The idea of safe sex is drummed into you all throughout school and also in your home life. Everyone gets the birds and the bees chat of when a man loves a woman and, despite it being awkward, it is totally necessary.
Going on contraception can be a daunting experience. You don't know what effect it will have on your body and whether it is 100% reliable. But you needn't be scared.
There are lots of different types of contraception but the most popular four are the pill, the IUD/coil, the implant and the injection.
The pill is taken orally usually once a day and there are different types depending on your needs. There is a progesterone only pill which is often called the mini pill and doesn't contain oestrogen. One which does contain oestrogen the combined pill which contains both. You can take the pills back to back in order to stop your period or you can use a 23 on and 7 off method where you stop taking the pill for 7 days and that is when you have a period.
I personally take the pill to stop my periods. Though I'm not sexually active yet, I take the pill back to back in order to prevent a period. I have a period about once every 4-6 months while on the pill and the periods aren't half as heavy or painful as they used to be. The pill messed with my emotions initially and made me erratic, switching from happy to crying in 2 seconds flat, but that settled down eventually and now I am perfectly happy.
The IUD is inserted into your womb and lasts for 5 to 10 years. The IUD releases copper into your body to alter the thickness of your cervical mucus, making it more difficult for sperm to survive. The IUD has to be inserted and removed by a trained health professional like a nurse or GP but should take no longer than 5 minutes. You will need to check that your IUD is in place every month or so - your health practitioner will tell you how to do this.
The implant is a small plastic rod put in your arm which lasts 3 years and works by releasing progesterone which stops the release of an egg, therefore preventing pregnancy. It also thickens the cervical mucus and thins the lining of the womb. It can be removed at any time by a doctor or nurse, even if it isn't ready for replacement yet.
The injection also releases progesterone into your blood and can last from 8 to 13 weeks. Depo Provera is the most common and that one lasts for 13 weeks, compared to Noristerat which lasts 8. It also thickens the cervical mucus, which makes it difficult for sperm and thins the lining of the womb so a fertilised egg is less likely to implant itself. You usually have the Depo-Provera and Noristerat injections in your bottom, but you can have them in your upper arm.
When choosing contraception, you need to choose the one which is right for you. Different options have different side effects so you need to consider what is going to be the safest for you.
My advice for choosing a contraceptive is:
#1 Talk to your friends - it is always good to hear other experiences so that you can weigh up your options and get unbiased opinions from real people. Your friends are also the people who you can trust to be honest with you. If you don't want to talk to your friends, there are plenty of articles on our website which talk about our experiences with contraception, like this one from Kaitlyn: https://teenagerswithexperience.weebly.com/kaitlyns-articles/my-experience-with-the-implant
#2 Do your research - Google means you can search each type of contraceptive and look into what it says on the NHS website (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/) as well as reading scientific articles, lifestyle blogs or watching videos. That way, you have all the information to help make an informed decision.
#3 Talk to your GP - The best thing to do is talk to your GP. They know your medical history and they know lots about each type of contraception. They can advise what could work best and help you make your decision.
There is always the slim chance that your contraception will fail and also none of the above methods of contraception protect you against sexually transmitted diseases so I'd advise using a second method of contraception (i.e. a condom) just in case. If you're worried that your contraception has failed or you think you may be pregnant, please speak to your GP.
My overall tip for you is don't be scared of contraception. It is there to make sex safe and enjoyable for you and most of the time, it will do what it's supposed to.
I love horror movies - at least, now I do. It’s not always been that way. Up until 16, I had never watched a horror film and I had no desire to either; I mean, why would anybody want to scare themselves silly and have nightmares? Then at a sleepover with friends, they wanted to watch The Funhouse Massacre. So, I said ‘fine, but I’ll be hiding behind my phone.’ My eyes kept being drawn to the TV until I eventually gave up and watched. The film was pretty bad, but it opened my eyes. The following morning, we watched Ouija where my love flourished and has grown ever since.
I know a lot of you are probably in the same mindset as I was - why would anyone voluntarily be terrified? Well, there's actually scientific research which explains. I will link the articles below so you can read more but here are the most commonly given reasons.
It depends on the person as to why they like horror. For me, I guess it's a novelty and I find it entertaining. I am fascinated by psychopathic killers/villains, but I'm drawn more to crime shows for that reason, than horror films.
I prefer modern horror films to the older ones as with the SFX and CGI now, horror films can be so much more complex and scary. I mean look at the Pennywise from the original IT and IT 2017. The original Pennywise was only scary because of how bad it was, in my personal opinion.
So onto my top 7 Halloween 'horror' films. I say horror but use that term as loosely as you like as some of these may fall into the subgenres other than horror. I will put them in order of my favourites and rate them on a spoopiness, as I call it, scale of 1-5 (1 being a little bit spoopy, 5 being shit my pants.) Of course, I haven't seen every horror film ever so I'm sure in ten years, this list will have vastly changed.
👻👻👻👻 4 out of 5 spoops - I was terrified to go and see this film and rightly so!
👻👻 2 out of 5 spoops - a couple of good jumpscares but didn't find it massively scary but it is one of my favourite films!
👻👻 2 out of 5 spoops - it was fascinating and enjoyable to watch, a little predictable but I love it all the same.
👻 1 out of 5 spoops - not even slightly scary, more hilarious but that's why it's so good.
👻👻👻 3 out of 5 spoops - there were a couple of scary moments where I jumped watching it and I got very freaked and scared.
👻👻👻👻👻 5 out of 5 spoops - totally 100% terrifying, that’s all I have to say, I was glued to the screen.
👻👻👻 3 out of 5 spoops - it wasn’t as scary as I anticipated it to be because everyone who I knew had seen it said it was the most terrifying thing they’d ever watched but there were a few really good scary bits.
What are your favourite horror films/scary films to watch? Have you seen any of the ones on my list? Are you inspired to watch any of them after reading this article? If you do watch them, please comment on this article and let me know what you thought!
Links to the articles:
Why Do We Like Horror Movies - Tufts: https://now.tufts.edu/articles/why-do-we-horror-movies
Why Some People Love Horror Movies While Others Hate Them - Psych Central: https://psychcentral.com/blog/why-some-people-love-horror-movies-while-others-hate-them/
Why Do We Like Watching Horror Movies and Being Scared: https://brobible.com/culture/article/why-do-people-like-watching-horror-movies-being-scared/
Everyone has an idol, someone they admire and look up to. Sometimes this is a famous person or someone you know, like a family member or a friend. No matter who your idol is, this is a person who means a lot to you and is very important in your life. So, when you get the opportunity to see or meet your idol, it’s a big deal, especially if they’re famous. It feels like a once in a lifetime opportunity for your dreams to come true. But is it actually good to meet your idol and face the reality? Or is it better to keep them in your head and admire from afar?
I have been extremely lucky to meet some of my idols.
One of my idols is Carrie Hope Fletcher. She is an actress, singer, author and vlogger Internet personality. I have been watching her videos since 2014 and idolised her for her dedication, kindness, inspiring personality. In 2016, I met her for the first time. I was so nervous because my mum had previously said to me ‘don’t get your hopes up, she might not be how you imagined.’ But I was lucky. She was even better than I imagined - just as kind, inspiring and lovely. I have since met her twice more in 2017 and 2018 and each experience has been better than the last!
As well as Carrie, I’ve also met Dodie in 2017 and most recently Bianca Del Rio, plus having seen Dan and Phil live.
They are all my idols, for many different reasons. But, not all idols are the same and there are many more who I haven’t met yet but would love to. All my experiences so far have been incredibly positive and I would do it all over again - but not everyone is as lucky as I am.
Sometimes, meeting someone you admire doesn’t quite go to plan - sometimes, they aren’t how you imagined they’d be or they seem rude or arrogant.
Here are some stories from members of the team who have met their idols or had interactions online with them, just like I have, but unfortunately it wasn’t quite as positive.
'So about two years ago I got to meet [name omitted], Got to the interview part and had no problems with that, but then at the signing and meet and greet, she was just plain rude to everyone but particularly the younger fans like myself, I told her how much I admire her and she just kind of muttered a half-hearted thank you, we took a photo together but the smile looked so fake, you could just tell she genuinely didn’t want to be there and didn’t care about the people that look up to her.'
'I looked up to him for years as he was just travelling the world & exploring abandoned places. but when he came over to the UK and he wanted some places to explore so he messaged me. I told him about this place called Denbigh Mental Asylum but there was an old man with a shotgun who was the security for that place as it was dangerous to go in.
I warned him about this man and how dangerous he actually was but he filmed his experience inside the asylum anyway and the old man spotted him and chased him.
That's when I got a message from [name omitted] saying that he was nearly hurt and I said well I did warn you but then he blocked me and blamed me for his mistake.'
It can be really upsetting when this happens. It can also be hard to understand: why is this person who seems so great in your head not quite so great in real life? I get it, really. I know I would have thought the exact same thing if I had been in your shoes. But, there are a few things to remember which might help you to understand why maybe you had a bad experience from their perspective.
So, next time you meet someone you admire, maybe take a second to think about how their day may have been. If they’re rude to you, don’t take it personally. There can be many reasons behind their rudeness and many of these instances are unintentional.
But, if other people have had similar experiences and this person is rude to everyone, maybe there isn’t a reason and maybe they are just a horrible person - in which case, they don’t deserve to be an idol.
If you’re like me and you were born in the 2000s or even if you are slightly older or slightly younger than me, there is a pretty big chance that you have read the Harry Potter books at some point in your life. A lot of people who I know in their teens or twenties are obsessed with these books and films about a wizard boy named Harry Potter who attends a magical school called Hogwarts and fights evil death eaters led by his arch-nemesis with no nose. One thing that comes with loving this series is the desire to know which Hogwarts house you would be assigned by the infamous Sorting Hat.
If you don’t know the Harry Potter books or films, every student at Hogwarts attends a Sorting Ceremony where a talking sentient hat is placed on their head and they are sorted into one of four houses based on their traits and thoughts. The four houses are Gryffindor which is red, Ravenclaw which is blue, Hufflepuff which is yellow and Slytherin which is green. Fans of the Harry Potter series can use the official Pottermore website, created by J.K. Rowling, to be ‘sorted’ through a quiz rather than an anthropomorphic hat.
I have swapped houses a few times over the years. I have taken the Pottermore quiz five times throughout my life and twice I have been a Gryffindor and then three times I have been a Hufflepuff. Personally, I believe I am more of a Hufflepuff and my friends say the same so Hufflepuff is how I identify. Hufflepuffs are dedicated, diligent, fair, patient, kind, modest, loyal and tolerant - and I would like to think that I possess those traits.
Each house has traits which are desirable and others which are not. For example, Gryffindors are brave, determined and chivalrous but they can also be short tempered, self righteous and involved in pointless heroics. Ravenclaws are intelligent, accepting and creative but also can be overly competitive therefore suffering scorn and bullying. Slytherin is thought to be the evil house but really, they are resourceful, ambitious and leaders, if a little self preserving and thought to be incapable of love.
What I am trying to say is that each house has good points and bad points. I feel that while it is important to embrace your house and all its eccentricities, it is also important to not be so stubborn that you won't accept other traits from other houses too.
I feel that this sentiment can be transferred to life in general. No matter what people’s faults are, it is important to embrace them and see their good points, their eccentricities and their general brilliance. They are only human and deserve to be happy and safe, just as you do. I also think it is important to embrace your own faults and weird habits because they are what makes you, you.
If you do these things, and you accept others and are tolerant of their faults, will stand up for those who are being bullied for their eccentricities and lead your peers in how to be nice to others then guess what? You have taken the best trait from each of the houses and you are an amazing person and I thank you.
If you want to find your Harry Potter house, then here is the link to Pottermore, or The Wizarding World as it is now called: www.wizardingworld.com
Periods suck. That’s just a fact - ask any period-having person and they will confirm that for you. Periods just suck, at the best of times. So when you combine the time of the month with feeling like your uterus is being ripped out of your body and someone is stabbing it with a million knives, you can imagine how much it sucks then.
Period pain, or menstrual cramps, are caused by contractions in the uterus. If it contracts too strongly, it can press against nearby blood vessels which briefly cuts off the supply of oxygen. It’s this lack of oxygen causes your pain and cramping. Sometimes these cramps can be mild and sometimes they can be severe. They are temperamental and unpredictable too. You can go for months having no cramps at all and then your next period hurts like hell.
I had really bad period pain every single period. I would spend hours curled up on the floor, sobbing and throwing up. My periods were also really heavy, so not only was I in a horrendous amount of pain but I was anaemic and had episodes of fainting from losing a lot of blood. Periods were not at all fun for me.
The pain was that bad that I had to go to the GP to get something stronger. They gave me a tablet which dissolved in water, like an Alka-Seltzer, and then you drank the water. It worked but it tasted vile and when the tablet wore off, the pain was 10x worse than it was before.
I then tried Feminax, which is a tablet made specifically for periods. It was really good while it lasted but then my dad couldn’t find it in the shops, and the store brand version didn’t work as well so I was back to square one.
Eventually, I had no choice but to go back to the GP and ask to go on the contraceptive pill. The pill works by preventing ovulation and thinning your uterus lining which is what comes out of your body in a period so by being thinner, you have less to get rid of and your body doesn’t need to have a period. The pill means I only have a period once every 4 months or so and any pain I get is very minor. It’s heaven compared to the hell I used to go through.
Not everyone gets period pain as I did. Some period pains can be solved by some paracetamol and a hot water bottle. But I know not everyone wants to put a pill in their body. Not everyone believes in medication, and medication doesn’t always work - I know that better than most. The following are some potential alternatives which could help your cramps. They are not guaranteed solutions, and different things work for different people but some of these may work for you.
There may be other underlying causes behind your period pain if they are exceptionally bad or if there are other symptoms. Things such as endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease and adenomyosis can cause unbearable pain, as well as other symptoms.
If your pain is too bad to cope with or your normal pattern of periods changes, then go and see your GP. They may do a pelvic examination or refer you to a gynaecologist in order to rule out any serious underlying medical problems.
So there are 5 tips which can help you to get rid of those pesky cramps and make your period a little easier to bear, and also some recommendations of when to see your doctor. Of course, there are many more solutions and helpful information you can find online from places such as the NHS, WebMD and Planned Parenthood.
According to Universities UK, a record of 1.77 million students went to university to achieve an undergraduate degree in 2017-18. I’m going to put this out there right now - I was not one of those 1.77 million people to go to university. All my friends went to their respective universities and I didn’t. Why not, you ask. Didn’t I get an offer? Was I having financial issues? Did something traumatic happen that meant I couldn’t go? The answer to those questions is no, no and no. I did get a place, an unconditional offer in fact, at York St. John. Yes, the university is expensive but I had savings and student loans. Finally, my home life was pretty great. I had my parents’ full support to go off to uni and fulfil my dreams. So why didn’t I go? Simple - I didn’t want to.
I thought I wanted to for a very long time. My whole life actually, I was sure I wanted to go to university to study and get a degree and then get a job. It was only when it came to applying that I thought ‘hang on, do I want to do this?’ and it quickly became apparent that no I did not. I still applied and got offers to four different universities but I truly was not sure that this was what I wanted at all anymore. I didn’t decide not to go until the end of January 2018 and at that point, I had no idea what to do instead. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I just knew what I didn’t want to do. So I deferred it for a year and off I went to figure out what on earth to do next.
So life was all hunky-dory after that. I found an apprenticeship and am as happy as Larry doing what I’m doing now. I’ve officially cancelled my application so I am not going to university this year or next year, or maybe ever. But how do you decide that you don’t want to go to university? What do you need to think about? Well, here are a few things to consider.
Do I actually want this - am I sure?
I know it’s a big question, and I know that it pretty much sums up the entire article. But it’s a serious question, and when you break it down, you always know the answer in your heart, even if you don’t realise it at the time. I went to an open day for York St. John and I got the best piece of advice I’ve ever received when it comes to making decisions and going to university especially. That advice was ‘if you aren’t sure, don’t.’ I wasn’t sure, so I didn’t. So all I’m asking you is are you sure? Because if you aren’t sure, should you?
What do you want to do?
When going to university, I think it's important to think about what you want to do with your degree. Do you want to be a photographer, or a teacher, or a lawyer? Do you need this degree, will it help you? For example, one of my reasons for not going to university was because the syllabus didn't appeal to me in terms of actually training me to be a freelance photographer, but felt more like it was training me to be a curator of photography. So think about your future, what you'd like to do, and consider whether your degree would be helpful and necessary for your dream.
Have you considered other options?
Some people think that university is the only way to get into their chosen career. If you want to be a lawyer, you need a law degree, if you want to be a teacher, then you need an education degree. But you don't always. There are often lots of different ways to get into your chosen career, even if you want to be a lawyer or a teacher. There are things such as apprenticeships or internships to get you into your area or you can start in a low-level job in a company you'd be interested in working for and work your way up the corporate ladder. So have you considered how else you could get to where you want to be?
Of course, there are a plethora of things to think about but those three are things that I thought about that helped me to make my final decision.
But don't forget to talk to people. Lecturers, current students, your friends and family - let them know what you're thinking and let them help you.
Whatever you decide, make sure the decision is yours and no one else's. You have to do what is right for you.
Coming out. It’s that seemingly mandatory, horrible, awkward thing that every LGBTQ+ person is expected to do, just because. Society has made us feel abnormal and like we have to announce that hey, we aren’t straight or hey, we feel like a different gender to what we were born or we feel like no gender at all. It’s something we’re told that we have to do and let me tell you - it’s freaking terrifying.
I’m not fully out to everyone. Yes, I’m out to strangers on the internet and I’m out to close friends and my parents but there’s still a whole bunch of people who don’t know and a whole bunch of people who I’m hoping will never find out that I’m out. Why? you ask. For the shame of not being ‘normal’ and for the fear of rejection.
My nan was super homophobic. She once got so disgusted at two gay men walking down the road in London holding hands that she turned us around and frog-marched us in completely the wrong direction to where we wanted to go just so we weren’t passing them in the street. I didn’t know that I liked girls back then, but even so, I was horrified at her reaction. For that reason, I refuse to tell anyone on my mum’s side of the family except my mum, for an overwhelming fear that they share her views.
My dad didn’t accept me either when I first came out. It was accidental. I’d posted a comment on a video about embarrassing stories saying that my teacher had inadvertently outed me as bisexual to my entire class in school when I hadn’t told anyone at all that I was bisexual. I hadn’t even fully accepted it to myself yet. This was back in the time when all your comments were automatically shared to Google+ and so of course, my father follows me on Google+ and saw this. He then asked me why I didn’t correct her and I said ‘because it’s true.’ He then proceeded to tell me to not be so stupid, of course, I wasn’t gay, I was straight, I always had been and always will be, blah blah blah. It broke my heart.
I’m lucky now because, after a long heartfelt letter that I wrote to him, he accepted me and apologised. But not everyone is lucky.
The hard truth about coming out is that not everyone will accept you and quite honestly, you can’t make them. You can try to change the way something thinks, but you can’t force it because it just won’t work. People are going to think whatever they want to think, whatever they’ve been told they should think, whatever they think they should think, and that’s just something that you sometimes need to accept. But that doesn’t mean that you have to change who you are or be unhappy.
Here are some tips which could be the spoonful of sugar for that hard to swallow coming out pill:
1) Just because your biological family doesn’t accept you doesn’t mean your family doesn’t accept you
Family isn’t just blood and DNA - it’s so much more than that. Family is love, laughter, friendship, nurturing, caring, supportiveness, and all of these things put together is what makes a family. So as heartbreaking as it might be that your blood doesn’t accept you, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a family that does accept you, because your chosen family does. This could be a best friend, a godmother, a best friend’s parent or your next-door neighbour. Your chosen family is whoever you want them to be, that’s why they’re chosen and they may be the family to accept you.
2) Try to educate them on what being gay or bisexual or transgender means
Someone not accepting you doesn’t necessarily mean that they are homophobic or hate gay people. Some people don’t accept you straight away because they don’t understand. If it’s a grandparent or a parent, they were born in a different time and back then, being bisexual or transgender was completely unheard of - it didn’t even exist. I’ve had to explain to family friends what it is to be bisexual and how I know I’m bisexual even though I’m a virgin and it helped them to understand and be more accepting of me.
3) Don't write yourself off
Just because your family is struggling with who you are and how you identify, that doesn't mean that your feelings and your identity is any less valid. Acceptance doesn't equal validity. You need to remember to be who you want to be, who you are inside, and don't let anybody tell you who to be.
4) Just because they don't accept you doesn't mean they don't love you
Sometimes families can find it hard to accept something about a family member because it's a shock or they didn't know or they felt like you were lying to them. But them not accepting you doesn't change the fact that they love you. I know that this isn't always the case but in my experience, the love is still there and is always there even if the acceptance isn't there.
5) Times are changing
It's 2019. Life in 2019 is a lot different to life in 1919, and people's beliefs are a lot different too. The world is getting a lot more accepting of new identities and that tolerance of people is growing and escalating hugely. You are part of a huge community who supports you for now, and who is to say that your family won't change their mind. Times will keep changing and their beliefs might too.
I know it's hard and all of this is easier said than done. But you'll get there.
In the meantime, I support you and I love you.
Living life as a human being can be hard at the best of times. We have all these thoughts and feelings which may seem unnatural or wrong, we do and say things that we can't explain or understand and we're all just muddling along the best way we can. You're not alone.
I know how you're feeling. There have been so many times when I've beat myself up over something I couldn't control and even if I could have controlled it, I made a mistake and hated myself for it. Time and time again, I do this and feel like this. But recently, I was listening to George Ezra's new album 'Staying at Tamara's.' I came across a song of his called 'Only Human.' There were some lyrics which really stood out to me.
'You can run, you can jump, might f**k it up - but you can't blame yourself, no, you're just human.'
It made me think - I'm only human. I make mistakes, I f**k things up, I can do some things and I can't do other things. But that’s just what being human is all about. When life is getting the better of you and those negative thoughts in your head are becoming too loud and overwhelming for you to drown them out, you just need to remember that YOU ARE HUMAN.
So here are five things I want you to remember about being human and five little things that might make you feel just a little better about f*****g things up.
2) It's completely normal to make mistakes
No one is perfect. No one has a manual on how to live and do everything right so it's only natural that we make mistakes. Mistakes make you human - if you didn’t make mistakes, then you’d pretty much be some kind of robot. Everyone does it and you're not a bad person for making a mistake so don't beat yourself up.
3) You deserve kindness
It doesn't cost anything to be kind but being nice to someone, including yourself, but it can make a whole lot of difference to how you feel and how your day goes from then on. You’re not perfect, no-one is, but that doesn’t mean that you should hate yourself. If you wouldn't speak to someone else that way, then why do you do it to yourself?
4) You are worthy
Never ever EVER think that you aren’t worth something. Don’t let anyone, and I mean ANYONE, tell you that you aren’t worth the world. Your self worth isn’t determined by anyone or anything else except you and how you choose to act and behave towards others. You worth is defined by you. So believe that you’re worth something, my star.
5) Not everything is going to go your way
If you expect everything to fall into place magically, then I’m sorry but it won’t. Not everything will go how you planned. Not everything will turn out how you expected. So expect the unexpected. If you build up your hopes and live your life based on a plan, things will go wrong. But just because things go a bit pear-shaped, doesn’t mean that you’re a failure and it’s all okay. Life doesn’t run to a schedule and that’s when all the fun happens.
I know that it’s easy for me to say these things, and believe me, I’ll be the first person to admit that I’m probably the biggest hypocrite right now. But I’m getting there - I’m learning.
And you’ll get there too.
I know you will.
Happy Halloween! The spooky season is coming up and everyone is getting excited to dress up as their favourite horror movie character, go trick-or-treating and carve pumpkins to put outside their houses. Well, here I am saying everyone - but the fact and the matter of it is, not everyone likes Halloween, and sometimes ‘Happy’ Halloween is not so happy.
I love Halloween. I love the dressing up, I love the parties, I love scaring kids that come to the door and I love the excuse to eat as many sweets as you want. Not everyone is me though. The person behind the door could be a PTSD victim, or a war veteran or have anxiety. This can make Halloween a difficult time for them.
It's important that you are respectful to everyone you encounter at Halloween and so you have to apply this to people who don't like Halloween too. So I have a few tips for you on how to be super respectful to those people and how to allow them to feel comfortable in their own home on the scariest night of the year
I know Halloween is a fun time, and I don’t mean to be a party pooper, but you have to consider other people as well as yourself. So this Halloween, just think about who might be behind that door before you knock on it.
So periods. They’re inconvenient, awkward, painful and annoying. But there are many different methods of making this awkward annoying painful inconvenience less of an inconvenience. I’m talking period products. Today, I’m talking about one period product in particular - the menstrual cup.
For anyone who doesn’t know what periods are, if you’re young and haven’t had one yet or you just haven’t had them explained to you, periods are when a woman or any person with a uterus bleeds from their vagina for 3-7 days, once a month. The uterus is where a baby grows and the lining of the uterus thickens in order to prepare for a fertilised egg to implant and grow into a baby. If an egg hasn’t been fertilised then the uterus lining will begin to ‘shed’ and you will start to bleed.
A menstrual cup is pretty much what it says in the name. It is a cup which a period-having person places inside the vagina to catch the blood and neatly contain it. It can hold the blood for up to 12 hours, depending on your cycle and flow, and then you simply take it out, rinse it clean and re-insert. It is totally different to a pad which sits in your underwear to soak up the blood but it is very similar to a tampon, as you also insert a tampon, but the tampon sits higher than a menstrual cup and you have to replace tampons every 4 hours, just like a pad. So all in all, a menstrual cup seems much more convenient.
The only thing is I had a disastrous experience with using a menstrual cup. Now when I say disastrous, I’m not exaggerating - in fact, even then I’m probably undermining my experience. For the first 12 hours of wearing it, I thought it was God’s gift to women. It was comfortable, there was no mess, no worries about it leaking. So it was a bit difficult to get in at first but once I’d got the knack, it slid in no problem. I was convinced that I was a menstrual cup convert. No more buying pads or tampons ever again. That was until I came to take it out. 12 hours later, off I pop to the toilet to take it out. 20 minutes later, I am still in the toilet. It becomes an hour later, then an hour and a half. It turns out, these cups aren’t that easy to get out. In fact, for me it was that difficult that the following afternoon I ended up in A&E.
It's safe to say that, due to my experience, I will never be using a menstrual cup ever again. That's not to say that they are all bad though. Plenty of people have used them with no issues at all. So here are some of the advantages of using a menstrual cup.
But then there are of course still some disadvantages.
So there are plenty of advantages and disadvantages to using a cup. Personally I would not recommend trying a menstrual cup as the fear of it not coming out is way too great and I can't guarantee that it won't happen to someone else. Plus, they are a relatively new product for periods so how can you guarantee their safety?
However, ultimately the decision is yours. It's your body and you need to do what is right for you and your period.