Let’s talk about one of those things we aren’t supposed to talk about: periods! Almost every woman has one, so if there's anything to be “ashamed” of, it's not knowing everything you should know about your period. It’s a totally normal thing to learn about and discuss, so here are the things every woman should know about her period.
1. What PMS is
Confession: I didn’t know what PMS was for a long time after starting my period! All I knew was that it was what high school boys shouted whenever a girl got upset. PMS stands for premenstrual syndrome and entails a “collection of emotional, psychological and physical symptoms,” according to pmscentral.com . PMS doesn’t just cause a sassy attitude but alters everything from food cravings to sex drive!
2. How to Control PMS
PMS isn’t something that will just disappear by smiling throughout the day—unfortunately. But there are some natural methods for making the symptoms less prominent. Vitamin E and B6 supplements, calcium, and magnesium can all benefit your PMS symptoms. So maybe you can say goodbye to Pretty Miserable Situation—oops, I mean premenstrual syndrome…
3. Toxic Shock Syndrome
This is something you should definitely know about if you use tampons, rather than pads or menstrual cups. Even though it’s rare, this bacterial infection can lead to death, so it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry. Always change your tampon on time, every 4-8 hours, to avoid this tragic infection. If you notice a high fever, vomiting, rashes, or aches after your period, you may want to consult a doctor, just to be safe and sure that you don’t have toxic shock syndrome.
4. Too Much Flow is Actually Too Much
A heavy flow sucks, and sometimes it’s just mother nature dealing you a bad hand. But too much flow can actually be "too much" and signal a greater health issue. Your period isn’t supposed to be fun and comfortable, but if you are experiencing extreme discomfort, having to rush to the bathroom often, or in pain, there is a problem. Additionally, if your period lasts more than 7 days, you have to change your pad/tampon 6 or 7 times a day, or experience blood clots, something is off. If this describes your period, then you should talk to your doctor about what health concerns s/he has for you.
5. Discharge Patterns
The milky white liquid that comes out the weeks you aren’t on your period is called “discharge”—don’t worry, you’re not leaking alien fluid or whatever you thought that stuff might be! The thickness of it changes throughout your menstrual cycle, based on the hormone levels in your body as you get closer to your period.
6. When It Will Stop
As soon as you started your period on that dark day in middle school, you may have started dreaming about the day when all of this will end! Well, good news for you, there is an indicator of when you’ll start menopause so that you’ll be more mentally and emotionally prepared for that change. What’s the indicator? Your mom! She may not be totally eager to discuss the age at which she stopped menstruating, but I’m sure she’ll be willing to have a conversation about it when you’re both ready.
7. You Shouldn’t Be Ashamed
Tragically, throughout history and across the globe, women have been shamed for a natural occurrence which they cannot control. Your monthly flow isn’t gross or weird, and you shouldn’t treat it that way! When you act ashamed of your period, it only makes it more okay for men to shame and mock PMS, and it teaches young girls to hide this part of womanhood. Don’t be ashamed of your period—it’s evidence of a fully functional, beautiful human body!
Whether you’ve just had your first period or your hundredth, there’s always something new you can learn about your body! The body is an amazing thing, and it’s helpful to know how and why things work, especially so that you can solve problems when anything goes wrong. What interests you most about periods?