Periods. Most women get them. How each of us experiences menstruation can vary widely. And a lot of us don’t talk about it as often as we should. There’s a menstruation taboo. The taboo around feminine bodily functions needs to loosen so that we can support one another, encourage learning, and feel proud of our bodies. After all, periods are part of being a healthy female! Let’s break the silence.
Menstruation taboo: Talking practicalities
Most women are likely to already have gotten a handle on their periods and how they take care of themselves and their menstrual hygiene. However, when it comes to your daughters, you shouldn’t leave it up to them to figure it out or simply give them resources to educate themselves.
It can be incredibly helpful for them to have a figure of authority in their life hand them the information that they need and help them navigate it. Be there for them, from what to choose on store shelves to how to make sure they’re ready to deal with it at school and so on.
Take the time to educate yourself so that you can educate your female loved ones about topics such as implementation bleeding vs. periods. Heavy flow is another subject to know about, as well as cramps and mood swings.
The stress that comes with it
The hormonal changes that come with periods have effects that impact more than just the body. The mind, in particular, can be susceptible to the stress that comes with those changes, expected and otherwise.
There are ways to reduce your period stress, such as getting more active when you’re experiencing it (even when you feel like doing the complete opposite). Some women find it helpful to avoid caffeine and alcohol, which tend to only increase your stress response after the initial relief.
That there are alternatives to tampons
When it comes to dealing with the flow itself, there’s a lot of focus on using tampons. However, they are not always the best options for everyone.
Whether due to an uncomfortable fit or another reason, some women do much better with panty pads than tampons. There are other options too, including period cups, and menstrual discs. It’s a good idea to have an alternative around in case you’re unable to use tampons for any reason.
Knowing when you need help
For a lot of women, when something unexpected, weird, or unpleasant happens during a period, the initial thought is not to do anything about it or talk about it. The assumption might be to just wait to see if it happens again.
However, you can learn about how friends manage similar situations or when you might need to see a doctor if you’re more open about those kinds of situations. That’s a big reason why having more conversations about menstrual cycles is important!
Mental health is another topic with a stigma around it that often prevents people from talking about it – Let’s change that!
Talking with men about periods
The majority of women feel uncomfortable about even mentioning their period around their male friends and family members. However, it’s men that we may need to turn to support if we need help accessing period products.
That’s especially true when it comes to intimate partners. So, let’s get them involved in the conversation and past the “ick” factor that holds so many people back.
A few more words about the menstruation taboo
The above examples are only the start. Online or in-person, find comfortable spaces to talk about aspects of your period you could use advice or support on. Doing so can help you find practical solutions and feel better about your body.