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. 

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

If you’ve ever paid a visit to the ‘Feminine Hygiene’ section of the supermarket, you’ll know that there are more types of sanitary product than there are Kardashian/Jenner/Hadid siblings put together.

There are mini tampons and regular tampons and super tampons. Applicator tampons and non-applicator tampons. Pads with wings, pads without wings. Maxi pads, night time pads and unicorn pads that make your period look like a rainbow and turn your hair really shiny (ok, these aren’t a thing – but a menstruating gal can dream).

The whole thing is a bit overwhelming, and let’s face it, there’s enough risk of shopping errors during your period as it is (how’d those eight bags of Minstrels get there?) without sanitary gear adding to the confusion. But never fear, we’re here to break it down for you.

So seriously, what’s the difference?

Pads (also known as sanitary towels or sanitary napkins) are made of absorbent material that you stick, via an adhesive strip, to the inside of your underwear. Some have extra material on the sides called ‘wings’ that you can fold over the edge of your knickers to make sure your pad doesn’t slip around while you’re busy slaying all day.

Tampons are also made of absorbent material, but compressed into a small cylindrical shape and inserted into your vagina like a fancy plug. There are a few different types of tampon: Some tampons have applicators, which help guide the tampon into place, whereas others you can insert with a clean finger. Tampons may take a bit of practice to get right, but when they’re inserted correctly you shouldn’t be able to feel them at all (like, AT ALL).

Many girls start out using pads because they’re a bit simpler to use and then progress to using tampons when they want to exercise or go swimming. Others swear by pads for every occasion, all their lives. And some start with tampons and never look back. All these options are totally safe, it’s just important to work out what’s right for you and your body.

TL;DR? Here’s the important stuff:
  • Pads (AKA sanitary towels or sanitary napkins) are made of absorbent material that you stick, via an adhesive strip, to the inside of your pants.
  • Tampons are also made of absorbent material, but compressed into a small cylindrical shape and inserted into your vagina. Some tampons have applicators, whereas others you can insert with a clean finger.
  • Try a few different options so you can find a product that you’re comfortable with and an absorbency that works for you. Dassit.

Riiiiiight, but which one should I use?

Figuring out your sanitary wardrobe can be overwhelming – but DO NOT PANIC. All this choice is actually a good thing, as it means you’re more likely to find a product or a combination of products that works for you.

The best way to decide is to shop around. Try a few different options so you can find a product that you’re comfortable with, with the absorbency powers you need right now.

You might want to use different products for different times of your cycle. A lot of people find their period is heavier during the first few days and then tapers off, so you might want to use a more absorbent ‘super’ tampon or pad for those days and then a regular tampon or pad for the rest of your period – or mix it up with tampons for heavy days and pads for lighter days. Think of it like pick ‘n’ mix, for your period.

(You could also buy some actual pick ‘n’ mix, while you’re at 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: Manjit Thapp

First thing’s first, despite the title of this article there’s absolutely no need to do anything to your pubic hair unless you want to. There are zero health benefits to removing your lady fuzz – it simply comes down to personal preference. Some girls get rid of all of it, some give theirs a little trim now and then, and some let theirs grow wild and free. It’s entirely up to you, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

But if you do decide to do some landscape gardening, there are some things you need to know. Your pubic hair is usually coarser than your leg and underarm hair, and the area is likely to get hotter and sweatier than other parts of your body – all of which can affect which hair-removal method is right for you. Here are your options…

Shaving

Shaving is a cheap, fuss-free way of tidying up your lady garden, but to do the job right you’ll need a good set of tools including scissors, a decent razor and shaving gel or cream. If you’ve got sensitive skin you might want to invest in a post-shave balm, too.

Pros: Quick, easy and cheap.

Cons: Hair grows back in a couple of days, regrowth can be itchy as hell, razor rash isn’t pretty.

Pro-tip: Trim the public hair so it’s around 1-2mm long, then gently exfoliate the area before shaving to remove the top layer of dead skin cells. Apply a good layer of shaving cream then shave along with your body’s natural curves – a razor with a pivoting head is good for this. Change the blade after a few uses to keep bacteria at bay and ensure your shaves are as smooth as possible.

Depilatories

Depilatory creams work by breaking down the keratin structure of each hair, essentially dissolving the base of the hairs until they’re weak enough to be broken off when they’re wiped away. Apply the cream, wait, then rinse. Voila!

Pros: Easy to use and the results can last up to two weeks.

Cons: Usually quite smelly, sometimes a bit pricey and not everyone gets long-lasting results.

Pro-tip: Follow the instructions on the packaging carefully. You’re basically putting a whole heap of chemicals on your skin, and while they’ve obviously been safety-tested it’s always possible you might have a reaction. Also, if you’re getting rid of everything (and we mean everything), choose a cream specially formulated for the bikini area – not all creams are suitable for your most sensitive bits.

Epilators

An epilator is a handheld device that looks like an electric razor, but definitely isn’t. Instead of cutting the hair at the root, dozens of electronic tweezers on the device pluck each individual hair clean out of the skin.

Pros: Long-lasting results, if you’ve got your own it’s easy to do touch-ups whenever it suits you.

Cons: Painful, epilators can be expensive.

Pro-tip: We’re not going to beat around the bush (ha, bush), epilating your bikini line can be super painful and can result in quite a lot of irritation, so it’s not for the faint-hearted. We wouldn’t recommend buying one without trying epilating first, so you might want to borrow one from a mate or family member to start with (make sure you sanitise it before using it). Numb the area with ice before you start (freezer blocks work a treat) and pull the skin taught as you go. And take deep breaths!

Waxing

Everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Kim Kardashian advocates the virtues of waxing, mainly because of its long-lasting results. It works like epilating, by removing the hair from the root. The main difference is that it’s a lot quicker – a few rips and you’re done. Plus, repeated waxing means the hair thins down over time, so it becomes more comfortable. There are a few options:

1. Specially-formulated waxing strips, which you simply apply to the area then remove.
2. Hot wax, which is applied in a thin layer over the area then pulled off with a strip of cloth.
3. Hot wax which is applied to the area and then pulled off directly once it’s cooled.

Pros: Long-lasting results, not too expensive, all over quickly if you get it done by a pro.

Cons: Can be painful, you’ll have to wait for regrowth before waxing again, messy if you’re doing it yourself.

Pro-tip: If you’re a first time waxer, definitely go to a salon. You don’t want to end up sitting in your bathroom with a crotch covered in wax, unable to finish the job yourself! If you’ve got a bit of waxing experience (maybe you’ve done your legs before), start off with ready-prepared waxing strips specially formulated for the bikini zone – they’re usually pretty failsafe. Whether you go to a salon or try DIY, pop an ibuprofen half an hour before waxing to help keep the discomfort to a minimum.

Laser hair removal

Laser is a newish type of hair removal that uses a strong beam of light to penetrate the skin to destroy the hair follicle. It sounds a bit terrifying but it’s relatively painless – it feels a bit like having a rubber band gently pinged against your skin. It works best on darker, coarse hair, and it takes a few sessions to properly kill the hair off (usually around six, depending on the amount of hair you want removed). Once it’s dead, though, it’s probably never coming back.

Pros: Almost permanent results.

Cons: Very pricey, not suitable for everyone.

Pro-tip: Before you commit to anything, go for a consultation with a reputable clinic – they’ll be able to tell you whether you’re a good candidate for laser. And remember, the results are usually permanent so think carefully before opting for a completely stripped-back Hollywood. You never know what bikini hair trends will make a comeback, so you might want to leave something to play with in the future.

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 Borrill

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

Ahh the wonderful world of vaginas. If you have one of your own then you’re probably pretty familiar with the way things work down there, at least on a basic level – but get ready to discover that your vajayjay is WAY more magical than you ever even realised.

They’re not just there for sex and babies y’know. Vaginas have talents and abilities that even most superheroes would be jealous of, so it’s about time that we finally give our girl parts the credit they deserve.

Here’s 10 reasons that your very own humble vagina is aaall kinds of amazing tbh.

1. They’re self-cleaning machines.

It’s not quite a ticket to cutting out showers for the rest of your life, but did you know that vaginas are particularly skilled when it comes to keeping themselves clean?

If you’ve ever noticed an odourless discharge in your undies (totally normal, by the way), that’s the clever stuff which is keeping everything clean and healthy up in there.

Because of this Britain’s Got Talent-worthy skillset, you should pretty much leave your vagina to do its own thing when it comes to cleaning. Generic body products could upset your pH balance and mess up your good and bad bacteria levels. So ditch the fragranced soaps and shower gels, and let your vagina SHINE all by itself.

2. They’re sensitive souls. 

If you’ve ever been accused by someone of being a little bit sensitive when it comes to life, it’s not necessarily a bad quality – especially if you happen to be a vagina. Vaginas are seriously sensitive souls.

Did you know that your clitoris alone contains over 8 THOUSAND nerve endings? Pretty impressive, especially seeing as that’s more than anywhere else in the entire human body – and a penis only has half of that. Ha.

3.They have colour changing powers. 

Okay, so your vagina probably isn’t gonna be magically transforming into a rainbow, holographic or unicorn-coloured creation any time soon (although fingers crossed), but across womankind they can come in all sorts of different colours depending on your race and skintone.

Some might even change colour a little bit over time as you get a bit older or have a baby, which is pretty cool. They’re basically your very own, personal chameleon.

4. They can grow and expand like WOAH. 

When a woman’s digging a romantic scenario (or ‘aroused’ if you want to be proper about it), her vagina will physically expand through something known as ‘vaginal tenting’. Not exactly the most romantic term in the world, but still.

If you want the technical knowledge behind this one, it’s all to do with muscle tension. So if you’re experiencing a high amount of muscle tension, it’ll draw your uterus upwards, creating more lengthways space in the vagina. How crazy is that?

5. They can send you secret messages. 

Alright, so it’s not necessarily penning you a hand written love letter or leaving a loveheart behind on a steamed window, but your vagina does still pass on some secret messages nonetheless.

It might sound crazy, but your vagina can actually communicate with you to tell you when your period is due, for example, when you’re fertile and even when there’s something wrong with your body, if you get to know your discharge well enough. Any changes in texture, colour or smell could mean that you need a trip to the doctors. CLEVER.

6. They come in all shapes and sizes. 

Even if you hunted through a whole drawer full of vaginas (what an image), you’d struggle to find one that looked exactly like yours. Every single one is unique, and the chances are that your own will look totally different compared to pretty much every gal you know.

As well as the overall appearance of the vulva (that’s the outer, visible part), the insides also vary massively from gal to gal. Vaginal canals can be long, short, wide narrow… but whatever they look like, they’re still pretty awesome, and you absolutely shouldn’t ever worry about it looking ‘weird’.

7. They can show you a real good time. 

Don’t worry, we’re not gonna get too X-rated here – but your vagina is basically a one stop shop for feeling amazing. As well as those 8,000 handy nerve endings that we mentioned earlier, the labia, the vaginal opening and everything else going on down there mean that it’s basically like having Thorpe Park in your undies.

Like Thorpe Park it might seem daunting at first, but once you’ve got to know your way around, you’ll be a thrill-seeking convert (and probably want to eat doughnuts after).

8. It’s really good at NOT losing things. 

Ever been slightly paranoid that you could lose a tampon up in there? Gah, we’ve all thought it, but luckily your vagina isn’t quite the vacuous black hole that you’re imagining – it’s actually REALLY good at specifically not losing stuff, thanks to the cervix acting as a block.

However, it is technically possible for a tampon to kinda… slip out of reach if you insert it too high up. If you find that ever does happen, all you have to do is squat and it should be easy to wiggle it back into the right place.

9. Its name literally means ‘sheath for a sword’. 

The word ‘vagina’ itself comes from a Latin root that literally means ‘sheath for a sword’.

Although NB, swords are optional. You’re a warrior all by yourself.

10. They can literally pop out a human being. 

And of course, last but not least, let’s not forget the fairly important fact that vaginas are solely responsible for BIRTHING THE HUMAN RACE ITSELF. That teeny tiny masterpiece down there, along with some help from the contraction and expansion of its fancy flexible tissues, means that a fairly massive baby can slide right on out if you give it a few hours.

And by some miracle, it then still returns to what was pretty much its pre-pregnancy size, like a total champ. Let’s have a round of applause for the humble vagina please, guys.

@LucyJaneWood

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

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. 

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.

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: Hailey Hamilton

My family used to have a dog called Tilly. She was a black cocker-spaniel who liked to bark at inanimate objects, and lie on your feet when you were trying to fall asleep.

Tilly also had a habit of eating the crotch out of women’s underwear. Used women’s underwear.

Most dogs like to chew on bones or rope toys or table legs, but not Tilly. Nothing was as delicious to her as the crotch of women’s underwear. She felt about lady pheromones the way I feel about pastries – that they’re an appropriate snack at any time of day or night, no matter who made them or how long they’ve been sitting around.

And so, Tilly would tip over laundry baskets, rifle through overnight bags and sneak into bathrooms while unsuspecting victims were showering and emerge, triumphant, with knickers in her mouth.

One weekend, when my brother and his girlfriend had come back from university to stay, I caught Tilly happily trotting through the corridor with a pair of bright pink pants in her teeth.

Oh. My. God.

I can see them so clearly in my head, over a decade later. Hot pink, with lace around the top. I wrestled them out of Tilly’s mouth, which was not an easy feat. A bit like taking a teddy from a toddler, or an iPhone from Kim Kardashian.

Thinking the horror was over, I glanced down at my prize and… wait, “WHAT THE HELL IS THAT WEIRD WHITE STUFF? Where did it COME from?!”

Little did I know, I was about to find out exactly where it came from.

What felt like the next day, but I’m sure actually wasn’t, I took off my knickers and saw the trademark white goo of a grown-up vagina. Discharge. I had discharge.

In the absence of facts, I logically concluded that this was a disease and my brother’s girlfriend had given it to me. I never liked my brother’s girlfriend as much after that (not even after I learned that she was in no way responsible for temporarily ruining my underwear).

It turns out that discharge isn’t a disease at all – it’s a totally natural fluid produced by your clever, self-cleaning cervix – and it definitely isn’t passed down to you from your older brother’s girlfriends. They are a completely innocent party in this.

Hungry dogs, though, you sometimes need to keep an eye on.

Image: Katie Edmunds

Get excited – we are declaring this a Presidential Election free Zone. No Hillz, no Trump. Instead, we’re talking about important things much closer to home: the latest emojis, Zayn’s mental health struggles and how much we love Emma Watson.

Here’s our weekly round-up of everything we’ve been reading, watching and loving this week.

Life is complete – we have a shrug emoji

iOS have announced the latest batch of emojis and there’s plenty to face-palm about. No seriously, they’ve added a face-palm. Also making their debut are the avocado, a female firefighter and for some bizarre reason, a hard boiled egg. So basically all the things a modern girl needs in 2016.

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Zayn opens up 

Since leaving One Direction (and simultaneously breaking ten million hearts), Zayn Malik has been pretty busy. He’s released a solo album, an autobiography, and has found love with Gigi Hadid (he even makes her Yorkshire puddings, sigh).

But in his new book, Zayn talks openly about his anxiety and reveals that while a member of 1D, he suffered from an eating disorder. “It was more down to losing track of, you know, actually eating, and being super busy and getting caught up with other things…” he explained to the Associated Press, though the day before the book was published he also posted this heartfelt note on Instagram. We’re glad you’re happy and healthy Zayn.

A photo posted by Zayn Malik (@zayn) on

We are #ForTheGirl

Sadly, 70% of girls aged 11-21 say that sexism has a negative impact on most areas for their life – and Girlguiding has decided to do something about it. The organisation has launched a new campaign, #ForTheGirl, which aims to create an equal future for girls and boys and empower girls to overcome the challenges and inequality they face. Sign us up!

Soggy bottoms forever

If you’re anything like us, your Wednesday night felt empty this week, void of Mel and Sue’s perfect puns and Paul and Mary’s soft buns. But this print from oh gosh Cindy will let us keep Mary in our hearts and on our walls forever. If you haven’t started a Christmas list yet, now’s time.

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Mary Berry, oh gosh Cindy, £9

Vagina, Vagina, Vagina

In a 2015 survey from the UK, 66% of women between the ages of 18 and 24 said they were embarrassed to use the word “vagina” — even with a doctor. The Legalize V campaign is trying to change all that with this hilarious video, which they shared on Facebook… only for Facebook to swiftly take it down again, citing “profane language.” Puh-lease.

So using the correct anatomical name for our lady parts is profane? Balls. Or rather, vagina. Vagina, vagina, vagina!

Emma Watson had a novel idea

Is it just us that thinks Emma Watson would be the ultimate BFF? She cares about human rights, she’s funny and smart AND she loves to read. So much so she’s starting a feminist book club. This week she hid copies of Maya Angelou’s ‘Mom and Me and Mom’ around the London Underground in collaboration with the Books on the Underground Project  with a special note from Emma inside! Race you to the tube.

betty is #UnpickingPerfection

For the month of November betty is tackling the idea of ‘perfection’. We firmly believe that perfection is overrated, potentially damaging and basically a big ol’ waste of time. Instead we are all about getting real on social media, spilling yoghurt on your top and spreading the message that flaws are fun and flawless is boring.

Read our imperfect articles, watch our imperfect videos and follow us on Twitter @bettycollective and Instagram @bettycollective to see more of #UnpickingPerfection this month.

That’s all! Have a lovely weekend, we’ll see you Monday.