“Help, my menstrual cup is stuck” and other period emergencies, solved

Before you go digging for gold up your lady bits

Is it a slipped disc? Constipation? Cluster headache? Is your ovary going to explode? Menstruation has a knack for keeping us on our toes, arriving with a slew of bodily aches and pains that add to the whirlwind of womanhood. Amidst this roller coaster of surprise symptoms and bodily challenges there are also sudden period emergencies to contend with.

They pop up unexpectedly, like an angry pimple performing dharna on your nose the day of a big work event. From your tampon string deciding to go incognito, ghosting you worse than your last situationship, to itchy period rashes and stubborn menstrual cups that refuse to vacate the premises of your body, you can never be too prepared for SOS scenarios.

To tackle these awkward situations head-on, we sought expert advice from Dr Tanveer Aujla, senior consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Noida, and Pune-based Dr Tabassum Hussein, an obstetrician, gynaecologist and laparoscopic surgeon. Armed with their practical solutions, you can wriggle your way out of any sticky situation.

Expert advice to save you from period emergencies

“My tampon string broke. Should I go to a hospital?

As panic-inducing as this might seem, it’s important to remain calm. Also, before you embark on your search mission, make sure your hands are clean and your nails are cut short. “Then, insert a finger into the vagina and reach for the tampon. Squatting slightly might make this easier. Carefully grasp the tampon and pull it out gently,” says Dr Aujla.

period emergencies broken tampon string
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The possibility of toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is what keeps some wary of using tampons. “The risk increases when tampons are left in for prolonged periods (over eight hours), creating an environment for bacterial growth,” explains Dr Hussein. This can be mitigated with regular tampon changes and good hygiene practices.

“My sanitary napkin has given me a painful rash. What can I do?”

Ever heard of the ‘period rash’? If not, consider yourself lucky, because for some of us, especially those who sweat like it’s our job, this is all too familiar. What makes things worse is when you’re hit with an itchy period rash while out and about, needing to persist despite the discomfort. To soothe things down there, Dr Aujla recommends keeping the area clean and dry. “Carefully cleanse the affected area using a gentle, fragrance-free soap and water when changing pads. Applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly or a barrier cream can provide relief and prevent further irritation,” she adds.

Dr Hussein also suggests trying fragrance-free baby powder if chaffing is exacerbating the problem. This will help ease the friction. But instead of applying it directly to the affected area, sprinkle the powder onto your hand and pat it on gently, little by little. Using your hands gives you more control over the application process.

period stain removal expert
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“My period has started early, and I don’t have a sanitary pad.”

The monthly flow often catches you off-guard, and a trusted friend isn’t always around to lend you a pad. It’s time to get resourceful until you can make it to a medical store. Dr Aujla suggests fashioning a temporary pad by folding toilet paper or paper towels. Remember to change it frequently for hygiene purposes and to prevent leaks.

According to Dr Hussein, all offices are obligated to have a medical kit (which should ideally also include sanitary products) where you can find some gauze, cotton and medical tape. “Create layers with the doubled gauze and cotton,” she says. “You can use medical tape to seal and fasten it onto your underwear. Remember, this is an SOS creation and should be replaced as soon as possible.”

“I’m experiencing painful cramps, and there’s no medical store nearby.”

Staying hydrated can ease bloating, muscle tension and cramps. Dr. Aujla also advises engaging with work or fun activities that can distract you from the discomfort. Additionally, you can also use supportive pillows for comfort.

Both Dr Aujla and Dr Hussein recommend exercise (yup, you can work out during your period), which might seem daunting when you’re in pain, and barely able to stand straight. However, gentle stretching, or light exercise like walking or yoga, can help increase blood flow and release endorphins, offering potential relief from cramps.

“Help, I can’t get the menstrual cup out.”

Dr Hussein acknowledges that this fear keeps most of her patients away from menstrual cups, but with a little practice, anyone can become an adept user of this eco-friendly product. “You need to get the size right and [devise] your own method of insertion and removal, which a doctor can help you with.”

stuck menstrual cup period emergencies
Photo: Cliff Booth on Pexels.com

If your fear becomes a reality, don’t panic. Okay, panic, and let it pass. Dr Aujla advises taking deep breaths to relax your pelvic muscles. “Squatting or bearing down slightly can help bring the cup lower in the vaginal canal, making it easier to reach,she adds.

“I have a whole day of work ahead. Should I stick a pad onto my stained underwear?”

It happens to the best of us. We may not want to admit it, but we’ve all at least considered doing this when there’s no other option.

Dr Aujla says that while attaching a pad to stained underwear is a temporary fix, it’s not the most hygienic. Therefore, promptly clean the area to prevent infection. If you can’t change the underwear right away, switch pads frequently to lower health risks. Also, opt for breathable cotton undies whenever possible.

“I’m stuck with blood-stained underwear/bedsheets”

Quick action is your best bet when it comes to stains. Dr Hussein also advises wearing dark clothing to minimise the visibility of stains. Even with dark colours, you’re going to want to rinse the stained area with cold water to lift the stain before throwing it in the washing machine. “For stubborn stains, applying a stain remover or pre-treating with a mixture of detergent and water can help. Alternatively, soaking the stained item in a solution of water, vinegar or baking soda can help lift the stain before laundering,” says Dr Aujla.

However, do check the label on your garment/sheets for the fabric care instructions because this DIY combo can damage the integrity of certain fabrics like silk.

A note of caution: This story is for educational purposes with inputs from trained experts. If you find yourself in crisis please seek assistance from your healthcare provider.

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Modified by Maaaty at Cheap Generic Pharmacy

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