Ah, periods. They can be an absolute minefield with the bleeding and the cramping but let’s be honest – they’re a pretty amazing natural process that deserves to be understood, not apologised for – or hushed up.
So, we’ve called upon gynaecologist Dr Katharine White to answer everything you ever wanted to know about periods from what to do if your tampon gets stuck, to which period product is right for you…
Why is my period suddenly heavier?
Suddenly need to double your usual pads or tampons? If one period is crazily heavy, wait it out, but if a few in a row are, you may have developed a polyp or fibroids in your uterus. This sounds scary, but these benign growths are more of a nuisance than a danger. Or you may be experiencing a hormonal imbalance in your thyroid or pituitary gland – also completely treatable. Your doctor can order blood tests or an ultrasound scan to figure out the cause.
How do I deal with cramps?
Cramps can be an inconvenience at best and a total nightmare at worst, sometimes being so severe that they stop us in our tracks.
Luckily, there are a number of home remedies to help relieve painful period cramps that can be used in conjunction with standard pain killers, including hot water bottles, exercise and sex. However, if your cramps are so severe that you cannot continue with your everyday activities and if they are stopping you from going to work, you should book an appointment with your doctor for some professional help.
How often should I change my tampon?
It’s generally recommended that you change your tampon every 4-6 hours regardless of your flow. However, if you’re very heavy you may need to change it more frequently.
The reason why medical professionals recommend regular changes is to lessen the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome, a serious medical condition that can result from the use of internal period products such as tampons and menstrual cups.
What is Toxic Shock Syndrome?
Although rare, Toxic Shock Syndrome is worth being aware of as it can be life-threatening. The condition is caused by bacterial toxins and causes a high fever, a sunburn-like rash, and confusion accompanied by low blood pressure, which can rapidly progress to coma, and ultimately multiple organ failure.
The prognosis is dramatically improved if the condition is recognised in its initial stages and treated immediately with intravenous antibiotics and supportive care in hospital, and can take two or three weeks to recover from.
I accidentally left my tampon in for ages, what should I do?
Firstly, remove it immediately. Then, depending on how you feel and how long you’ve left it in, you can either monitor yourself closely, looking out for a rash and checking your temperature. If you’re really worried, you can visit your local GP service, call 111 or out-of-hours clinic for advice.
If you do develop a combination of the symptoms associated with Toxic Shock Syndrome, go to A&E.
What should I do if I can’t get my tampon out?
Don’t panic. Your tampon cannot get lost up in there – it’s not physically possible. But it is important to get it removed as soon as possible to avoid the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome and other vaginal issues.
If you’ve tried your best to remove it yourself to no avail (relaxing and pushing down as if you doing a poo helps) then you’ll need to go to your nearest sexual health clinic or GP practice as soon as possible.
Why is my cycle erratic?
An adult’s cycle can range anywhere from 21 to 35 days (in the teens, up to 45 days). Some women never have regular periods, but if yours are becoming more random – or if you’re suddenly skipping two months (or more) – tell your doctor. The most common cause is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which often occurs in your twenties. It’s a complex condition, so a doctor will discuss treatments with you.
What does it mean if I’m spotting after sex?
Any amount of blood after sex can be scary. If it’s a relatively rare thing, though, you don’t need to worry. Happening often? Head in for a check-up. It could be an infection, such as bacterial vaginosis, a cervical polyp or a sign of an STI.
How long should my period last?
There’s no correct length of time that your period should be. Some people experience a period of 2 or 3 days, while some report bleeding for over a week. If you do have a longer period and tend to experience heavy bleeding, check in with your doctor to ensure you’re not becoming anaemic.
Birth control can often disrupt the length of your period, especially if you’ve just started it, and can even cause continuous bleeding and spotting, but it usually resolves itself on its own: after two to three months on the Pill, or three to six months with an intrauterine device (IUD, also known as the coil). If the bleeding doesn’t improve in that time, talk to your doctor about switching methods. And if you’ve been on the same birth control method for a long time and start spotting, your doctor should know that too – the bleeding could be caused by an infection or a benign growth.
And if it’s MIA?
First, take a pregnancy test. But if you’re not pregnant or on a hormonal birth control* method and you’ve gone three months or more without a period, it’s time to be evaluated. (*Occasionally skipping a period is normal – sometimes the hormones do such a good job of thinning out your uterine lining that you don’t bleed at all.) The most common cause in your twenties and thirties is PCOS – early diagnosis is the best way to manage symptoms. In your forties, it could be peri-menopause (the transition to menopause). But if you have an IUD or the contraceptive implant, having your periods stop is common. I tell my patients: enjoy not having to buy tampons.
Stars Daisy Ridley and Lena Dunham have discussed their struggles with endometriosis, a disorder in which tissue that normally grows inside the uterus starts to grow outside it. In the UK, one in ten women of reproductive age suffer from it but, traditionally, “It’s not a condition many women are aware of,” says gynaecologist Dr Jamie Renslo. Thanks to the headlines, though, more women with abnormal bleeding are wondering whether endo is the cause. Heavy periods and spotting are two symptoms, but a better indicator? Your cramps. “The severity of the pain is the distinguishing factor,” says Dr Renslo; endo-associated cramps are usually so intense that they interfere with your quality of life. (Another tell-tale sign is difficulty getting pregnant.) It takes surgery to look for other causes of the symptoms and confirm a diagnosis, so if your doctor suspects you have endo, they may try to treat it first. Various methods of contraception can suppress the growth of uterine lining, which can help to relieve symptoms.
What are my options when it comes to period products
There’s a lot of chat over all the pros and cons of different period products. The fact is, you’ll know what best suits your lifestyle and your period but why not read up on the realities of period pollution, and if you’re curious about menstrual cups, we’ve got the answers to all your questions with our tried-and-tested review.
Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin Confirm Marriage on Instagram
Getty ImagesBarcroft Media
Hailey Baldwin and Justin Bieber have confirmed what was more or less already verbally confirmed by them to a fan last month: the two did indeed get married in September at the New York City courthouse. Bieber posted a photo of him and Baldwin with a simple caption making their marital status crystal clear to his 102 million Instagram followers: “My wife is awesome.”
The shot was initially caption-less when he first posted it yesterday afternoon, so something compelled him to edit it and finally declare to the world Baldwin is Mrs. Justin Bieber:
Baldwin commented on it, “that’s my babe.”
The marriage news came just two months after the two got engaged in early July. Bieber confirmed that news with a very gushy Instagram about Baldwin. He wrote then:
Was gonna wait a while to say anything but word travels fast, listen plain and simple Hailey I am soooo in love with everything about you! So committed to spending my life getting to know every single part of you loving you patiently and kindLY. I promise to lead our family with honor and integrity letting Jesus through his Holy Spirit guide us in everything we do and every decision we make. My heart is COMPLETELY and FULLY YOURS and I will ALWAYS put you first! You are the love of my life Hailey Baldwin and I wouldn’t want to spend it with anybody else. You make me so much better and we compliment eachother so well!! Can’t wait for the best season of life yet!. It’s funny because now with you everything seems to make sense! The thing I am most excited for is that my little brother and sister get to see another healthy stable marriage and look for the same!!! Gods timing really is literally perfect, we got engaged on the seventh day of the seventh month, the number seven is the number of spiritual perfection, it’s true GOOGLE IT! Isn’t that nuts? By the way I didn’t plan that, anyways My goodness does feel good to have our future secured! WERE GONNA BE BETTER AT 70 BABY HERE WE GO! “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains FAVOR from the Lord!” This is the year of favor!!!!
Baldwin and Bieber, by the way, started dating again in June this year. They were reportedly on-off for years before they ultimately reconciled and wed, TMZ reported earlier this summer.
Donkey and Emu Named Jack and Diane Rescued Best Friends
PEOPLE reached out to Carolina Waterfowl Rescue to learn more about this unusual couple who have captivated the Internet with their sad, yet sweet and hopeful story. Jennifer Gordon, the rescue’s executive director, said the team is unsure exactly how old the animals are but guesses they are around 2 to 3 years old. (When a vet soon meets them, they can tell more by their teeth.)
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Gordon believes the animals have been close friends for a while. “From what I was told, Diane was raised alone in the house and was put out with Jack, so she has known only him as a companion. It’s been at least two years,” she says.
And what, exactly, is the nature of their relationship, we wondered. Are they friends, friends with benefits, domestic partners, romantic partners or something else entirely?
“I don’t think that they can physically mate,” Gordon tells PEOPLE. “I think Diane sees Jack as a mate since she ‘drums’ for him. When we separated them trying to load Jack into the trailer, she was frantic. She was drumming for him, and that’s a way that emus call to their mates. Jack is very protective of her. It’s a donkey’s natural instinct to be a livestock guardian … we are not sure if he just feels the need to protect her or if he has the same feelings towards her. They both seemed to stick really close together and they obviously don’t like to be separated.”
Jack’s behavior towards three other donkeys he was placed with tends to support the notion that he prefers Diane to members of his own species. According to NPR, when he was put in the enclosure with the mules, he tried to attack them. (Was it was something they brayed?)
On the other hoof, Gordon says Jack and Diane do seem to communicate with each other but “as far as vocalizations … it’s more of an unsaid communication.” For instance, “if Jack goes under the shelter, Diane follows him, and when we bring food out for them, even though they’re supposed to eat different food because they have different requirements, they have to share their food.”
Diane eats and then Jack has some of her food, and vice versa with his food. “Somehow or another, they have a communication system … but it’s something that we don’t understand.” Adults never really do understand young love, though.
The duo also have regular sleepovers, albeit in different positions. “They stay very close, but equines sleep standing up so Diane will lay down next to him.”
For animal lovers who are too young to remember John (then Cougar) Mellencamp‘s hit song from 1982, the rescue chose the animals’ names through a Facebook contest, settling on the anthemic “Jack and Diane” for a rather practical reason. “Since Jack is actually a young donkey, he’s technically a ‘Jack donkey,’ and so when someone suggested ‘Jack and Diane’ it just seemed like a fitting name,” says Gordon. (They know Diane is a female emu due to her ‘drumming’ for Jack; only females of the species do that.)
Currently, Carolina Waterfowl Rescue is looking to (permanently) rehome this sweet, if a bit strange, twosome. “We would like a home where they are treated as pets, and provided sanctuary for the rest of their lives,” Gordon tells PEOPLE. And with over 2,000 inquiries, the rescue feels fairly certain they will find at least one acceptable home for their new celebrity couple.
“The response has been overwhelming,” the rescue posted on Facebook. “We have had inquiries from London, Canada, France and several other countries where this story has gone viral in addition to the United States … Our phone system is crashing, our email system is crashing. We simply cannot keep up with the volume … it will take a month just for us to review all of the applications we currently have. If a suitable candidate is not found we can definitely re-open the adoption process … We will keep you updated on what’s going on with Jack and Diane as we progress, and hopefully we’ll follow them to their new home where everyone can see them happy and healthy.”
All that said, the rescue recently reminded its Facebook followers that “the publicity is fabulous but we just want to clarify we really haven’t gotten many donations for the pair and haven’t covered the basic vet care costs yet.” For Jack and Diane fans who aren’t able to adopt the loving animals themselves but would still like to help support the cause, donations can be made through the Carolina Waterfowl Rescue website or Facebook. As of Thursday, less than $800 had been raised on Jack and Diane’s behalf, despite their international fame.
Please consider donating to help secure your favorite odd couple’s continued medical care, food and shelter until they find their forever home, farm or sanctuary.
Charlie Cox Talks Daredevil Season 3, Elektra vs. Karen and Twitter
Damn, I’m parched. I know you are too. That’s why, in ELLE.com’s Thirst Trap, we talk to the internet’s most thirsted-after celebrities—over a beverage of their choice. What’s it’s like to be a sexy oasis in the desert of life? Is it uncomfortable to be so hot? Is that a LaCroix? We ask the hard questions. Drink up! You’re welcome.
It would be hubris to think one could show Daredevil—arguably New York’s biggest superhero—any of Gotham’s secrets. Daredevil, born Matt Murdock, knows the city inside out—with all his super-senses, apart from the sight that he’s missing. But drawing actor Charlie Cox into Patent Pending, a darkly atmospheric speakeasy hidden behind a NoMad coffee shop, feels like the closest to a superhero move that a civilian could make: showing something gorgeous beneath the quotidian surface.
Cox has anchored Marvel’s Daredevil for three seasons as the series’ stormy-minded, powerfully moral center. As the lawyer by day/vigilante fighter by night stepped up his fight against crime boss Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio), both within the system and outside of it, his split identity became more and more untenable. And now, in season 3, broken by a almost deadly explosion, Daredevil is at rock bottom, wondering exactly who he is and how—or whether—he can truly overcome such a villain.
In the recesses of a New York secret gem, ELLE.com talked to Cox over a water (Cox) and whiskey (me) about which impossible superhero move was his own idea, the future of Marvel’s Daredevil, and possibly one of the most surprising facts about him, or anyone, ever: He only just discovered what LMAO means. (How on earth?)
At the end of season 3 we see Matt throwing back a whiskey. What is your drink of choice?
I don’t drink alcohol. So, my drink of choice…now I sound really boring! Coffee. I love coffee.
Are you a coffee nerd?
I would say no, because I know people who are real coffee nerds. Some of the crew members are real coffee nerds. I’m a coffee…snob.
Are there any English drinks that you miss from home, living in New York?
Ginger beer is harder to find than you think. And call me crazy, but English tea tastes different here. I don’t know why that is. That’s probably psychosomatic but…even if I make it at home! It tastes different.
Season 3 is a wild one to watch. How did it feel to see Matt so lost?
It was tiring, to be that…I don’t want to use the word moody, because it’s supposed to be a little bit more severe than that. But it’s tough to be that cynical all the time—you come to work and it doesn’t feel like a light day. He’s really broken at the beginning, and he’s broken in a new way—not just physically broken, he’s emotionally and spiritually broken, and that’s a new thing for him.
This season, Matt wants to leave “Matt Murdock” behind, and with the fake Daredevil around, too, he’s not completely Daredevil, either. Who is he?
I think he’s in an identity crisis. On top of questioning who he is fundamentally in his core, he’s worried that if he were able to answer his question, he may not like what he discovers about who he really is. When you play a superhero, ultimately you know he’s going to be the good guy somehow, some way. But I wanted to see how far we could push it in the direction, where you might believe that he discovers he’s actually not the good guy.
That must be very bizarre question to ask…if you’ve ever had a situation in your life where you’re like, “Am I totally wrong about this? Am I living a different reality to what I’m thinking about?”—I wanted to bring a sense of that. I read an article about a serial killer in the UK in the ’70s, who had a moment where he was like, “I’m a bad guy.” He thought he was doing God’s work, but he had a moment of, “Oh, I’m actually a monster,” in the middle of a spree.
Matt totally isolates himself and puts a lot into training. I read that you had never really been to the gym before you took this role. Did you have to train more this season?
No. The first season was probably the hardest because I’d never been to the gym, and my whole body was changing. And it’s probably changed for good now in a weird way. When you start going to the gym regularly, having never been, your muscles start to do things…I’d always been athletic, played sports and run, and I’ve done yoga for years. I continue to do all of that stuff; I just add a lot more weightlifting.
In one of the scenes where Matt is training, he does an insane handstand push-up.
That was my idea!
Were you like, What would be the craziest thing he could do?
There are so many training montages in movies. But we were limited—we didn’t have any equipment, because he’s living in a cellar. I didn’t want to do the standard push-ups and pull-ups, so when he’s doing push-ups it’s onto the bricks [demonstrates jumping push-ups]. Which is quite fun. And then the handstand push-up.
Did you ever think you’d become an action hero?
I definitely did not. I think you can die happy knowing you have an action figure. I have a two-year-old daughter, and she saw it. She pointed to it and was like “What’s that?” so I showed it to her. She pulled the head off.
Matt has Wilson Fisk in his head a lot this season. What’s it like having Vincent D’Onofrio as the little birdie on your shoulder?
Uh, pretty scary. The truth is, it was just fun to work with Vincent. We don’t actually get that many scenes together. It was complicated because he was in my head, so geographically he was often quite far away. We couldn’t really hear each other, so we had ear pieces. You’ve got Vincent talking into your ear, and that just kind of does all of the work for you.
Did that seep into your dreams?
It did not.
Fans are nervous about season 4 because some of the other Marvel shows were cancelled. What do you think Matt would be doing in season 4?
Actually, someone came up to me in the street the other day and went, “What’s happening???” He was really panicking, like the world was ending.
Unfortunately, I’ve been asked not to speculate, because it gets picked up and people think that I know and I don’t. The truth is I have no idea! I think the challenge, as with any new season, is that we need that balance of staying the same—because if something is working you don’t want to change it but also being different. There was a cliffhanger at the end of season 3 with a certain character, so if that character could play more of a role in season 4 that would be great, but I genuinely have no idea. Here’s what I’ll say: Maybe it would be nice to see Matt not quite so depressed. Where he can be a little bit more cheerful about things.
You’re not on social media at all—but fan Twitter is very active. I’m going to show you some examples. This one is about an issue very close to the fans’ hearts.
What I’ve said in the past, and what I stand by is that if Matt is ever to find real happiness, it’s not going to be with Elektra. You know? That’s a lot of fun and really, really does not end well. I think if Matt was to ever find a true sense of calm and peace and real love, and have a family and stuff, it would be Karen. But people don’t always make the right choice. Karen feels like a more authentic real love. Not the fickle, exciting, crazy drama psycho love that lasts for a few months and then when things get mundane isn’t really there. That Karen love is potentially much more long-lasting.
The interesting paradox is that Karen doesn’t really know the truth about Matt until the end of season 2. But Elektra does. She knows him in a much more real way—she knows his secret, she knows what makes him tick. So that’s a fun conflict to play with.
I recently saw an interview with you where you learned what LMAO means.
I remember that!
So do you know what LOL is?
Yeah, laugh out loud. I knew that one! I’ve actually used LMAO, compared to “laugh out loud,” because most people write “laugh out loud” and they’re not.
You’d only use LMAO if you were literally laughing your ass off?
I was laughing my ass off! I’ll tell you why. I was asking my wife what was happening later, and she said, “I’ve got my retinal exam so I’m not going to be able to see, and I don’t know what the day is going to look like.” I thought it was the fucking funniest thing. Like, did you hear what you just said? You don’t know “what the day is going to look like“? It’s such a dad joke, but I was crying with laughter.
Speaking of figurines, here’s a nice one…
[Reads aloud] “When you realize Daredevil’s biggest fan is Charlie Cox himself.” [Pauses] Help me understand something here. That feels like they’ve stopped mid-sentence.
It’s a construction used online—you’re supposed to infer that the person feels happy because of that fact.
So you just say that part of the sentence? Okay. I think I kind of get it.
And the visual is the emotional punchline.
Okay, I get it. I genuinely was in a conversation a few years ago, and he went jokingly, “Hashtag humble,” and everyone laughed. I was like, “What on earth is he talking about?”
Did you know what a hashtag was?
No. I knew what a pound sign was, but to me it was like he was saying, “Shall we go to the park question mark?” I had to ask him, and they were trying to explain it to me. They actually explained it really well, that it sums up the intonation of the comment.
So what’s next for you?
I’m going to Daredevil around with the family for a little bit…
What does that mean? You’re going to fight each other?
…as soon as I said it, I was like…okay, no. I mean, I’m going to be with my family for a little bit. I recently got married, which is really exciting, and I might be doing a movie in January, so I’m waiting to find out about that. The nice thing about being on a show that has run consistently over a number of years is that you don’t have to panic so much when the season ends, because hopefully there will be another one. I love the job, I love the character, I love doing it.
Just keep doing those push-ups.
When we were doing that bit, one of the PAs was like, “I can do 25 pull-ups.” And I was like, “No, you can’t. I don’t know anyone who can do 25. I could maybe do 15 if I’m lucky.” So everyone was like, “Alright, let’s see it.” Four. He did four. He’d said it with such confidence.
Marvel’s Daredevil is streaming on Netflix now.
Shot on location at Patent Pending.
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