Thursday, 10 March 2016

Periods, here's the lowdown!

One person I wish I had in my life a lot earlier, was someone like Ingrid Nilsen. She’s recently been uploading videos on YouTube related to women’s health, mainly in the intimate area. And there’s been a video I’ve wanted to do for a wee while now, but I’ve been having problems with my laptop, meaning I don’t have access to editing software and limited memory. Plus fourth year is a barrel of laughs with no free time. So a blogpost will just have to do for this moment in time, as soon as I make a video, I will of course let you all know. So ladies, let’s discuss periods. Yep. A male's favourite topic. Hehe. 

Why am I doing this post? Well, yes, I’m currently having my time of the month now, and it’s a bitch for females worldwide. I mean, how did women in the Victorian times cope without towels and tampons, did they have nappies or something? As the eldest in my family, I often wished I had someone else to share these tips of life with me. I mean, my mum is amazing but I couldn’t rely on her for every single point in my life. So here is my post of tips of how to cope with this painful time, how I cope with female stuff, in the hope that a young teen will look at me as this extra person to guide them through a really shitty time.

There will be a time, one day in a young female teen’s life when she’ll go to the bathroom, and notice something odd on her pants. Then she’ll ask her mum to see her privately and ask her concerned, ‘Mum, what is this brown icky stuff on my underwear?’ She will then give you this odd smile and say something along the lines of ‘Welcome to womanhood.’ This is something you’re going to have to put up with 12 times a year for the next 50 years or so, enjoy! Unless you get pregnant of course, then you get a break for a bit but then you have a baby to think about. Womanhood is tough shit isn't it?

There are several ways you can collect all of this lovely mess, the most common are towels/pads and tampons. Now tampons, I am not an expert on, to be honest, the thought of sticking something straight up my vag is not something that fills me with confidence, sure you hear that it’s only a small area but still, I have an overactive imagination. The less you know about what I think, the better. This diagram doesn't help my mind either but hey, if you want to know how to use a tampon, here you go!

I always use pads, yes, they’re a pain to stick onto the pants to begin with and yes, you have to change them regularly but they just seem to be the thing that works best for me. A brand I’ve always stuck with is Bodyform, they always seem to be on offer whenever I need to buy more. As my period is constantly heavy, especially the first two days, they are a nightmare so I always wear the nighttime winged towels, even during the day as the longer length of the pad seems to work out best for me, I move a lot and as the pad is bigger, it catches more of the red sea. Before going to bed, I take a nighttime pad and a regular winged pad and put the two together, to save blood going everywhere. Also, is it weird to have a specific pair of pyjamas you wear when you’re on your period? It is important that you make yourself feel as comfortable as possible after all! I have spotty trouser bottoms and a nightie that has Eeyore on it and says, 'I'm not a morning person.' And especially during the time of the month, that's definitely true.

Now one thing that has been talked about throughout YouTubers recently is the new menstrual cup. Once again, sticking something up my vagina scares me, but I like the sound of buying just the one thing that lasts for a few months and all you need to do is to clean it. It’s apparently small and easy to use in terms of collecting all the blood and you can use it for up to 8 hours in a day.

Something I have always kept with me is baby wipes, they’re such a useful item to have for many things, not just for wiping bums but yes, when it’s that time, they do get used. There’s just one problem though, NEVER flush them down the toilet.

So that’s why I was happy to find out that period wipes were also available. Femfresh do their own in such a pretty packaging, shame its limited edition. There are 10 wipes in a pack and yes, they are flushable, hurrah! Lil-lets do their own wipes aswell, especially in their teenage range, so there's a couple more in a pack but they're still small enough to take with them with you. Sure, they're slightly more expensive than baby wipes but hey, pretty and small packaging and flushable!

Lil-Lets is a brand that I've always been aware of, but one thing I did find in Boots one day is that they have a teens starter pack for sale. That's a really smart idea, because let's be honest, periods are scary when you first start out. In the packet, there's four day towels, two night towels, a liner pouch, two regular tampons, two applicator tampons, one super tampon and there's also a small booklet that gives you handy details about periods and what to expect. I definitely wish I had this when I first started having my periods when I was 14, it would have been so useful.

I may not use the tampons now and would personally save their towels for later but after I bought two packets, I kept both the bags with me as a handy way to store the essentials for that glorious time. It's got hearts on it so it's a win win for me, and it's small enough to fit in your handbag.

Now, showers are a complicated thing, especially when you can't stop bleeding downstairs, that's why there's shower gel for the intimate area. Once again, there's a lot of brands in your local chemist or drugstore, the most popular is of course Femfresh. They also do other products such as deodorant and powder, both items I personally haven't used because it looks like too much of a faff but it's up to you to find the products that work best for you. It's a good idea to keep the downstairs healthy and clean as possible during the time of the month, so I would highly recommend using a shower gel. It's safe enough to use everyday as well.

Another thing that is essential is any form of pain relief, of course there are period pain themed ibuprofen out there from your usual brands, Nurofen, Anadin, Panadol etc. There's also Feminax but it's usually over £4 for only 8 tablets, which is ridiculous. We already have to pay a tax for towels, I don't want to use half of my hours pay at work to buy drugs. Of course, be careful if you do decide to take pain relief, you can't take these tablets every day unless of course it's prescribed by your doctor.

Now, ladies, are you someone who has an irregular period like myself and is often just left to guess when the Red Sea arrives? If you have an iPhone (hopefully it’s on Android as well), then I highly recommend you get the app Clue, it's free. Each day, you record what happens on your period and it records each cycle, letting you know when you might be about to start. It takes a lot more than just your flow, it also records symptoms of PMS, what cravings you have that day, what energy levels you have etc so it’s extremely handy! I have more of an idea how long my period lasts and on average when it appears, of course I still get that element of surprise each month but it’s handy to have a tool that lets you record information like that. And the logo doesn’t shout out ‘PERIOD APP, PERIOD APP!’ - it’s very subtle. And yes, these are screenshots from my phone, don't judge the fact I still have the I'm a Celeb app, it was very addictive when the series was on!

The final things I will make sure you have lots of is chocolate, tea and junk food, with a warm cosy blanket, a comfy pillow, hot water bottle if needs be and your favourite film/TV programme on the background or YouTube videos on your laptop. Make sure you feel sorry for yourself, it sucks you still have to work when you're on your period, I still think it should be against the law to go into work when you're having your period, stupid way of telling you that your body is working. Periods suck, make sure you take care of yourself and stuff your face if you want to.
Although, if you have a male in your life that doesn't quite get periods, whether that would be your partner, brother, dad, best friend or flatmate in my case, try not to snap at them or tell them too much detail. Because No. 1 - It's super uncomfortable for them, the getting kicked in the balls joke gets old after a while, No. 2 - They still won't understand completely, they may empathise but they will never know what a female really goes through, we in turn will never really know what they go through with inappropriate boners for example and 3. No-one likes a grumpy, moody bitch, especially males. Going on a massive tangent but hopefully you ladies get my point!

So here we go, here are my tips for what to do when you're currently about to have your period. We shouldn't feel scared to talk about intimate health, especially with being taxed for these products and making sure we're all safe and healthy. Good luck if you're also on your period right now, I feel for you, we can get through this together! <3 HEARTS TO EVERYONE! <3