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Your period

December 3, 2017

Aunt Flow. Monthly visitor. On the rag. Curse of Eve. Menstruation. Period.



I think every woman can recall the memory of their first period. Mine: February 14, 1996, that's right Valentine's Day. I remember crying all night and waking my mom up to talk to her about becoming a woman. (sigh!)



Your cycle.



Every month, your uterus builds up a lining and sheds this lining of blood and tissue if your egg was not fertilized.


Normal periods are every 28 to 32 days, lasting 3 to 7 days long. Every woman's cycle can vary a bit. 


Normal flow averages and can differ between women. (See below for abnormal periods and when to notify your midwife.)


Back in the olden days (1970's) women's choices for protection were a bit different. My mom told me about the belt. (cue scary music)



Today our choices have changed. A bit.




Though tampons have been around for awhile, they have improved. If using tampons, remember they should be changed every so often and never leave it in longer than 8 hours to avoid Toxic Shock Syndrome or TSS.


I'm not endorsing one brand or another, but here's a great presentation of how to insert a tampon.


I laughed when I saw this GIF! Who else uses this sneaky technique? Guilty!



I'm not a fan of namebrand pads. You want to look for a pad with a soft cotton material. Some namebrands (without naming any names) are more plastic and can be very irritating to that delicate skin down there. Ouch! 


A more natural route would be reusable, washable pads. Definitely becoming more popular.



Feminine cup



The menstrual cup is also becoming more popular among women.


Okay two things about the cup before moving on:

#1 I was quite fascinated by how much it could hold (that's the nurse in me)

#2 if not careful it can look like a horror film when emptying


Dysmenorrhea or painful periods. AKA cramps



Many women experience a pelvic pain associated with your period, whether just before or during your cycle. 


Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)



Symptoms of PMS can include bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, muscle aches, and moodiness. Though annoying and inconvenient, these can be totally normal. 


Comfort measures or things you can try at home:

1. heat pad or hot bath

2. ibuprofen or motrin

3. exercise

4. avoiding caffeine, soda, or chocolate (I know its hard because your most likely craving these yummies, but they can make your symptoms worse.)



If these comfort measures don't seem to help, then you can see your midwife to discuss treatment options.


Reasons to contact your midwife or doctor:

1. saturating or filling your large pad or super large tampon in less than one hour

2. severe pelvic pain that does not get better with pain medicine or comfort measures

3. shorter or longer periods, periods occurring at random times of the month other than your during your period

4. you feel sick or have a fever after use of tampon




Lots to know about your period and of course these are the basics. It definitely can be a lot more complicated than you think or just plain and simple. Period.


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© 2017 by Carlie A. Yearsley, CNM, WHNP, DNP