Legally, if someone has given consent then it means that they agreed to do something by choice and that they had the freedom or the capacity to make that choice. For someone to give consent they have to be able to say “yes!” but it’s just as important that they are able to say “no”.

So, what does it all mean?

Usually people talk about consent when they’re talking about sex, but it actually applies to a lot of things – kissing, cuddling, touching, sharing or storing sexy photos and videos, the whole lot. Not everything, though. The law doesn’t care if you don’t consent to doing your homework or tidying your room. 

Right, that’s easy. It’s all about choice. Got it. I’m going to go back to watc…

Not so fast. It might seem simple, but in practice it can be a bit more complicated. For example, someone might say “yes” to doing something because they’re too scared of what will happen if they say “no” – it could be argued that they chose to say yes, but if they felt like they didn’t have a choice then it’s not really consent.

There are also complications when you add in things like alcohol and drugs. If someone is too drunk or stoned to be classed as being in their right mind, then they’re not in the position to make big decisions and so they can’t consent. There’s obviously a difference from being a little bit giggly (like Auntie Sheila on the sherry at Christmas) and being so drunk you’re unable to give consent, but knowing where that line is can be tricky. 

I know. Complicated, right? They never had to worry about stuff like this on Friends.

So what if consent isn’t there? 

If any of the things mentioned – kissing, cuddling, touching, sharing or storing sexy photos and videos and actually having sex – happen without the full and joyful consent of both parties, then it’s defined by the law as sexual assault or rape.

To protect yourself and the people you’re crushing on, it’s really important to make sure that before you do any of this you make sure that you, and everyone involved, have full consent. 

How do I know if I’ve got consent?

Well, the best way is to just ask! Knowing that you have and giving consent is all about communication. Start with non-verbal communication, i.e. body language – is the person interested and going along with what you’re doing, or are they freezing up and pushing you away. But then body language can only take you so far, so ask questions like “Is this ok?” and “Do you like this?”.

And if it seems too embarrassing to ask a potential pash things like this? Sorry to get lecturey on you, but if you’re not comfortable enough to talk to someone about snogging then you probably shouldn’t be snogging them. 

So, when do I know if I have consent? If we’re in a relationship?

Even if you’re in a relationship, you/they don’t automatically have consent. Even if you’ve been dating someone for ten years, you don’t automatically get consent! And you’re are able to withdraw it at any time. Even mid-snog, if you want to. 

What about if they said ‘no’ initially, but I kept asking and then they said ‘yes’?

Nope. Think back to what we said earlier – feeling able to say “no” is just as important as saying “yes”. If someone has pressured you into saying yes, then you’re not really consenting of your own free will, are you?

Also, er, no one should do this. It’s not the basis for a healthy relationship and is generally not cool. Not cool at all.

When else do I not have automatic consent?

When someone is unconscious or asleep, even if they gave consent beforehand. When someone is being super super flirty – they may well give you consent, but flirting doesn’t guarantee it. Nor does revealing clothing, the fact you’re already kissing, the fact someone said “yes” initially but then changed their mind, or the fact that haven’t explicitly said “no”. A good rule of thumb is that if either party doesn’t seem into it, you should just stop. 

And don’t forget, if you’re under 16 you can’t consent even if you’re awake, happy and in your right mind – because the law considers you too young. Soz. 

So when do I or they have consent?

When you’re both in your right minds, both comfortable with each other, both saying “yes” to whatever you’re doing, both eager and happy to do it and would both feel safe to say “no” and ask the other person to stop at any time. 

We know it sounds complicated, but it’s really not scary and the best thing about it is that the same rules protect you too. It’s really important to remember that you don’t have to do anything that you’re not 100% happy and comfortable doing.

What should I do if I think I’ve had situations where I didn’t give my consent?

Firstly, whatever happened, it’s not your fault. Secondly, talk to someone. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to an adult, teacher or parent, you could always try a friend. If you don’t even feel comfortable talking about it with a friend yet, you can always talk to Childline for free confidential advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Cystitis is a common type of urinary tract infection (UTI) – aka “owww, it burns when I pee” or “I’ve been on the loo so long, maybe I should move the TV into the bathroom?”

Basically this means your bladder is inflamed, which happens when rogue bacteria finds its way into your bladder through the urethra.

The soul singer?

No that’s Aretha. Your urethra is the tiny tube your pee travels down – though like Ms Franklin, it also deserves R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Feeling the burn…

The most common symptoms of a UTI are a burning, stinging sensation in your bladder and the desperate urge to pee more frequently. You might also have pee that’s darker or cloudier than normal, aches and pains in your lower abdomen and general fluey tiredness.

Some lucky people never experience it at all, but if you have, the first thing to say is: don’t worry. Cystitis is super common and generally nothing to worry about at all. The second thing to say is: poor you. Because while it might not be serious, it sure ain’t fun.

But isn’t cystitis… er, a sex thing?

NOPE. Or at least, not always. One of the most popular misconceptions about UTIs is that they’re only caught via sex (hence cystitis sometimes being referred to in an embarrassing, nudge-nudge-wink-wink way as ‘the honeymoon disease’) but the truth is they can be triggered by plenty of things, at any age, whether or not you’re sexually active. So it’s nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed to tell someone about – or text for help from your bathroom throne.

Causes of cystitis can include: wiping your bum from back to front, chemical irritants like scented shower gel and bubble bath, inserting tampons messily, not emptying your bladder fully, tight jeans or pants, dehydration or holding your wee in for too long. And yes, sex too. Friction around your pee hole is the most common way for bacteria to find its way in.

TL;DR? What is Cystitis - the important stuff:
  • Cystitis is a type of urinary tract infection, which can occur when bacteria gets into your bladder.
  • The most common symptoms are burning, stinging feeling when you pee, and the urge to pee more frequently than usual. Ow.
  • Scented products, wiping back to front, holding your bladder and friction from tight clothes can all cause cystitis – not just sex.
  • Drinking lots of water, going to the loo and taking painkillers will often get rid of it, but your GP can prescribe antibiotics in more severe cases.

Boys and men can also get cystitis, but girls and women are much more prone to it because our urethra is shorter and everything’s a bit more crowded down there. Cheers for that design feature, Mother Nature.

How do I fight the fire?

With fire! No, we’re kidding. That has basically never been good advice.

It might feel as though you’re never going to be able to get off the toilet, but don’t panic – most bouts of cystitis clear up within a day or two, if you catch them. The best way to treat it is to drink lots of water, and keep going to the loo regularly until the urge passes.

Painkillers such as Ibuprofen or paracetamol to ease the pain (ask an adult and follow the packet instructions) or a hot water bottle between your legs might help soothe things too.

You can also take over-the-counter powder to help relieve the symptoms (it’s not a taste sensation, you’ve been warned), while many people swear by drinking cranberry juice to help cure and prevent UTIs. Doctors are dubious about whether it actually works, though, and downing a bucketful of juice can just add ‘stomach ache’ to your sufferings.

What if it won’t go away?

If the symptoms don’t ease up or feel like they’re getting worse, head straight to the doctor. They can prescribe antibiotics to clear things up and make sure the infection doesn’t travel into your kidneys (ouch).

A GP can also help if you find you’re getting cystitis all the time – it may be common, but that doesn’t mean you have to just put up with it.

How can I stop it happening again?

The good news is that once you’ve done battle, the fire-breathing UTI dragon is fairly easy to keep at bay.

The best ways to prevent cystitis are through drinking plenty of fluids, avoiding harsh perfumed products near your vagina, always wiping from front to back to avoid transferring bacteria from your bum to urethra, and going to the loo as soon as you need it rather than holding your bladder (Netflix has a pause button for a reason, guys).  You might find avoiding tight jeans and underwear helps too.

And a note for the future…

If/when you’re ready to have sex, peeing immediately afterwards is the most effective way to prevent cystitis. It’s almost never shown on TV or in films but believe us – all over the world, cystitis-prone women are leaping from bed and racing cheerfully to the toilet.

So it’s NBD?

Nope! Just an big ol’ pain in the… bladder.

Find out more from the NHS here.

Illustration: Katie Edmunds

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

You know your period? That friend that shows up every month, whether you want it to or not, and stays for about a week. It may eat you out of house and home, or occasionally make you want to curl up and die, but it isn’t unfamiliar. From the first telltale cramp to that final uncomfortable tampon, you know your period inside-out.

Or do you? Unsurprisingly, periods are complicated business, scientifically and historically speaking. So sit back and let us hit you with some AMAZING PERIOD FACTS.

Sitting comfortably? Well, just wait.

1. You can get your PERIOD in your NOSE

Okay, well, you probably won’t, but it’s called ‘vicarious menstruation‘ and it involves bleeding from somewhere that isn’t your uterus. Women have bled from their eyes, noses and even lungs during their periods, and it occurs because your blood capillaries all over your body soften during menstruation, and sometimes allow blood to come out. It’s okay, it’s very, very rare.

2. Periods are more painful in the cold

Cold weather can also make your period last longer and be heavier. Hooray for living on an island stuck between the Atlantic and the chilly North Sea! Let’s all move to Spain!

3. You sound uglier during your moon time

NB: This is not us dissing you, this is science. Researchers tested the same women’s voices at different times of the month, and participants could identify not only when the women were on their period – purely from listening to their voices – but also that they sounded ‘less attractive’ when they were.

4. Periods can make you stupidererer

Researchers at the University of Bath have found that women’s cognitive abilities actually take a slight dive during menstruation. Here’s the link to the study so you can send it to your teacher next time they say you’re less than stellar.

5. Humans, humpback whales and elephants are the only animals that go through menopause

Hey, Moby Dick and Dumbo! Menopause REPRESENT!

6. But only the macaque monkey has anything close to a human menstrual cycle, at 29 days

So remember to fistbump the next macaque monkey you see!

7. You don’t bleed as much as you think you do

Yes, although on bad days it can feel like a gory horror movie in your underpants, you actually only lose about a cup of blood per period. The rest of it is bits of your uterine lining and (sorry) mucus.

8. Some women have longer cycles than others because their eggs are lazy

Well, not lazy, but some people’s cycles take 31 days because, after ovulation, their eggs take the scenic route travelling down the fallopian tubes to the uterus.

9. Those clots? They’re made by CONTRACTIONS

Yes, contractions like labour contractions. When you have period cramps, your uterus contracts. When this happens very frequently it can stop your blood from thinning out before it comes out, resulting in clots. (Don’t worry, a few 5p-sized clots a day is totally normal.)

10. In fact, your body mimics pregnancy symptoms in the run-up to your period

Cramping, nausea, tiredness, bloating, abdominal pain, bad moods, sensitive breasts and out-of-control appetites. The symptoms of PMS are astonishingly close to those of early pregnancy, so basically a) give yourself a break if your period is on its way, and b) be nice to a pregnant lady today.

11. And, talking of pregnancy, you can get pregnant during your period

Sperm can live for up to five days in the vagina, so if you ovulate soon after your period, you could technically get pregnant. Although it’s unlikely. Store away that info for if/when you need it.

12. In fact, in the Middle Ages, people thought that red-haired people were conceived during a period

Which makes a wonky sort of sense, so long as you don’t think about it too hard.

fred and george weasley

13. Girls used to start menstruating at 16

Even as relatively recently as the 1800s, girls didn’t get their periods until they were well into their teens. Today, whereas, the average age to reach puberty is 12 – better nutrition and more stress are to blame, says science.

14. Menstrual blood used to cure everything from headaches to warts

At least people thought it did in Olden Times. Menstrual blood was used as medicine for a number of conditions, including leprosy, plague, and DEMONIC POSSESSION. It was also used in love charms, but you shouldn’t probably try this at home. If only because it’d be so messy.

15. Women used to menstruate during the new moon

In really Olden Times there was no artificial lighting, and some scientists believe that women originally ovulated when the moon was full, and started menstruating when it was new.

16. Some scientists also think that artificial lights influence women’s periods

Scientists have proved that using artificial lights during the night can shorten menstrual cycles, so who knows what effect everyday lighting has had across the world.

17. There is a Disney movie about your period

In 1946, Walt Disney made an educational animated film called The Story of Menstruation. It’s not cute and it doesn’t feature any snowmen – but it is thought to be the first film to ever use the word “vagina”, so that’s nice.

18. Retail fever hits you two weeks before your period, says science

In a study at the University of Hertfordshire, scientists found that women were more likely to go shopping 10 days before their period started than at any other time of the month. So now you know when to lock up your wallet.

19. Under 18? Got irregular periods? Don’t worry, it’s normal

It’s just your body settling into its rhythm.

And finally…

20. “Tampon” is French for “plug”

Ahhh, Fronshe. Zer language of larve. So romantique.

@orbyn

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Katie Edmunds

Let’s go back to basics! What actually is a period? Here are some answers you will probably get from your over-sharing aunt and your weird school nurse:

“It’s when you become a woman.” Bleurgh.

“It’s a miracle.” Oh please.

“It’s your body’s way of showing it’s ready for a baby.”

WHAT?! Doesn’t my brain get a say? I CAN’T EVEN REMEMBER WHERE I PUT MY MATHS HOMEWORK.

Breathe. Here’s the actual science.

Period blood isn’t like the blood that comes out of your body when you cut your elbow making an awesome save in football, or graze your knee tripping over a doormat. We call it ‘blood’ because frankly that’s less hassle than referring to it as ‘menstrual fluid and womb lining’, but that would be a bit more accurate.

Over the course of your menstrual cycle, progesterone causes the lining of your uterus to grow thicker with extra blood and tissue, making it extra cosy and snug in case a fertilised egg shows up and wants to become a baby.

TLDR? Here’s the important stuff:
  • Over the course of your menstrual cycle, progesterone makes the lining of your uterus grow thicker with extra blood and tissue, in case a pregnancy occurs.
  • If it doesn’t, as your hormone levels fall, the extra blood and tissue fall away and leave your body as your period. Wooo.
  • Just because your body is technically ready to have a baby, it doesn’t mean you have to be ‘a woman’ anytime soon.

If that hasn’t happened by about the 21st day of your menstrual cycle, your hormones will decide it’s time for their monthly clean-out. Then the lining of your womb comes away and leaves your body through your vagina. The bits of tissue can make things look less like tomato ketchup and more like chutney, if you get our drift….

Part of getting your period is your body showing that it’s able to have a baby. So if you are going to have sex and don’t want a tiny screaming person to take care of nine months later, you need to make sure you always use protection (condoms are also pretty crucial for preventing the spread of gross diseases).

But obviously, just because your body is ready, it doesn’t mean the rest of you is anywhere near. After all, you’ve still got your maths homework to find.

Moral of the story?

Don’t let your over-sharing aunt and your weird school nurse freak you out. But if you’re confused it’s a good idea to talk to an adult you trust, even if it’s just to ask about what products they use.

Also, we give you full permission to roll your eyes at anyone who says your period is a miracle. I mean, it kind of is – but there’s no need to get sappy about it.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Kate Forster

What did you call your vagina when you were a child? Did you call it anything at all? Were you even taught the difference between vaginas and vulvas?

I didn’t learn any of that until biology at school; at home my brother and I called our genitalia ‘wee-wee’s, and any other ‘difficult’ parts of the anatomy – breasts, testicles, weird moles – my mother just wrote off as ‘do-do’s and left us to figure out the rest. So out of curiosity, I decided to ask women I know what they called their vaginas and vulvas as kids. And the results are AMAZING.

1. There

2. Down There

3. The Thing

4. Bits

5. Bottom

6. Front Bottom

7. Wee-wee

8. Moneybox

9. Purse

10. Tuppence

11. Lady Garden

12. Tiddler

13. Miffy

14. VG

15. Foufou

16. Doodle

17. Doodie

18. Noony

19. Nunny

20. Minnie

21. Mooey

22. Minnie-moo

23. Mary

24. Wendy

25. Twinkie

26. Twinkle

27. Mimsy

28. Pry-pry

29. Foof

30. Fairy

31. Flower

32. Fanny

33. Wanny

34. Gee

35. Hoop

36. Penny

37. Pam

38. Ying-yang

39. Buntsy

40. Tail

41. Nesty

42. Pinky

43. Chuffy

44. Winkle

45. Gina

46. Pia

47. Chotchi

48. Mimi

49. Bunny

50. Pocket

51. Popkin

52. No-no

53. Noo-noo

54. Felicity

55. Sally

56. Button

57. Loopy-loo

And my personal favourite…

58. Lettuce.

‘Vagina’ doesn’t seem quite so weird now, does it?

@orbyn

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Amber Griffin

Whether you’ve been dreading it or totally desperate for it to arrive, your first period can feel like a leap into the great unknown.

Will it arrive drip by drip, or all at once in a river? Will I look different? WILL EVERYONE KNOW?

Unfortunately there’s no period crystal ball to tell you exactly when it will happen, or where you’ll be when it does (please not assembly). And like your first day of school or your first ever burrito, everyone’s first period will be memorable in a different way.

But here are some things you can expect.

Will I feel it?

Probably not. You might feel some wetness or stickiness in your pants, or maybe some slight cramps in your tummy – but there is no specific ‘bleeding feeling’ that announces your period is in town. Chances are you won’t notice at all until you next go to the loo.

What colour will it be?

This will be different for everyone too – but we can promise you this much: it won’t be blue.

Nobody really knows why olden days sanitary towel companies decided that bright blue liquid would be less scary than the real deal, but you can live safe in the knowledge that your monthly visitor won’t be a raspberry Slush Puppy.

More surprisingly, period blood doesn’t often look like the bright red blood you see when you fall over and cut your knee either. For some that first appearance will be a pink-ish colour, while many people’s first period is often closer to brown than red – which can come as a bit of a surprise. Fact: you will not be the first person to wonder if they pooed themselves without noticing.

Seriously.

Whatever the shade, don’t panic. Your reproductive system is just getting into the swing of things, and the colour will often become more red over time. But it will never, ever be blue.

How much blood will there be?

The amount will be different for everyone too. It could be a sticky discharge that only lasts a day or two, or ‘spotting’, which means bleeding lightly on and off for a few days. And some people’s first period might be quite heavy – but don’t panic, that doesn’t mean it will be heavy forever.

Your first few periods might be feel like a whole variety pack of changes, but things should settle down into a more predictable routine.

TL;DR? Here's the important stuff:
  • At least at the beginning, period blood will probably be more brown than red – but everyone is different.
  • Some people will have a sticky discharge the first time, others will have light, on-off bleeding and some might bleed quite a lot.
  • Your first period can last from anywhere between one and 10 days, and might not arrive again for a while.
  • You can celebrate however you like (we recommend a dance party).

How long will it last?

Your first period can last from anywhere between one and 10 days, and it’s also pretty common to have your first period and then not bleed again for a few months. Helpful, we know.

For the first year or so your periods might be a bit all over the place while your body finds its natural rhythm, but things should settle down into a fairly predictable pattern.

Will everyone know?

Nope.

Promise?

Honestly. You might feel like you’re walking around with a neon flashing ‘PERIOD! PERIOD!’ arrow above your head, but the truth is you look exactly the same as you did the day before. Nobody will know unless you choose to tell them. Or send out party invites.

But if you’re ready, it is a good idea to talk to an adult you trust. They can help you to get all the supplies you need – whether it’s pads, tampons, cuddles or a really big burrito.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Emma Block

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in your best knickers… oh hey! Discharge.

This totally wasn’t on the list

Don’t worry if you didn’t get the message. Discharge is a bit like the middle sibling of puberty – it shows up every day and does a great job, but often gets ignored. However at betty, we pay attention to both middle siblings (hey guys) and every weird and wonderful change happening in your body right now.

Like discharge.

There’s a party in my pants

Discharge is a natural mucus that is produced from your cervix. Formed from normal bacteria and fluids, and it’s your vagina’s way of keeping itself clean. We know, if only bedrooms did that.

You normally start producing discharge about six months to a year before your first period, so its appearance is a bit of a ‘hello!’ from your reproductive system, letting you know that changes are happening down there.

TL;DR? Here's the important stuff:
  • Discharge is your vagina's self cleaning system. You’ll probably start producing it about six months to a year before your first period.
  • The amount of discharge and the consistency you produce will vary throughout your menstrual cycle.
  • If you notice a dramatic change (it looks grey, green or cottage cheesy) it might be a good idea to see your GP.

How much discharge should there be?

The amount of discharge you produce varies through the stages of your menstrual cycle. Generally you produce around a teaspoon of discharge a day, although at some times, like before ovulation, this could be quite a lot more. Around this time discharge can change texture too, becoming less like a liquid and more like a gloopy gel. Or for the sci-fi fans among you, ghost slime.

If you want to, you can wear a pantyliner (a thin pad) around that time of your cycle to absorb everything. Or not. You do you. Discharge comes out easily in the washing machine (woo!), so it’s really about what makes you feel more comfortable.

Anything else I should be looking out for?

Some variation throughout the month is perfectly natural, but a sudden change in your discharge could be a sign that something is a bit off – especially if you notice it looking grey or green, if it has a lumpy consistency like cottage cheese, if it starts to have a strong smell or if there’s suddenly a lot more than usual.

In that case, who you gonna call?

Ghostbusters?

No, your GP. Relax.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Katie Edmunds

Periods, discharge, pipes and parts… there’s a lot going on down there. But how much do you really know? Are you a vagenius, or just a bit of a twat?

Let’s find out!

What colour should your period be?

How does an egg get from an ovary to your uterus?

How are your eggs stored?

How many holes are there down there?

How much blood do you lose during an average period?

What does discharge do?

What's a labia?

What actually *is* a period?

How many periods does an average woman have in a lifetime?

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

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

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Unfortunately, we’re not talking about the little guy above. We’re talking about the other type of thrush, which is far less welcome in your (lady) garden.

Thrush is one of those things that most girls and women will go through at some point or other in their lives. Like thinking it’s a good idea to have a fringe, or kissing someone you already know is bad news.

Ok, but what actually is it?

Yeast naturally occurs in your vagina, but it’s a delicate balance. Put simply, thrush occurs when your vagina gets super excited and makes too much yeast.

To blast a popular misconception, thrush isn’t a sexually-transmitted infection – and nor does it only affect women. Virgins, nuns and men can all get thrush. We know it doesn’t make anything less itchy or uncomfortable, but it might help to know you’re not alone in this. A whopping 75% of women will experience thrush, with many (including the entire betty team, hiya) having thrush multiple times in their lifetime.

What does thrush look like?

If you have thrush you’ll generally feel itchy or sore around the entrance to your vagina (labia).

This pain might get worse when you go for a wee, and you might experience a burning sensation. Do not panic, nothing is on fire – it’s just some over-excited yeast.

TL;DR? Here's the important stuff:
  • Thrush is basically when your vagina gets super excited and makes too much yeast.
  • If you have thrush you’ll generally feel itchy or sore around the entrance to your vagina and you discharge might look thick and white.
  • Thrush isn’t a sexually transmitted infection that only affects women - virgins, nuns and men can also get thrush.
  • Luckily, thrush is super easy to treat. You can buy a treatment from the chemist, they’re generally behind the counter, so just ask the pharmacists who will be able to help you out.

Your discharge shouldn’t have a funky new odour (if you notice any unusual or fishy smells, it might be a common bacterial condition, so it’s probably a good idea to head to your GP) but it might look thick and white, a sort of… cottage cheese consistency. We’re sorry. But hey, at least it’s not a good cheese we’ve just ruined.

What causes thrush?

Sometimes thrush is completely unavoidable. For example, lots of women find that they develop thrush when they’re taking antibiotics (because that’s just what you need on top of being ill, sure).

However, if you find that you are getting thrush frequently, you might want to avoid using strongly scented soaps, bubble baths or shower gels anywhere near your vagina. You might also want to try wearing cotton knickers and changing your pad or tampons more regularly than normal, as thrush is more likely to occur when your vagina can’t breathe or is irritated by damp conditions.

And if you’re getting thrush more than once every six months – firstly, you poor thing, and secondly, it’s probably best to head to your GP for a quick chat.

Is it treatable?

Luckily, just like the garden bird, thrush is super easy to chase away. Mild cases of thrush often clear up on their own, but you can also buy a lot of great treatments from the chemist. They’re generally behind the counter, so just ask the pharmacist who will be able to help you out (if you’re confused, ask a person in a white coat. It’s a safe bet, unless your chemist is in a butcher’s shop).

You can get a cream that you use over the course of a few days, a one-time-only tablet or a combination of the two. Talk to the pharmacist about what will work best for you.

Now that’s sorted, maybe it’s time to draw up a pro and con list for the fringe.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Katie Edmunds

The first time I saw a tampon, I was terrified. I was 9 and even though I knew what a period was, I didn’t know exactly how they worked, why they happened, or when I’d get my first one. My friend’s older sister was the person who showed us tampons in action for the first time. She put them in cups of water, and I remember feeling shocked at how massive they got. How was that going to fit up there?

Periods are funny things. For so long I knew I didn’t want to be the last person in my class to get mine, but I was also scared of being first. I had heard all the horror stories about bleeding all over white jeans, but it usually turns out the reality of having your period is a lot less dramatic. Usually.

However, the day of my first period was so weird that every period after that felt easy.

My auntie is a hairdresser, and she had taken me out for the day to a big hairdressing show (it’s like modelling, but with hair) in Alexandra Palace. We went to the loo, and just as I noticed that the inside of my pants weren’t as white as they were in the morning, a fight broke out between two of the girls in the bathroom. Suddenly one of them punched a mirror and it smashed everywhere, I popped my head out to see what was going on, and my Auntie jumped in the cubicle with me to keep me safe.

In case you were wondering: there’s no good time to tell your Auntie you’ve started your period when you’ve both been standing in a cramped loo, listening to girls argue about if one had kissed the other’s boyfriend.

It took 10 minutes and the two girls getting carted out by security before I was brave enough to tell her about my period, and she laughed so much at what bad timing it was that I ended up laughing too. She went out and bought me a pad from those vending machines in ladies’ loos, gave me a paracetamol, and we got the train back to my parents’ house while I asked her at every single train stop if I had leaked blood through my jeans. I hadn’t.

Bleeding every month might sometimes be painful, annoying and inconvenient, but these days, I try to look on the bright side of having my period. Like, I might have spent 30 minutes trying to get a tampon in the first time, but when I did I felt more proud of myself than I ever had in my life. Once I got over feeling super embarrassed buying my own pads at the supermarket, I started to find it funny how awkward I could make boys at the checkouts get.

And yeah, I’ve had a few spillages and accidents – everyone has – but when my friend stepped on broken glass, I was really good at getting the blood out of his socks (no soap, lots of cold water, SCRUB).

I’m not embarrassed about my period anymore, which helps, but most of my early embarrassment about my period was to do with my relationship with boys – I had so many fears, and no one was giving me any answers.

So, to be clear: no, a boy can’t mysteriously tell that you’re on your period when you sit next to him, or talk to him, or kiss him. No, you don’t smell bad. No, there’s nothing unclean or dirty about you, and no, your period doesn’t make you any ‘different’ from normal. You might feel uncomfortable or in pain, but it’s the same as having a headache or a sore foot – tell people why you don’t feel great if you want, but it’s ok to keep it to yourself too.

One of the most important lessons I learnt from starting my period was learning to respect my body and the way it works. My body and all the things it does is amazing, and the older I get, the cooler it feels. I’ve also learnt that my body belongs to me. I might not be in charge of it all the time, and I might not be able to control getting my period at an annoying time like before a camping trip or when I know I’m wearing a lot of white, but I also know that I’ll always be ok. Even the most painful of my periods have always come to an end, and most of the time I forget I’m even having one.

Anything you can do when you’re not on your period, you can do when you are – you’ll just feel a bit more proud of yourself for doing it. Oh, and no boy is worth punching a mirror for. That’s just common sense.

@bridgetminamore

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Katie Edmunds

Guys, we have to get something off our chests.

Yep, we’re talkin’ about boobs.

CoppaFeel has launched its brilliant #GetItoffYourChest campaign, to educate young women and men about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. Which, despite what many people believe, doesn’t always mean a lump. Leaky nip? Weird rash? Puckered skin? It’s probably NBD, but it’s a good idea to pop into your GP and have a chat just to check everything is A-ok.

Featuring Fearne Cotton, Fleur De Force, Tom and Giovanna Fletcher, Nick Grimshaw and a parade of other famouses, the video explains why it’s important to really get to know your chesticles. Make friends, take them out for milkshakes, write them a haiku.

That way, if anything ever goes tits-up, you’ll be the first to know.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome.