Now In the name of fair warning, this may quite possibly be the most awkward blog post I ever write. To any males reading this particular post, unless its about your daughter or wife, I NEVER want to discuss this with you. In fact I would actually prefer if you could please stop reading about now. But if you intend to proceed, I dont want to know about it, OK?
But that said, I promise there is a good reason for my writing this.
Only ladies beyond this point please
Only ladies beyond this point please
Ladies, its something that affects every woman. Yup, sometimes known as “Aunty Flo”, your “monthly”, or of course the usual name of “period”. That’s right, I’m talking about that terrible menstrual issue.
Its a rather awkward subject for most of us, and personally I do not know anyone who actually enjoys getting theirs.
I remember as an 11 or 12 year old a group of us girls talking excitedly about hoping we get our periods soon, because that was a passing into womanhood. Wow were we all wrong.
Now I know, pfft.
It is the two tough weeks of the month, the week leading up to it which includes pimples, bloating, nausea, cramps, diarrhea, constipation, headaches and extreme mood swings. At least for me. I know some ladies who get it way way worse.
Then comes the bleeding. What male could survive 4-7 days bleeding without going to an emergency room? Meanwhile, us ladies have to “just deal” with it monthly.
Of course you get the insensitive men who come to you randomly and say “oh, are you moody/tired/sore because of PMS” and I want to go all “Kill Bill” on them (no never watched the movie, but I have been told a loose storyline of it), because “if I had to bleed to find you annoying, I would be anaemic!“
Of course those 4-7 days of bleeding dont mean the other problems of the week leading up to it stop, no they tend to get worse.
And then every woman has to make the choice, will you use the slightly cheaper pads which are frightfully uncomfortable, awkward and smell bad? Or will you use the expensive and yet so much more comfortable tampons, which are also convenient. Although there is always that long, small print warning label about toxic shock syndrome’
Of course neither is fail proof, and inevitably you’ll be standing at the basin in mid winter freezing your fingers off while trying to wash the blood stains out of your favourite pair of panties. (Trust me, its worse when you live on a farm and the toilet is a walk down the garden path and the basin is outside)
Pads mean no tight jeans or swimming. Tampons are often ‘dissed because uneducated people say you’re losing your virginity if you use them.
Personally I hate both, but I hate pads more.
But, now I promised that there is a good reason that I am doing this particular ranting blog. And NO, its not because I am on my period. It is because I have recently found a couple of things that make this awful thing a little bit easier to deal with every month, and if I have found something that makes it easier for me, I feel that I have a duty to share that knowledge with others.
I chose to share it with you as a blog post rather than individually as it seems a bit rude to be pushing such intimate things on to my friends, so if you are interested in knowing more, feel free to drop me a message or email and we’ll talk.
First thing is an app I downloaded (it is available on android and windows store, unsure about istore or blackberry) called Period Tracker. I find it useful because it helps to tell you when your period is going to arrive. Ok, yeah you can do that in your diary on calendar, but this does all the math for you. You can add in any symptoms or whatever it is that you want to add in. After a couple of months it becomes really accurate. So if you need to plan a special event (I’m looking at you ladies planning your weddings) you can know which is a safe date. It also has its own password protect and its just got a symbol of a flower, so no awkward explainations if you lend your phone to someone. For those ladies who are married or in a relationship (I’m blissfully single, and proudly virgin, and plan on keeping it that way for a long time to come), it also has a sister app which is a pregnancy tracker.
Second, I’m very big on not being in pain. Period cramps are quite likely the worst cramps/pain I have ever felt (heavens if this is what my body does to celebrate not being preggers, thats enough to make me sure I never want to fall pregnant!), I’m quite willing to take a pain killer for that. The pain killer that I have found actually works is Spasmend, it also happens to be one that does not need to be taken with food. I also daily take evening primrose oil and B6 supplements, they help to reduce the cramps in the long run and help with the mood swings.
Thirdly, the latest thing I have discovered that makes the monthly monster easier to deal with is thanks to my cousin. My cousin was kind enough to share information about Menstural Cups with me, she was also kind enough to get me one as a gift. I may have thought it a bit strange at first that I would get such an intimate item as a gift, however I am forever indebted and my life is changed.
A Menstural Cup is a medical grade silicon cup that is used like a tampon that never leaks!!! It uses a suction cup method to stay in, and you empty it and clean it out once every 12 hours. Its silicon, thus does not carry bacteria or germs if its boiled once a month and rinsed clean when you empty it during your period. Its silicon, so it is said to last 10 years. No more awkward standing in queues or going to a male teller with a packet of pads or tampons. And yes, the initial cost is quite expensive with a cup costing an average of R300-R400, however think of how much tampons cost (on special you might be able to get them under R30 for a box of 16), in the long run its saving so much money and making your life easier. Its also surprisingly comfortable, more so than a tampon.
The biggest shock is that this is not a new invention, but has been in existence since the 1930s.
I also found two interesting blog posts on this that you may wish to view:
18 Reasons you should switch to a menstrual cup, via BuzzFeed
and 5 Reasons to use a menstrual cup you probably hadn’t considered, via Natural Parents
So ladies, the monster doesn’t have to control your life, its taken me 11 years to figure out how to deal with it, and although its a somewhat awkward and embarrassing subject (I dont know why, it just is), I’m open to other suggestions on how to make it more endurable. I’m also open to sharing these things with other ladies.
And the best thing of all, is that soon “outcry and pain will be no more” (Revelation 21:3-5), so hang in there, you’re not alone in the struggle.