All Articles Tagged "menstration"

Welcoming Aunt Flo: How to Handle Your Daughter’s First Period

September 15th, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
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A girl’s first period marks an important moment in her life. When I first got my period, I remember my mom proudly declaring, “My baby is a woman now.” Now that I’m a mom, I understand my mom’s sense of pride in me growing up, but at that time I didn’t feel like a woman, I just felt gross. And many girls may feel this way about their first period; it’s as if their body has betrayed them. Their bodies begin to look different. They feel different and biologically they are different. They grow up so fast, and the changes can be a lot to handle, which is why I think it is important for moms to talk to daughters early on about what the expect before their first period, so when it comes, she’s prepared for what’s ahead.

Here are three key things I will do for my girl’s first period.

Inform her, don’t embarrass her.

There is no set age for when a girl starts her period. In some girls, it can happen as early as age 8 or 9. My pediatrician told me that I could expect my daughter to get their period around the same time I got mine, which was age 12. The biggest thing to remember when talking to a girl about her period is to try not to embarrass her. It’s a sensitive subject and things can get awkward, so determine the best approach for your child. You can gave her the basics and tell her if she ever sees blood in her underwear, it was normal and not to panic. It’s just her period and this is what happens to girls when their bodies start to mature. Also stressed the importance of keeping her body clean. Now, more than ever, she needs to be sure to keep her body clean. You can also give the school permission for her to participate in a health workshop held by the school nurse. The nurse should cover this subject matter in a small group with other girls the same age, but check ahead of time to be sure. It will give  your daughter an opportunity to ask a medical professional questions and see that she isn’t alone since her peers would face the same challenges. Honestly, she might learn most of the gory details from other girls, but makes sure she also knows that she can come and talk to you at anytime.

Give her the proper tools.

When it comes to her first period, preparation is key. Once she reaches the age where you know the period could be coming any day, make sure she has her own supply of sanitary napkins and feminine hygiene products. When my daughter turns 11, I’ll starting sending her to school with a little emergency kit–a discreet makeup bag with sanitary napkins, feminine wipes and a change of underwear to keep in her book bag. Just in case she gets her first period while at school, needless to say she’ll be prepared. She’ll have her own stock of pads and panty liners and other hygiene products. It’s also a good idea to keep a supply of ibuprofen in case she experiences cramping or discomfort.

Help her keep track

For most girls, periods occur on a regular cycle, while others experience irregular period. If you find that your daughter’s period is irregular after the first few months, talk to your doctor to discuss what options are available to help. If your daughter has pretty regular periods, but struggles with PMS, it helps to have an app that helps her track her cycle. This way, she knows when a funky mood is most likely to sneak up on her. She’ll also find an app to be helpful when she’s planning her schedule and doesn’t want her period to be an issue. If you’re interested in downloading the app, here’s one to use.

Be patient with her changes.

As if the physical changes that come along with a girl’s first period aren’t hard enough, the emotional changes can be downright taxing. When your daughter starts going through puberty, you’ll quickly notice she’s like a whole different person. She can be moody and broody. She’ll eventually snap out of it, but it will take time. She’ll just need a little space and time to adjust to all the changes happening to her all at once. This time of transition will require a lot of patience and deep breaths.

Periods happen to us all. As moms, there’s a lot we can do to give our girls the silent and vocal support as much as they need vocal to find their own way through life’s different changes. When it comes to your little girl who is slowly becoming a woman, be patient and together you will find the balance between the two.

How did you handle your daughter’s first period?


8 Reasons You Could Be Spotting Between Periods

May 16th, 2016 - By Julia Austin
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Spotting between periods, even when it isn’t a sign of a health problem, is still a major annoyance. As women, we’ve got the period thing down. We have our menstrual cycle marked in our calendar. We schedule our panty liner purchases according to that calendar. We wear our tattered, over-sized panties that we don’t care that much about on those days marked with the red dots just in case our feminine products don’t have our backs that day. Or, our, insides? But when we start spotting in between periods, that’s just not fair. That’s no way to live. And, it can be a sign of some other issues going on in your body. So here are all the reasons you might be spotting between your periods.

Aunt Flo’s An Expensive Monthly Visitor: Breaking Down The Costs Of Your Period

May 19th, 2015 - By Ann Brown
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Being a woman certainly ain’t cheap. In addition to the so-called “pink tax” for which tend to pay more for certain items than do men, there is the costly monthly personal expenses.

Think about it. Menstrual costs include everything from tampons to pain relievers to heating pads for help with menstrual cramps.  Add to this regular doctor’s exams for birth control prescriptions.

What it boils down to is your period is pricey.

“On average, a woman has her period from three to seven days and the average woman menstruates from age 13 until age 51,” reports The Huffington Post. Crunching the numbers, this means that the average woman menstruates about 456 total periods during a 38-year period, or around 2,280 days, which is equal to 6.25 years.

Let’s look at some of the costs. If you take Midol for cramps, a bottle can cost you $8.99 at Walgreens. Over a lifetime of periods you can spend $1,229.83 just on Midol (12 caplets x 456 periods = 5,472 caplets. At 40 caplets per container, that’s 136.8 Midol purchases x $8.99).

Okay getting to tampons, which  70 percent of women use. A box of 36 tampons costs $7 at Walgreens. Since it is advisable to change your tampon every four to eight hours, HuffPo used the average of six for its calculations. One tampon every six hours equals four tampons daily times five days of a period. That’s 9,120 tampons. At 36 tampons per box, that’s 253.3 boxes x $7 = $1,773.33

If you also use pantyliners, which some women do along with their tampons as a safeguard against staining, that will add another $443.33.

Even with all that, you need to buy new underpants (if you wear them… a different story all together). On average, women own 34 pairs of underwear, and if you stain at least one pair per period at $5 at Target a pop, that’ll run you $2,280 for 456 periods.

You also have to count your chocolate cravings during PMS. Total: $912. And acne medication for breakouts. Neutrogena spot cream will run you $94.87 over a lifetime of periods. And $40 for two heating pads for cramping pain.

Lastly, there is the cost of birth control, probably the most expensive item. It has been found that about 80 percent of women use oral contraception at some point in their lives, and 33 percent of women who are covered by insurance still pay some amount out-of-pocket. That can run you $11,400.

Sum total: $18,171. Sound about right to you?

Red Scare: The Time I Trusted A Tampon On The Wrong Day

February 17th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

I started my period when I was nine years old, during the summer between second and third grade. And while you might think that someone who has been battling the red dragon for so long would get some leeway with a light or short cycle, that has never been my life.

Instead, I’m the heavy flow, seven day type of girl. So I was never really about that tampon life. At nine, when my flow was still relatively moderate, I wasn’t skilled in the ways and workings of my vagina to be able to properly insert a tampon. By the time I got older, and my period settled into the monthly Hoover dam release, a tampon wouldn’t have done much for me. Plus, there was this borderline traumatic incident where my mom tried to insert one for me that just proved that tampons could in fact, be the devil. So pads it was…and still is.

Today, I love the security I get from pads but there were times when I wanted the freedom and air circulation that only a tampon could give. And somewhere along the way, my younger sister had become an expert at using them.

So, I’d use them occasionally, at the end of my cycle on maybe the last two or three light days.

It was during one of these “light days” that my friend and I went to explore Brooklyn in the summer. I wore an airy, dark floral print romper, a bandeau bra, a tampon, some comfortable, breathable drawers and open toed sandals. My period was coming to an end, it was a nice summer day and I intended to celebrate the occasion.

On the train to Brooklyn, I felt great. I had inserted the tampon in just right. I was good to go. But after the nearly hour long commute, I started to wonder if today was really a light day after all. I thought I felt something sliding down my inner thigh.

Must have just been sweat.

But it wasn’t that hot and I’m not naturally that sweaty. After a hour of walking around, it was clear that today was not as light as I thought. I should have worn a pad because blood was slowly starting to dampen the romper material in between my legs.

So here I was an hour away from home, with no access to a bathroom. Anyone who lives in New York City knows that unless you’re at a restaurant, businesses can be very stingy about letting the public use their toilets.

I went to a nearby pharmacy and bought some pads, the cycle friends I should have trusted from the start. They would never have me out here soaking through my clothes in the middle of the street. My only saving grace was the fact that my romper was black; otherwise, everyone would have been privy to my misfortune.

My friend and I kept walking until we stumbled upon a barbershop. Praying that blood wasn’t running down my legs, I walked in and asked one of the barbers if I could use the restroom. Thankfully, he said I could. When I got in there I planned to just slap a pad on, flush that disloyal tampon and take my leaky vagina home.

But when I took my romper off, the damage was more severe than I had anticipated. So I took both it and my panties off and were rinsing them out in the sink. I’ll spare you the details but based on what the rinse revealed, it was anything but a light day.

I walked out of the bathroom, 20 minutes later, with soaking wet drawers and a jumpsuit. But a clean wet, with soap and water. So I dealt with the discomfort.

On my way home I sat on the plastic bag my pads came in and rode an hour back home, having learned a very vital lesson. Tampons aren’t exactly the devil…but knowing my life and my flow, I’ll always need a trusty pad as a backup.

What Would You Do? Addressing Your Co-Worker’s Period Funk

February 20th, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
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Last night, my sister and I were watching TV when some type of feminine hygiene commercial came on. In the commercial the women were dispelling myths about their periods. All of the myths were indeed false, until one woman said, “I used to think that people would be able to smell my period.” Immediately, I looked over at my sister. There was some truth behind that myth. If you wash properly and there are no other vaginal health issues, then people shouldn’t be able to smell your period. But, if you neglect your personal hygiene, there’s a good chance the funk might hit the fan…like literally.

If you don’t believe this is true, check out this absolutely humiliating story about a woman who woke up late for work and didn’t shower in the morning, though she was on her period.  Here’s how her day at the office played out.

Suddenly, Corynne noticed something was amiss. It smelled like an “animal died.” I didn’t smell it. Funny how that works. Corynne was screaming how bad it smelled. “It’s coming in waves,” Olivia said…But then I did smell it. We moved around, and strangely, wherever I moved, we had pinpointed and isolated the spot!.. It was my period-blood-overflowing vagina all along…

She didn’t realize it was her period blood until she went home and used the restroom.

And then — AS ONE DOES — I went to the bathroom. That’s when I nearly passed out at the smell of my now near-toxic-fumes-level of massive menstruation…

In this woman’s defense, she mentioned that up until that day, her flow was too light so she took a supplement to increase blood flow. Well she certainly, got more than she bargained for. And though her story is a bit of a hot mess, there’s a lesson to be learned here. The lesson is when you’re on your period, wash your vadge, two or three times a day if you have to and change your napkin or tampon often. Hopefully, these are lessons we learned right around puberty when our mothers handed us our first sanitary napkin. I know in my house, my mother warned me about vaginal odor saying, “By the time you smell yourself, someone else has already smelled you.” I don’t know how true that is; I’d like to think if my vadge stinks, I’d be the first to know. But I can understand why she said it. It was a warning not to be caught slippin.’ Don’t be foul.

If however, you found that you were one of the coworkers in the situation above and you knew that the odor was coming from your coworker’s pants, how would you handle it?

Would you pull her aside? Would you ignore it or would you wait until she left the room and talk about her with the other employees? If you would tell her, how would you go about having that conversation? What would you say to make her aware of the issue without humiliating her anymore than necessary? Do tell.

The Business Of Our Periods: Why Are Feminine Products So Darn Expensive?

July 17th, 2012 - By Charing Ball
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I have to say, I really have some very keen friends within my Facebook network. For instance, Modupe Liston, a Milwaukee activist, posted a very poignant thought on her wall, “How come there is not an organized women’s movement against the absurdity of high prices for feminine hygiene products such as tampons and pads?”

Excellent observation.

Always Ultra Thin Overnights with Flexi-wings has been my staple product since they were invented. I’ve never been a tampon girl as I have developed an abnormal fear of Toxic Shock Syndrome, thanks in part to my reading of the insert from a pack of tampons as a child (long story). Yet over the last couple of years, I too have noticed that my beloved sanitary napkins has begun to slowly creep up in price.  It’s not like an item that I can go without – unless I plan on taking up residency inside a menstruating hut, like the Dogon women of West Mali, for one week out of a month. Actually, that wouldn’t be a bad idea if the hut came with cable television and dark chocolate chip cookies. But alas, I don’t own a hut but I do have bills, which means that my hemorrhaging A$$ has to get up and go to work.

Anyway, the average cost for my necessity ranges between $7 to $9, depending upon the size of the package I get. Since I tend to flow on the heavy side, I go through about four to five of those suckers a day, which means that I use about a pack of around 36 in a month’s span.  Based upon my rough estimations, my Aunt Flow costs me about $84 dollars a year, which means that I have paid thus far around $1260 since I was 15. And by the time I’m relieved of my womanly duty (i.e. menopause), I will have spent over $3000, just on sanitary napkins. Of course, this cost does not include inflation. Nor does it include the cost of party-liners, PMS relief, chocolate chip cookies and Victoria’s Secret panties that my aunt ruined.  If we factor in these additional expenditures, we are probably looking at an additional $5000 over a lifetime. That is almost $10,000 of my hard earned money, which I have no say-son in.

The fact is that owning a vagina is pretty costly; from the pap smears, to infections, to the birth control, to actually giving birth, to menopause, woman must absorb certain costs that are exclusively spent on maintaining our natural, biological function. And who get’s rich off of this? Well since it is the elite that runs things and majority of the 1 percent are not women, let’s just say it’s men.  And in a lot of ways, they have us by the…ahem…lady parts.