Ask Sophia: Period Talk
Q: "Hey! I've had my period only twice before and next week will be the first time i'll have it at school. I'm really scared to bleed through my pants and use any other products besides pads. how can I avoid staining my pants? How often should I change my pad? What if i don’t realize the moment I'm bleeding and don’t change my pad right away? (i have heavy flow the first two days). I'm scared. Can you help please? Thank you" - Anonymous
Hey people. HAPPY MONDAY! TODAY WAS MY FIRST DAY OF SENIOR YEAR! Can you believe it?! Crazy. Anway, I haven’t done a period post in a second so I thought we’d answer your top pick from the Instagram polls and respond to some questions about a nice visit from aunt flow. I totally understand your anxiety about getting your period at school. I kind of forget about how much of a pain it is until I have to change my tampon every few hours and deal with the discomfort of the whole thing. THE ONE THING IS: There is no reason to be scared. It’s not scary. Just annoying. It’s like taking out an earring that’s stuck to its backing and makes you nervous that you’re going to rip your ear (that might just be a me thing). Anyways, one day you learn how to do it and it’s not so so bad and then you completely forget about the days when it used to terrify you.
Bottoms: I think I mentioned this in another post and I hope it’s not TMI but I LOVE my period underwear. My mom bought me thick, period-proof tie dye underwear on amazon in the 6th grade. The only caveat is that wearing a pad in secure, comfortable underwear doesn’t necessarily allow for a seamless effect. The go-to bottoms in this case are just comfy sweats. Baggy jeans could also be an option or even a long midi skirt. I would stay away from short shorts or leggings. Don’t be afraid about leaking. The only time I ever had an embarrassing incident was on a beach vacation where my period had arrived by surprise and an old lady approached me to let me know. TOO FUNNY. Anyways as long as you don’t wear white booty shorts I’m confident that you’ll be good to go.
Depending on how heavy your flow is you could change your tampon every 2 hours. Definitely keep hygienic and don’t leave your pad in for like 9 hours straight. I have a heavy flow at the beginning of my cycle too but there’s absolutely no need to change your pad right as you start bleeding. Pads were designed to absorb and help manage your flow. You can play around with different pad/tampon combinations and see what feels and works best for you. For example, you could you a panty liner and a max-sized tampon or go for a massive pad with a light flow tampon. There’s no bible for periods… do what makes you feel comfortable.
Of course for school, you'll want to have a period pouch with extra pads, tampons, underwear, a mini trash bags (refer below for a link)!
For funny stories about my periods, advice on the mental health aspect, and other tips and product suggestions refer to my post below from 2020:
In honor of my period this week, I present the following stories (all 3 of which occurred at my sleep-away camp):
Story 1. In the summer going into 8th grade, I got my period once during camp. It was the second day. The camp requires us to take a swim test each year and I obviously wouldn’t be able to wear a pad in the pool. I grabbed my close camp friend and we ran to the bathroom to figure out how to use a tampon. She had an older sister and had been using tampons for a while so she ended up just doing it for me. I was so happy we got it to work and ran down to the pool. The whole time it was pretty uncomfortable and I asked all the girls if it was supposed to hurt. People said it really shouldn’t but that's normal. After the swim test, I ran to the bathroom to pull out the tampon and my friend had left the plastic in!!!!!! I couldn’t believe it.
Story 2. The second story takes place the following year when I was going into 9th grade. Our bunk at camp was planning a surprise birthday celebration for one of the girls. I offered to be the ‘distraction’ so all the other girls ran to set everything up, but I stayed with the birthday girl and we went on a walk. I realized at that moment that I should probably change my tampon and we could buy some time by quickly going to the bathroom. When I finally was able to pull out my tampon, the cotton had expanded into a butterfly shape with the top section missing. I showed it to my friend and we both agreed that half of the tampon had separated from the rest of the tampon and was still lodged up somewhere in me. I was freaking out and ran across the camp at night, picking out any female counselor I could see and asking them about Toxic Shock Syndrome. I didn't know what it meant but I was scared. The birthday girl and I ran to the camp doctors building while our whole bunk was waiting across the camp to surprise her. We waited for a nurse and they called my parents at 11pm that night to notify them that I’d be receiving a vaginal exam. The exam was so uncomfortable. After taking the nurses on a tour of all the camp trash cans where I could have thrown away the used tampon, we found it and they determined that the tampon was perfectly normal and always looked like this once it expanded. So much for a quick distraction! this is what expanded tampons look like! Don’t be freaked out like me!
Story 3. Finally, that same year at camp, our whole age group went on a little overnight and it involved some kayaking. My group went second to kayak and so another group had to grab all of our water bottles, backpacks, sweatshirts that we had left on the beach. I had taken off my shorts and left my bloody pad wrapped up inside. I was praying that no one
seen the pad and the person who grabbed my stuff was a girl. I swear to g-d, a boy from the other groups walked right up to me and handed me my shorts, with the used pad perfectly visible. I wanted to DIE!!!!! It was SO embarrassing.
Like I was saying earlier, I have a heavy period and falling asleep can be extremely daunting because the flow just keeps flowing like the red sea. Aside from laying a towel down over my sheets and sleeping in old shorts I don’t care about, I’ll let you in on 2 secrets...
1. Lady Diaper
It’s true you guys, I am in fact a teenage baby and still wear a diaper. Except for the time that I had dance at school and was wearing my diaper under the leggings, I'm not ashamed in the slightest and tbh it gives me a puffy butt. Is that a good or a bad thing… I guess we’ll never know.
2. Tampons to Bed
Because of the camp scare (story 2) and learning about toxic shock syndrome, I thought that wearing a tampon to bed is a big no no. But then last year, I did it one night and it turned out to be a good experience and i’m seriously not mad about it. Is it not the best idea? Maybe. Should I be telling you all this? Probably not. But will I be sleeping with a tampon tonight? No doubt 100%.
There will always be a mess to clean up when I am on my period. From the dirty undergarments to the blood that has happened to splatter everywhere (sorry if that's TMI).
1. First off I would recommend dedicating some comfortable and easy to wash underwear as your ‘go to’ period panties. Thongs are a no go so pick a hipster and go be a queen.
2. Second, try to change your tampon in the shower or over the toilet. For heavy periods like mine, I find that’s the cleanest tactic.
3. Put all the junk (wrappers and used stuff) in these smell canceling pink mini trash bags. My mom told me I had to use these and it’s honestly a great idea.
Having meltdowns, breakdowns, anger spikes, and irritation are a part of my period weeks. My best friends know that when I’m half laughing, half crying, and fuming all at the same time, I am for sure on my period. This only really started happening recently and rarely happens but not understanding your heightened emotions is perfectly okay. The only thing I would say is at least be able to maintain the slightest bit of stability to inform whoever steps in your path that you’re not having a good day and that you are aware that your attitude or anger is a bit out of control.
Whether it’s the placebo effect or that periods actually have a correlation with wanting to eat unhealthy food, I always feel like a bit of sugar can make up for the bad moods. I’ve had a pretty good relationship with food but I will say that wanting to eat junk and giving into my cravings during my period sometimes makes me feel fat, gross, and ugly. I had the same thought 30 minutes ago. Treating yourself and enjoying the small things during a hard week (whether it be food, a mini shopping spree, or a netflix night in) is not something to be ashamed of because we're girls and we do the heavy lifting.
We got this,