What is a period?
Periods take place when your body is mature, and ready enough to conceive a new life. Every month, the lining of your uterus looks to get thicker as it builds tissue and your ovaries release an egg which is called the Ovum. If a sperm gets to fertilise the egg, the tissue remains to stay where it is, so as to help and support with pregnancy. If the egg is not fertilised, your body sheds ( Lets go of the tissue) the tissue through the vagina. The tissue that is secreted is the blood that you see. This monthly process is called menstruation, also popularly known as periods!
When does one tend to get their first periods?
Majority of the girls begin to show signs of their first period and begin the process of menstruation between 11 &14 years old, but this process could start anytime between the age’s 8 and 16, when your body could be ready to conceive an egg ( Baby ). Keep in mind that everyone is different, everyone's bodies are different because of which all girls dont start to menstruate at the same age. So a normal age for your friends and sisters may not mean that you will also start menstruating at the same time, so please don't worry! Once you start menstruating you will have periods till the age of around 50 years old, this is when your body sets into the phase of menopause. A phase after menstruation when your body can conceive a baby to Menopause when your body can not conceive a baby.
Indications that your Periods are here-
If you have already had your first period, you have felt and experienced this process and can validate our connotation of our first period. Feeling your breast grow larger (this does not happen over time) the growth of pubic hair and you may also notice a white discharge in your underwear, post these signs you should know that it won’t be long before your body starts to experience its first period. When it starts, you will also experience a phenomenon known as premenstrual syndrome. This results in symptoms like pain (Period Pain- Cramps in the region of your stomach) moodiness, bloating, pain in your back, rapid weight gain over a small period of time and skin breakouts. Now I would like to reiterate, that this is different from person to person and please do not mark any expectations for yourself, as mentioned before in the article everybody is different.
How long does your first period last?
The average period lasts for between four or five days, at the same time your period can also last from three to eight days. I'm sorry for sounding like a broken record, but everyone’s different, everyone's body is different. Your period, or time of menstruation are a part of your menstrual cycle. Your menstrual cycle can also just be perceived as a month of the year, starts on day one of bleeding and ends the day before your next period begins. The average cycle is 28 days but it may be shorter or longer, which is more or less what a month looks like for us, you can track your cycle month on month and this could help you get a better understanding on your cycle and your periods dates. Helping you plan better for your time of the month.
Blood! How much of it is normal?
Days before your period or time of menstruating you may see a few spots of blood on your underwear, these are one of the many signs of your periods to be right round the corner. From spots you will progress to a steady flow, at the time of which you will feel the secretion of blood time and again over your first 3-5 days of your period. At this time you bleed no more than 30ml of blood, but it feels like litres. Post which you will again hit the spotting phase, for a couple of days and your period is over.
What products can one use to overcome the period phase of the menstrual cycle?
There are an array of products that one can use, here I want to give you an in depth understanding of the 3 products I have used and would like to recommend.
Firstly I would like to make clear you will not see the mention of any non disposable products, there is a reason for that. I do not believe reusable products will serve the purpose of hygiene. The reusable factor when we are talking about blood does not sit with me well, and I have Done enough reading for me to believe it is not the most hygienic way out, surely sanitary napkins that are reusable will result in less wastage, but at what cost. I'm sorry I pick personal health over environmental degradation and why not when there are many other luxuries that we are still acquiring not giving a thought about our environment. So then why should sanitary napkins and women have to be the responsible ones who will singularly bare the consequences of a reusable sanitary napkin for a sustainable tomorrow.
1. Sanitary Napkins, well known as sanitary pads.
Sanitary Napkins are where it all started for the fight against an unhygienic period. Before sanitary napkins women resorted to towels, ash and other scrap material to cover their periods.
We recommend Sanitary Napkins as the first option as it is most well understood, at first start with sanitary napkins. Get used to your periods, it'll take a year or 2 and from there on look into the other two options I have provided below. I repeat myself I strongly push Sanitary napkins/Sanitary Pads for primary use.
Tampons are the most convenient, hassle free and useful option out there in the market. My only issue with them in comparison to pads is that they have to be inserted. In your early days of periods I would much rather have you understand your flow and menstrual cycle, rather than trying to do 2 things, fit something inside you and understand your cycle (too much on your plate). Stick to sanitary napkins to start with, transiting to the use of a tampon.
To complement the 2 options above I would like to recommend a panty liner. The panty liner is of great use on the first 2 days of your periods and last 2 days of your periods. Specifically when you are spotting instead of flowing. With the tampon you use it over it, on the heavy flow days this is so as to give you the extra security you may require, if you mind being stained (I don't care but it's my duty to let you know and let you make your own choice).
So to round this up, periods are not a life or death problem, work with them, embrace them. Use the right products, use what suits your, it's not ‘that time of the month’ - ‘its your time of the month’