Period basics: from good hygiene to sex
Let's get a little personal here. Whether you've just started your period or you've had it for as long as you can remember, proper period hygiene can make having your period safer and easier.
After reading an article in Marie claire about a model who lost her leg from TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) I really wanted to share some awareness with you. I always knew about TSS but I had no idea how serious it could be. We all just ignore those little pamphlets inside our boxes of tampons. In this post I'm going to share some tips and tricks to make your period as fresh and easy as posible!
Keeping clean on your period
Above all, this is the most important for feeling clean, comfortable and confident.
- Wash regularly, at least once a day! Make sure you've removed any tampons or menstrual cups.
- Wash gently but thoroughly. Don't use any soaps, even special feminine ones. The vagina is a magical self-cleaning vessel!
- Opt for loose clothing and cotton underwear because it's soft and breathable.
- Change your hygiene products frequently. Every 3-4 hours for pads and every 4 hours for tampons. You can switch up the absorbency to a lower one and change it more frequently if you perfer. As long as you don't exceed 8 hours for tampons!
- Use the right absorbency. Change your pad when you start to notice it feeling damp or every time you go to the bathroom. Never use a tampon when your not on your period. Always use the lowest absorbency.
- Wipe front to back after using the toilet or when washing. This stops bacteria from spreading and causing infections.
- Practice safe sex. It may sound gross to you but some people still have sex on their period. You have the added risk of passing on or contracting blood-borne diseases like HIV or Hepatitis B through unprotected sex. You can speak to your doctor for more information.
Be prepared for any emergencies!
Keeping a Period Kit with you is great incase Mother Nature arrives unexpectedly. Or if another galpal suffers a suprise, she'd really appreciate a spare tampon or 2!
- A cute zipped bag, one that can be easily cleaned or wiped.
- At least 3 pads and/or tampons. (I like Tampax Pearl and Always Infinity)
- Panty Liners for lighter days and spotting.
- Spare underwear incase of leaks.
- Platic bags to put the dirty underwear or used sanitary products if theres no bins available. You can use little nappy bags!
- Feminine wipes to freshen up or clean your hands.
- Ibuprofen for cramps and aches. (see below)
- Hand Sanitiser
- A chocolate bar for a little pick-me-up.
PMS and Period Pains...HELP?!
Totally normal side effects of having a period. Rejoice...not. PMS can start a week to 10 days before your period actually comes. It can be physical like breast tenderness and bloating to emotional like depression, anxiety, mood swings and sensitivity. This can be eased with a balenced diet, gentle excersise and lots of sleep and relaxation.
Period pains and cramps are totally normal. It's thanks to the muscular walls in your womb contracting to help break the lining down and flush it out (i.e. your bleeding). You can ease the cramps by lying down when possible, gently rubbing your abdomen, a warm bath or hot water bottle or some gentle stretches like this yoga for cramps video on YouTube. You can also take some Ibuprofen but talk to your parent, doctor or pharmasist about taking it so you take the right dose and incase you're allergic.
My periods are irregular...what's going on?
You should definitly speak to your doctor about this one! If you've just got your period for the first time, your periods could be irregular at the start for the first year or 2. If your unsure, your mum could tell you when she started hers, yours could be similar. Even if your not sexually active and theres no chance of pregnancy, irregular bleeding can be an underlying symtoms of another health problem. Weightloss, illness, excessive dieting/excersising, stress or excitment can all affect your period. If you're concerned, you should talk to your doctor. Especially if your regular Aunt Flow becomes irregular after sexy time!
It leaked a little...now what?
It's okay, it happens to everyone! If you're worried about ruining your favourite underwear then pick up a couple pairs to wear especially for on your period. At least you've got some spare undies in your kit. As soon as you notice it, rinse the blood out with cold water . When you get home, wet with cool water and rub a little salt into it. You can also soak them in a little Bio Laundry Detergent and cold water. Then just pop in the wash! Remember to check the washing guidelines of your knickers first!
But I'm so hungry?! AND ANGRY?! And sad...Why?
Ah the emotional rollercoater thanks to PMS! This could be down to your diet too. To curb your cravings and balance out your moods you just have to tweak what you eat.
You need to watch your blood sugar levels. Avoid processed sugars in sweets and chocolate. I know right its like the first thing you reach for! And it's okay to have but in moderation. Instead, opt for complex carbs such as brown breads and pasta. Make sure to take in lots of water to stay hydrated and fresh. Cut all salt to prevent bloating. Reduce caffine to keep irritablity to a low and make sure to get lots so rest and sleep too!
What's that TSS you mentioned?
That's all the advice I can think of! I'd like to say a quick thanks to the bloggers who made suggestions, questions and tips on Facebook. Remember, If you have any period or general health concerns you should never feel afraid or embarassed to ask your doctor, That's what they are there for. But of course with any questions or your own advice please feel free to share them in the comments below!