I spent a year and a half as the community manager for a major tampon and pad brand. I enjoyed opening with this at parties beacuse it always got a good conversation going. As a pro-woman, ra-ra feminist, I genuinely liked working with this brand and I learned a lot about the awesome people who genuinely want to do away with the period shame.
And girls, I learned a lot. I was pretty period-savvy before I started, but now? I know a bunch more. Here’s everything a major period care brand taught me.
Track your cycle
Really! I’m not saying you have to do it all the time, but spend a few months writing down your cycle length and any quirks. Why? Nothing is normal when it comes to periods. Some girls have short cycles, some have long cycles. Some girls have bad cramps, some girls get no cramps. You have to find out your normal. That’s the only way you’ll know if something is up. So, if your period has been coming every 32 days for years and suddenly it’s coming every 15 days, maybe it’s time to make an appointment (or check your stress levels).
pH is super-duper important
Yup, your vagina is like a tomato, and boy does that matter. Too much one way: yeast infection! Too much the other way: BV! Keep your soap usage at a minimum and think about investing in a pH neutral soap if you cycle between yeast infections and BV. Soaking in baths can also make your vagina unhappy. So, be careful.
Prostaglandins are terrible
Well, not terrible. They help your body shed its uterine lining, so they are essential. But they can be pesky and make you feel like you have the flu a few days before your period and contribute to cramps. I know! I’ve always felt downright ill the day before my period. Even feverish. The culprit? Prostaglandins run amok! A quick solution is to take some ibuprofen and some Benadryl. Interesting tip: prostaglandins are key in dysmenhorrea. So if you’re feeling really poorly even after a day of rest, call your doctor!
You can get pregnant at pretty much any time
Yes, you can get pregnant on your period. I know! I totally believed periods were a baby-free zone.
Talk to your people
I saw so many girls who were just terrified to talk to parents, friends, and boyfriends about their periods. And not just teens. You’d be amazed how many 30-year-old women worry about telling their boyfriend that they’re on their period. Most people are perfectly capable of dealing with this perfectly normal bodily function.
If a dude cares that you’re on your period, he ain’t worth it
I dated a guy who once called my period disgusting. Seriously. Sure, not every person wants to go downtown on their period, and not all of it has to do with their feelings on periods in general, but if a guy is weirdly uncomfortable with this normal bodily function? Move the fuck on.
Brands actually care
The Diva Cup ladies will tell you that all major feminine care brands are somehow evil. They’re not. Sure, they want you to buy your product and you may love your menstrual cup, but behind all the marketing is a group of people who do want to make periods better for women. They are doing a lot of good work to change society’s notions about menstruation for the better because they are so not cool with all the period shame.
What have you learned recently about your period that surprised you?