Your pussy, your period: a no bullshit guide to menstruation

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Menstruation happens to hundreds of millions of women everyday. Yet, most people don't know jack shit about it. So, I put together this guide that's thorough-yet-short and clears up a bunch of bullshit misconceptions about your period.

 

What is menstruation?

You probably know it as your period, or a visit from "Aunt Flo." It's simply the shedding of the lining of the uterus (womb). It's completely normal and happens to almost all women from puberty (around age 12-13) until menopause (usually 40s or 50s). Think of it like an automatic monthly oil change for the uterus. It happens in sync with ovulation.

 

Why does menstruation happen?

Menstruation happens to make sure your uterus is ready and able to become pregnant. If it didn't happen, a fertilized egg (ovum) wouldn't be able to develop into a fetus. If the oven isn't set to the right temperature, your cupcakes will never turn out right.

 

How does menstruation work?

The whole cycle takes about 28 days, but can be anywhere between 21 and 35 days for adults. Teens have a wider variation: 21 to 45 days.

 

It happens in three steps:

1. Menstruation (days 1-4): This step is where your uterus contracts to loosen and expel the old lining of the uterus (endometrium) and the unfertilized egg(s), leaving behind an all-new lining.

2. Proliferation (days 5-13 & 14-26): The new lining swells with blood and nutrients in preparation for the egg to be released from the ovary. Days 14-26 are spent just waiting around for the egg to be fertilized while it travels down the fallopian tube.

3. Ischemic (days 27-28): This is a resting period between each cycle.

 

What should I expect during my periods?

You should expect anywhere from 2-7 days of menstrual fluid discharge. The fluid will be brownish-red in color. The amount of fluid that comes out will vary from day to day and cycle to cycle. You’ll need to use a menstrual hygiene product to collect the fluid. There are different types, and you’ll want to figure out which one you like best.

Cramping and fatigue is common during a period. See a doctor if your cramps or other symptoms are extreme.

 

What can go wrong with my period?

A couple of things could go wrong:

A lack of a period (amenorrhea) – can be caused by pregnancy, breast feeding, extreme weight loss, eating disorders, stress, excessive exercise or a bunch of other random stuff. See your doctor if you haven’t had a period for more than 90 days.

Painful periods (dysmenorrhea) – the symptoms can be a general pain in your abdomen or severe cramps. This is more common for teens, but it can happen throughout your life. You can try some over-the-counter medicines (ex. Advil, Midol, Motrin, Aleve) to make it better. If those don’t work, see a doctor.

Unusual bleeding – this includes bleeding between periods or after sex and periods that are much heavier than normal for more than one day.

 

Anything else I should know?

Yep, a couple small things:

Most of the time, your periods will be consistent. Try to keep a mental note of when and what your periods are like. If you notice any major differences, bring it up with your doctor.

You may find that your libido (sex drive) speeds up around the time of your period. Yes, you can have sex on your period. Just play safe.

Your period can knock your vagina out of whack. The vagina will generally re-balance itself. If you make sure to clean your vulva, everything should work out fine.

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