Ah, periods: nature's ultimate necessary annoyance.
Since periods happen to a gigantic portion of the world's population but are severely under-discussed, I spent some time compiling 35 facts about periods* that I wish I'd always known.
1. Someone who menstruates spends, on average, a total of seven years of their life on their period.
3. Cramps happen because the uterus is squeezing the lining it developed for a potential pregnancy off of its walls, so the now-unneeded lining then goes out though the vag.
5. You know how people talk about the moon being connected to menstruation? Yeah, it's not true. There is no evidence that the two have anything to do with each other.
7. To be safe, don't use a menstrual cup if you have an IUD, because the cup can move an IUD out of place.
Obviously, check in with a doctor about this if you're curious. I am not a doctor. I am a dummy.
8. Typically, a person who menstruates can become pregnant during about six days of each menstrual cycle. Those days are the five days prior to ovulation and the day of ovulation.
10. But periods can be unpredictable, especially for young people, so if you don't want there to be a pregnancy, ALWAYS USE BIRTH CONTROL WHEN A PENIS IS NEAR A VAGINA.
11. A lot of people who menstruate and take testosterone find that their period goes away after some time.
12. Adenomyosis is when the tissue that typically lines the interior of the uterus instead develops in the uterus's muscular walls. The lining breaks down as usual, but heavy and painful periods, plus an enlarged uterus, can happen.
13. A normal period lasts anywhere from 2 to 7 days.
(Speaking as someone very much on the longer end of the spectrum, if your periods only last two days, jeez, good for fucking you.)
14. If a person's period is so heavy that they change pads or tampons or whatever they use once every hour for multiple hours, they should contact a doctor.
15. It's commonly believed that the menstrual cycles of people who live and/or work together synch up, but it looks like that's actually not real.
16. Stress can cause menstrual cycles to become more painful, become longer or shorter, or to totally stop.
17. And sudden or excessive weight loss can cause periods to stop as well, because severe calorie restrictions stop hormone production related to ovulation.
18. Other reasons menstrual cycles can stop or alter include exercising too much, being overweight, and certain contraceptions having that effect on someone's specific body.
20. Period blood and discharge are 100% sterile until they reach oxygen, assuming the uterus is healthy.
22. Symptoms of toxic shock syndrome – the life-threatening condition most commonly associated with a tampon being in a vagina for too long – include vomiting, a high fever, dizziness, diarrhea, a sore throat, muscle aches, faintness or weakness, and a sunburn-type rash.
If any of these things happen while you're using a tampon, take it out and call a doctor immediately.