12 Weird Period Problems You Thought Only Happened To You

We all know about the common side effects of getting your period: cramps, bloating, headaches, sore breasts, mood swings, and exhaustion. It’s normal to hear girls complaining about painful cramps that leave them bed-ridden. We’re used to hearing everyone talk about their roller coaster emotions, from friends laughing about embarrassing crying episodes to dudes cringing in fear over their girlfriends picking fights for no reason. No one is surprised to hear a woman complaining about any of these things – in fact, we’re often expected to complain about them. But what about your other period symptoms? What about the ~weird~ things that happen during PMS that aren’t freely discussed? Things like stomach issues and heavy flows?

With the lack of discussion over anything that isn’t a *mainstream period problem* it’s easy to start thinking you’re the only one experiencing the so-called “weird” menstruation issues you might go through. Teachers in sex ed, moms, and gynecologists freely speak about the most common period problems, but they fail to tell you about the (for lack of a better word) more gross things that could happen to your body. So let’s talk about it! The “strange” things you might be experiencing are probably way more common than you think… it’s just that girls feel too embarrassed to bring them up. Here are 12 weird period problems you thought only happened to you that are actually pretty normal:

Butthole Pain

Yes, you read that right: butthole pain during your period. It's a thing. While I couldn't find much actual medical information on butt pain during your period, I did see a lot of threads full of women complaining about it. On this particular Ask Reddit thread, you can read a bunch of women feeling overjoyed at the fact that they aren't the only ones experiencing sharp pains in or around their butthole while they have their period. So, if you've ever felt sharp pain in your butt, you aren't alone! However, if it's really uncomfortable, I would suggest speaking to your gyno about it. A few threads suggested this might have something to do with endometriosis, which isn't great.

Source: iStock

Pooping More

If your period is accompanied by stomach pain and some extra time on the toilet, don't stress: you certainly aren't alone. Getting your period can cause stomach pain, more pooping, diarrhea, and more farting. It isn't pleasant! This happens because your uterus is so close to your colon - when your uterus gets engorged during menstruation, it presses against your colon and can cause all sorts of fun issues. I have ulcerative colitis, which is a chronic intestinal problem, and I can tell you that my stomach never hurts as much as it does the days before I get my period.

Source: iStock

Feeling Itchy Down There

Some women have complained of experiencing yeast or bacterial-like symptoms in the days leading up to getting their periods. This might mean an increase in discharge or a weird smell, but it usually means feeling itchy down there. If your vag is feeling itchy every month, don't just assume it's an infection - pay attention to when it happens. It could be syncing up with your period and might be happening because of that.

Source: iStock

Feeling Legitimately Depressed or Overly Anxious

We all know about period swings: girls crying over silly commercials, girls flipping out over tiny annoyances, girls acting "crazy" because of menstrual hormones. Little mood swings are normal, and often even lead to funny stories. But extreme, intense mood swings feel a little bit more serious, and can be so bad that they leave the woman wondering if something is actually wrong with her.

Too many women report feeling legitimately depressed and/or more anxious than usual when they get their period or in the days leading up to it. This isn't just crying-during-a-Google-commercial sad - it is legitimate I-don't-want-to-be-here sad. It's so sad that it's scary. I experience these intense mood swings, and it was even worse when I was on the birth control pill. It's really scary and can be very upsetting, but, unfortunately, it's also relatively normal.

Source: iStock

That Weird Fishy Smell

You know the smell I'm talking about. It's pungent. It's obvious. And it is immediately recognizable. It's when you walk into the school bathroom and the scent hits your nose, like dead fish or something more horrible. I know it's awful, but... it's normal. Periods can smell, especially if you aren't showering daily or changing your tampon/pad enough. Surprisingly, this isn't your period blood's scent. According to experts, period blood has no scent - it's when the blood mixes with your sweat or natural body odor that it starts to smell.

It might be embarrassing, but it's also completely normal. You can minimize the scent by showering every day you have your period, changing your menstrual products regularly, and wearing clean underwear and pants (yes, that means changing if you have a leak, and not wearing the same jeans a few days in a row).

Source: iStock

Feeling A Rush Of Blood Out Of Nowhere

One of the worst feelings a girl on her period can have is standing up after a few hours of sitting, and feeling a rush of blood seemingly fall out of her vagina. This feeling of gushing blood can be, forgive the dramatics, horrifying - especially if you're wearing a bathing suit, something light colored, or you were sitting on something that could now be stained. We don't like to talk about it, but it happens!

Unfortunately, there's not much to do here. You can try and prevent anything from happening after that rush of blood by changing your menstrual products regularly, wearing dark colors, and not sitting in one place for too long. This can prevent stains, but it won't prevent that rushing blood feeling from happening.

Source: iStock

Forgetting Things More Easily

Whenever we talk about negative period symptoms, we talk about physical annoyances. But what about mental ones? Your period affects your brain in more ways than just giving you mood swings - it can also mess with your memory. According to Shape, your brain becomes less active, which leads to a loss of memory: "Unfortunately, as your ovulation ends and your progesterone levels continue to rise, your hippocampus and the other parts of your brain become less active, meaning your short-term memory, verbal fluency, and general sociability may all fall, she explains. The German research shows your brain’s grey matter stores also shrink."

This isn't just something doctors say: if you read this Reddit thread, you'll see lots of women complain about how they forget things much more easily when on their period.

Source: iStock

Feeling Nauseous

You expect cramps when you're on your period, but nausea? Ugh! Unfortunately, it's totally common and normal. Really bad cramps in themselves can lead to a feeling of nausea, but so can what we discussed before (your uterus pressing against your colon). Plus, things like bloating or really bad headaches can also lead to nausea. Your period just messes with your stomach in general. I even have friends who actually throw up whenever they get their period because the nausea is so bad.

Source: iStock

Acting More Clumsy Than Usual

Another common PMS complaint on Internet threads is acting more clumsy than usual. If you notice that, during your period, you keep dropping things and/or hurting yourself, you aren't alone. Doctors actually don't know why this happens, but according to Women's Health, "The hypothesis is that high estrogen levels trigger your liver to make hormones that affect the kidneys and cause fluid retention in your body and possibly your brain, which could make it hard for you to keep your balance."

Source: iStock

Your Skin Feels More Sensitive

You probably already know that your period can mess with acne - most women complain of extra breakouts and stubborn pimples when they're bleeding. But aside from that, your period does other damage to your skin - one thing is that it makes it more sensitive. A lot of women complain of feeling more sensitive all over when they have their period, and they're not wrong! One expert told Refinery 29 that our skin becomes more tender because of "the release of prostaglandin hormones, which help the uterine lining shed." This hormone makes you feel pain more.

Source: iStock

Experiencing Large Blood Clots

Large blood clots can be pretty scary to see and feel coming out of you, but don't worry: this is normal, it's just something no one ever talks about.

Source: iStock

You Just Generally Feel Sore

Guys, in case you couldn't tell, your period sucks. A lot of women feel sore and achy and tired all over when they have their period - it's just not a common complaint because some women don't put two and two together. Your period can leave you feeling achy, with sore muscles and sensitive skin. You might feel exhausted, your back might hurt, your legs might ache. It's okay! You're probably not sick, just bleeding from your vagina. Yay?

Source: iStock

Which one of these weird period problems have you experienced? What did we forget to include? Let me know in the comments.

You can follow the author, Jessica Booth, on Twitter or Instagram.

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