Every month or so, I start eating like an uncontrollable beast who has just awoken from 100 years in hibernation. 

I’m talking second breakfasts, constant inter-meal snacking and supersize dinners with all the trimmings (and by trimmings, I mean chips). And I can’t lie, I start to freak out. I worry that this ravenous hunger will never leave me and that if I continue to eat at this rate, I’m destined for a future as the world’s largest woman.

But then… then I get that pang; that little twitch in my lower abdomen giving me a head’s up that my period is on its way. And suddenly I remember that this always happens, that a few days before my period I am always hit with the most unquenchable hunger. Then I chill the hell out.

Me Want Food 30 Rock gif

You see we’ve all heard of pregnancy cravings (which seem to involve eating pickles with everything), but we rarely talk about period cravings – even though many women encounter them on a monthly basis. As well as just wanting to eat EV-ER-Y-THING for a time, I also get really seriously into cheese. And chocolate. Toasties, cheese on toast, thick chocolate milkshakes and really dense, sticky brownies are my go-to treats – things I usually eat as occasional treats suddenly become essential parts of my diet.

And it’s not just me. I asked around my friends, and everyone agreed that their eating habits changed around the time of their period. Unsurprisingly, chocolate featured pretty highly on a lot of people’s period craving charts, but some of the foods were a bit more leftfield. Not one but two people got back to me saying they craved all things tomato – from plain old tinned tomatoes to baked beans and even tomato & basil pasta sauce straight out the jar – while another friend said she became a crazed carnivore, always fancying loads of bacon, sausages, steak and, I quote, ‘ALL THE CHICKEN.’

But what do these cravings MEAN? Is there any rhyme or reason to them, or are they all just random? And are there any dietary dos or don’ts we should know about? To find out, I spoke to Gaynor Bussell, a dietician and registered nutritionist specialising in women’s health.

First up, Gaynor confirmed that period – or PMS – cravings are totally normal. She explained: ‘Cravings can be one of the symptoms of PMS, and due to changing hormone levels this can happen from two weeks before the period (known as the luteal phase) to the time when the period really gets underway (which could take a few days from when it first starts). Calorie requirements increase for many during this time of the month, and so there is an increase in hunger which may drive cravings.’ Phew.

Mindy Project McDonalds gif

So the hunger is normal, but what about our food choices? ‘Nobody really knows why certain foods are craved and cravings do vary, with some preferring savoury while some crave any carbs,’ Gaynor explained. But when it comes to chocolate, Gaynor told me it’s all about that feel-good feeling: ‘Chocolate has always been associated with comfort, regardless of PMS. This time of the month is associated with increased depression and anxiety so comfort food may be craved.’

Finally, I asked Gaynor for her period dietary tips. Unsurprisingly, seeing as she’s a nutritionist, chips and chocolate brownies didn’t feature too highly. Instead, she advised: ‘A healthy diet throughout the month has been associated with less PMS symptoms. Being generally active too can help reduce symptoms. It is also believed that having regular meals throughout the day that that are made up of low energy release carbs, such as pasta, seedy bread and oats, can help even out swings in blood sugars and hence avert cravings. And in general, you should avoid consuming too much junk food – especially foods and drinks that give you quick energy/sugar boosts which may be followed by crashing lows. These are known perpetrators of PMS.’

So, as ever, it seems that a healthy, active lifestyle with the odd treat is the way to go. I’ll try to remember that next time I’m dunking chips in a chocolate milkshake with a side of double-cheeseburger…

@MissSisiG

Image: Manjit Thapp

You’ve been counting down to your fortnight in Florida for weeks. Your jazziest bikinis are packed and you’ve primed your mum in the art of taking a good Instagram photo. So why, oh why, does your period have to come just as you’re about to jet off?

While you’d rather be surfing any wave other than the crimson one, rest assured it’s happened to us all at some point, and these are all the things you know if you’ve had your period on holiday…

It always arrives unexpectedly

You weren’t supposed to come on for another eight days, but somehow that little sadist decided to arrive early, landing on exactly the morning you’re getting on a flight to paradise. This was not part of the plan.

Your handbag full of tampons being searched is the most cringe thing ever

It’s like airport security want to embarrass you in front of all the fit groups of boys.

Plane paranoia is real

A nine-hour flight = how many tampon changes?! And there’s nothing like the fear of falling asleep only to wake up having bled through your trousers, and onto the seat, then having to work out how to get to the bathroom without everyone seeing the big red stain on your bum. It’s never actually happened to you, but y’know, it could.

White swimwear is a no-go

You bought it to enhance your tan and had visions of yourself running down the beach like a Victoria’s Secret Angel. However, the minute your period arrives, that white bikini is banished to the bottom of your suitcase. Sigh. Maybe next year.

Tampon strings are the enemy

Sure, you’re forever grateful to the inventor of tampons for enabling you to hit the pool on your period, but why do the strings have such a habit of popping out the side of your swimsuit? And then there was that time you decided to trim it with scissors and almost ended up in A&E. Never again.

You’re fearful of diving and cannonballs

Ever since your friend told you about their cousin’s tampon shooting out when they jumped into a swimming pool, you’ve always used the ladder, as boring as that may be.

Cramps are somehow always worse in the heat

“WHO IS USING MY UTERUS AS A STRESS BALL?!”

But holidays do seem to make your period go away faster

Time flies when you’re having fun!

Image: Amber Griffin

Not that we’re mad into maths or anything, but our lovely friends at Action Aid have come up with pretty much the best equation ever to exist: girl + sanitary towel = superhero.

With many girls around the world (and some even in the UK) missing school because they can’t afford or don’t have access to pads or tampons, the international charity are on a mission to raise awareness and help these young women in need.

Because if you’re armed with period supplies you can stay in school, learn, grow, become empowered and totally kickass – your period should never stand in the way, right?

To find out which badass sanitary superhero you are, take Action Aid’s quiz below!

You’re buying sanitary towels or tampons, and notice a friend/colleague/neighbour at the till as you go to pay. Are you embarrassed?

Everyone has a period horror story. Which of these scenarios does yours involve?

Have you ever run out of sanitary towels/tampons and had to improvise?

Euphemisms for periods exist around the world. Which of these euphemisms would you use to describe your period?

How do you feel when you’re on your period?

Image: Action Aid/Katie Edmunds

I was 12 and wearing cream Eeyore pyjamas when I got my first ever period.

I really loved them – comfy, cropped shorts with a frilly seam and a matching strappy top embroidered with my favourite moody A A Milne character. But even Disney wasn’t enough to keep adulthood away, and on a hot summer night during a family holiday in which I discovered my love of French petrol station hot dogs, it came.

Being 12 is so great, but it’s a time when everything changes, and that can be disorientating. That summer I’d just finished my first year at secondary school and it felt as if everyone expected me to behave both as a kid, and an adult. And that’s how I saw myself too.

On the adult days I practiced walking in heels on the driveway and couldn’t wait to start earning my own cash so I could buy my friends amazing birthday presents, instead of relying on my parents for a fiver every month.

On the kid days, I wanted to roll like a human sausage down every grassy hill I saw, and watch cartoons next to the biscuit tin after school.

Being 12 – and most of your teen years, let’s be honest – is an age when you’re on the cusp of adulthood, but then childhood sneaks in and pulls you back like an elastic band. You want to buy your favourite chocolate on the way home from school, but the law says you’re too young to earn money. You want to hang out all night with your friends but your parents have set a curfew.

You want to wear your favourite cream frilly pyjamas, but you get your first period.

Back to that morning in France. The story of my first period actually starts the day before, at a market near the villa my family and I were staying at. I was checking out the anklet options when a rush of nausea came over me really quickly, and I fainted. I was prone to fainting during my teens (something I eventually grew out of, though that doesn’t stop me carrying a packet of chocolate digestives everywhere I go ‘just in case’).

My Dad and stepmum – one by the arms, the other by the anklet-less ankles – picked me up like a table and carried me across the road while I wet myself, leaving a humiliating trickle of urine as we went. I was a human wee snail.

It sounds scary but, in reality, I came around about 30 seconds later. Other than the fact that my favourite denim miniskirt now smelt of wee, and my sister wouldn’t stop moaning about how the sarong stall was going to close any minute, I felt fine. My parents and I put the faint down to the hot weather and we all trotted back to the car.

The day continued as planned; we got back to the villa, jumped in the pool and my siblings and I proceeded to make up a water-based musical inspired by The Little Mermaid, complete with a crab dance that we still sometimes crack out at Christmas. The faint was forgotten.

Until the next day when I woke up and went to the loo as always. That’s when I pulled down my PJ bottoms and saw it; my period had soaked into the pyjamas and was all over my inner thighs, making them sticky (but not a spot on the white bed sheets – must have been beginner’s luck). There was a lot of it. Some was bright red, other patches were brown and dry. I was one of the first among my friends to get their period, and neither of my three sisters had started yet. I began to panic.

Without thinking, I whipped the PJs back on and wrapped a towel around my waist. Palms sweating, head spinning, I began racing – thighs glued together to keep the period in, using only my lower legs to move, like a cartoon – around the villa to find my stepmum. I’d seen her pack sanitary pads before we left but had no idea where she kept them… I mean, I’d never even owned pads before. Like a menzies detective, possibilities filled my mind. Did she keep them in her handbag? Knicker drawer? THE FRIDGE?!

After turning the cutlery drawer upside down and finding nothing, I turned to plan B: find an adult. I went to see my sunbathing sisters – chilled and enjoying their period-free lives – who told me that our parents had gone to the supermarket and didn’t know when they’d be back.

So I did the only logical thing I could think of. I grabbed a snack from the kitchen (Lays crisps, holiday staple), locked myself back in the bathroom and sat on the loo, waiting for my period to slowly drip into it. Like the olden days, when women simply had to sit on buckets until it stopped.

Now, I’ve never bungee-jumped off a 100ft bridge in the middle of a snowstorm wearing a short dress and no knickers, but I imagine the feeling when it’s over isn’t dissimilar to the relief I felt when I heard my parent’s keys in the door. I called for my stepmum and summoned her to my period throne.

She wasn’t scared. In fact, she was super calm. It was all going to be ok – she gave me a hug and a pad, and stroked my head while I cried about not being able to swim for the rest of the holiday.

Later that afternoon I’d held a welcome party for my period cravings by polishing off my third cheese and ham baguette, and was sat with my legs dangling in the nice cold pool. I felt like everything was going to be ok.

And it really was totally fine. Fine. When my brother pushed me into the pool, oblivious to the fact I was wearing the second sanitary towel of my life, the pool didn’t turn into tomato soup. The landlord didn’t try to kick us out the villa because I’d unsuccessfully flushed a sanitary towel down the loo (don’t try it, never try it). And I didn’t even leak through the white linen trousers I wore to get ice cream at lunch. I survived.

Now, when I’m expecting my period, I either sleep in black knickers so that I don’t stain another fabulous pajama set, or wear a pad to bed. What was the lesson my first ever period taught me? That there’s nothing that can’t be solved by switching your Eeyore pyjamas for the toy instead.

And always go to the sarong stall early.

Image: Katie Edmunds

Change is good. Change is natural. Change is a part of life.

Even Taylor Swift wrote a song about change.

Fine, it’s possible she’s not singing about changing your tampon, but someone really should. Without being able to see what’s going on or feel what’s happening, it can be hard to know exactly when you need to change it.

So here are some guidelines to help you learn the ropes (or strings).

How long are we going to be hanging out for?

Generally you should change your tampon every 4-8 hours. Even if you forget everything else in this article, remember the golden rule for tampons:

THOU SHALT NOT LEAVE A TAMPON IN FOR MORE THAN EIGHT HOURS.

If you leave it in for any longer than that, you could put yourself at risk of developing Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), so always keep an eye on the time.

TL;DR? Here's the important stuff:
  • Never leave a tampon in for more than eight hours.Your tampon should be easy to remove. If it feels dry or ‘stuck’ it probably means it hasn’t been in for long enough or you need a lower absorbency.If you go to the loo and find that the tampon string is wet with menstrual fluid, you’re definitely ready for a change. If this happens a lot, try a higher absorbency tampon

Your tampon should be easy to remove. If it feels dry or ‘stuck’ it probably means it hasn’t been in for long enough and you can wait a bit longer before removing it. If you find that you’ve had it in for eight hours and this is still happening, you might want to try a lower absorbency tampon – particularly towards the end of your period when things tend to lighten up.

However, if you go to the loo and find that the tampon string is wet with delightful menstrual fluid, you’re definitely ready for a change. If you find that this keeps happening after only having your tampon in for a few hours, you might want to try a higher absorbency tampon.

Um… why am I leaking?

There are a few reasons you might still be experiencing leakage, even with a tampon in. Your tampon may have absorbed as much fluid as it can and is unable to carry any more menstrual blood. If this is happening frequently, you might want to try a more absorbent tampon.

Another option is that you haven’t inserted your tampon quite right. The technique can be tricky to get right when you first start using tampons (and on the odd occasion later in life too, tbh) – but don’t worry, you’ll be a pro in no time. Generally, if a tampon is inserted correctly, you shouldn’t be able to feel it. If you feel any discomfort, it’s possible the angles are a bit wrong, so pull it out gently and insert a new tampon. Voila!

Everyone’s vagina is a different size and shape, so it’s possible that tampons won’t be able to absorb 100% of your period. If this is the case, you might want to wear a pantyliner as well, in order to save your knickers from pesky stains.

Basically, there is one golden rule when it comes to tampons. Repeat after us:

THOU SHALT NOT LEAVE A TAMPON IN FOR MORE THAN EIGHT HOURS.

It’s like T.Swift says:

(At least three times).

There’s a strange, unofficial law of puberty that says all the big, life-changing, gross-out experiences have to happen to you on holiday.

Sometimes on Guides camp, during sports day or at the incredibly posh wedding of a distant relative – but mainly, usually, on holiday. Because hey, even the sneaky gremlins of adolescence love a day at the beach! It’s just a shame they have to gatecrash your jolly hols rather than packing off on their own.

Picture the scene: I am 12, and on holiday with my family. In Belgium. Normally this would be enough trauma to be going on with, but because the universe is sometimes the actual worst, I also had my period.

Not my first period – that had arrived in a dramatic mudslide of brown goo one day at school, followed by a sticky five hours walking around concerned I had pooed myself without realising – but an early one Before they had settled into a reliable routine; when my period was still turning up unannounced, like a neighbour who won’t take the hint and then stays and eats all your best biscuits.

Up till now I had been welcoming. I had rolled out sanitary pads like a red carpet each time my uterus lining decided to drop by. But now – now, I was on holiday and I didn’t want a period, thanks. I wanted to go swimming. And I couldn’t do it with a big white lilo in my pants.

So there were two options: either give up and mooch about by the pool all week like a sad, bleeding fun sponge – or find another type of sanitary soaker-upper. As MC Hammer might have said while breakdancing on my achey uterus, STOP! Tampon time.

My mum was a long-time tampon fan, and only too happy to hand over a box for me to have a go. They were non-applicator, because that was the type she’d always used, and so it was that I found myself, quite literally, in at the deep end. Squatting, as per the box instructions, in the holiday chalet bathroom, boldly going to parts of my body that no finger had ever gone before.

First I unwrapped a tampon, gave the string a cautious yank. It looked like a make-up applicator, or a tiny friendly mouse puppet. I took a deep breath, did my very best full plié (if all those years of ballet classes hadn’t turned me into a modern day Anna Pavlova, they could at least give me the thigh strength to ram a tampon in successfully), and prodded it in the vague direction of the blood. In went the tip. Easy! Like plugging a leak. Or that song, about the guy with the hole in his bucket.  

I stood up, triumphant. I was a tampon-wearer! I was a vaginal victor! I was… nope, I was in pain.

Ow. I moved around, testing things out. OW. Owwowwoww. I sat down. OWW. Was this… right? Surely not. How was I meant to swim if I could barely walk? The leaflet said I shouldn’t feel it at all. My mum never said it would hurt. All those carefree ladies on the adverts leaping through meadows and riding horses while wearing white trousers didn’t look like they were wincing every time they took a step. Were they grinning through gritted teeth? Were ALL women? WOULD I BE FOREVER CONFINED TO A LIFE OF FANNY PAIN?

No, my mum confirmed when she found me whimpering in my swimsuit, drowning my sorrows in a packet of Belgium’s finest paprika snack nuts. It was not supposed to hurt.

It was, though, supposed to be inside my vagina – properly inside, rather than the place I had lodged it, hanging halfway out as though my labia was smoking a little white cigar. For that tampon to do its best tamponing, she explained cheerfully through the bathroom door, it needed to be completely hidden where the sun didn’t shine.  

I had to boldly go further. I yanked it out by the string, unwrapped a fresh one and took another deep breath.

With two more attempts and a lot of what can only be described as ‘tampon yoga’, I discovered with wonder what so many girls had discovered before me: that your vagina, like the TARDIS, is far bigger on the inside than it appears. It goes all the way back! And up! My first tampon had been sat in the doorway when there was a whole… corridor to conquer!

Finally, it was in. Actually in. And once that third-attempt tampon settled into its proper home, I realised that it wasn’t a lie – I couldn’t feel it. At all. Nothing to see here, folks, just a girl totally in control of her menstrual fluids!

Not even going headfirst down the flume with a swimsuit wedgie could diminish my aura of physical achievement. It might not have made the photo album or the ‘What I did on my holiday’ essay, but it was a golden memory nonetheless. I was a tampon-wearer! A vaginal victor! Yes.

Image: Hailey Hamilton

Your period can be a tricky customer. Even those of us with cycles as regular as clockwork will probably experience at least one jolly menstrual surprise in our lifetimes – and we can only hope that when that happens we’ll have a trusty tampon or sanitary pad lurking about our persons.

But we spoke to 21 people who weren’t so lucky, and were forced to improvise with whatever was around them. Such as…

1. A pair of bikini bottoms

“My period arrived unexpectedly at university, when I had nary a toilet roll to my name. I did, however, have a pair of bikini bottoms in my drawer from a recent holiday, and figured they must be absorbent. So I climbed into them and dashed into town to buy some tampons. Turns out bikini bottoms aren’t as absorbent as all that, and I had to tie my jumper around my waist to hide the spreading stain in my crotch. I was only wearing a T-shirt underneath and it was a the middle of winter, so yeah, I always carry tampons now.”

2. A bit of a nappy

dancing-bby

“I got my period while wheeling my baby brother around John Lewis, so I nipped into their baby-change loos and tried to rip up one of his nappies while he looked on, nonplussed. Do you know how hard it is to rip up a nappy, though? Really, really hard. I hurt my arm doing that, and the worst part is that I can’t tell anyone about the injury because it sounds so stupid.”

3. An ENTIRE nappy

“Didn’t know what to do, so shoved a whole nappy into my pants and walked with a very wide stance for the rest of the day. Really absorbent, though!”

4. Folded-up paper towels from a restaurant bathroom

“I was in a long queue for a busy loo, and when I got to the end I yanked loads of paper towels from the dispenser, then ran into the cubicle. When I came out I’m sure everyone in the queue knew what was going on, because no one would meet my eye.”

5. McDonalds napkins

“I wasn’t loving it :(“

mcdonalds

6. Newspaper

“Do NOT recommend! SO uncomfortable!”

7. A sock

“I was caught short on a night out, and there was no loo roll in the toilets. Cue some improvisation and one slightly cold foot on the walk home.

The sock was discarded afterwards.”

8. A PAIR of socks

“I was on the train from London to Penzance with absolutely no sanitary items (although I did briefly consider my empty crisp packet), so I used one sock for half the journey and the other for the other half. Immense sock-and-sanitary-towel shopping spree when I got to Penzance. Immense.”

9. My little sister’s Winnie the Pooh flannel!

“I felt so bad, but I had a really heavy flow and folded-up toilet tissue just wouldn’t have cut it. I have since replaced her flannel.”

winnie-the-pooh

10. Travel tissues

“They are already handily folded into rectangles! Then I lined my pants with the plastic tissue packet to prevent the tissues leaking, and felt like a genius.”

11. Cotton wool and Sellotape

“Double-sided the tape in the gusset of my pants and stuck the cotton wool on top of it. Lasted for hours! Felt like Bear Grylls or something!”

12. A bath sponge

“Thought I was being clever by choosing the most absorbent item in the bathroom. However, it was shaped like a starfish and made me look as if I was smuggling bunnies in my leggings. Although I maintain that it was absorbent.”

spongebob3

13. Some gauze from a first-aid kit

“I stole it from work, praying that no one would have a serious cut later that day on my floor of the office.”

14. One of my mother’s fancy linen napkins from Christmas Day 🙁

“As a side note, it should be made law for all mothers to have spare tampons in the bathroom when their children come to visit.”

15. Breast pads

“These are meant to be used by breastfeeding women in case of random spills, but when my period came without warning I snuck one from my sister’s stash and put it in my pants. Felt weird, but worked.”

16. A pair of incontinence pants

“(Don’t ask)”

17. A folded-up pizza menu

“(Don’t ask either)”

pizza

18. My boyfriend’s T-shirt, folded up

“He was wearing a jumper but it was his favourite T-shirt, and he was awfully nice about it.”

19. A strip of cardboard packing from an Amazon parcel

“Not recommended for long periods! (Pun not intended).”

20. Kitchen roll

“Really reliable and surprisingly comfortable, although I’m not sure how hygienic it was after being out in the kitchen the whole time.”

21. A leaf

“I got my period while camping. Luckily it wasn’t a nettle or poison ivy leaf.”

leaf

Don’t let this happen to you! Leaves and newspaper aren’t viable or comfortable alternatives.

Get yourself a bettybox – which comes with all your pads or tampons for the month, plus beauty samples and other treats, and a lovely drawstring bag to keep on you at all times. Or, I guess, always wear socks…

@orbyn

Worried about when your periods should start? Dr Yaz explains why your periods might not be here yet, whether or not you should be concerned, and what you can do.

Got a question for Dr Yaz? Email dryaz@betty.me

Life’s full of lumps and bumps. Goosebumps. Speedbumps. Lovely lady lumps.

But if you’ve ever peered inside your pants while on your period and panicked about lumps that look distinctly less lovely, take a deep breath. This is perfectly natural.

So they’re not… clots?

Well, er, actually they are. *BUT* they’re not the type of clots you hear about on Grey’s Anatomy or Casualty. These are completely harmless clots.

So what are they?

OK, let’s rewind a minute.

Every month, as your progesterone levels rise, it causes the lining of your uterus to grow thick with extra blood and tissue, making it cosy and cushiony in case a pregnancy occurs.

TL;DR? Here's the important stuff:
  • They’re clots of tissue rather than blood, which generally means there’s nothing to worry about.
  • If you notice particularly large clots, you might want to have a chat with your GP just to make sure everything is tip-top-shape.

In the case of a no-show, your progesterone and oestrogen levels start to fall and the lining of your womb comes away. The blood exits your body through your vagina and, because life is unfair sometimes, probably makes its way onto your favourite knickers.

So, the clots?

The clots are clots. But they’re clots of tissue rather than blood, which generally means there’s nothing to worry about. If you notice particularly large clots, you might want to have a chat with your GP just to make sure everything is tip-top shape.

But next time the red unicorn comes for a visit and you’re worried that your life is about to become the next episode of Casualty, breathe. They’re just your monthly lady lumps.

Image: Getty

Say goodbye to period stains

Your period is over for another month! Arrivederci. Au Revoir. Adios. Auf Wiedersehen. Hwyl fawr, baby. *waving emoji*

Except, you might find you’re left with a few…  um, souvenirs of those magical days. In your knickers, on your sheets, inside your pyjamas, maybe even an unlucky sofa cushion – we’ve all been there. Honestly, we have.

But fear not, these aren’t the kind of weird souvenirs that your aunt brings you back from Torremolinos and asks to see every time she comes around. No, these souvenirs are ones you are fully allowed to ditch.

First up…

Don’t panic. We know this feels easier said than done, especially as you shove your pants into your sleeping bag in horror and race to your friend’s bathroom for an emergency laundry session. But this happens to everyone, we promise. There is barely a woman in the UK right now that doesn’t have a slightly stained pair of ‘period pants’ somewhere in her underwear drawer.

TL;DR? Here's the important stuff:
  • Do not panic. This happens to basically everyone.
  • Try holding the stained area taut under cold running water for a few minutes. If it refuses to budge, try rubbing in soap or bodywash and rinsing again.
  • If that doesn’t work, give salt, contact lens solution, baking soda or lemon juice a go. Or just ’fess up and ask a laundry whizz for some help – you’ll survive, we promise.

Bottom line: you should never have to be embarrassed about nature doing its thing. No one should ever make you feel bad about leaks and stains, no matter how expensive the bedding. If anyone does, the shame is aaall on them.

But because you can’t keep buying new underwear and life is too short to walk around with a bottle of Vanish in your bag, here are some DIY methods that might help in a sticky situation…

Keeping it old school

To remove blood stains from lightweight fabric such as knickers or sheets (i.e the main culprits), try holding the stained area taut under cold running water for a few minutes. If the stain is refusing to budge, add whatever soap or bodywash you can find nearby and massage it into the stain, then try again.

Sometimes the best solution really is the simplest. Or the simplest really is the best. We can’t remember which way that saying goes.

Everything but the kitchen sink

No joy? Don’t worry, there are a lot of other options.

Have any salt handy? Sprinkle some (okay, a lot) over the stain and give it a good, hard scrub. Rinse it off and wash the fabric as normal.

Or if you’re out of salt and happen to have some contact lens solution (saline) handy, you can use that instead. Mind blown.

For a darker fabric, have a rummage around your kitchen cupboard for some baking soda. Mix it with water to form a paste and then spread it on the fabric. You should probably allow it to sit for at least half an hour, so you have plenty of time to watch another episode of PLL, but you can leave it overnight if you prefer and then wash the item as usual.

Or for light-coloured clothes, you can also try a more tropical vibe. Squirt some lemon juice on the stain and leave it in the sun for a while before washing. But this could cause discolouration on darker items, so test it on a tiny bit of the fabric first.

Still code red?

Sometimes stains can be stubborn, so it might take a few tries before everything’s back to normal. And even if you can’t get all of the stain out, don’t worry too much. Sometimes it’s more of a ‘see you around’ than a proper goodbye.

Let’s think of those stains as ‘period ghosts’. Aw.

Image: Katie Edmunds

1. Like a tiny man is busking in your uterus and has fashioned your fallopian tubes into guitar strings, so he can gently pluck them… constantly. Day and night. The same tunes, again and again.

2. Like someone’s replacing the cheese on their spag bol for your uterus and is ferociously grating it with all the strength they have because WHY NOT, EH.

3. Like some douchebag has snuck up on you and punched your uterus hard square in the face, then run away with plans to come back in approx. 10 minutes and do it again.

4. Like your P.E. teacher has decided that today’s dodgeball session will take place in your uterus and the whole school is playing.

5. Like an overenthusiastic orchestra conductor has mistaken your uterus for the Royal Albert Hall, is waving his arms incredibly dramatically, causing an absolute ruckus and EVERYTHING IS JUST A BIT TOO MUCH.

6. Like your uterus has gained actual sentience and is trying to claw its way out of your body for the great escape to freedom.

7. Like the douchebag from earlier has come back and given your fanny a bruised black eye. THROBBING. WHY THE THROBBING FANNY?!

8. Like it’s raining and the kids next door have decided to play Swingball in your uterus (instead of spending hours on YouTube like normal kids).

9. Like someone’s wringing out your uterus like a flannel.

10. Like your nan’s tied your fallopian tubes into a pretty little bow for her cat.

11. Like a Brownie group are camping in your uterus but have had too much sugar on their first night away from their families and are screaming, ‘KOOKABURRA SITS IN THE OLD GUM TREE’ while running around playing Tag and you’re just weeping.

12. Like your uterus is about to do a bungee jump and is shaking with nerves so much it might actually fall out.

13. Like someone is using your ovaries as stress balls.

14. Like you’ve got those really weird pins and needles in your foot where it’s super numb but if you try and move it a fraction then it suddenly vibrates and feels SO WEIRD.

No?? Just me?

Oh. 

@louisejonesetc

Image: Hailey Hamilton

Sometimes, people say stupid things. From time to time, I am guilty of this. Just this morning I have asked how to spell ‘restaurant’ and if the female equivalent of a Lord was a Lass.*

But, I like to think that I have never asked anything as stupid as ryanwilliams97. I’m going to go ahead and presume Ryan Williams was born in 1997 (rather than having particularly quirky parents), which makes him 19. Which makes him an adult man.

Earlier this week Ryan posted this tweet.

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-14-51-35

It seems that Ryan is under the illusion that periods are something we can control, like peeing (obviously he’s never spend twenty minutes worrying that his period has leaked through his trousers). He also seems to think that period blood and pee come out of the same hole?!

If this isn’t a prime example of why we need better, more detailed, more specific sex and health education in schools – for girls AND BOYS – then we don’t know what is.

Some of his comments have made the entire betty team involuntarily shudder, so if you fall down the Ryan Williams Twitter feed rabbit hole (Lauren has done it, she would not recommend it), please make sure you have soft things nearby to throw at the wall.

But hey – instead of just mocking Ryan, let’s turn this into a learning exercise! We took to Twitter to ask people the silliest things they’d ever thought or been asked about periods, and some of the responses were wonderful. In a wonderfully awful sort of way.

The McTampon

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-14-36-56

Men-SIN-tration

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-14-37-11

Ovary-acting

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-14-37-26

  Bleed baby, bleed

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-14-37-47

It’s a wooden thing

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-14-38-02

My one and only

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-14-38-13

 Tampon? I thought you said tap on!

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-14-38-55

Great Sexpectations  

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-14-39-07

It is called MEN-stration…

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-14-39-24

All jokes aside, it’s sad that so many people are still confused about periods. If you want better sex education in schools, why not sign the petition to get sex and relationship education included in the school curriculum at here at #SREnow?

*It’s not Lass by the way, it’s Lady