Here’s a question for you…with 50% of the population being female and of this number roughly another 50% are of a reproductive age and therefore menstruating each month, why is it that people still feel incredibly uncomfortable talking about periods and it is still very much a taboo subject?
Menstruation is considered in many cultures as dirty, as unhygienic and as a negative experience that women are left feeling ashamed of and often keep to themselves, when in reality it should be celebrated as a sign of health and fertility. Men often feel embarrassed about the subject and in fact even women may speak in hushed tones or use euphemisms like ‘time of the month’ or ‘I’m on’ to skirt around the subject. But why is this?
Much has been done to try and help empower women by breaking down the negative connotations associated with menstruation, who can forget those skydiving ladies on the Bodyform adverts for instance?! And whilst it is completely unrealistic to assume that just because a woman is on her period she’ll be filled with this increased burst of courage and recklessness, it was a pivotal moment in the power of advertising breaking down this negative attitude.
One thing’s for sure, women in the western world have more choice than ever when it comes to what sanitary products to use. From tampons to pads, pantyliners to moon cups, with wings or no wings, light, normal or super there is literally something for every shape, size, comfort and flow. Which is all well and good, but I’m sure there’s not one of you out there that hasn’t at some point in your life been caught out by your period arriving sooner than expected. You could be as regular as clockwork, but the fact remains that for a variety of different reason things can sometimes go awry and when they do it may leave you feeling out of control and vulnerable.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a few tips to help regain some of that control, so that wherever you are in your cycle you won’t ever have to feel like that again.
Jot it Down
Every woman is different, but on average a menstruation cycle should be roughly every 28 days, although it is not uncommon to be anywhere from 24 to 35 days. And at the end of each cycle is when a period (the bleeding) will start, which will last between three and eight days, with the average duration being 5 days.
To work out your own cycle it is best to keep note of the day in which your period starts and ends. It may sound ridiculous, but there are some great benefits to be had in starting up a period journal, and if nothing else it gives you the perfect excuse to buy some new stationery (I LOVE a new notebook!)
It’s up to you how far you take it; maybe you’re happy just knowing when it’s going to start in which case a simple red dot on the calendar is all you’ll need, or maybe you’d like to keep track of how you feel throughout your cycle so that you can cut yourself some slack on the days you’re slightly more irritable than normal. Either way, knowing your cycle enables you to be prepared and to ensure you have enough of the right kind of sanitary products with you when you need it.
Find a Product that Works for You
With such a wide variety of sanitary products available it can seem a daunting task when deciding what products to buy. In all honesty, much of it is down to trial and error and you may have to try a few different brands, types and absorbencies before you find a range of products that suit you. Some women are put off by the thought of using tampons, whereas for others the versatility and compactness of tampons is much more appealing, especially if, for example, you want to be able to swim. And then there’s the flow factor…the first couple of days of your period will be the heaviest so you are likely to need a product with a much higher absorbancy than those you will need towards the end of your period. From personal experience, I like to use a mixture of pads and tampons and always make sure I have a stash of both in my bathroom cabinet.
Preparation is key so in order to take control of your period you need to be mega organised and make sure you stock up on the products you need. Try to get in the habit of buying new sanitary products every time your period ends, that way you’ll be ready when it comes to the following month. Oh and remember to keep one or two in your handbag too, so that you don’t get caught out when you’re not at home and use the same principle of replacing whatever you use as soon as you can, to avoid any unnecessary accidents. You might also want to add some of your favourite chocolates and bath oils to your shopping list in the week leading up to your period, because well let’s face it, we all know the restorative, mood boosting power of eating chocolate and having a long soak in the bath, right?!
Give yourself a Gift
Let’s be realistic, not all of us are blessed with great organisational genes; life’s hectic and there’s a billion and one other things to be thinking about besides keeping track of whether you’ve got enough tampons or not. So imagine if there was someone who could take that responsibility away from you, meaning you had complete control without really having to think or do anything about it…
Flux is a new tampon and pad subscription box service that can do just that. With the tagline: “Flux, own the flow”, the company is all about celebrating a woman’s period by presenting her with a box packed full of everything she needs to make her life just that little bit easier. And most importantly Flux recognise the importance of choice and flexibility, so there’s none of this having to choose a fixed subscription package malarkey that so many subscription companies dictate. No, instead you’re given the freedom to input information such as the length of your period, details about your flow, what products you prefer using and at what time of the month you would like to receive your box. Flux then package up your personalised combination of products in rather gorgeous little bundles, wrapped in tissues paper, complete with personalised name label and a period inspired positivity quote into a handy letter boxed sized envelope that arrives just in time for the start of your period. Oh, oh, oh and another thing they do extras, great chocolatey, tea bag shaped extras because they know exactly what a woman needs when she’s potentially feeling narky, achy and in a need of something comforting!
If your cycle changes, simply log on and change your details, want to try a different brand, let them know and they’ll update your box, not sure you can commit, then Flux allow you to cancel at any point, unlike some subscription services that will tie you in to a set period (pardon the pun!).
When I received my Flux box I can honestly say I haven’t ever been so excited about sanitary protection as I was when I opened it up and revealed the gifts inside. It made me feel special, in control and proud to be a woman and when I saw the chocolate bar inside…
Well, that was me sold!
I personally think it would be great if they devised some boxes as gifts, for example a ‘My First Period’ box that parents could buy in anticipation of their daughter starting her period. When I got my first period, although I’d been given ‘the talk’ at school, I still had a very negative impression of it all and I remember the day so clearly, taking myself off to the bathroom at home and crying on the toilet, feeling embarrassed about the fact I would have to say something to my mum. I’m sure I’m not alone in this experience, but why should it be like this for young girls, why shouldn’t their first period be about celebrating their transition into womanhood? A personalised period box containing a variety of pads and tampons, a guide on how to use them, as well as some motivational, feminist quotes and even something fun and lighthearted like this period colouring book by Andrea Yip, would make a really thoughtful and positive present and hopefully help break down some of the stigma surrounding menstruation. Or what about a ‘Menopause’ box in which again a variety of pads are included, with different absorbencies and extras like ice packs for hot flushes, herbal teas, positive affirmation cards and a meditation guide to help destress and calm the mind.
- Shark Week (USA)
- Little Miss Strawberry (Japan)
- The cranberry woman is coming (Germany)
- I’m with Chico (Brazil)
- Granny’s stuck in traffic (South Africa)