Even if we're basically healthy, every now and again something is a little ... off. Should you worry? We give you the lowdown.
Q: I forgot to take out my tampon. Am I going to die?
A: This is actually a thing. Gynecologists dig out forgotten tampons all the time. But don't risk it: Leaving a tampon in longer than six to eight hours puts you at risk of infection, most notably toxic shock syndrome (TSS). If you're not feverish and don't feel sick, you're likely fine—but if your tampon is really wedged in there, get thee to the gyno. (It won't be their first or last time.)
Q: I know cramps are common—but mine are really bad.
A: If you just start getting them out of the blue or if they stop you from living life normally, it's worth checking in with the doc. Heavy cramping can signal uterine fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease or endometriosis—all treatable conditions, so no need to worry. Meanwhile, sweat pants, heating pads and anti-inflammatories are your best friends. A little TV and your favorite junk food [link to Plz More Snax playlist] wouldn't hurt either.
Q: I never know when my time of the month is going to arrive.
A: Irregular periods are, ironically, pretty regular. As long as your flow arrives between 21 to 35 days apart, you're in the realm of "normal." (You can easily keep track online.) But if it usually comes like clockwork and suddenly goes haywire, call your gyno. (Of course, if it's late, let's rule out pregnancy first.) Sometimes hormonal birth control can regulate your cycle—and relieve cramps, in many cases. Otherwise, just embrace life's unpredictability.
Q: How much discharge is normal? I have … a lot.
A: There’s a wide range of "normal." Typical discharge is clear or milky white, and the amount can increase around ovulation (or if you’re feeling "it"). It's your body's way of keeping itself clean and healthy. Use a U by Kotex Barely There® panty liner to protect your undies if you wish. But as long as you don’t smell fishy or foul—and you’re not itchy—your vagina is just doing its thing.
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