Irregular Cycles, Smells and Mood Swings: Your Period Questions Answered

Let's talk periods.

That time of the month that we gals just dread every time.

If your period is less than regular or makes you want to live under your duvet, don’t panic. It’s all perfectly normal. Here’s everything you need to know about that time of the month but were slightly too morto to ask.

“Why am I in the horrors just before my period?”

If you find yourself sobbing uncontrollably in front of your latest Netflix addiction or feel a sudden urge to tackle your bro to the ground for no reason, you might be suffering from PMS. PMS stands for Premenstrual Syndrome and doctors still don’t fully understand why some girls experience it more than others.

Mood swings, increased appetite, bloating and headaches – put them all down to those three little letters. To keep it under control, take extra care of yourself in the run-up to your time of the month. Make sure you’re eating healthy, and getting some daily exercise should help too. But of course, there’s nothing better than chilling with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s!

“Why do I feel like I’m being punched in the gut?”

As tough and annoying as they are, camps and having your period go pretty much hand in hand. While they can literally be a pain, they should be manageable and not interrupt your life. Cramps are caused by muscle spasms in your uterus squeezing out the lining it has built up, and helping those muscles relax a bit should help with the pain. As with anything muscle-related, heat works a treat!

So dig out your hot water bottle and pop it on your aching belly for instant relief. If that doesn’t work, or you’re feeling nauseous too, look for an anti-inflammatory medication that’s specially designed for period pains. Just make sure to follow the instructions on the pack and drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated. A warm bath might also help to relax your body and mind, pair the above with a hot chocolate and you’ll be as good as new in no time!

“What’s with that smell?”

When blood from your period reacts with air it can sometimes develop a pretty not-so-pretty smell. While you can probably recognise it, don’t fret about someone else smelling it – that’s just you being a bit paro! If you use sanitary towels and it bothers you to switch to tampons, which don’t allow the blood to come in contact with air at all, just make sure to pack plenty of pads with you so you can change them regularly.

“My periods are really irregular. Is there something wrong with me?”

We’re always hearing about the menstrual ‘cycle’ which makes it sound like periods happen every 28 days like clockwork. But this is usually not the case, especially when you’re younger. The length of your period can vary from two to seven days due to hormone changes in your body, but they’ll probably even out after a while.

In the meantime, stash some tampons or pads in the zipped compartment of your school bag and mark the start date of each period on your calendar. That way you’ll always come prepared. If they do tend to last more than seven days, are really painful or are irregular for three years or more, you should consult your doctor to get the once over. Just in case!

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