Sit comfortably, girls. Today, we’re talking about period health, symptoms not often spoken about, when you should speak to your GP about what’s going on down there & the best apps to use to track your period.
Let’s start with the basics.
While periods are common, they look different for everyone. I had a friend who started her period in Year 4, while I didn’t get mine till I was in Year 8 and some may not get theirs till they're 18. I remember panicking when mine didn’t come as all my friends had already started but there’s no need to panic as most girls start between 12-18. Some girls may have health conditions that mean they don’t get their period and if that’s something you’re concerned or worried about, please do speak about it with your parent/carer & GP. If there’s anything mentioned in this blog post that makes you worried, I really recommend speaking to your GP. Don’t be embarrassed at all, your GP has trained for more than 7 years to understand your body & help you understand it more too.
Can you go to the GP by yourself?
Yes, you can but you need to make sure you’re going to a GP that you’re registered with. If you’re over 16, you can register at a GP yourself but if you’re under 16 you will need a parent/carer to do this for you. Once you’re registered at the GP, you can call/online/walk-in to book your appointment (they may ask you why you want an appointment, but this is to make sure you get the best doctor. If you don’t want to say, say ‘personal issues’ & specify the gender of the doctor you’d feel most comfortable with if you have a preference).
okay back to the lady downstairs...
There are so many things that affect our periods and cause them to vary from month to month. Being overweight, sudden weight loss, exercising too much, diabetes, even being stressed about an exam could make you not have your period for a while. Mad, right? Those are just some of the most common reasons! If you’re not sure when to be worried about missing your period check this site:
Heavy periods are usually painful periods (although, your period can be painful but not heavy). When I was 13, my period was light & I barely had any symptoms but as soon as I hit 18 it’s like World War 3 has collided with a Love & Hip Hop Reunion EPISODE and I’m Cardi B shouting:
through tears & heat patches, every month.
The NHS has a Heavy Periods checker & I’m a 14/18, what are you?
Did you know that the colour of your period can indicate different things? (I didn’t) but watch this:
Growing up, I used to think that people used to use being on their period as an excuse to be a cry baby, rude or cranky but let me tell you now, our ovaries really do that to us! All the hormonal changes that occur during our period & before it’s about to start aka PMS (Pre-Menstrual Symptoms) can have major effects on your behaviour & thinking.
Unusual Things That Might Happen Around Your Period:
● Your Man Crush Monday (MCM) becomes 10x more attractive
● You get super constipated/Your belly runs a lil more…
● You want to cry but have no reason why
● You want to fight anyone and everything
● You might need a new bra
● You can get a bit hornier
● Blame the hormone Progesterone & Prostaglandins. As they do their job in your cycle, they can also affect your tummy causing you to get bloated, constipated etc.
● Hormones! Drops in Estrogen & Progesterone & a lack of Serotonin are usually the culprits behind why you might want to cry one minute, punch the bus driver for being 2 minutes late the next & then curl up in a dark room the next minute.
● Yup you guessed it...your hormone Estrogen is what causes our breasts to get bigger around our period & sometimes become a lot sorer and tender.
Crazy how our body works right? But how can you manage some of these changes?
1. Whether you use a tampon, pad or menstrual cup, especially if your period is heavy, try and change them frequently (for the cup, empty it out when it gets full). This will prevent the normal odour from lingering too much & make you feel more comfortable which should help your mood a little.
2. Use free period tracker apps to help you figure out when your period will come, log any emotional/physical changes so you can prepare for them or not freak out when you suddenly feel like you hate the world or yourself. And in case something unusual happens, you'll be able to go to the GP with a well-prepared log which will help them to advise you better & faster.
My favourite free apps are Flo, Period Tracker & Clue (the free versions are all good enough).
In this funny world where we bleed every month and still continue to look fabulous, be parents, ace exams, do our housework, run businesses and households and occasionally lead countries; beingHer may not always be glamorous but we make it work!
Tomorrow, we'll be having an Instagram Live with Dr Adanna Okeahialam. She is an Obstetrics & Gynecology specialist meaning she specialises in women's health and pregnancy and she'll be answering any questions you may have around period/vagina health (go to our Instagram story to ask your questions anonymously) from 6pm - 6:30pm)