9 things that can happen during your period that are completely normal
Every four weeks (ok, not the same four weeks), 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 much. And when we are forced to talk about it, unless it’s explicitly with our girlfriends, the conversation can feel just a little cringey.
Even though we get around bleeding, freaking out at clots, despairing over lost tampon strings and leaking through pads, 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.
This month, we launch STUFF — 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 girl, and do our best to assure you that what is happening to you, is in fact normal.
Rather than questions, like Doc Dolly or Downstairs Diary, we want you to send us a topic: we’ll do the research and we’ll tell you everything you need to know about even the most secret of girl things. We’ll try to cover off a lot of information, so all your questions get answered at once.
To kick off STUFF, we figured we may as well talk about periods, and the gross or strange things that happen and can totally freak us out. So, here goes…
- 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 big 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 or very painful, it could be a sign of other things, so it’s worth getting it checked out.
- 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.
- Tampons are a no-go!
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.
The second 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.
Finally, 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!
- 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.
Either way, while it’s embarrassing to leak, it’s completely normal.
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 one in eight teenage girls, meaning when they sneeze, laugh, cough or lift something heavy, a little pee might come out.
Though there’s no good research to explain it, some girls report if they usually experience bladder leakage when not on their period, it can be a bit more frequent while they are on their 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 night can help strengthen the pelvic floor and minimise or stop bladder leakage.
- OMG it’s brown, I must be dying!
All periods are a bit different, 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 a new birth control pill or IUD. If spotting persists, have a chat to the doc.
- 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 for different girls, but if you experience severe pain along with those other symptoms, and your period is very heavy, it may be a good idea to ask a doc to check it out.
- My chin is a war zone!
While pimples can be gross and annoying, they can also tell you a hell of a lot about what’s going on with you. Chin pimples are a sign of hormonal changes — exactly what happens in the lead up to and during your period. Take really good care of your skin at that time, keep it clean, consider a purifying mask, and make sure you drink lots of water to flush everything out regularly.
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