All Articles Tagged "periods"
Being a girl, growing into a woman is no easy task. There are a lot of bumps and bruises, twists and turns that just come with the territory. While we wouldn’t trade being a woman for anything, there are certain things we’re happy we never have to relive again.
Q: When it comes to vaginal odor, what’s normal and how can you improve your smell?
It is important to talk not only about vaginal odor but also vaginal discharge because that is what usually causes the odor you smell. It is quite normal to have vaginal discharge because it helps in lubricating your female parts and acts as a “cleaner” to help remove cells and bacteria from your system. Usually, vaginal discharge can be clear, white or light yellow in color. Things like sex, diet, your menstrual cycle, contraceptive use, pregnancy, antibiotics, and the use of hygiene products can influence the colors and the odor of vaginal discharge. Just like your breath or your feet, having a certain mild odor from your vagina can be normal.
When should you be concerned and how do you improve the smell?
First of all, you know your body. If you smell vaginal odor that is stronger than what you feel is normal, it may just be the body telling you that something is wrong. There are certain smells that have been linked to certain infections. For example, usually if your vagina starts to smell “fishy,” it is likely because of an overgrowth of a certain bacteria that causes an infection called bacterial vaginosis. In addition, symptoms such as itching, burning, redness, soreness, greenish-yellow discharge, bleeding, pain with sex, stomach pain, or pelvic pain suggest that you are dealing with something not normal. If this is the case, talk to your doctor about it. It might be an infection that needs to be treated or may signal something else of concern with your female parts.
It is common practice to use feminine hygiene products or to douche the smell away. Douching changes the delicate balance and ph of your vagina, which potentially leads to an overgrowth of infection-causing bacteria (eg, yeast infection). Overall, douching is not a good option for vaginal odors as it can cause or make worse any infection within your female parts.
However, there are other ways to keep your vagina healthy and prevent any smell from occurring. First of all, it is best to use water or unscented non-soap cleanser to clean your female parts. Don’t be afraid to use your hands to wash your “va jay jay.” Try to avoid using washcloths. When you go to the bathroom, wipe from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria from your butt region to your vagina. Either rinse your female parts with water or pat it dry after going to the bathroom. Try to avoid using scented products as it can irritate your female parts or potentially cause an infection. Wear cotton or cotton-lined underwear to keep the area cool. Avoid tight pants and skip the pantyhose in the summer. Lastly, as certain STDs (eg, gonorrhea, Chlamydia) can also cause a smell “down there,” practicing safe sex will help reduce the risk of getting these diseases, and ultimately, getting a certain smell from them.
I don’t know about you; but when I was a little girl, I couldn’t wait to get my period. In my 7 year old naivety, I really believed that getting my period was what would solidify me as a bonafide, real woman. Surely, it was a special thing. Maybe it would mean that my mother would no longer dismiss me from “adult conversation” or that I’d be taken more seriously.
I’d always heard people say “be careful” what you wish for but I didn’t understand why until the next year and a half, at 9 years old, when I started my period. I thought it was special for a good 30 minutes and then I realized I really didn’t want anything to do with it. It was more bothersome than anything, a whole bunch of washing up, uncomfortable diaper-like contraptions I was always wondering if someone could see and those pains in what I thought was my “lower stomach” that I’d never experienced before. By the second day of my “special” period, I was ready to be done with all of it.
The fantasy seemed so much nicer than the reality. I hope other little seven year old girls–or girls on the brink of starting their periods because I do realize that starting your period at 9 is a bit early– don’t buy into the same fantasy I did.
But when you think about the marketing surrounding feminine hygiene products and the periods they’re supposed to control, it would really be hard for them not to. After all, when you look at period commercials, all the women are usually engaged in some type of physical activity, their faces are all aglow with either sweat or the sheer joy that comes from menstruating and if by chance you do happen to see “blood” in these commercials, it won’t resemble the thick brownish/reddish/brownish stuff that seeps from your vadge, it’ll be a pleasantly thin light blue color. How lovely?
Well, one British man by the name of Richard Neill, who had just had his first serious girlfriend didn’t appreciate being bamboozled by these ads. He was so incensed by the deception that he took it upon himself to write a complaint on Bodyform’s, a female hygiene company’s, Facebook page.
Here’s what he had to say:
Did anyone else laugh at the phrase “crafty bugger”? Richard really is British, right? Either way, Bodyform saw the message; and though they agreed with his sentiment, they were not going to be shown up by Richard’s way with words.
They responded to him, with a message from a fake CEO, in an even more hilarious video.
Check it out below:
I love the fart! There are still some women out here who just don’t want to believe women are capable of passing gas. Now, that was good for a great laugh; but now it’s time to get serious. While these feminine hygiene ads can get ridiculous, there is some truth to the fact that people, people with penises, just might not be ready to handle “the real” when it comes to our periods. I’ve personally seen how men have a bit of a freak out when women they know intimately display signs of menstruating. I had a friend who was sleeping over his girlfriend’s house and had to get up in the middle of the night to use the restroom. He walked into the bathroom, lifted the seat and found what he described as a “crime scene” in the toilet. I sympathized with him, homegirl should have double checked and flushed. A part of me understood his shock but another part of me wondered why he was trippin’, and to hear him tell the story, he was indeed trippin’. I mean dude had three sisters. Sometimes these men just aren’t ready. And honestly, some of us aren’t ready either. I can honestly say that after dealing with my own periods, I’m not trying to be confronted with other people’s. But on the same token, I, and the other little prepubescent girls– not people like Richard– need to really know what to expect from our periods.
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?”
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.
“I don’t trust anything that bleeds for five days and doesn’t die.” I’m not sure who originated this infamous take on menstruation, but the truth is that a woman’s menstrual cycle is as mystifying to the millions of women who experience it as it is to the opposite sex.
Anxiously awaiting the arrival of Aunt Flo, taking a ride on the cotton pony and surfing the crimson wave doesn’t make this complicated series of hormonal and bodily changes any easier to understand. This may be one of the reasons why in my work as a sex educator the most common questions asked are those that have to do with the menstrual cycle.
It was the beginning of eighth grade when I first understood what the aisle of “feminine hygiene products” was all about. Before then I wondered why us ladies had an aisle for cleanliness all to ourselves and why the dog liked to tear to shreds only certain things he discovered in the trash can. I remember talking on the phone with my best friend after a typical school day marked by a nagging dull stomach pain. We argued over the phone about who was allowed to like Immature’s Marques Houston (we eventually decided she could have L.D.B.). After putting her on hold to use the bathroom I discovered I had “become a woman” (I hate that term). My dad was the first to get home that day and with a confused, crooked smile he said, “Congrats. There’s stuff under the bathroom sink for that.”
No one really explained to me what I once thought was some form of internal hemorrhaging was all about. And unfortunately, most women never quite understand what the whole process is for or how to tell if something isn’t going according to plan. If all you’re seeing is red and you can’t quite understand why, then maybe the following frequently asked questions and answers will help clear things up: