Every four weeks (ok, not the same four weeks for everyone), at least a quarter of the world goes to the loo, or sits in class, or grabs their coffee and has that ‘ugh’ moment. You know it. That split second where you feel your uterus twist up, kick itself a few times, slap itself around and then start to fall out the bottom of your body. Period time.
The funny thing is, even though so many of us go through this every month, our period, and what happens — right down to the nitty, gritty, oozy little details — is just not something we talk about enough.
Even though we get around bleeding, freaking out at clots, despairing over lost tampon strings and leaking through pads, most of the time, none of us knows exactly what any other girl goes through. We spend half this fragile time wondering if what is coming out and breaking down and tearing us in half, is actually normal.
Here @GATFaus — our special place for talking about… well, our special place, among lots of other things. It’s the online space where we talk about all the weird and wonderful parts of being a young woman, and do our best to assure you that what is happening to you, is in fact normal. That’s even when your normal can be different from someone else’s normal!
We figured we may as well talk about this period stuff, and the gross or strange things that happen and can totally freak us out. So, here goes getting to know more of all that is wonderful YOU!
Those times when big balls of bloody goo come out of you
This is one that almost every girl freaks out about. And no wonder!
Though most of us know we will bleed while on our period, every other woman who has ever gone through the same thing, somehow forgets to tell you that chunks of our organs will at some point start falling out of our vagina (or at least that’s what it looks like).
In fact, these chunks of bloody goo are just clots and they are completely normal.
Most girls will get clots during the heaviest part of their period, as they are the way your body basically controls and regulates heavy bleeding. If you scrape yourself on the outside, your blood forms a scab; inside, it is mixed with so many other things that it clots, rather than scabs.
If clotting changes a lot, becomes more frequent, heavier or very painful, it could be a sign of other things, so it’s worth getting it checked out by a Doc
When you sneeze and cough… and ruin your undies
So you’ve noticed huh? When you sneeze, cough or even laugh during the heaviest days of your period, something super gross happens — a giant goober ball and rush of blood comes out your lady parts.
The first few times, this can scare the hell out of you, not only because you may immediately need a new pad or feel like you’ve dislodged your tampon, but also because you freak out that something is wrong with you. Never fear, good old spurts are quite common when you apply a little pressure to the body, like you do when you sneeze. You Pelvic Floor muscles can be affected by your hormones during your period. These are the muscles that help hold you uterus and other organs near in place. Check out this link here to see more! Being aware of and getting to know your Pelvic Floor muscles and how to train them before these moments can help. Check out our iWorkout page!
Tampons can be a no-go for some
Don’t worry, fitting a tampon can be tricky for a number of reasons.
First of all, you need to make sure you are using the right sized tampon. Usually our mums start buying our tampons for us, and often they’ll just get an average size or even the same size they usually use. Tampons come in a range of sizes, starting very small and becoming quite round in diameter. If you’re having trouble fitting your tampon comfortably, maybe try out a smaller size.
Another issue may be the shape of your vagina… because all girls have different vaginas.
Interestingly, the vagina isn’t just a straight tunnel from outside of you to inside of you, it can be curved or angled in different ways (and often is in taller girls). This means if you’re trying to just push a tampon in straight, you’ll likely feel you’re hitting a bit of a wall. Try squatting down and adjusting the angle of your finger a little bit until you find your natural curve.
It could just be that your period is light and you don’t have enough lubrication to get the tampon in . While you can keep working at it gently, you could also consider wearing a liner that day, or jump in a warm shower and then insert a tampon immediately after — it will be much easier!
If it’s painful…..
If you’re finding tampons are just a ‘no go’ because you’re actually finding them too painful to insert then you might have overactive pelvic floor muscles. This is when the muscles in the pelvic floor become too tense and are unable to relax. It’s a good call to visit your doc or see a Pelvic Health Physio who can get down to the root cause of why your muscles are so tight that you can’t relax them. Call the National Continence Helpline and speak to a Nurse Continence Specialist here so they can help you find one in your area!
Argh, there’s blood everywhere!
Pads, tampons, cups and all the other various bits and pieces we can use to deal with our periods are great. But the way our bodies are shaped and how we move is different, so every now and then, we might get a bit of leakage.
Some girls deal with leakage by bunging on an extra set of undies so no leak makes it through to the outside, while doubling up (a light liner and a tampon) on heavier days can also do the trick. OR……
Are you onto all the new period underwear that seems to be a real game changer for all of us?!…….
Either way, while it’s embarrassing to leak, it’s completely normal. You’ll work out what works best for you!
Remember, the blood generally doesn’t actually come out that fast, so if you check your pad or tampon between each class, you should pick up any leaking before it makes it to the outside of your pants!
Why am I peeing myself?
We’ve already talked about the clumps that can come out when we sneeze while on our period, but it can also affect other things coming out! Bladder leakage occurs in around more than one in ten young women, meaning when they sneeze, laugh, cough or lift something heavy, a little pee might come out. Our hormone changes during this time can contribute to this during out period.
“Great!” we hear you say. “More stuff coming out of my body to deal with all at once!”
The good news is, doing some simple pelvic exercises each day can help strengthen or train the pelvic floor muscles and minimise or even stop this bladder leakage. Being aware and getting to know your body through training your Pelvic Floor muscles are good healthy habits to have to help care for you body down below for a lifetime!
OMG it’s brown, I must be dying!
Periods can be a bit different for everyone, some people start heavy and end lighter, some experience a big gush during the middle days. Either way, your period is not really consistent throughout the week or so of bleeding you will experience.
Period blood can be a range of colours, and that’s absolutely ok, it usually doesn’t indicate anything is up. Really bright red blood is richer and newer and can usually be seen on heavy days when everything is flowing quickly. Brown blood or mucus is common on lighter days, and just means the blood has been sitting around for a bit inside, waiting for a ride out.
Blood is coming out allllll the time
Spotting just means getting some ‘spots’ of blood at a time when you’re not having your period, for example, halfway through the month. How heavy it is can be different for different people.
Spotting can be really normal during hormonal changes (which happen throughout the month) and if you are trying to get used to a new birth control pill or IUD (intrauterine device). If spotting persists, it’s a good call to have a chat to the doc and get down to what is really happening so you get the help you need!
I feel like I’ve been stabbed!
If there’s one thing most of us do know, it’s that period pain is the pits. While some girls just experience a dull ache in the base of their stomach, for others the pain is intense, exhausting and can come along with other symptoms like sweating, hormonal headaches and nausea.
Period pain can be different or similar for all of us, but if you experience severe pain along with those other symptoms, your period is very heavy, and you’re even needing to take a day off work or missing school, it’s a good idea to ask a doc to check it out.
The month of March had been ‘March into yellow’ month – a month to raise awareness towards endometriosis education and research! For 1 in 9 women who may experience endometriosis, pelvic pain is a common sign, putting life on hold around or during a person’s period. Check out more deets here.
This period stuff happens, and it can be different but similar for all of us! The big call we make here at GATFaus is that it’s never not a good time to talk about it! Getting to know more of you right down to what’s below …… is always a good call!