Warning: I'm just going to be straight up before I start the post. This post is about periods/menstruation, or whatever you choose to call it. This post is intended for girls who want some advice on how to manage it a little better. Boys, I can't stop you from reading, but just beware. Also keep in mind, girls, that I am not a doctor, and can't offer professional advice. Also note that I will be using words such as vagina, sperm, and obviously period in this post. This post contains some mild bad language.
Every girl knows, or will know at some point in her life what I'm talking about. The cravings, the mood swings, the cramping, the breakouts, the... eww (yes I mean bleeding), it's a monthly occurrence. Every girl will experience these symptoms in slightly different ways. They can go from very mild, to moderate, to severe. Some lucky girls may even have the complete absence of some of these symptoms, and that's perfectly fine as well. There are many ways to manage these symptoms, and different girls will find that different things work better for them. I will be primarily sharing things that work for most girls, and things that work for me. If you have something else that works for you, please share it in the comments section of this post.
I will not be getting into the specifics of what a period is, and why we have it today, but basically, it is a 28 day cycle (can differ from girl to girl) in which an egg goes through the female reproductive system. Every month an egg is released, and the uterus build up a lining, preparing for pregnancy. At the end of the cycle, if the egg is not fertilized, the egg and the uterine lining will exit the body through the vagina, this is your period. So that, bloody gooey mess, isn't as much blood as it is uterine lining, although a little blood does come with it. It'll take a few days for it to exit the body, and how long it takes depends on your body. 5 days is typical, but it could be a longer, or shorter time frame. Other symptoms such as cramps and PMS may come up along with your period, each with varying degrees of severity. Cramps are caused by the contracting of the uterus during your period. PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) is caused by the changes in hormones around the time of your period. Hormonal changes can also lead to more breakouts around this time of month.
Yea... So in general periods suck, or at least that's my, and many other girls opinion. Unfortunately, all of us females will have to deal with them. But hey, look on the positive side, when you get your period, at least your not pregnant (well, unless your trying to get pregnant, then it still sucks). We can't stop it from coming, but we can at least manage it, and do a few things to help out our symptoms. Today I will share what works for me, and for most girls. Feel free to try these out, and try out your own methods as well.
Flow can range from light to heavy. Flow levels can also vary from day to day.
How to manage- As far as I know, there really isn't much you can do to control your flow. However, it's important to choose the right pad or tampon for your flow. You don't want to use one that's to light, or you'll have to change much more often, and your more prone to leaks. But you don't want to use one that's too heavy either, especially with tampons.
When to change- Pads should be changed about every 4 hours at the most, and tampons should be changed about every 8 hours at the most, or when it's full to prevent leaks. This can be a way to determine what absorbency you need. If you are filling up a pad or tampon in less the the full time, you may want to bump up in absorbency. Although some girls may want to change more often, just to feel a little fresher. However, if you don't fill a pad (4 hours) or tampon (8 hours) in that time, you'll want to move down in absorbency.
Cramps can range from mild to severe, some girls may not even get them at all. Pain levels can also vary from day to day. You may have them only one day, then not have them for the rest of your period, or they could last the whole week, or even just a few days.
How to manage- Different methods work for different girls. Many girls say that light exercise helps with cramps. You can also consider putting a warm heating pad over your lower tummy. I personally find that taking a nap and just getting some rest can really help out a lot. If you have things to do, taking pain relievers such as Aleve or Tylenol can really help out a lot. If you are under 14, ask a parent before taking anything. Only take the recommended dose. Taking more then needed is dangerous, and won't help any more with cramps. If your cramps are so bad that you can't do anything, and nothing helps, you may want to see a doctor.
Breakouts can occur at any time of the month, but the hormonal changes near menstruation can cause more acne to pop up at this time. How much you breakout, or if you breakout at all, depends on you.
How to manage- Simply keeping a good face washing routine down all month can help to keep blemishes down. This isn't a 100% guarantee that you won't get blemishes, but it'll help to keep it down. However, don't over wash your face. Over washing can cause breakouts as well, and can dry out your skin. Keep your hair clean as well, oily hair puts more oil onto your face, and can clog up your pores. Don't forget to keep the rest of you body clean as well, your face isn't the only place you can break out. Plus it's nice to feel fresh and clean month round anyways. If you feel your acne is disrupting your life, ask a dermatologist for advice.
Chocolate, CHOCOLATE!! Well, not every girl craves chocolate, but many of us get cravings for something we really like around our period (or at any time of month). Though hormones can really kick up those cravings.
How to manage- When it comes to cravings, remember that it's okay to give in once in a while, as long as you don't over do it. To much of anything is never good for you, including healthy things like fruits and veggies. If you want to stick to healthful eating, a nice piece of fruit, or a smoothie, can help to settle the cravings for something sweet. You can also try some Nutella on toast if you wan't something chocolaty. But then again, it's nice to have a brownie, cookie, or bowl of ice cream once in a while. A little indulgence, and special treat will never hurt. Just don't forget to eat healthy foods as well, along with exercise.
You many find that you are a little more irritable, or that you get mad or sad much easier, and for no reason around your period. This is due to the changes in hormones around your period, and it's perfectly normal. I personally find myself getting a little bitchy around this time. PMS can range from mild to severe, and generally occurs within a few days before the start of your period.
How to manage- Keep a mood diary, and write down how you are feeling every day. Mark down when your period starts, this will also help you determine your cycle. If you experience PMS you may find that within a few days before you period starts, you're mood may take a turn for the worst. Remind yourself that it's because or your period coming soon, and that it's not your fault. If you find yourself getting mad and snapping at people easily, it may be best to stay quiet. If needed, you can tell your friends whats going on, but don't use PMS as a constant excuse for being mean. Try your best to keep negative thoughts in your head in social situations. For example, it's best not to tell someone to "shut the $%^# up" or to call them a moron, especially if you don't know them well, or in professional situations. You can also rattle off your feelings to a trusted family member, or a close trusted friend if needed. You can also consider writing down your thoughts if they may hurt the persons feelings. Just remember, these feelings should pass soon after your period starts.
Warning- If negative feelings linger for a few days after your period starts, or won't go away at all. Or come at other times a month (without reason), and last for more then two weeks. You may want to see a doctor. There may be something else going on. Also see a doctor if PMS symptoms become hard to manage and significantly impact your life. If you are having any feelings of hopelessness or thoughts of suicide this is not PMS, this is a serious mental illness and needs to be treated IMMEDIATELY. Remember, there will be ups and downs throughout the month, but the feelings should not linger for to long.
I hope you enjoyed my first Girls Only post. From time to time, I'll be making more of these posts about puberty, and growing up. I also write many advice posts, as well as posts about make-up, and other fun things on my blog. I encourage you to comment things that work for you here, as it may just help someone else. Keep in mind that I am not a professional, and I can not offer medical advice. I can simply tell you what works for me, and give some tips and tricks.