where’d Ya Go?
“I’m almost 15 and I started my period over a year ago. But I’ve only gotten it three times since then, and I haven’t had one in six months. I am really embarrassed to tell anyone. Only my best friend knows. I haven’t even told my mum I’ve started my period. I am getting really worried. What should I do?” – Anonymous
The good news is periods can be kind of weird when you are first starting out. A lot of times, they aren’t regular and are a little troublesome for the first few months you have them. So what you are going through is probably no big deal medically. Phew!
That being said, there is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about when it comes to your period. I can’t stress this enough! If anyone makes fun of you for not having a regular period, well, they aren’t a very good friend to begin with. So, if it comes up, don’t be afraid to say, “OMG, my period is so weird. One month, I’ll have it. The next month, I won’t. I just wish I was regular!” All of that is honest and how you seem to truly feel. And it shows that it isn’t a big deal to you, which will tell your friends that it shouldn’t be a big deal to them.
As for your mother, who has kind of been left in the dark — clue her in! Moms can be a HUGE help when it comes to all your period-related problems. Chances are she’s lived through a lot of cycle issues herself. So use her as a resource! I bet she’ll love to help you out along the way. Good luck, girly!
What period problems have you been known to have? How do you deal? Tell us all about it in the comments below!