Whether it is your very first period, or you’ve been menstruating for a while, starting your period at school can be rather inconvenient to say the least. It is even more inconvenient if you or your school aren’t prepared. So to help you manage your first or future periods, we have listed our top 5 tips for dealing with your period at school.
1. Remind yourself it’s normal and natural
Finding the rhythm of your body and your periods can be a bit tricky, especially when they first start. It takes a while to get a feel for your flow, how heavy you’ll be on which days and how often you need to change your pad, tampon, menstrual cup on period undies. So getting caught short without any supplies, and a bit of leaking is completely normal. Just remember, you won’t be the first, and you most certainly won’t be the last! Don’t be afraid to ask for spare period products or to go to the restroom when you need to.
2. Stock up on supplies
Some schools are more period friendly than others. Some may provide free pads and tampons in the nurse's office or toilets. In fact all schools in the UK now should offer free period products, so it is really worth checking with a member of staff. And if they aren’t? Ask them to do so, even if anonymously. It always helps to have a few spare tampons or pads in your bag regardless. in case you or your friends start your period at school. Here is our little cheat sheet of supplies to bring:
- Spare pants in case of a leak!
- Pads, tampons, period undies or a menstrual cup; whichever you feel most comfortable using.
- Pain relief such as Ibuprofen. It is worth noting, you may need a parental slip saying you can take them, or give them to the nurses office to distribute to you as and when you need.
- Heat pads that can be stuck to the inside of your uniform to help ease period cramps.
- FabLittleBags, the sustainable, easy, no mess no stress way of binning your used pads and tampons without having to flush them or do the awkward handbag smuggle, or avoiding a dodgy bin!.
3. P.E. on your period
When you get your period at school, lounging around in your pj’s eating a share bar of chocolate isn’t always a possibility. We can dream! This means your period may coincide with the odd P.E. lesson. For some of us, exercise will help you feel better by releasing endorphins, but for others P.E. can be quite uncomfortable when also battling with cramping. When you start menstruating, it’s good to find out if your school lets you skip P.E. lessons, or if you need a note from a parent or the nurse. If you aren’t allowed to skip lessons, you can always ask your teacher if you can go at a slower pace.
4. Look out for your friends
The inconvenience and potential emotions that you experience when getting your period at school is completely normal, so the chances are, your friends are feeling the same way too. If you feel comfortable, try normalizing talking about periods. The openness between you and your friends can also help you look out for each other when you need a spare pad, or when someone has leaked and you can let them know discretely about the situation.
5. Track your period
When you first start having your period, you may find that it doesn’t turn up like clockwork. Mother Nature likes to keep us on our toes! This can make having your period at school a little trickier, and call for a bit more preparation such as always having spare pants and pads in your bag. However, it can’t hurt to start tracking. As you become more regular you will be able to predict its arrival and prepare accordingly. Apps such as Clue can be a massive help!
In the meantime, familiarize yourself with your pre-period symptoms such as breast tenderness, acne breakouts, bloating and cramping. This is nature’s way of giving you a bit of a heads up, pre technology.
6. Bonus tip: Dispose of your period products properly
When we first start having our periods, it is not always clear how we are supposed to dispose of used pads and tampons properly. It can often be assumed that we can flush them down the loo. However, besides potentially creating blocked pipes at school, flushing pads and tampons can result in them ending up in our rivers, oceans and on our beautiful beaches. So remember to always pop them in a bin provided in the loos.
Bins aren’t always provided in all school loos, and don't always work well, so remember to pack a few FabLittleBags. They are a no stress, no mess way of binning your used products, without having to do the awkward handbag smuggle to the nearest bin!
You can read about our mission to protect the oceans, one FabLittleBag at a time!