Growing up I never had the "period talk" with my elders. I remember being in fifth grade when we were given a presentation that was limited to the girls in our age group. Naturally, I was shocked to discover that I would eventually have to bleed and wear what I thought was a diaper. As an adult, I now realize that the lack of education and support surrounding periods and sex is more common than we think, and I question if it was smart to separate boys from much-needed sexual/health education.
When Should Menstruation Discussions Start?
According to the Mayo Clinic, “menstruation typically begins at about age 12, but periods are possible as early as age 8.” Ideally, parents will want to talk to kids about periods before they or their friends start having them. When having the "period talk" for the first time, it's important to use age-appropriate explanations that allow children to understand while being open and honest about what they should expect.
As an adult, one of the most freeing experiences was the ability to take a sexual wellness class and freely talk, get advice, and destigmatize discussions surrounding menstrual cycles, sex, and pregnancy. Looking back, I believe this freedom was one of the things that led me to launch Femly.
...Everyone Is Talking About It!
With so many reproductive ailments affecting Black women coupled with difficulties in getting the proper diagnosis for complaints, talking about our periods and related symptoms can be therapeutic and help others who might be experiencing the same thing. Social media has allowed us to be more connected than ever and while we provide great content through this blog and on channels like our Instagram page, I've followed the conversations around period symptoms and ailments that many people are sharing.
What's The Most Common Period Symptom?
When surveyed, the most frequent period symptom that our customers face is period cramps. According to healthline.com, period pain (also called dysmenorrhea, aka “cramps”) is an extremely common symptom. More than half of menstruating people experience some pain around their period, with some estimates saying as much as 84 percent Trusted Source.
What Causes Period Cramps?
Prostaglandins are the cause of this pain. These are chemicals that trigger muscle contractions in your uterus. These hormones help the body shed the excess uterine lining, which can cause pain and cramping in the first days of your period.
What is P.M.S ( Premenstrual Syndrome)?
PMS is a group of changes that can affect you on many levels. They can be physical, emotional, or behavioral. The changes come 1 to 2 weeks before your period. Once your period starts, they usually go away. with occasional cramps, some of the most frequent period symptoms that people experience are:
- Bloated tummy
- Tender breasts
- Muscle aches
- Joint pain
- Swollen hands and feet
- Weight gain
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Tense or anxious
- Mood swings
- Can’t sleep
- Don’t want to be with people
- Feel overwhelmed or out of control
- Angry outbursts
- Forget things
- Loss of mental focus
With all of this, it's no wonder that many have nicknamed their "time of the month" and instead call it "shark week". In recent years, there's been growing awareness and discussions about ingredients in period care and how they influence changes in your body and/or menstrual cycle.
Do Ingredients Matter When It Comes To Our Periods?With growing awareness comes education and space for better solutions and that's why Femly exists! Prior to starting this company and creating our 100% organic cotton period care, I suffered through heavy cycles and found myself burdened with having to wear two pads and a super tampon on my heaviest days. In addition to using multiple options at the same time, I often leaked through my sheets, chair at work, and my period was emotionally and physically draining. Around the same time, I discovered all of the harmful chemicals added to the popular brand that I was using and knew I needed to make a change. I now encourage everyone to go organic and find a feminine care solution that is safer for them and provides the protection they deserve. Our options are perfect for this!
As we navigate wellness, self-care, and positive relationships with our bodies, it's important to not only educate yourself about ailments, illnesses, and remedies and you should look out for. Normalizing these discussions and celebrating all of the amazing things your body is capable of contributes to self-esteem and a positive self-image!
We'd love to know, did your parents/family members ever talk to your about your first period? Do you find that conversations about periods are still taboo in the black community? Drop a comment, We want to hear from you!