Time to Talk Periods – Your ‘Awkward’ Questions Answered
No one should be afraid or embarrassed to talk about their periods which is why we thought we would answer some of your burning questions!
See how you can donate to our Time to Talk Periods campaign HERE
What is a period?
We’ve all heard of a period and some of us will have periods, but do you know why? Your period is part of your menstrual cycle. The menstrual cycle is an increase and decrease of a series of hormones along with a 28-30 day cycle that allows the body to prepare for pregnancy each month. A period is when you bleed from your vagina for a few days. It can last between 3 and 8 days and it is when your body releases tissue that it no longer needs. Every month, the uterus lining gets thicker to prepare for a fertilized egg if pregnancy occurs. If an egg doesn’t get fertilized, that lining is released from the body through the vagina knows as a period.
Who has periods?
It’s important to acknowledge that it is not just people who identify as female that have periods and education is key to learning more. Trans men and non-binary people can also have periods. Non-binary people identify with neither the male nor female gender but can still have a period. Trans men are people who are born with body parts typically assigned as female traits but identify as male and therefore may also have a period.
What is discharge?
Discharge is totally normal! It is a fluid or mucus that keeps the vagina clean. Vaginal discharge can occur at any age and the amount of discharge can always vary. Heavier discharge can occur during pregnancy, if you’re sexually active or if you’re using birth control. It’s often slippery and wet for a few days between your periods. It is nothing to worry about!
As a Dad, how do I talk to my child about their period?
Talking to children about periods should be normal and it is important to let them know that they can talk about periods openly. On average, most people start their period when they’re about 12 but it can start from as early as 8. It is really important to talk about periods to children from an early age to make sure they’re prepared and not feel embarrassed to talk about their period and that they are a natural thing for our bodies to have. They should be talked about as an ongoing process and that it is completely normal and natural.
As a Dad, parent or guardian make sure that you have educated yourself on everything that comes with a period such as the different products that people can choose to use and talk about it in an open and informal manner.
What period products should I use?
In can be daunting when choosing which period products to use. There is such a vast amount available such as tampons, pads, pantyliners, menstrual cups, reusable cloth pads and period pants. You should always choose a period product that you are the most comfortable with and what works best for you and your body. You may be more comfortable using pads in which there are natural and reusable options available. Items such as the menstrual cup do not need to be changed as often and therefore could be better for those who live a busier lifestyle. The short answer is choose what works for you!
Do reusable products smell?
The short answer is no! In the instance of reusable pads, after your pad has been worn it’s good to rinse your pad with water and natural soap to prevent them staining. With most reusable pads you can wash them in the washing machine like you would your clothes. For products such as the menstrual cup you simply just need to rinse your cup out after use. Reusables are designed to ensure constant comfort for you and your body.
How do I use a menstrual cup?
It can take up to 3 cycles to get to grips with using a menstrual cup but for many people once you’ve got it you won’t look back. Simply wash your hands before using and tightly fold the menstrual cup in half, holding it in one hand with the rim facing up and insert into your vagina. Then rotate the menstrual cup and it will spring open. A menstrual cup needs to be emptied every 4-8 hours and after a night’s sleep and make sure you rinse your menstrual cup after use.
How do period pants work?
Period pants are great, and yet not enough people seem to talk about them. Period pants are the alternative to pads and tampons. They fully absorb your period without leaks and still allow you to remain comfortable and cool. Period pants tend to be made up of a series of absorbent layers that will lock in period blood but still remain breathable and allow you to carry on with your day to day life. It is recommended that before washing your period pants you give them a quick rinse after use. Then simply pop them in the washing machine.
Can I still play sport when using reusable period products?
Of course you can! Reusable products are designed to absorb your period blood whilst allowing you to remain comfortable. They are also designed to be breathable even if you are working up a sweat.
How much should I bleed?
This doesn’t have a set answer. Every period is different, and everyone will bleed different amounts. Your bleeding will most likely be the heaviest in the first 2 days of your period. When your period is at its heaviest, the blood will be red. On lighter days, it may be pink, brown or black. You can lose between 5 to 12 teaspoons of blood during your period, although some people do bleed heavier than this. If your periods are so heavy that they effect your day to day life you can visit your GP.