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First Periods - What You Want To Know About Your First Perio

Getting Your First Period

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Updated June 07, 2010

Tampon Alternatives

I have been doing a little research into alternatives to pads and tampons. The things I am most interested in so far are the cup products (Instead and Keeper) and using natural sponges. All of these are supposed to be one time purchases. In the case of natural sponges they are supposed to last quite a while. The other two, if I remember correctly, are supposed to last 10 years. So, if anyone out there has tried any of these options, could you let me know what you think of them, and any problems you have had? I know that things cannot be as easy as the advertisements say. I'm interested in hearing what they are really like.--About Women's Health Forums


The Instead Cup is available at your local pharmacy or grocery store. It is not reusable. One of the advantages of the Instead Softcup is that it can be left in place for up to 12 hours depending on how heavy your flow is. Removal can be messy, but if properly inserted it can make you feel almost like you are not on your period.

The Keeper is a natural rubber gum cup that can be reused for at least ten years. It holds about 1 ounce of blood (you lose about 3 ounces during each menstrual cycle) and must be emptied and rinsed every 6-12 hours. Women in many countries use the sea sponge--a natural, not man-made choice that absorbs moisture and fits to the contours of your body. You should inspect the sponge for debris before using it and be sure to boil it for 1 or 2 minutes. Once you have used it you must rinse the sponge in warm soapy water before reinsertion. A solution of vinegar and water can be used to deodorize the sponge.

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Bleeding Black and Brown Clots

A friend of mine is bleeding black and brown since the start of her period a couple of days ago. Is this bad? She said she has a lot of pain down there, too. She's really afraid of what could be wrong with her. If anyone knows anything about bleeding black and brown, please help us out. Oh, and she had her last period 2 weeks ago, so she is early. Could this just be left over from last time? --About Women's Health Forums

Many times, young women are frightened when they discover dark clots of tissue in their menstruation. Most often, this is a part of the endometrium (uterine lining) shedding and is nothing to be concerned about. If your friend continues to have severe cramps or abnormal periods, she should contact her healthcare provider for an evaluation.

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Group Menstruation

I'm a college student and I've found that although my roommates and I were all on different menstrual schedules, now we bleed as a team. Why is this? --About Women's Health Forums

Odorless chemical signals given off by women called pheromones can change a woman's menstrual cycle so that women in group settings often menstruate during the same time.

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Abnormal Periods

My periods have usually been on time and of a normal length, but sometimes the blood is very thick and gooey. I never really worried to much until this month when my period lasted 16 days. I have never been to a gynecologist and am wondering if I should go, if this may be something to worry about. Is thick and gooey blood normal? How about the long period? I am only 18 years old. --About Women's Health Forums

First you need to see a gynecologist for a Pap smear and pelvic exam. All women, whether sexually active or not, need to begin annual GYN exams at the age of 18. Women under 18 who are sexually active should also begin GYN visits as soon as they become sexually active. There's no way to tell online whether the consistency of your menstrual blood is normal. You should also be sure to discuss the length of your period when you see your doctor and let him determine if your bleeding is abnormal. Contact your physician anytime you experience abnormal periods.

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Share The Story Of Your First Period

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