I can clearly remember the day when I got my first period, it was summer vacation and I was in the nearby park, chilling with my friends.
Well, I was lucky enough to be around my home but not everyone is.
Finding blood in your pants while you are away from your home can be the scariest moment in your entire school life.
I can totally relate to that and let me tell you it doesn’t matter how much you are being prepared for this day, it is going to be overwhelming for you.
So here I am sharing with you all the tips and tricks that you must know as a newbie in this period game.
Because trust me I have been there and done all that.
With all the experience in hand, I am going to tell you 5 tips that can help you to manage your periods at school like a pro.
Before jumping onto the points I find it important to address this topic.
Now, why I feel this is important because I think young children are programmed in the wrong way.
The concept of menstruation is introduced in standard 8th of NCERT books, by this time I believe around 70% of girls have already started menstruating because nowadays most girls get their first period between 10-15 years of age.
So basically these kids don’t have access to any scientific information about periods.
This lack of information can have a devastating effect on young girls.
All they know is some do’s and don’t guidelines given by their orthodox parents or grandparents and the misleading advertisements where the pads are shown soaking blue coloured liquid.
All these things impact young children’s minds and they are made to believe that periods are bad.
And this is the reason why they feel so uncomfortable when they encounter periods in school.
It is like trauma for these kids.
Had they been told the scientific reason, the positive sides of menstruation, the experience would have been much smoother and better.
So let us quickly understand what menarche is.
Menarche is the onset of periods when a girl hits her puberty this transition takes place, it is a symbol that you have entered a new phase of life where you are now capable of giving birth to a new life.
Every month your body prepares itself for pregnancy by making a thick endometrial lining in the uterus if pregnancy doesn’t occur all the preparation goes to waste and the inner lining of the uterus is then removed from our body through the vagina. This whole process is known as menstruation or commonly periods.
Now I hope that you have understood what it is and there is nothing wrong with it and there is nothing to feel bad about it.
5 TIPS TO MANAGE PERIODS AT SCHOOL
1. RELAX! DO NOT PANIC
You might be at your school, spending good times with your friends or maybe enjoying a good meal in the canteen.
But boom! suddenly you feel this dampness and there you get an unpleasant surprise which you are least expecting.
So now that you have figured out that what exactly has been happened, DO NOT PANIC!
DO NOT PANIC!
See everyone goes through his phase, its completely normal and everything is going to be okay.
You have just read what menstruation is all about and so you don’t need to feel embarrassed because there is nothing wrong and there is nothing new.
Forget all those period myths that you have heard and don’t fall for that trap of some orthodox people where they say that now you have become unhygienic or dirty. These thoughts can trigger your emotion and because of that, you may feel hesitant while asking for help.
Stay calm and think what all are the options available to you to deal with the periods.
The calmer you will be, the better decisions you will be able to take.
2. CARRY NECESSARY PERIOD PRODUCTS
It is always a good idea to keep a sanitary pad with you in your school bag. Make it a habit, just like you pack your bag every day according to the time table, pack your sanitary napkins too. In fact, you can write it down on the time table sheet so that you don’t forget.
I suggest carrying a sanitary napkin even when you are not expecting your period because you know just like us someday someone else may need it, and so we can help our friends in that situation.
If possible I would advise carrying a small polythene bag and an extra pair of underwear because sometimes what happens is you don’t realise that the flow has already started and in that case, you may have a little stain which can compromise your menstrual hygiene and I am sure you won’t feel comfortable with that.
I know what is going in your mind
How to carry these things to the washroom?
Well, I am sure we all have those fancy packets and pouches available in our home.
Make use of that.
Common girls, you are so creative, its time to show your creativity and make your cute little period kit.
Put your sanitary pad and your underwear rolled compactly in there and you are good to go.
Don’t forget to carry a polythene bag so that you can put the used underwear back without spoiling your period kit.
In my school, we used to have a personal locker for each student so there was no hassle to remember every day.
If your school has the same arrangement, you can either keep the period kit there if you tend to forget things or in your bag wherever you feel comfortable.
So guys if you have all these things handy with yourself, believe me, you are sorted and now you don’t need to worry about anything.
I would highly suggest that not only in school, but you must also carry these period kit whenever you step out of your home.
3. KNOW WHEN TO EXPECT PERIODS
When a girl starts menstruating, the body takes time to adjusts to all the hormonal changes going around in the body and so you can experience irregular periods in the initial months or even till 1-2 years. It is perfectly normal to have an irregular cycle during the early years.
That’s why to be on the safer side I suggested carrying a sanitary pad even when you are not expecting your periods.
The average length of the menstrual cycle is between 28-35 days.
You will have to spend some time knowing your body and your menstrual cycle.
Just try to remember the date when your period starts and track accordingly.
Nowadays there is some period tracking apps gaining popularity but personally, I won’t recommend that because why to make simpler things more complicated.
Our menstrual cycle depends upon hormonal changes and I don’t think an app can tell what’s going inside our body.
Moreover, I don’t think that remembering a date is that tough that you need an app and even if you forget sometimes you can just write it down somewhere, it will hardly take a second.
So always remember your last period date and expect your next period a little before or after that last date. In this way, you will be mentally prepared and will not get an unwanted surprise.
And yes, be prepared with your period kit.
4. ASK FOR HELP
Remember the first point?
Yes, do not panic
If you are prepared with your period kit, you don’t need to worry much.
If you are not prepared, then also it’s ok, do not hesitate to ask for help.
You can either ask one of your classmates if they have an extra sanitary napkin or your senior friends.
If you are unable to find help from your friends, head over to your teachers.
Do not feel embarrassed or shy to talk to them because your teachers are experienced people and they know how to handle things better.
Most of the schools keep stock of sanitary napkins for their female students because you know these things are common and it happens with a lot of teenage girls.
I think it is a great initiative taken by the schools at their end.
Trust your teachers and tell them if there is any discomfort you are facing or you want to go home, they will do the needful.
I know a lot of girls don’t feel comfortable asking for help from their teachers and then they end up staining their clothes, feeling more embarrassed.
But let me tell you there is no point in creating more problems for yourself when there is an easy option available.
Don’t behave naively like you are the only person who is having periods. Timely help can save you from a lot of discomfort and embarrassment.
5. PREPARE FOR THE NEXT PERIOD
People learn from their experiences, so whatever experience you have had, learn the lessons from that and prepare accordingly for the next time.
Remember your date and get an idea when to expect your next period so that you can be prepared mentally and materially. Make your period kit and make it a habit to carry it in your school bag.
There is a tip I wanted to share with you which I think is really helpful and it can make your life so easy while managing periods in school.
I know you are excited to know
So the tip is to invest in period panties.
So what is it?
Period panties are washable and reusable panties that can replace pads. It can be also worn with pads for extra protection against leakage. So basically it is just like your normal underwear but designed especially for periods.
So whenever you are expecting your periods ditch your normal underwear and start using period panties. In case the flow begins and you don’t realize it, there is absolutely nothing to worry about at all. These are very convenient where washrooms are not accessible.
If you start using these, you don’t need to carry extra underwear or polythene bag in your period kit which we have talked about in point number 2.
Can you imagine how cool it is
I think you guys are so lucky to have all these products that can make your life soo easy. Do consider trying them out and I am sure you are going to love it.
I find these very useful and they are also budget-friendly.
WHAT ABOUT STAINS?
Getting a stain on your school uniform can be distressing, the confidence level just drops down.
Generally, girls fear this the most, now stains can happen due to certain reasons
Reason no 1
This is your first encounter with periods so you couldn’t make it out what was happening and you end up staining your uniform.
Reason no 2
You didn’t realise that the flow has started.
Reason no 3
You did realize but you did not ask for help at the right time due to hesitation.
Reason no 4
You did not place your pad properly.
See the only thing you can do about stain is to avoid it
Place your pad properly, it is recommended to use a pad with wings and a wider back that can give you extra protection.
Ask for the timely help.
In my school, our supervisor madam used to have extra skirts so if any girl got a stain she was given a sanitary pad and a skirt.
Find out the facilities in your school. If it is not available you can give this suggestion to your teachers or your parents can give this suggestion in a parents-teachers meeting.
If its a wintertime you have an advantage, you can tie a sweater around the waist.
If its a summertime, your school doesn’t have any provide any facility and you end up staining your clothes. Then, the best idea is to talk to your class teacher and ask her permission to go home or if your house is nearby, you can call your mum to get you an extra pair of uniform.
WHAT ABOUT CRAMPS?
Menstrual cramps… The worst thing about periods, which we all hate.
No matter if you are a newbie or an experienced woman, everyone is tired of theses cramps and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). While you can not do anything about PMS but menstrual cramps can be relieved.
So there is a number of remedies to get relief from period cramps. Like hot water bags or some pain relief drinks, massages, but the problem is that they cannot be used in school or when you are out.
You cannot sit with a hot water bag in a classroom or you cannot do massage in a classroom so what can you do?
The best option is to take a pain killer. These over the counter pain killers are safe and you can get them easily from a medical store.
You can take a pain killer and ask for permission to rest in the sick room for half an hour or so.
Most schools have a sick room where children can rest if they are not feeling well.
A word of caution here, having a cramp is normal in periods but it should not be so severe that you need to pop 2-3 painkillers a day. This is not normal.
If you are experiencing severe cramps that it is affecting your normal activities, you should get yourself checked.
The only piece of advice I would like to give you is to stop feeling embarrassed about periods.
There is nothing wrong and there is nothing new, it happens with everybody.
Every single female goes through this, so it is just a natural physiological process.
Don’t feel bad and don’t think like oh what if boys came to know that I am menstruating what will they think if I change my uniform in school.
Trust me boys have become so sensible and sensitive that they understand. It’s all in your head and overthinking just make things worse.
So calm yourself, think of solutions and not the problems. Managing periods at school is not that tough as you think it is.
Periods are not problems, it is a part of your life that is going to go along with you till you are 50-55 years of age. So why not embrace it with love.
I hope the tips will help you in managing your period at school and I hope you have a smooth and beautiful transition and when you look back you have all the beautiful memories of school.
Do share what are the problems you faced in school during periods and what did you do to cope with them?