Aunt Flow, and how I've handled her

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Aunt Flow, and how I've handled her

  • Mindy Wilson

    Mindy is a lover of travel, deals, ice cream and long walks on mountain tops. She is an esthetician by trade, and can be found at Sensibilities day spa providing skin care and waxing faces, (and...

I started my period at the young age of 10 ***Every man stops reading post*** 

It was the summer before the start of 5th grade. That was the year before they put all the girls in one room and the guys in another for sex education. So, needless to say, when I headed to the bathroom that day, I was unprepared. When I wiped, there was a light pink liquid on the toilet paper. "I had koolaid yesterday," I thought to myself.  My young, uneducated mind felt like I had discovered a new, undiscovered animal in the wild.

I went out to the kitchen where my parents were talking and proudly announced "Mom, Dad: I just peed out koolaid." They both looked at each other as if I had slapped them both in the face for no reason. "What?" I shrugged. "Go get ready for the movie, we are leaving in a few minutes." My mom said. Still not understanding the reason for their blank stares, I sat through the movie with both my parents, laughing, unknowing of what was going to be revealed to me. Thinking back, I realize how naive I was.

We left the movie and headed to my father's office. There, I used the bathroom. Same thing, f-ing koolaid! This time when I announced it to my parents with a chuckle (thinking I was some anomaly) my mother ushered me to the bathroom as my father rubbed his forehead, in defeat. My mother quietly told me that yes indeed, I received my period and was in fact becoming a woman, not a glitter, koolaid unicorn. I would never be the same, and for all the women reading this you know what I mean. 

The horrible monthly process of changing pads, staining sheets and laying on heating pads in the fetal position from cramping had begun. My periods were heavy, uncomfortable and smelly. That god-awful adolescent smell mixed with period blood, the worst. Actually, the cramps were the worst part. I remember having to stay home from school because my stomach pained something awful. No matter what I did, the cramping seemed to never end. Lots of Tylenol, a heating pad, sleep and time were the only thing that seemed to work. I eventually had to go on birth control to regulate the flow and ease my cramps. Birth control came with its on set of problems: weight gain (I was already overweight), acne (already was a pizza face) and depression. Eventually, I would go off birth control and learn to deal with the monthly demon that inhabited my ovaries. I found that I could only wear pads, tampons (still to this day) make my stomach ache and pain in the worst way.

I've had monthly periods for over 25 years now and I think if a genie gave me one wish it would be that I not have to deal with this affliction ever again. 

I must also point out some tools that have made the journey much easier. Heating pads are amazing to use on my stomach, thighs and back during my period. For me, my cramps only happen during my period, not before. If i'm at work, I use Therma Care heated wraps under my clothes (what a lifesaver). Hot baths, rest and sleeping are a must for my aching body. Excercise and sex iare definitely not something that helps during my period, but some woman swear by these things. Eating well is also not something that has made much of a difference in the cramping/heavy flow department, but again it can for some people. I've incorporated magnesium supplements into my diet (mainly for my restless legs), but have found my cramps to be lighter since starting this regimen, iron supplements I've heard are awesome too. Essential oils, such as thives and peppermint are helpful. 

Over the past years, I've experimented with different syles of "sanitary napkins." I've tried making my own out of material, I've tried buying reusable styles on the Internet, I've also tried big corporations "new, exclusive inventions". None have seemed to do the job. I recently heard about the brand Thinx underwear. A pair of underwear that you wear during your period that does the same thing that essentially pads or tampons do. I'll admit I was skeptical, but after hearing many friends rave about the undies, I decided to give them a try. Their site was easy to understand, filled with quirky humor, creative catch phrases and artsy photos. The "customize your style set" comes with four steps: Choose your size, style, review and order. The styles are in hiphugger, thong, cheeky, and sport to name a few. It also gives a description of the load bearing quality each style has, like "holds up to 2 tampons worth" and "heavy days." I ordered three pairs (2 hiphugger and 1 sport), because if you order three pairs you get 10 percent off, and as you know, I love a deal. Thinx also offers a 60-day money back guarantee...any money back guarantee I am in favor of. 

So they came in the mail and I excitedly riped them open; their packaging art as clever as their website. (I actually kept some of the cardboard art for craft projects). The material is a mix of elastane, nylon, polyester and mostly cotton. The website's description of the material is "THINX is made up of four bits of tech that makes ‘em anti-microbial, moisture-wicking, absorbent, and leak-resistant. The top layer fights bacteria and absorbs any liquid into the über thin layer right beneath it, so you always stay dry (and fly, obvi)".

Upon first glance, I loved how thin and non-bulky they were. You can feel the absorbant material, but hardly noticable in the underwear. I also noticed that the absorbant layer went higher and wider in the front and back of the underwear, leaving no space for leaks, or aka stained sheets and undies. The first day on my period I wore my hiphugger (heavy day) underwear, to a cycling class. It did the trick, no leaks with ample protection. The odor, ok girls, this is always gonna be an issue with your menstrual cycle, as you know, the smell isn't really an issue! Surprisingly, I wore them through the hour long sweaty, high intensity class and after going to the bathroom, the period smell was minimal, much better than if I was wearing a pad, and with no skin irritation on the bum!

The second half of my day, I decided to wear my sport style (holds up to 1.5 tampons worth). I did regular activities around the house, went to my investment class at  AB Tech and then wore them throughout the night. No leaks, minimal odor and the comfort was amazing. The following day, a little more trusting, I wore my second pair of hiphugger style from 11:30 am to 8:30 pm! I went to my upholstery class at ABtech (I'm addicted to their continueing ed courses!)  I did a bathroom check around 6:45, all was well, but was starting to see the undewear get a little full. Around 8 as class was wrapping up I started to feel heavy. Oh crap, I thought, I've leaked through, need to get home! I hurridly gathered my stuff and headed home. I thought for sure I would be dealing with some spillage and a mess to clean up. I arrived home, ran to the toilet and no leaks. It was definitely time to change them, I had probably worn them longer than I should, but believe it or not, no leaks, minimal smell and easy clean-up. So in conclusion, the hiphugger lasted a good 8 hours with no problems. Much longer than any pad or tampon would've comfortably lasted. 

For those of you wondering what the washing process is like: its pretty darn easy. I figured out some ways to make it a little less messy, hands off, and effecient if you will. So the instructions for cleaning are pretty basic. Wash in cold water immediately after use, hang dry , throw them in laundry bag, dont use bleach or fabric softner. For me, I do a couple of things for the washing out process: 1. Fill the sink with water and throw them in for 30 min or so, blood will come right out, rinse and hang dry 2. If you are heading in the shower, throw them on the shower floor let the water hit them as it is starting to warm. Once you're in, use your feet to press out access water, rinse, wring and hang dry 3. If you're a bath taker, leave the water in the tub, when done with your undies throw them in to soak, repeat above steps. I also leave the tub water on the regular for a day or so. I can use it for watering plants, and other water related things around the house. This is a great way to save water, especially since the Asheville city water is so dang expensive!

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The cost of the underwear range from $20-$40. At first researching these, I thought they were pretty expensive, but for all of you who spend $10-$20 every couple of months on pads and tampons that don't (let's hope) get reused, you will be saving in the long run. What I don't know? How long these underwear will last... Judging from the quality I would say a good year, maybe two? who knows, but for right now it works for me. 

And did I mention? Each pair you purchase helps girls in a developing country. 

So, maybe these underwear are right for you, Thinx about it. 

Use my link below for $10 off. 

http://ref.thinxify.me/htLyx