When we’re young and going through the big P (puberty, for those who glossed over that one), we’re given so much information about what is happening to us and our bodies and it’s a lot to take in. There’s also a lot of things that we don’t get taught or even made aware of at such a young age and only when we start getting older and more knowledgeable do we even start to learn about these essential parts of growing up and more importantly, womanhood. Most of the things I know now I actually researched and found out about myself. The only thing I remember being shown at school was a tampon in a glass of water so we could see how it expands (what?). But if I had a girl, I’d like to think I would teach her everything – so when she turns into a young woman, she wouldn’t have to spend hours on Google, reading leaflets or asking for advice on Twitter.
Here are 10 things I wish I knew when I was younger or wish I was told (to save a hella lot of panic) about periods and woman’s health.
- Just because the packet of sanitary towels say to change every 4-6 hours, does not mean you literally have to change it every 4 hours on the dot. You can change as often as you need to to feel clean.
- PMS is often worse than the period itself (in my case). You will feel like shit but it’ll pass and no you’re not dying.
- Speaking of PMS, it makes your boobs hurt and become lumpy and bumpy sometimes. Do. Not. Panic. This is normal (for me) and they will go back to normal, do not spend all night searching through breast cancer forums and scaring yourself to the point of being sick.
- Which brings me onto my next point: Boobs in general can be a bit lumpy and bumpy. Don’t be scared to have a good feel around and know what looks and feels normal for you. If you had had the courage and support to do this earlier, you wouldn’t have panicked so much when you finally did.
- You don’t have to use tampons if you don’t want to. I know everyone in Sex and the City does but it’s okay not to, really.
- It’s okay to stay in bed and not do a single thing for the first day of your period. It’s not okay to cry at work because your stomach is hurting so much to the point where you can barely stand up.
- You don’t have to flush the chain to drown out the sound of a sanitary towel wrapper when you’re in your friends bathroom. Seriously. SERIOUSLY. They have periods too. It’s not embarrassing. I promise.
- You can’t get pregnant if you’ve not had sex and you’re on the pill. The end.
- You also don’t have to stay on the pill for a boy’s sake.
- And finally, you should never, ever be afraid to ask for help or advice. Parents, friends, support helplines – there’s always someone there to help. Oh and your GP has seen it all before. And worse.