Let’s go down memory lane for a minute, Curvy Girls! It’s the beginning of your 5th grade year and the teacher has excused all of the girls in your class to head to the gym or cafeteria for a special assembly. The school nurse was there and some of the other female faculty at the school and they gave the blow by blow of becoming a “woman”. The 20 minutes of embarrassment that felt like an hour was really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your monthly visitor. Even with my mother and sister’s guidance, the special assembly, and my girlfriends, I still feel like every year I learn something new the older I get. This week I thought let’s have some real girl talk Aunt Flo(w); from the emotional havoc to binge eat Girl Scout Cookies, I want to give you some helpful info on how to keep things in check and debunk some myths along the way!
Curvy Girl’s Girl Talk: Aunt Flo(w)
I have had a serious bout with PMS since my late teens from mood swings, anger, uncontrollable crying, eating non-stop… you name it, I’ve dealt with it. Even though some people think that PMS is an excuse to be bitchy (trust me it’s not), it can be a serious issue for some ladies like myself. After years of having 2 weeks of emotional hell each month, I finally broke down at 23 and went to my gyno who listened to my symptoms and diagnosed me with PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder). At the time she prescribed a constant dose of antidepressant with the goal to wean me off of the medicine in 6 months. After a day or so of taking the meds, I felt instantly better, especially when I was expecting my nasty, bitchy, PMS-induced alter ego to rear her ugly head. That quick and painless doctors appointment was one of the best things I’ve done medically because it not only got me feeling normal again, but it saved me from some really horrible fights, crying fits, and other emotional eruptions with friends & family members.
Irregular & Missed Periods
As much of a burden that your period seems, not knowing when it’s actually coming can add incredible amounts of unnecessary stress! Along with the PMDD, I was notorious for having irregular periods. It could be normal and start at 28 days or I could be waiting 6 weeks for it come on. The inconsistency was annoying always left me surprised when it did come one (not cute when you’re wearing a light color!), but the one thing that helped me was birth control. After talking to a number of friends about it, I decided to head to the doctor to talk out my bc options. This was a MAJOR step because she talked to me at length about all of the different kinds of bc and helped me rule out other serious issues that could be going on. Once I started taking the recommended type of birth control, I noticed that my flow was lighter, there was less cramping, and even a little weight loss. As I continued to go to annual checks, I switched from pills to Nuvaring and had an even better experience! I definitely would recommend heading to your doctor if you’re experiencing irregular periods or your missing them. He/She will be able to give you an idea of what could be going on (pregnancy, stress, illness, excessive exercise, or a number of other reasons) and give you a remedy that will get things on track.
Tampons vs Pads vs Cups vs Period Panties?
It’s a whole new world for ways to contain your flow! The old standbys are still great options, but in the last couple years I’ve seen a wave of new products that I’m still figuring out. First there’s the Diva Cup, which is a cup that you insert in your V during your period that promises up to “12 hours of leak-free protection.” I’m not sure if it’s the idea of putting a cup up there to “collect” the flow or the fear of getting it stuck like Hillary Duff’s character did in the show Younger (check out the clip below!), but this just seems like a nightmare. Now I’m not giving it the big kibosh because some braver women love everything about the Diva Cup. It’s definitely something to try if you’ve experienced dryness or irritation from tampons or pads and just hate the constant changing of fem products.
The second product that’s new to the game are the Thinx Panties (aka period panties). These undies were created to “break the taboo surrounding menstruation” and are designed to catch your flow without the need of a pad or tampon. Yep, you just sit back, wear the panties, and do your normal stuff during your period. It sounded a bit weird and gross when I first heard about it, but I then discovered a Buzzfeed article called “I tried Period Panties so You Don’t Have To”. The author, Sarah Burton, gave readers a blow by blow of how the undies held up in every situation whether it be lighter spotting to the heavy flow days. The conclusion at the end was that they weren’t as bad as some may think and she gave a stamp of approval! Honestly, any woman who can be that open about her flow experience is a shero in my book! I haven’t grabbed a pair just yet (they’re a little pricey), but I wouldn’t count them out if there was a situation that called for them (think long travel day or camping).
To sex or not to sex… that’s the big question! I have heard rave reviews and pure comments of disgust when it comes to getting it on when Aunt Flo(w)’s visiting. No matter your stance on the subject, it’s a known fact that doing the deed on your period will alleviate cramps (thank you natural endorphins and the big O) which is a major benefit! If you’re willing to give it a whirl, there are a few things to do to make sure that you and your partner enjoy it. First, be sure to give your lover the heads up about what’s going on (clearly a common courtesy) and make sure they’re cool with it. Grab a beach towel before you hit the sheets to protect them or grab a steamy shower with #bae for even easier clean up. Also, be sure to use some kind of contraception because STIs & STDs still can be transmitted with Aunt Flo(w)’s present. For more info, check out some tips from self.com.
Things have changed a bit since that special assembly, right? The biggest thing I hope you got from this post is to be aware of your body and to not be scared of what it’s doing! I really am so thankful I listened to my body and went to the doctor when my symptoms where out of control. If you think you might be having a issue or aren’t sure about your flow, be sure to take care of yourself and head to your doctor & ask questions (and no Web MD doesn’t count); the stress of worrying is not worth it in the long run, especially if there is an issue that can be easily fixed. So take a page out of my book and be brave, Curvy Girls and ask questions, try new things (period panties anyone?), and listen to your body!