In the grand scheme of “things people are offended by”, I feel like menstrual cycles are pretty high up there. Even in a developed setting with numerous technological advancements, many people still seem to think that periods are a taboo topic. It’s crazy to me how many people, women and men, are unwilling to discuss the topic openly or immediately shut you down when you attempt to discuss it. So, in the interest of creating a more open forum for the discussion of periods, I thought I would talk about what I know and my experience with this phenomenon, as well as some basic information for anybody reading.
I’m going to preface this whole article with one thing: I am not a healthcare professional, so much of the information in this article I found online or have been learned from experience.
Let me first share what I’ve learned from experience. I’ve had my periods for just over five years, and I used pads for a good portion of that. I didn’t start using tampons until very recently, but once I did, I completely switched. Personally, I found them easier to use and carry. They were also so much more comfortable than pads. My periods usually last up to four days, which is very short. I feel pretty lucky in that sense because most people usually have periods that last longer than five days. My periods are regular, and I’ve had no problems with it throughout these five years. All in all, I would count myself pretty lucky.
I thought most people knew why periods came, but I thought I would just reiterate it for you. About twelve to sixteen days before a period, ovulation begins. An egg will travel from the ovary to the uterus, where it will only survive for twenty four hours without being fertilized by sperm. In many cases, the egg doesn’t get fertilized, and that’s how the period begins. Exercise, food consumption, and age can vary the cycle. Many people have cramps or bloating, but other symptoms of periods can include more pimples than usual and hormonal changes. Though it feels awful, these are all completely natural things for people who experience the menstrual cycle.
Now, I would like to point out that women aren’t the only people to get periods. As we all should know, gender and sex are two completely different things. Gender is how one feels about themselves, while sex describes one’s internal anatomy. So, trans-men or non-binary people could have periods, which is why I tried to stray away from alluding to only women having them. As a cis-female, I have absolutely no experience with any of this, but I did feel the need to acknowledge it.
Whether this taboo comes from ignorance or just plain hatred, I feel like this is something we should all work hard to overcome. Periods are normal. Periods are natural. And, periods are nothing to be afraid of.