My First Period

My First Period

A Guide To Navigating The Red Sea

There are many names we call this monthly cycle we go through as females – The Red Tide, Your Womanly Time or Your Period – all of which are used to express that you are going through menstruation.

For decades it has been a topic almost everybody shys away from. We would like knock down those negative stereotypes about your menstrual cycle. Here at Sheba we want to celebrate every woman in their own right, celebrate their differences and similarities, and create a safe space to answer all those nagging, and often embarrassing, questions all women have.s. We are that best friend that can hold your secrets and insecurities under lock and key.

With so many ill informed opinions about your menstrual cycle out there, we thought that every female, and male, could use a guide to better understand what and why your body goes through this process. With the help of some of our readers we have assimilated a selection of “First Time Period” stories that every woman can relate to.

Young girls are maturing at alarming rates in this modern society we live in, the scary part about this is that often they are left with rumours and guidance from their peers. This can be to their own detriment. We recently conducted a survey in which we asked women from a variety of backgrounds and ages to openly talk about their menstrual cycle. This is what we found out.

I was playing soccer outside with my friends. Went to use the loo and my underwear was drenched in blood. First thing I did was phone my mom, who asked my neighbor to give me pads as she was at work at the time.” S.H.

Going Through The Motions

In order to better understand the strange feelings that roll around every month, you need to know what your body is doing and how you can help her  have a happier period.

  • Physical Changes In My Body

Most of us are in tune with our bodies and even more so as our wombs prepare for the creation of life. Some of us might feel heightened senses, much like a super-hero, a super keen sense of smell or heightened hearing. These are the result t of the changing estrogen levels in our bodies.

As your period draws closer you might also notice physical changes, in the form of swelling, and sensitivity in your mammary glands (your breast tissue and the glands beneath them), some of us even have ghost cramping which causes your inners to feel a dry twisting sensation. Your skin might break out – we call this the period pimple  but as you move further from puberty the breakouts will reduce.

When The Red Tide does arrive, she comes like clockwork for most of us. It is our bodies way of preparing the womb for pregnancy, by shedding the previous months cycle of tissue lining the womb. This can be a very painful process and can last for around 3 to 8 days on average. Some women do experience longer periods of bleeding which can go on for up to 15 days. Medical advice should be sought after if your period does last longer than 10 days.

The cramping sensation you feel below your belly is actually a series of small contractions of your muscles in your womb forcing the lining down the birthing canal and out of your vagina.

The cramping can become quite unbearable at times and usually is at its worst on your first and second day of your period. We count our periods on a calendar from the day we start bleeding. Referred pain is not uncommon with period cramps, I myself sometimes suffer from excruciating back pain when I have my period. In some cases this can even cause you to throw up.

Tips on pain relief during your period

  1. Heat Factor – Keep your feet warm, a hot water bottle, bean bag, fluffy socks help soothe period pain.
  2. Medicate – Go slow with the pain killers, remember your period will be with you for the next 40+ years, you do not want to build up a tolerance to generic painkillers.
  3. Hot Showers – A hot shower allows you to relax both physically and mentally.
  4. Right Choices For You – Give your lady parts the best in period care, use products that your body agrees with and regularly change tampons and pads.
  5. Assume the Position – Ever watch a birthing video, notice the positions Mom takes before the birthing even occurs, try them – they work to relieve pain while you’re waiting for pain pills to kick in!
  6. Eating Right – Eating the right food can dramatically reduce period pain; nuts, dark chocolate, water and complex carbs are go to muscle relaxant foods.  

Before your period starts you might notice some discharge, this is completely normal. Discharge can range in colouration and quantity, pantyliners are a good way of making your underwear last longer as discharge contains high acidity levels which eventually stain underwear.