Things I Wish I’d Learned About Periods In School by Phoebe Walls

Things I Wish I’d Learned About Periods In School by Phoebe Walls

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Period education is vital. Learning about periods in school can sometimes leave students with many unanswered questions. There’s lots of things I wish I’d learned about periods in school that would have helped keep the natural anxiety surrounding menstruation at bay.

What Do Schools Teach Us About Periods?

Not very much is the truthful answer! Schools teach girls the basic biology of periods but often fail to acknowledge the hormonal realities of the cycle and how this can affect girls and women differently.  For some it is a huge emotional rollercoaster, for others a breeze, but that navigating this huge change can bring confusion and questions to all concerned!. Boys and male teachers are often sent out of the room which can perpetuate the stigma surrounding menstruation. Boys need to learn about periods too, it is madness not to provide education to them too!   After all, it’s this very process that’s the reason they’re alive. Many young girls are left wondering if their cycle is normal and how to manage their flow, so here’s a handful of things I wish my teachers had told me.

5 Things I Wish I Was Taught About Periods In School

1.    Find The Best Period Products To Suit You

There’s a lot more out there than the one plastic applicator tampon you get given one day in class. From menstrual cups to reusable period underwear, lots of sustainable products are becoming more popular. Yet a simple change like using a non-applicator tampon can make all the difference to the environment.

2.    Don’t Flush A Tampon Down The Toilet

Approximately  50 % of women in the UK flush tampons down the toilet. It’s  tempting for convenience’s sake and many Flushers are told to flush when they first start their periods,  but this habit has serious consequences for the environment. Sanitary products aren’t filtered out properly by waste treatment plants and can easily become part of the huge problem of sewage debris in the ocean. The simple solution is to pop products in the bin but it’s easier said than done. What if there isn’t a bin? What if other people see my used tampon? That’s where our Fab Little Bag comes in, these sanitary waste disposal bags can be sealed with just one hand and are opaque so discreet , offering complete peace of mind when it comes to the disposal of tampons and pads.

3.    PMS Is Not A Myth

PMS- premenstrual syndrome, is the official name for the “annoying”symptoms that many people who menstruate experience before their period. If you feel like the world is about to end, it may just be your period that's about to start. It helps to get plenty of sleep and do some gentle exercise such as walking. Taking a nice hot bath or shower can help with cramps and don’t be afraid to take some paracetamol to help manage period pain, you never need to suffer in silence. Tracking your period on an app on your phone can help you figure out when you’re due to start your period.

4.    Every Period iI Different

When you learn about periods in school everybody is at a different stage in their puberty journey

 Periods too are all different. Flows are different but menstrual fluid can also vary in colour and texture which is perfectly normal too. I didn’t realise that certain days of my period would be heavier than others. It’s useful to have a variety of tampon or pad absorbencies to hand so that you can choose the protection that best suits you on a particular day. A night-time pad or period underwear as you sleep will prevent worry about leaking onto the sheets. If you are suffering from a really heavy period that is stopping you from living your life to the fullest it’s worth having a chat with your GP. Prolonged heavy bleeding is NOT normal and needs investigating. As does severe pains, some discomfort is fairly normal, but excruciating pain - NOPE! See the GP and insist of a referral to a specialist . 

5.    Periods Are Nothing To Be Ashamed Of

Period education in schools could do more to reassure students that menstruation is nothing to be ashamed of. More period education for teachers, including male ones, would help to create a more inclusive dialogue. If you’re a parent there are things you can do to help - together we need to normalise periods and chatting about them openly helps!

Simple steps such as finding products that suit you like the Fab Little Bag can make navigating your cycle easier. Periods are part of the biological process that makes the world go round, so treat yourself with compassion and never feel ashamed.

From your friendly fabber

Phoebe Walls