The 5 questions we never ask out loud
When it comes to our bodies and our periods, we’ve ALL caught ourselves wondering ‘uh… is that normal?’ And sometimes those thoughts can feel a little bit too awks to ask out loud – we get it! But rest assured you’re not the only one silently wondering how much discharge is normal, or why you have a few more trips to the loo during your period. To save you from consulting Dr Google, we’ve answered 5 of the most common questions sliding into our DMs.
Q1: Does my vulva (aka vagina) look normal?
A: Just like you, your vulva is totally unique! From ‘innies’ to ‘outies’, vulvas come in all different shapes, colours and sizes. Unless your vulva is causing you pain or discomfort, there’s no reason to stress, as ‘normal’ means different things for everyone.
Generally, when people talk about the appearance of the vulva, they’re talking about the vaginal lips – otherwise known as the ‘labia’. With around 50% of us having labia minora (inner lips) that are longer than the labia majora (outer lips), it’s actually super common for it to look lopsided down there! And in terms of colour, your labia can range from pink, to brown, to purplish. It might match the colour of your skin, or it might be darker or lighter. In any case, variations are totally natural!
While there are a few different ‘types’ of vulva that you might be able to relate to, there’s really no perfect example. Because there are so many intricate parts that make up the vulva, what’s ‘normal’ will differ from girl to girl!
Q2: Why do I poop so much on my period?
A: Do you ever find yourself making a few extra trips to the bathroom when you’re on your period? You’re not alone! It’s been proven that your period can affect your digestive system, due to naturally occurring chemicals in your body called ‘prostaglandins’. Your body produces these chemicals to help the uterus to contract and shed its lining each month. However, if your body produces more than what’s needed, prostaglandins will enter your bloodstream and have a similar effect on your bowels… meaning you will poop more on your period!
Prostaglandins can also cause diarrhea and an increase in gas, so if you experience some changes in your bowel movements during your period, rest assured that it’s completely normal.
Q3: How much vaginal discharge is normal?
A: Vaginal Discharge is your body’s way of keeping your vagina clean, moist and healthy – so basically, there is no simple answer to how much you should expect to see! Because of fluctuations in hormones, genetics and contraceptive use, it’s normal for the consistency and amount of vaginal discharge to vary throughout your cycle.
When it comes to vaginal discharge, what’s important is learning what’s normal for YOU. Keep an eye on it throughout the month, and observe any changes that may seem out of the ordinary. If you ever notice that you’re experiencing way more discharge than usual, or if it has a foul odour/colour to it, you should have a chat with your GP.
Q4: Why do I get big clots of blood during my period?
A: Menstrual blood clots are a mix of blood cells, tissue from the lining of the uterus, and proteins in the blood that help to regulate your flow. They’re a necessary part of your body’s natural defense mechanism, and they form to help prevent too much blood from flowing out! You might notice that you get period clots when your flow is at its heaviest (around the first 2 days of menstruation), as it’s leaving your body really quickly.
Although we all get them and they’re usually no biggie, you should head to your GP if they’re bigger than a 10 cent coin, happening frequently or causing a LOT of pain, as there could be another cause.
Q5: Is it normal for my period to have a smell?
A: Yep, it’s 100% normal for your period blood to have an odour! Because your period is a combo of bacteria, mucus, fluid and bodily tissue, it’s only natural that it will have a scent to it. It may also change in intensity throughout menstruation, depending on if the blood is newer or older.
What’s not normal for a period smell is a strong, ‘fishy’ scent, which may be indicative of an infection which needs treatment. Rest assured, a trip to the GP will clear up any concerns you have around this!
We hope this covers some of those blush-worthy questions that may have popped up in your mind around what’s normal during your period. And if you’ve got any more questions that we missed this time, we’ve got you – just Ask Gem and she’ll get back to you pronto!
Remember that if something is concerning you, it’s never too big, small or embarrassing to talk to a trusted adult or GP about. Period.
Love, Libra x
Anything else? Asaleo Care makes no warranties or representations regarding the completeness or accuracy of the information. This information should be used only as a guide and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional, medical or other health professional advice.