During the period talk in primary school, one key detail was forgotten: ‘What to do when you have heavy periods.’ Nobody prepared me for the overflow that would come with my periods. The first time I soiled my clothes, I thought I was dying. It seems silly, but then, it was a crisis.
I was a happy camper as long as I was sitting, when I stood up, gravity would come in to full effect and the rivers of Babylon would flow. I felt completely powerless, there was nothing I could do to stop it. It felt like my womb had turned into a waterfall for a few minutes.
My primary school dress was a mixture of white and grey, so a red stain stood out like a blob of jam on toast. It was not supposed to be there. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that you are not supposed to use hot water to remove a blood stain. Sigh. I learned the hard way.
For months, I ended up soiling my sheets, I eventually learned how to cope with the heavy periods. Here are some of my tips to handle the overflow.
1. Save your pretty panties
I used to wonder why anyone would want to wear granny panties during their periods. Especially since they are everything but sexy. Then I had a heavy period that painted my panty red like a toddler with a paintbrush. On that day, no one needed to tell me to have separate panties for shark week.
When you are struggling with bloating, a bikini cut may not be the best option. Choose something with a some allowance to grow. Comfort is key, your uterus is already having a battle on it’s own.
Back in the day, I used to layer my pads. When I first saw a pad with loops, I was baffled. I kept asking myself, ‘Who wears such things? How is it worn?’. Fast forward to the first day post delivery, and I was so relieved that I could elongate my pad. Their adhesive is horrible but they make up for it with absorption.
Maternity pads are great for heavy flow. They cost a lot more, but they are very effective. We need more affordable pads like these for women with heavy flow.
Putting an old towel beneath your bum helps to protect your bed sheets. Set an alarm to change your pad in the middle of the night so that you can avoid the accidents.
3. Cold water
When it comes to cleaning blood stained clothes, refrain from soaking blood stained garments in hot water. It will cause the stain to set in to the fabric. Instead, use cold water. You can soak the clothes in cold water for 30 minutes then . You can use either salt, bicarbonate of soda, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide or ammonia to make a paste on the stain and rub it.
4. Stock up
It is easy to become iron deficient if you have heavy periods. Eat more iron rich foods like beans, leafy greens, dark chocolate, peas, meat and liver, all through your cycle.
If you feel foggy, tired and have to change your pad or tampon every hour, please see a doctor.