13 Period Disasters & How to Handle Them

period cramps disasters
Ladies, does your period feel ever-so-slightly out of control? Or maybe a whole-lotta out of control? If we had a few hours, I could tell you some horrific tales of menstruation disasters. Have I ever shared my opinion of moon cups, for example? (Yes, of course, I inserted it the right way!) The thing is, almost all of us have endured a menstruation-related crisis of one sort or another. And it really helps when we dare to talk about those disasters and share tips on how to manage them. Here's a few of my "favorite" period problems and the best remedies.


1. You start your period and don't have any supplies, or a way to buy them: You could roll yourself ye olde toilet paper/paper towel/tissue maxi pad. Or you could sacrifice one of your socks. Here's a tutorial on a DIY maxi pad. Don't DIY the tampon, though. DIY tampon could lead to DIY TSS. No bueno.

2. You start your period and don't have any pain reliever, or a way to buy it: This happened to me once when I was visiting a town in Germany where all the pharmacies closed on Sundays. I ended up touring Ludwigsburg castle while breathing through pains that shot from my abdomen through my thighs down to my insteps, but the walking actually helped. A hot water bottle or a hot bath can be soothing. (I know, bath + menstruation = kind of a problem, but you pick your battles.)

3. You do have pain reliever, but your cramps are so atrociously painful that it hardly helps at all and you start wondering how hard it would be to gain access to morphine: This was me in high school. I saw a doctor about this. Turns out I was fine, but it could have been something serious like endometriosis. Personally, I think naproxen works best for menstrual pain.

4. You vomit your pain reliever because your cramps are so intense: This was also me in high school. Again, see your doctor. Until then, avoid taking pain reliever on an empty stomach. Sip some mint tea and rest through the worst if you can.

5. You stand up and let out a gush of blood. Or, you sneeze, cough, or laugh and let out a gush of blood: It happens to everyone. Just change your tampon and/or pad.

6. You bleed through your clothes -- and not just your underwear: Okay, here's some tips on getting out period stains, and here are more tips on removing blood stains. If you can, lock yourself up in a bathroom and try these methods. If it looks like you've gotten all of the blood out successfully, use a hand dryer to dry your clothing. If there's even the slightest bit of pink still there, blot dry with paper towels, and then try to find a sweater or jacket to tie around your waist. And honey, here's a hug. I've been there. I would loan you my sweater right now if I could.

period disasters

7. You bleed so much you're changing your tampon every hour: Okay, so this is really about menorrhagia, or heavy menstrual bleeding. This could be caused by anything from uterine fibroids to a clotting disorder. Pay attention to your next period, take notes on exactly how insane your bleeding is, and then talk with your doctor about it. Meanwhile, you may want to eat some iron-rich foods or maybe take Slow Fe (the recommended dosage, no more) during your period in case the bleeding makes you anemic.

8. You experience cramps for days but don't start your period: Your cycle could be off and you may actually be ovulating. Or you could be pregnant. Or you could be perimenopausal. Or your body could just be annoying. Take some pain medication and tune in for any other symptoms.

9. You bleed large clumps of something: I get those all the time -- they're just blood clots and pieces of your unterine lining. At this point I wouldn't be surprised if a space alien came out of my body and spoke my name. Measure any especially large ones (yes really) and mention it to your doctor during your next visit. But it's pretty common and probably nothing to worry about.

10. You spot between periods: Ugh, thank you so much, body. Wear panty liners.

11. You skip your period: You could be pregnant, obvi. Take a home pregnancy test just to rule out that possibility. If you're in your 40s or 50s, you could be perimenopausal. If you're younger, and your pregnancy test comes out negative, and it starts happening a lot, see your doctor.

12. Your period comes early: For a while my period ran 21 days instead of the usual 28. I was told this was within the range of normal. Sucks. Birth control pills may help.

13. You discover you left a tampon inside you ... for more than a day: It happens. Don't panic -- just remove it immediately and watch yourself for any strange-smelling discharge and/or fever, which could be signs of infection.

What's the most disturbing thing that's ever happened to you on your period? How did you handle it?


Images ©iStock.com/overcrew and Arman Zhenikeyev/Corbis

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