Friday, August 17, 2012

Girl Talk: Periods At School

If you are a girl, it's going to happen, at some point you are going to get... your period. And whether we like it or not, it's going to happen at school at some point. I know, probably one of the worst places to have it right? You might feel like everyone knows, or you're worried about having an embarrassing accident. There may even be a time when you aren't at all prepared and then, BLAM! And then you need to desperately ask friends for a tampon (or a pad if that's what you prefer). I've been through it all. And it's not fun, but it doesn't have to be as bad as it seems. 

With school just around the corner, and i know that many of you may have already started school, I'd like to share some of my tips and tricks for dealing with the dreaded periods at school. I didn't come up with all of these on my own, I got a few from my mom and from some friends, and also a few from the internet. But I'd love to share all of my school periods tips with you for back to school. If you have any additional tips and tricks, feel free to leave them in the comments on this blog post. This post mostly focuses on school, and more general posts on this topic will come in the future. 

Being Prepared:
Know when you're going to start- My biggest tip to being prepared for your period to start is to know when it's coming. To know when your period will start, count the days from the start of your period, to the start of the next, this is your cycle. The average cycle is 28 days long, but can vary from girl to girl. It can sometimes even be a little different through different cycles, especially when you are just getting your period. Be sure to mark your calender for the day your period may start so that you don't forget. You can also get apps for your phone or iPod Touch to remind you when you're period may start. I use Period Plus.

Wear Pantie-liners as your period gets near- You may want to wear them a couple of days before your period starts, just in case you start a little bit early. These can also be worn all month to keep your undies fresher! Wearing a pantie-liner will help to protect your undies for a small amount of time if you start at school. But if you start to feel a little damp (gross right?), you'll want to get the the bathroom to put on a proper pad or tampon ASAP! If you know your period will start that day, you can even wear a light pad so you don't need to try to make an immediate trip to the bathroom (though you'll still want to change it as soon as you can if you were already wearing the pad, just for cleanliness). 

Always have supplies on hand- It's best to always keep a couples tampons or pads in your purse at all times, just in case. You can keep them in a small make-up bag so people won't see them. Whether it's close to that time of month or not. It could sneak up on you, or a friend once in a while. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to keep a small emergency kit (I may do a full emergency kit blog sometime) with enough pads and tampons, and maybe even a clean pair of undies in your locker. Better safe then sorry. This will save you from having to ask somebody else for one, and you can help someone else out. Just don't forget to restock this as needed. 

Staying Fresh:
You WILL need to change your pad or tampon at school. You can almost get away with not changing your tampon (they should be changed every 6-8 hours, or even earlier if your flow is heavier), but it's still best to change it and stay fresh. Pads will need to be changed at least every 4 hours, or less on heavy flow days. You'll usually know when your pad or tampon needs changing. Try to do this between classes (if possible) or during lunch break to avoid taking class time. If it can't wait a little longer, or you don't have enough time between classes, you can try to ask your teacher at the beginning, or end or class. Since I know that not all teachers will allow you to go to the restroom, I'll do a future post on how to deal with that. But most teachers will let you go if you tell them you are having a female emergency. It might be awkward, but both female AND male teachers will know what it means, and will generally understand. 

Don't worry about anyone hearing you change your pad or tampon. Usually nobody is even paying attention. But since (obviously, LOL) you are in the girls bathroom, all of the girls in there will go through it at some point or another as well. But it's not likely they'll even notice, unless you tell them. And of course it's better to have people know you're fresh and clean :) It's always better then embarrassing leaks and feeling icky. DON'T FORGET TO WASH YOUR HANDS AFTERWARDS! 

Many girls worry that everyone will know when they are on their period. But really, as long as you change your tampon or pad when needed (you can even wear both together for extra protection, or even just wear a pantie-liner with a tampon just in case), nobody will ever know unless you tell them. Here are a few things you can do if you are worried about leaks:

If you use tampons, wear a pantie-liner, or even a light pad with it in case of leaks- (Like mentioned before) You'll want to change your tampon if you start leaking. But this will protect you undies, and give you extra protection. 

Wear dark colored pants- Leaks will be less obvious on darker pants then light pants. You'll still want to wash them as soon as you get home, and even cover it if you have a leak. But it'll be a little harder (though not invisible) to see without looking closely. Dark denim or even better yet, black work amazing. 

Have your bestie do a butt-check- If you are worried you may be leaking, ask a trusted gal pal do a butt check. It might seem awkward but she knows the feeling. And it's a lot less awkward then trying to look back at your own behind, or walking around with a spot on the back of your pants all day. 

Carry a hoodie or jacket that can cover it up- If your hoodie or jacket is long enough it can cover the spot all you have to do is put it on. You can also tie it around your waste to cover up the spot. 

Change your pad or tampon when you feel needed to avoid leaks almost all together!

Dealing with cramps at school:
Taking a nap, or even light exercise can really help with cramps. But both of these things would be rather hard to do at school when you need to sit in class. And sometimes the pain from cramps can make it harder to focus on school. Cramps shouldn't keep or send you home, unless they are REALLY bad. You may also want to see a doctor about unbearable cramps. I generally get the worst or my cramps on the first of second day of my cycle.  And I'll generally take some pain medicine like Advil to keep the pain low, or completely away. Since most schools don't allow any kind of medicine on school property (and don't risk it, you could get into HUGE trouble), you'll want to take it before you leave for school. Drinking water can also help a little bit with cramps. Sometimes just placing your hand on your lower tummy can help a little bit too. Wearing loose fitting pants can also help to relieve a little discomfort. 

So these are a few of my tips for dealing with periods at school. This isn't everything I have on periods in general, that's for another future post. But this is what I like to do to stay fresh at school. Feel free to leave any additional tips, and questions in the comments. And feel free to answer other peoples questions. Please note that I am not a doctor, or a professional or any kind. I speak out of personal experience. And never be afraid to ask a woman you trust questions. 

This may also be the last blog post in my back to school blog series, but I'm not sure yet. Though I will still post many school blogs throughout the school year. But along with other posts as well. Keep on the lookout for blogs on homecoming in the next month!

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