Truth be told, there are some topics that ladies often shy away from discussing with their parents and friends. For instance, issues to do with periods are hardly discussed in public. From experience, it is very hard to find ladies seated together discussing their periods. It is often considered a taboo topic even among campus ladies and one would rather fail an exam than discuss their period issues with other ladies.
Luckily, we have gynecologists who have literally seen and heard everything under the sun when it comes to what’s going on down there. Therefore, even questions you consider totally gross or taboo are completely normal for them. So, I have compiled some of the frequently asked period questions and provided answered from docs.
Is it normal to see blood that is not red during my period?
While you might think that period blood should always be fire-truck red, it’s totally normal for it to be darker—or even lighter, too. Periods can vary from one to the other, and from person to person. One period can start off red and turn brown toward the end, or vice-versa. And the consistency of the blood can change too.
Is it normal that I get extremely hungry the week before my period?
The feeling that you could house an entire pizza before your period is definitely normal. It all has to do with fluctuating hormones—specifically, the hormone progesterone, which is responsible for this increase in appetite. Your body produces progesterone in greater quantities right after ovulation, which is why you get so hungry and may crave things like carbs and sugar.
How long should my menses last?
While period length varies per person, the average duration of a period is from three to seven days. Anything longer than seven days isn’t considered normal. This means that you should check in with your gyno to see what’s up.
Periods that last more than seven days may have an underlying cause, including stress, hormone imbalance, infection, or more. Furthermore check in with a doctor if your period length is all over the place, jumping from three days one cycle to seven the next. The key is to get a sense of what’s normal for you, and then, if your cycle doesn’t match up in comparison to previous cycles, consult a gyno.
How many pads or tampons should I use in a day?
This depends on the number. A normal period will require that you change your tampon or pad every three to four hours. However, anything more than that—i.e. you’re changing it almost every hour for several days in a row—could signal a deeper health issue, and you may want to speak to a doctor.
Is it normal that I sometimes bleed through my pad at night?
Definitely—and blood flow can vary throughout your cycle, too. Many girls bleed through a tampon or pad in the first few days of their periods. One way to handle the excess bleeding: Make sure you use an extra-absorbent tampon or pad.
Is it normal to have higher sex drive during periods?
It is completely normal. For some women, the mere fact of seeing red could affect their sex drive, too. Because the chances of pregnancy are slightly lower while a woman is menstruating, that may psychologically enable some women to feel more sexual. There are other potential advantages to period sex, too – the blood can act as a lubricant, which makes penetration less painful – and if you’re lucky enough to orgasm by the end of it, that can help relieve cramps.
On the other hand, some women might feel less aroused if they find period sex gross or if (as is my case) the pain of feeling like someone is using your uterus as a squeezy toy doesn’t exactly make you feel turned on.
Is it normal that my poop gets weird when I’m menstruating?
It’s definitely not just you—gynos says that weird poop is part of the deal when it comes to getting your period. You can thank chemicals called prostaglandins for this lovely occurrence. When you get your period, the uterine lining breaks down, and during that process, your body makes prostaglandins, which can make you crampy, and cause indigestion, nausea, and diarrhea.
In other words: No, you are not imagining your weird poop issues. They are real, and (fortunately) they don’t last forever.