Period | Matters

Matters

Can we talk about our periods for a second? Maybe this post should alternately be titled “Things I’m Afraid To Tell You: Period Edition.”

It’s something I discuss on a regular basis with my real life friends – guys and girls, alike – but somehow along with a few other tricky topics (like sex, politics, divorce and body image stuff) it has become one of those things that-doesn’t-get-blogged-about. So here’s where I would typically disclaim this post and say “Gentlemen, look away!” But if you’re my real life guy friend you too are subjected to the status of my menstrual cycle – right Micah and James?

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BLOOD IS NOT BLUE
So I’ve been obsessed with periods since I was 11 and all my girlfriends started getting theirs at summer camp or bleeding through their shorts at recess. I had decided that was not for me – no thank you. And so I willed my period to not start until I turned 17. That’s right. SEVENTEEN. And once it started it would not stop. For something like 45 days. I became anemic, bought stock in Tampax and took iron supplements. I was paranoid about bleeding through my clothes (and it was a legitimate fear) – so I was always wearing a flannel around my waist – even in the summer.

When I “started” it was a big deal. The shared family bathroom was one big explosion of feminine hygiene products. My sister was slightly annoyed because when she started her period she was so discreet about it that not even our mom knew. Yet here I am – blogging about it for the world to see 10+ years later – so you can only imagine how dramatic and loud I was about it as a teenager. So after 45 days of not even being able to lift a milk jug out of the fridge because I was quite literally bleeding my guts out my mom took me to the doctor. With a slightly uncomfortable pap smear and a prescription to Othro Tricyclen (the birth control pill) I was sent on my way. With the help of synthetic hormones my period was that of a normal girl.

The biggest disappointment of it all was how not blue blood is – contrary to every period-centric commercial out there. And the truth of it is that sometimes blood isn’t even all that red either (*unless you use a diva cup – more on that later).

ONCE A MONTH
I know some women who like getting their period. It’s proof that everything is working properly and a monthly celebration of fertility and womanhood. But for me, nothing about bleeding from my hoo-ha every single month feels okay or right. Every month it’s a total slap in the face (except for those months when I’m relieved to discover that I’m not pregnant). And get this – statistically 1 out of every 4 women is bleeding at all times. So when you’re at work, an amusement park, a concert, out to dinner or at a movie theater think about how unfair life is for 25% of women at any given moment.

So when I finally got off the pill a decade later (before we trekked to Mt. Everest, actually) I was a little anxious to see how my body would react. I was a little paranoid that I had 10+ years of angry, vengeful period just waiting to make my life hell. The first month off the pill I thought I was pregnant because my period was 8 days late. Little did I know – and probably because I’ve willed it so – my body would slowly adjust to only getting a period every other month. I’m so obsessed with my cycle that I have a tracker on my phone to tell me when I’m ovulating, when it’s okay to be a little less careful when getting it on and when I’m going to start my period (the app is called P Tracker).

AnatomyTampon

MAKE IT STOP
Did you know that in the Bible days women used to have to go sit on a rock for 7 days while on their period? Yeah. That’s something my Sunday school teacher did not want to discuss with my curious 8-year-old self.

So now instead of being banished to go sit on a rock for a week we have an entire aisle at the grocery store dedicated to making it stop (or at least pretending like it isn’t really happening):
Pads – There’s something very honest and kind of satisfying about letting the blood flow as it may – but pads almost feel like adult diapers. Anytime I wear one I feel like the world knows (and not because I’m blogging about it).

Tampons – When I was 12 and my brother was 15 we busted in to my mom’s stash of Super Duper Absorbent tampons (you know – the orange kind) and had a tampon war. We launched tampons out of the applicators, into cups of water and threw them at each other. My mom was mad (“I need those, you guys!”) but it was so worth it. It was at that time that I came across the awesome line-drawing instructions for insertion and serious warnings about how tampons can kill you with a disease called Toxic Shock Syndrome.

The Diva Cup – This is my preferred method of making it stop. Mom blogs talks about cloth diapering and saving the planet – so let’s bring it back to our own hoo-has. The Diva Cup is a silicone cup that goes inside the vag canal and collects blood over 12 hours. It may take a couple tries to get it right but once you do it’s magical. And good for the environment. But if blood grosses you out this may not be for you – because changing it out is like a scene right out of Dexter. *Because the blood never hits oxygen it stays bright red.

Sometimes the sitting-on-a-rock method sounds pretty appealing, though.

PERIOD SEX (the opposite of being banished to a rock)
Periods may or may not put us out of commission for sexy times for a whole week every month (which just adds insult to injury). The number one thing I hear from ladies when discussing getting it on during one’s period is that in the beginning of the relationship the attitude from both parties is all “Who cares!? It’s hot. Let’s pretend we’re vampires!” Only to be rejected during that time of the month – or worse – asked to put a towel down first (not sexy) six months down the road. So I’m not turning into a sex columnist but here are some great alternatives: do it in the shower, go solo and do it with yourself, just make out for a week (when’s the last time you JUST made out?), or pretend like you’re a nun who is above desires of the flesh and meditate instead.

God bless you guys and gals who couldn’t care less about a little bit of blood when it comes to you or your partner’s period. And ladies, it’s okay if you don’t feel your sexiest during this time of the month and want to pass on sexy times – but don’t ever let anyone make you feel like you deserve to go sit on a rock for seven days either.

THOSE DECEITFUL LAST TWO DAYS
I’m still in such denial about my period that a day or two before it stops I declare it over. Every. Single. Time. Jeremy has finally caught on – when I bust out the megaphone and holler “IT’S OVER!” and start playing Madonna’s “Celebrate” that it’s not really over. There’s always more. Sometimes it will stop for an entire day only to come back for an encore presentation. I suppose this is why the term “Period Undies” exists.

Let’s chat. Just like Armpit Matters consider this a safe place to talk about all things hoo-ha.

  1. Katie

    The whole post was great, but your last paragraph made me laugh out loud – I’m always in denial about the last two days too! And so is my vag. I swear it’s pushing the tampons out because it’s had enough.

  2. Hahaha. Loved this post! Tried the Diva-hated it! I really wanted to like it, I promise I did.

  3. Katie – YES! Enough is enough.

    Jana – I have to admit – it took me about a full year to get used to it (but for me that’s only 6 periods).

  4. Karla

    I’m so glad someone else has the same last two deceitful days too. Ugh! I use the Moon Cup and have seen a huge decrease in discomfort. Also on ortho tri-lo just for the seriousness of the monthly visit. I can’t wait for menopause!

  5. Jay

    I loved this post — and you’re right no one ever talks about this in blogland. My husband is so annoying regarding anything ‘period.’ (No pun intended.) Last weekend he told me I had to empty out a suitcase for him to use and when I went to do it there was a small ziploc bag of tampons in the side pocket and that was it —- one would have thought it was the plague.

    And I hate that damn surprise reoccurrence — gets me every time!!!

  6. Molly

    I LOVED this post. I’m so sick of menstration being a taboo subject. Also, can I just rant for a moment about how angry it makes me that women are required to pay for “femine products?” Whenever I purchase them, it just seems like a slap in the face. Oh hey, you’re a woman so you’re biologically programmed to bleed. And as if that doesn’t suck enough, we’re going to capitalize on it. Argh! Pads, tampons, etc. should be free of charge to all women. Period. (Pun intended.)

  7. Sara

    two thoughts –

    1. You should read (if you havent already) “Taking charge of your fertility”. Even if you arent planning on getting pregnant anytime soon, its fascinating to learn all those things they didn’t teach you in health class about your cycle. And its crazy cool to see how taking your temperature can track whats going on.

    2. Pregnancy and nursing combined, I haven’t had a period in over a year and a half and I’m in no rush for it to come back.

  8. Alivia

    GODDAMN I love this post. My period sucks. I don’t mean the normal you’re-bleeding-for-days-of-course-it-sucks sucks, I mean sucks. BC does nothing. I’ve tried every kind, even the scary *These may give you blood clots or death!* birth control …and those game me cysts. Yay! I started when I was 11 and haven’t had a break since (those stupid girls that have irregular cycles/skip months? NEVER HAPPENED to me. Ever. 13 years later and I think it’s been more common for me to have two periods a month than one. Cool. Sometimes my cramps are so bad I throw up. Fantastic. Shit, I’m going to go post about this (because this comment is no where near long enough, am I right?). Thanks for the confidence 😉

  9. Ólöf

    I´m a seven dayer and the 4th day is usually a silent day. No bleeding. Like you I always hope that I´m done. Hope that I am done. Sigh. That is never the case. Now I haven´t had my period in 6+ months because I´m pregnant and won´t have it again for another 11 months since I breastfeed and don´t start til 8 months PP. I´ve been pregnant 3 times now in 5 years so I´ve have very few periods but I believe that I will try the Deva Cup when I do start again after this pregnancy. There are also cloth pads out there that feel much better than the throw away kind. Not like a diaper at all.

  10. Margie

    Excellent post and so true.

    Ever since I got off the pill, I’ve feared that my tampon would lose suction (get a Dyson) and I would bleed all over my mattress. Ugh.

    Periods. I got used to them but oh man, it took a while. I’m pregnant right now and I am not looking forward to bleeding after the birth. 🙁

  11. Kathleen I love you. Also, have you ever tried the Instead Cup? They don’t save the planet or anything but I love love loved them before I got pregnant. I will be super sad if they no longer fit when my period returns.

  12. Jemina

    Good post about how we should be more open on this topic, but I’m not sure where you got your facts for Biblical women sitting on a rock for 7 days. According to Jewish law, women had to remain sexually separated from their husbands during that time, but that’s pretty much all the Bible says about it. I guess they must’ve needed more page space to talk about why they’re also not allowed to eat shellfish, who knows.

    Besides, I think we can give these women a little more credit than to sit idly by on a godforsaken rock for a week, haha.

  13. Molly – YES. I think there should be some sort of subsidy for those products. But the entire US could use some reform when it comes to the way it treats women, fertility, maternity leave, etc.

    Sara – I’ll check it out!

    Alivia – Hell yes – do a post. Get it out.

    Olof – Great point about the cloth pads. I have a friend who uses them and doesn’t seem to have any complaints.

    Jemina – I didn’t fact check that verse so I may be mixing theology with other cultural customs. I’m pretty sure Leviticus also mentions that menstruating women can’t go to church while bleeding either. This will require more research – what a topic upon itself!

  14. Well this was just all kinds of awesome. The only question I have may be crossing the line, but knowing you, probably not.
    So if you no longer use pills, what form of contraception are you using? I know you’re not trying, as I get the feeling you and Jeremy share the same abhorrence my husband and I do (at this time) towards children …
    I just can’t with the condoms. CAN’T. But I’m over being whipped around with hormones. That IUD is looking mighty tempting these days. But also, I’m frightened beyond all belief.

  15. I’m usually pretty open when discussing this stuff because I always figure someone can learn from my experience. I had fairly regular periods starting in 8th grade, except that I had cold symptoms one week before it would start. If there is anything worse than the monthly curse it’s a monthly cold.

    That stopped after the first year or so. Then, when I was 18 or 19 I got on the pill. After about 8 months I started having yeast infections every month, one week before my period. Fantastic. Stopping the BC stopped the infections.

    Two years ago I started having terrible pain during my cycle. Excessive bloating and feeling what I can only describe as lightening bolts in my colon. I suspected endometriosis and my OB/GYN confirmed my diagnosis.

    Now I take Loestrin 24 FE BC pills to control my endometriosis symptoms. I’m on it continuously, so I only take a break and have a period a few times a year. I love not having to worry about the terrible pain that might be around the corner. However, my husband and I still use protection because there’s no way to be sure if I am pregnant or not when I’m continuously taking the pills.

  16. Trisha

    I also recommend “Taking Charge of Your Fertility.” It’s amazing to learn about your body–why don’t they teach this in middle school?!? After reading that, I don’t know that I would trust an app to tell me when I’m fertile. Each body is unique and there are multiple factors that you can track to know when your period is coming and when your ovulating–so that you know when to be super-careful.

  17. Rachael, Really – I wouldn’t say I abhor children at all. But I definitely am not ready to have my own – yet.

    So we use the pull out method. When we started down this route two years ago everyone was all “OH you’ll be pregnant in two days flat.” So either we have other stuff going on that may make it hard to conceive one day or Jeremy is just really good at our chosen form of birth control.

    Let’s just say – if I accidentally got pregnant I wouldn’t be devastated. But it hasn’t happened yet so it’s come to be a method that I trust.

  18. this was amazing. so true about the ‘who cares in the beginning turning to ewwwww down the line. Been there! Done – or not done that.

    I was telling merl about the diva cup a while back and she had never even heard of it. I found her a nice little diagram online to freak her out. I haven’t tried it but have considered it. Do you need to change it in the shower? is it like… explosive?

  19. Jessica – thanks for your comment. I think it’s super helpful for all women to discuss these things. To many of us go with weird pain without getting it checked out only to lead to serious problems.

    Trisha – OH – I definitely check in with my body. It’s VERY obvious when I’m ovulating and more often than not it’s pretty spot on with the app! I’m definitely going to have to check out Taking Charge. There are a few things that are weird with my cycle (like weird cramps a whole week before my period) that I would like to know about.

    Also – I wonder if maybe I have an ovary that doesn’t work and that’s why I only have a period every 45 – 60 days.

  20. I almost went for the arm implant at my last Dr’s visit… until I found out it costs about $550. Yikes!

    Also, I don’t think there is any science to this at all – but it seems periods are shorter when I use tampons! I’ve been guessing using a product that’s absorbing makes it go by quicker but that’s pretty hairbrained unscientific logic.

  21. Rory – I’ve heard that tampons can make you bleed more! But I also heard that the Bible tells you to go sit on a rock for 7 days…

  22. Easily the most interesting and entertaining post I’ve read anywhere in a while. So honest and real!

    I always wondered, ‘why am I suffering through this when it seems everyone else has such an easy time of it?’ when actually its just because nobody talks about it.

    Keep shocking honesty coming!

  23. amanda

    the first period i had after my son was born i got so angry i shoved my jogging stroller through a window. that was intense. but thankfully i’ve never really had rough pms symptoms. but i sure do hate that visit every month. even when i’m marathon training, she comes without fail. gaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh. and we’re not having any more babies and my husband got snipped a year and a half ago. i don’t need this shit anymore!!!!!!!
    and i’ll just say that i thoroughly enjoyed this post 🙂

  24. amanda

    the first period i had after my son was born i got so angry i shoved my jogging stroller through a window. that was intense. but thankfully i’ve never really had rough pms symptoms. but i sure do hate that visit every month. even when i’m marathon training, she comes without fail. gaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh. and we’re not having any more babies and my husband got snipped a year and a half ago. i don’t need this shit anymore!!!!!!!
    and i’ll just say that i thoroughly enjoyed this post 🙂

  25. Is it weird that sometimes I think that using tampons doesn’t let you bleed as fast?? Like it plugs you up, for lack of a better term? And what I think is even weirder is that this is the first time I have ever had another sole to ask that question to – and I ask it of a whole mess of your readers, Kathleen!

    Great post, btw.

  26. Kathleen! We are period TWINS!

    It was my second period (at age 12) that made me bleed for over 20 days, until I passed out three times. I have to be taken to the ER, was in ICU for 2 days, and had 9 blood transfusions. And Sally Draper thinks that HER experience was traumatic?

    The pill caused depression and bad headaches for me. I did use natural progesterone for a while, which helped with the bleeding a little. Still, I always had awful, heavy periods with horrible cramping. I even had prescription strength pain killers to get me through college. 2 years ago I had the Mirena IUD inserted, after I had a surgery to remove some endometriosis and fix a uterine septum (SEE: janky uterus). I LOVE my IUD. I have light periods & much less cramping.

    Thank you for posting about periods! I cannot believe have annoyed I have been about something so supposedly ‘miraculous’. Maybe I’ll change my mind if/when I decide to have a baby…

    *Laura

  27. Bianca

    I love this post so much! I think you should dedicate it to Sally Draper…

  28. I’m so glad you published this. I mean, the vampire line alone made me burst out in laughter. But more importantly, I had no idea what a diva cup was or that it even existed. And how did it end up with such an awesome name? My period has been a bit wonky these past few months (since going off birth control and changing my diet), and I’m still waiting to see if it goes regular again. Somehow. But there are days I still miss my birth control pills.

  29. Bethany – I did try the Instead cup and it was a nightmare. It didn’t fit at all and I wound up bleeding all over myself in an REI in Portland. I’ll never forget it.

    Emily – It’s not explosive at all UNLESS you put the cup full of blood directly under the faucet (or shower) – then it explodes everywhere. But the actual taking out is not explosive.

    Laura – OH GOSH. Your experience sounds MUCH more traumatizing than mine. But yes, I can relate for sure. That’s another thing I meant to mention in this post is that I have cramps but never so painful they’re debilitating – it’s a WHOLE other issue to add into the mix.

    Amanda – Ah, during marathon training has got to be bad! Have you ever been on your period during marathon day?

    Rachel – I thought “If Rachel is brave enough to write about her colon I can write about my uterus.” I’m glad you liked it.

    Bianca – YES! Sally Draper!

    Brandi – You must check out the Diva Cup. It even comes with a DIVA! pin that I guess you’re supposed to wear while on your period? Hilarious.

  30. in my family, us girls call tampons “plugs.” It’s disgusting, but fitting.

    Another fun fact, In Europe OB is the brand of choice, which makes sense, it doesn’t have any cardboard or plastic applicator waste and a box of them doesn’t take up half the storage space in your bathroom. OB is the common name for tampons in Germany, kind of how we call a tissue a “kleenex.” I wasn’t aware of this and was cornered at a party in Germany by two girls discretely asking me for an “OB.” I thought they were trying to buy drugs off me. I responded with, ” sorry, I don’t do that stuff.”

  31. HAILEY

    I love your humor and honesty AND that you blogged about this. 🙂

  32. jmday

    Why… WHY am I always on my period during vacation? Does that happen to anyone else? Even when I plan not to be, it decides to be a couple days late here and there and sure enough Aunt Flo (god I hate that term) butts her bloody self right in on my fun in the sun. WTF?

    Not sure why, but this post is totally resonating with me… and re: breastfeeding and period… SERIOUS (nipple) PAIN during ovulation… I know, I’m living that right now.

  33. Ashlae

    I love this post so much I want to scream it to the mountaintops.

    I, too, was a late bloomer – and went on birth control to regulate my period. However, I recently went off of it and haven’t had a period in four months. FOUR FUCKING MONTHS. Normally I’d be ecstatic, but there comes a point at the end of each month where I’m like.. Alright, ovary (I’ve only got one), DO YOU STILL WORK?

    And while we’re on the subject – can we talk about tampons with plastic applicators? I mean, why are women so grossed out by touching their own vaginas that they have to use a piece of plastic to assist them in shoving a tampon up there? I mean, really.

  34. Thank you for writing this. I’ve been So curious about the diva cups. I might have to try them because frankly, having to purchase 2 HUGE boxes each month is too costly.

    Bleed on a rock for 7 days… so thankful that has changed.

    I totally do the “I’M DONE!” thing and I get it wrong all the time.

    I am so regular, that I can literally set a calendar by my cycle. I can actually tell you when I’m going to start.. it’s really odd. I guess I should be thankful for that.

    I wish I was still on the pill, I might try to get back on for the time being until we are ready to have kids. Mostly because I miss the lighter flow!

    Thanks for putting it all out there girl! 🙂

    Lastly I have a funny tampon story. My ex boyfriend used to be one of those guys that freaked about about tampons. wouldn’t even TOUCH the box if it was on the table. He’d jump if you tossed one at him. Since we were in a long distance relationship – I decided one day to send him a postcard… only I made the card out of a tampon box and sent it to his work. Needless to say he was so pissed but his co-workers got a HUGE laugh out of it.

  35. Amy

    I HATE periods. I know, I know, they tell you things are working properly and blah blah, but if I never had another one in my life I’d be beyond thrilled. I have 1-2 days of cramping so badly sometimes I cannot leave bed and I REFUSE to take BC because it feels so unnatural, not to mention I feel like a beached whale for at least 3 days (the OPPOSITE of sexy :)) I did start using the diva cup when you first mentioned it on your site a while ago, and I have to say I love it as well. It’s probably the best thing that will ever happen to my period 🙂

  36. I just wanted to echo Sarah and say that “Taking Control of Your Fertility” literally changed my life. I’ve been hormone free for 3 years now and WHAT A DIFFERENCE! Another book I would recommend is “Women’s Bodies Women’s Wisdom”. It covers just about everything AND it’s not just all about “western medicine/cures”. I really think you would like it too. She even challenges you to interview the women in your family about their views on children, marriage, etc. to help better explore our own desires that are pro/con children.

  37. Oh man, I LOVE YOU! Such a great post!

    So, I turned 26 yesterday and a few days before I got my first EVER natural period. Yep! I have PCOS, and would never get my period, unless I was on the pill. As I was on the pill for something like 8 years straight, I came off it last year after splitting with my boyfriend. I was periodless for 9 blissful months. So, needless to say, I was a little surprised when I got my period. The female body can be a strange thing.

    The use of the cup always fascinates me, I’m a pad user, I have never tried a tampon. I remember reading too that most Americans use the ones with the applicator. I’ve never seen those in shops in Australia! All the sample packs and that here are all just the tampons.

    Oh, and my period did the “i’ve finniishhhed” trick to me yesterday. It’s back today, I think it was trying to let me have a good birthday 😛

    Thanks for letting me talk about things that many people never want to hear 😛

  38. Ramona

    I am sort of surprised by my period every single month, like oh, right, forgot that was there. And every time I think it is over, it isn’t really. Also all my best girlfriends and I have started getting it at the same time which leads to period talk every single month and details about when and how it came!
    It’s like “We’re in this togehter, sisters” 🙂

  39. Wonderful post! My boyfriend & I also used the “pull it out method” for about 4 years without getting pregnant & when we decided we wanted a baby it only took 3 trys… All that time I was kind of concerned we’d have trouble but I guess my bf just really knew what he was doing. lol. Friends of mine can’t believe it worked for us, but like you throughout those years I would have been happy if we’d ended up accidentally pregnant.

  40. Rolerkite – That is hilarious! I’m going to to think of that every time I see an OB now – “Sorry, I don’t do that stuff.”

    jmday – YES on the nipple pain! My boobs have hurt before when on my period but never the actual nipple until I got off the pill.

    Ashlae – If I’m not using the diva cup I buy these all organic & unbleached tampons without applicators and it makes you realize how unnecessary applicators are. It’s really not that different. Also, I really love having less “period” trash to discreetly wrap up in toilet paper in the trash can.

    Kelly – That postcard to your ex is HILARIOUS.

    Amy – so glad you like the diva cup too!

    PatternofLife – Oohhh, I’m constantly interviewing EVERYONE about pros and cons of making babies. I definitely want to check this book out. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Natalie – XO! Happy period and happy birthday! You are welcome to talk here about anything!

    Ramona – YES – it’s like “YOU AGAIN!?” every single month. And I love it when my cycles match up with my girlfriends. In fact, this is weird but me and one of my best gal pals would get yeast infections at the same time. Weird, right!? Sympathy vaginas.

    Friend or Doe – That’s really good to hear. It’s always funny trying to reassure friends and family that Jeremy is just really good at pulling out.

  41. Becca

    OB is seriously the best tampon brand ever. Though their discreet size can be dangerous; one day at work I was rooting around in my bag for Chapstick while talking to an older male coworker. When my hands closed on what I thought was the Chapstick I grabbed and, without looking, brought up to my face and tried to take the cap off. But no cap, because it was not Chapstick, it was a tiny OB tampon. I don’t think he noticed …

  42. Holy shiznat!! Who knew periods would draw so many responses!! lol

    yeah.. I totally know the ‘it’s over dance’ and the dissapointing feeling the following day.. I shake my fist in the air… damn you period!!
    ***

    while were on the topic, a friend I went to high school with produced a short film with a few of her friends in Vancouver called Swim.. it’s about a young lady discovering her ‘womanhood’ if you catch my drift… here is the overall link on vimeo http://vimeo.com/swimthefilm

    but judging from your post, what you’d love is this http://vimeo.com/35581525

  43. I’ve been meaning to try the Diva for a good while now – I should go for it.

    Is anyone else fascinated to learn we have a body part known as the “cul-de-sac of douglas?” I love it!

  44. Amanda

    I’m a new-ish reader but I’m pretty sure I love you after this post!

  45. dieda

    Kathleen, thank you for this post! This is one of the most interesting and best designed things I’ve read and looked at online. The images are so rad (…red!), I can’t stop looking at them. Combining two of your favorite topics: during my period my sweat smells totally different. And no, not ‘different’ in a good way. It’s not right, really, as if having to manage the blood wasn’t enough. My all-natural deo doesn’t hold up. Sometimes I actually wish I coud just go and sit on a stone during those days. Escapism.

  46. Is it weird that I love this post and I’m 39?! I’m totally going to look into the Diva Cup. I’ve never heard of it and need it. I’m past the tampon days and can’t stand pads. I think you’ve provided me my answer.

  47. Emily

    I use a lunette cup, which is very similar to diva cup, and I love it. I’ve had it for probably a year and a half now and it’s seriously the best thing to happen to my period.

    Also, when it comes to birth control, I have always been pretty anti-hormonal birth control so when it came time to pick something, I went with a diaphragm. It takes a little getting used to, but if you already use a menstrual cup it’s an easy transition. It’s not quite as effective as the pill (especially not when you don’t use spermicide, which we don’t) but is probably comparable to pulling out. I’m in the same boat of, eh, if pregnancy happens it won’t be the end of the world. I’ve known plenty of people who got pregnant on the pill too. And one of the major upsides of the diaphragm is that it sorta works like a menstrual cup too, so if your flow is light, you can put it in and have sex blood-free!

  48. N

    That’s a really good post. There’s another natural method for during your period, which apparently lets you have sex. It’s a period sponge, or whatever it’s called. I think I’ll try that as I don’t think I want to be a nun or just go solo. 🙂

    I’m always surprised at the relationship americans have with contraception (I’m French). I got on the pill at eighteen and I was quite late doing so by French standards (not that we’re bunnies going at it, just most use it to regulate their period, in order for instance to not have it on their holidays!). If you’re in a long term relationship it is quite unusual to continue using a condom, I’d say it’s perceived as a lack of trust and a barrier to pleasure. Also, to track your temperature to know when to have or not have sex or the pull-out method they would be considered backwards and an unnecessary constraint. We don’t decide one day on a whim to stop using condoms tho, my boyfriend and I for instance went to have a blood test before to take it out of the equation. Actually, we decided to wait until we had a blood test so that we never had sex with a condom (except in some weird moments like when my period is there but I’m not bleeding yet). I would add as well that if I had to campaign in favor of free female products it would be contraception or depilation. There are a lot of option that reduce the amount of hormones you get in your system like a ring or a coil.

  49. Chelsey – WAIT, WHAT!? What is a cul-de-sac of Douglas? I’m going to have to Google this.

    Dieda – That’s interesting about your sweat! I wonder if you could eat different foods to offset it.

    Emily – I think what I like about pulling out is that it’s still kind of spontaneous. I imagine I would be super disappointed if I went through the hassle of putting a diaphragm in and ended up not having sex. You know?

    N – Your comment is fascinating. So how does family planning work into it? I guess you just have a baby whenever? Maybe I need to take on more of this attitude to finally maybe get pregnant. Or are there lots of unwanted pregnancies in France? I’m really curious about this!

  50. Molly – So not quite banished to a rock but still a horrible, horrible, unclean sin. 😉

  51. I’m another one with PCOS–no periods unless I was on the pill. I haven’t been on the pill in over a year, and no period. it’s a blessing and a curse; I still get my terrible PMS symptoms (hasn’t been as bad lately, though), occasional cramping, but nothing beyond that.

    I didn’t get cramps for 6 months to a year after I started–and I started 2 weeks after my TENTH BIRTHDAY (I’ll be 28 next month)! At first, they were fine, my younger sister would get them so bad she’d have to stay home from school, but a few years ago I too started getting them really bad. The pill started to help but then it didn’t even matter.

    I want to start treating the PCOS without the synthetic hormones, but one of the worst parts about it is my thinning hair. I did notice a difference while on the pill … unfortunately my current health insurance isn’t accepted by my PCP so I’m doing my darnedest to try and not get hurt or sick!

  52. Sana

    This is the best thing on the net. Period! 😉
    xxoo

  53. I love this so much! I too was cursed with the neverending period. Like, 5 months straight, super plus. Miserable. I haven’t stopped taking the pill since this incident and I’m super nervous about trying. Cool, body. Reaaaal cool.

  54. you are hilarious and brave. i’m 28 years old and learned a ton! 🙂

  55. picky

    You really are brave. Period post, very cool.

    I have endo and knew I likely did when I started in 6th or 7th grade. I would get sick – either fainting or vomiting each month. My mom, aunt, and grandmother all had endo.

    So at 20, I had one surgery. At 23, I had another. Have had a couple of cysts as well. Now I’m on Nuvaring, which I absolutely love, and I don’t take it out after week three. I don’t have periods. My doc doesn’t want me to because that’s when endo grows.

    I’ve done a lot of research, and the dummy pills for BC were really to make people more comfortable that BC was “natural” – without it, many thought there was something wrong with it. So periods? Eh, I’ll do without as long as I possibly can.

  56. I loved this post. I’m a long time reader, & I love your blog…formalities out of the way–my Aunt Flo was so horrible that I would pass out from blood loss or the cramps were so bad I was bed ridden. This was not just a 7 day a month thing either, it would last for a month or two and then be gone for 60 days, only to return with a vengeance. I started BC with slightly regulated it, but then cause nasty side effects–ie extremely lowered testosterone(or severe lack of sex drive) and rashes all over my body. So I bit the bullet and got an IUD…the doctor felt it was a last resort and told me I had a 50/50 chance of having a regular period. Reality–I have not had a real PERIOD in 3 years, my sex drive came back, no more downstairs cysts or rashes covering every inch of skin but my feet and hands…I’m now a happy girl. I do get horrible cramps for about a day or two once a month, but other than that–nothing. It’s due to come out in a year & when it does my husband and I will see if we get pregnant, in between though–I think I may try the diva cup.

    Thanks for this post, it was hilarious & allowed a nice little forum to read other women’s horror stories!

    -J

  57. I loved this post. I’m a long time reader, & I love your blog…formalities out of the way–my Aunt Flo was so horrible that I would pass out from blood loss or the cramps were so bad I was bed ridden. This was not just a 7 day a month thing either, it would last for a month or two and then be gone for 60 days, only to return with a vengeance. I started BC with slightly regulated it, but then cause nasty side effects–ie extremely lowered testosterone(or severe lack of sex drive) and rashes all over my body. So I bit the bullet and got an IUD…the doctor felt it was a last resort and told me I had a 50/50 chance of having a regular period. Reality–I have not had a real PERIOD in 3 years, my sex drive came back, no more downstairs cysts or rashes covering every inch of skin but my feet and hands…I’m now a happy girl. I do get horrible cramps for about a day or two once a month, but other than that–nothing. It’s due to come out in a year & when it does my husband and I will see if we get pregnant, in between though–I think I may try the diva cup.

    Thanks for this post, it was hilarious & allowed a nice little forum to read other women’s horror stories!

    -J

  58. I loved this post. I’m a long time reader, & I love your blog…formalities out of the way–my Aunt Flo was so horrible that I would pass out from blood loss or the cramps were so bad I was bed ridden. This was not just a 7 day a month thing either, it would last for a month or two and then be gone for 60 days, only to return with a vengeance. I started BC with slightly regulated it, but then cause nasty side effects–ie extremely lowered testosterone(or severe lack of sex drive) and rashes all over my body. So I bit the bullet and got an IUD…the doctor felt it was a last resort and told me I had a 50/50 chance of having a regular period. Reality–I have not had a real PERIOD in 3 years, my sex drive came back, no more downstairs cysts or rashes covering every inch of skin but my feet and hands…I’m now a happy girl. I do get horrible cramps for about a day or two once a month, but other than that–nothing. It’s due to come out in a year & when it does my husband and I will see if we get pregnant, in between though–I think I may try the diva cup.

    Thanks for this post, it was hilarious & allowed a nice little forum to read other women’s horror stories!

    -J

  59. THIS IS AWESOME AND FABULOUS. I hate my period. I loved this post.

  60. I use sea sponge “tampons” (the company I use is jade and pearl), I like not having to deal with the whole cup thing. I loved this post, thank you!

  61. Unknown

    I know others have already mentioned this but seriously, read Taking Charge of Your Fertility. This book should be recommended reading to anyone interested in fertility and how the female body works. I really wish they would have taught us this stuff in school….why did it take me 28 years to know about basal body temperature charting and how awesome it is?

    Also, not to scare you, but when you decide you’re ready to have children I’d suggest going full speed ahead. Head to the doctor immediately for help if needed, especially if your periods are irregular. We’ve been trying for over four years and I really wish I’d started this trying to conceive process earlier and with more force. What I also wish they would have stressed in school is that fertility goes wayyyy down with age (even early 30s!).

    Thanks for posting about the diva cup. I’ve been thinking of trying this out for a while because I really hate pads and tampons and the cost/waste they create. But I’m a little scared of the diva cup – I sometimes have trouble even inserting tampons. You said it took you a year to figure it out? That’s a lot of practice! It’s nice to know you only have to change it every 12 hours – because then I could probably time it with being home. I wouldn’t want to do it at work in a shared bathroom!

  62. N

    I would like to answer to your comment on my comment 🙂
    Actually what I meant was that we NEVER stop using one form of contraception or another UNLESS we plan to have kids. Condoms are often only used to prevent sexually transmited diceases in addition to another type of contraception. When you’re in a long-term relationship, you kind of ditch the condom as you get to a certain level of trust, however you will only leave your other contraception if you want a baby. So it is very planned. I am generalising here but I’ll say that we, French women, would not trust our partner to be as responsible as Jeremy for instance “to pull out” or our body to be so regular that by looking at a temperature chart we know when it is safe to have sex without a risk to conceive. I do not know ONE friend of mine, married or not, young or not without a type of contraception. The main ones would be the pill and coil.
    As for unwanted pregnancies, they are still happening, especially with young adults or teenagers. The factors for that are a lack of sexual education, (there are lessons but they are not as regular and numerous as they should to truly sink in), the fact that people become sexually active at a younger age without free access to contraception (it requires money and, before a certain age, parent’s consent if I remember correctly). However interrupting the pregnancy is possible, even if some human rights movements claim, rightly,that the access to it is not as easy as it should be.
    What I was saying tho about the difference between Americans and French (or Europeans even) is that you guys are dependent on the health care you receive with your job, so contraception can get expensive, hence, I believe, the use of what we consider “alternative” or complementary contraception methods as a main contraception: diaphragms, pull-out, condoms, spermicides… which as they’re occasionnal aren’t so expensive. Am I right on that point? For us, we can get FREE contraception (if we choose the ones reimbursed by the national health-care system) I think it changes everything! And it’s a right we’re NOT ready to give up.
    Sorry for the long reply.

  63. Mine does the SAME thing! It stops then starts again and pisses me off every month! I need to try the diva cup. I’ve been meaning to for some time now.

  64. Liz

    I’m jumping into this 2.5 years later, but I was a reader when you wrote this. I just made the jump this year after 3 miscarriages changed my cycle. It became hard to handle, physically (and emotionally, but I started talking about that aspect of it much earlier).

    The entire conception/pregnancy/birth story is different for every person. I wanted to say thanks for talking about the this stuff and staying in my brain for years. Your balls (and guts and boobs) make me feel brave about my female body and my different journey to rocking that.

  65. Liz

    Some how I left the phrase diva cup out of my second sentence. But, that.

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