First Person Stories: Being period positive and testing period products
Reading Length: Short read – 3-5 mins
This article mentions: Blood, vagina.
For as long as I can remember I have been interested in menstrual health, whether it be testing new period products, learning what happens in the menstrual cycle or period poverty.
I’m proud to say after many years of fascination and research I am fairly well-versed in the period world! So, let me pass on some of my wisdom of knowledge.
Disclaimer: these are my personal experiences with these products and how I manage my period.
In the same way we have a sleep cycle, we have a menstrual cycle and there is absolutely NOTHING to be ashamed of. Periods are a healthy part of our lives and should be celebrated!
If you want to start speaking confidently about your period, I recommend you start by talking to people you feel comfortable with in a safe environment. For example, if your safe space is your home, try speaking to someone in your home and tell them you are due on your period so need some period products. With practice, you will slowly feel more comfortable talking openly about your period.
The more, as a society, we talk about periods, the more it will be normalised and eventually we can have healthy conversations about what’s normal for everyone’s periods and share tips and tricks.
Experimenting with period products
Experimenting with period products can feel daunting, especially when there are risks of leaking when trying new products. I would recommend spending some time looking at your new product and familairise yourself with it. I would also advice, where possible, try using your new products on your lighter days and in your home if you are worried about leaks.
Disposable pads – like most people, disposable pads were my first period products. They are great for experimenting because you can try different shapes and sizes, even when you’re not on your period. They are very easy to use and you can tell when your pad needs changing when you can feel dampness or wetness when sitting or when the pad feels heavy in your pants.
Disposable tampons – the trusty tampon. This is my weapon of choice if I’m out and about or on my heavier days. You shouldn’t feel your tampon once it inside your vagina. If it feels uncomfortable once inserted, remove it, relax and try again. Here’s a great video on how to insert a tampon.
Period pants – I LOVE period pants! If you want to be more eco-conscious with your period products, period pants are a great place to start. They are basically pants with an absorbent base, which absorbs the blood. Similar to a pad, once it’s full it will feel damp/wet and will feel heavier. Once they are full you just pop them in the wash/hand wash them and they are good as new. These are great for when you are home and are able to change your pants every 8/so hours, such as just before you go to bed and then again when you wake up.
Menstrual cup – there are several menstrual cup companies around such as, mooncup, divacup, lunette, saalt. It works by inserting it into your vagina and it creates a suction inside your vagina. It will then collect the blood and you can empty it and reinsert it 2-4 times throughout the day. Menstrual cups are a great way to be eco-friendly and are a great way to be intimate with your body during your period. I would recommend when starting out, try using your menstrual cup in the shower, as this is a great space to experiment with zero-mess.
So, what does period poverty actually mean? It is when you have a lack of knowledge or funds to access safe period products. Here are some hypotheticals that would mean you are in period poverty:
- Sarah knows her parents are struggling financially so doesn’t want to bother her parents by asking them for money for period products. So uses toilet roll instead.
- Alex’s family are financially secure however, they don’t know how to speak to their father about the fact they need period products.
- Raadiyah hasn’t been taught how long you should use period products for, so keeps overusing her period products. Therefore, is not using them safely.
NO ONE in the UK should experience period poverty and there are lots of charities and organisations that can help you if you are experiencing period poverty.
Click here to find your nearest foodbank – most foodbanks supply period products.
Click here to find your nearest sexual health clinic – most sexual health clinics supply period products.
ALL schools and colleges in England are eligible for free period products via the free period scheme. If your school or college is not yet signed up, forward them this page for all the details.
By: Daisy Wakefield