your period, no problem, by ES
This article was written for yooou! by 17-year-old, ES.
Hello wonderful girls!
Fun Fact. Humans are one of the only mammals that get their period.
So what are periods?
Your period is the process of your menstrual cycle, which is a process of puberty. Every month the uterus (your womb) gets thicker with tissue and the ovaries release an egg. When the egg gets fertilized with sperm the uterus lining stays but if not, your body sheds the tissue. That tissue is the blood you call menstruation. So basically your period is just your womb throwing out the trash.
Girls start their period on average around the age of thirteen but this can also happen much earlier or later so the age range is mostly from 13 till 18. The average menstrual cycle is 28 days and the average days girls/women are on their period is 3-5 days.
Your first period might not be like it is described in the media or books. It probably looks more like poop than blood (gross, I know). Your period also may not be consistent every month. (Don’t worry, this is normal the first 2 years.)
Pains and other symptoms are normal during your period. Your menstrual cycle has to do a lot with hormones so extra pimples around the time of your period could be happening. I don’t like it either…
A lot of people -at least in Europe- will say when you first get your period that you are “turning into a woman!” This is partly true but in reality, you are just going through a part of puberty and are just in the beginning of growing (so don’t worry).
Do you feel there is a stigma around periods?
This is reality for women. (Almost) every female has to go through the time they get their period. Seriously, 50% of the population has this monthly cycle so don’t ever let it get you down. The period is an amazing thing the body can do. The uterus literally cleans itself and gets rid of the stuff it doesn’t need. And if people talk more openly about periods this could lead to better healthcare for women and girls.
Now on to hygiene products.
There are a lot of products you can use to stop your period from messing up your mood and outfit. (Haha, happened too often to me). Most commonly used are pads and tampons. Another option is the ecofriendly period cup. One really handy product is Knixteen’s period underwear. They are designed for having your period so you don’t have to worry about them getting dirty or leaking.
Be careful with tampons. The scented tampons, as well as wearing them too long, which could lead to toxic shock syndrome. This is crazy I know, I mean why do you even need scent down there?
Now unfortunately hygiene products for your period are quite expensive. Luckily some schools offer tampons and pads to girls at dischargeable machines for free or a small amount of money. Many times, your school nurse will have extras. Otherwise, you can always ask another girl because in my experience, they will have an extra pad or tampon and gladly give them. We all have been there.
Now with your period often comes pain. This is because your uterus is making itself cramp the tissue out and it can hurt. So products you can use to ease the pain is any pain medicine such as paracetamol or special Aleve Feminax (they have those in Europe, I don’t know about other countries). A heated pad or sheet also helps (on top of your belly where the pain is). Heat distracts your body so you won’t feel the ache as much.
And lastly products that always help- FOOD! Chocolate, ice cream, French fries…any food you crave will help. It distracts you and it might cheer you up.
Don’t let a stigma around your period, discomfort or embarrassment stop you from being proud of your body and of being an amazing girl!
Girls, if you ever have a question, concern or comment about your period or any medical subject, please talk to a trusted parent, doctor or friend.