person with hot water bottle placed over abdomen

35 Secret Things Most Women Have Done On Their Period But Don’t Talk About

Periods are no fun – just ask anyone who gets one. At best, they’re inconvenient and at worst absolutely debilitating. Probably one of the most difficult parts about having a period, however, is how much of a taboo topic they have become. So much so, that there are many “secret things” that people, even those who get periods, don’t talk about. 


Secret Things That Everyone Secretly Does On Their Period

A period is a perfectly natural thing, but that doesn’t stop it from being a bit, well, gross sometimes. There are also plenty of small, secret things that we all do and experience during our periods but never talk about. Well, I say it’s time to get them out in the open. 


1. Examined A Tampon After Taking It Out

disgusted woman

I mean really, as gross as periods can be sometimes they truly are fascinating. It’s hard to believe that we can bleed that much and still be functioning human beings during that time. Examining a tampon is just a natural reaction.


2. Inspected A Blood Clot

woman using magnifying glass

This ties into the first one. After all, periods are pretty wild. They are never the same, from person to person, month to month, and even moment to moment. When a giant blood clot comes out, its equal parts are shocking, horrifying, and interesting.


3. Gotten Your Pubes Stuck To A Pad

person taking menstrual pad out of box

If you haven’t ever had this happen to you, you don’t know how annoying and also painful it can be. When this happens, you have to do that awkward shuffle to the bathroom to readjust. The hard part? Every step you take feels like you’re slowly plucking out a pube. Ouch!


4. Felt A Blood Clot Come Out

woman raising one eyebrow wearing yellow shirt

This sensation is often followed by these thoughts: Holy crap! Is my pad in the right spot?, and Can my pad/tampon support this? Usually, your next move is to quickly visit the restroom to assess the damage, all while walking in a way that ensures nothing will “spill”.

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5. Used Multiple Pads To Create A Make-Shift “Diaper” For Nighttime

person wearing jeans holding large menstrual pad in front of groin area

Sleeping while on your period is complex. Sometimes, it’s like your period takes a break with you at night. Other times, it decides to have a raging party in your uterus while you innocently sleep the night away. Nothing is worse than waking up and realizing you’ve ruined yet another pair of underwear, pajama bottoms, and a set of sheets, too. The DIY pad diaper is often your best bet to ensure this doesn’t happen.


6. Flushed A Toilet Several Times To Clear Away Blood Streaks

hand about to flush toilet

The consistency of period blood is different and so it often sinks to the bottom of the toilet bowl where it is determined to stay. Every period-having person has the experience of having to flush the toilet two, three, four, and sometimes even five times before the final streaks are washed away.


7. Wondered If You Leaked Or If Your Bum Is Just Sweaty

pondering woman

Whether it is just a hot day or you just finished a workout, you’ve likely had that moment where you are uncertain if it’s sweat or a leak. You then spend the next ten minutes trying to discreetly figure it out. This is particularly challenging in situations where you can’t just run to a washroom and check it out.

Read: The Debate On Reusable Toilet Paper


8. Leaked Blood Spots On The Floor

woman holding bridge of nose wearing housecoat with towel on head

Do you know that mad dash from the shower to put on a pad or insert a tampon before you leak on the floor? Yeah, easier said than done. If you’ve never accidentally dropped on the floor during this process, then you are amazing. If this was an Olympic event, you would be a champion.

9. Done A Mini-Waddle-Run To Get Your Underwear Or A Pad

female underwear

This goes along with number eight. The waddle runs to get underwear or a pad while trying to “hold it in” is something most of us know intimately. In fact, if I told you to get up right now and do an interpretation of this action, you’d probably be spot-on.

10. Snuck A Tampon Or Pad Up Your Sleeve So No One Will See It

person putting menstrual pad in back pocket

Whether you’re in middle school, high school, university, or you’re a full-grown adult with a career, you’ve done this. You slide a pad or tampon as discreetly as you can up your sleeve, then clutch it with your hand so it doesn’t fall out. Next, you make your way to the bathroom trying to move your arm as little as possible so no one can hear the crackling packaging (because God forbid someone knows that you are on your period). You stride somewhat confidently towards the bathroom, secretly praying that no one stops for a quick chit-chat.

11. Waddled To The Bathroom In The Morning Because Your Pad Is Full

woman laying in bed with arms cross over head

Waking up when on your period is definitely not a relaxing experience. You wake up, only to be reminded that it’s your time of the month by a wet sensation down there. Then you lay there, wondering if the damage is confined to your pad or if you had another unsuccessful period night. Next, after inspecting the sheets, you waddle to the bathroom to change to a fresh pad or tampon.

12. Had More Blood Than Anything Else On The Toilet Paper After Wiping

person on toilet, bottom half is seen with jeans pulled down around ankles

The first few days of your period can be, well, a bit of a blood bath. During this time, you sometimes wonder if there’s anything else coming out of your body besides blood. This is especially evident when you wipe after using the bathroom.

13. Crossed Your Legs In An Attempt To Stop The Flow

legs cross arms resting on knee

We all know that you can’t stop the flow once it gets going. That doesn’t prevent us from trying, though. For some reason, crossing the legs has become one of the ways that we all try to achieve this feat. It has never worked and will never work, but we keep doing it anyway.

14. Stood Up Only To Feel The Flow Happen Anyways

disappointed woman

You’ve been crossing your legs, hoping for the best. Then you think Hey, I think maybe it worked this time!. The fantasy is over, however, the minute you stand up and you can feel that flow going the same as always.

15. Experienced Period Poops

woman plugging nose

A lot of things are happening in the body when you’re on your period. The hormone fluctuations affect many of your body’s processes, including the digestive tract. Period poops will have you wondering where the heck it’s coming from and if it will ever go back to normal again.

16. Been Constipated For Several Days Because Of Your Period

toilet paper on floor with person on toilet in background out of focus

Sometimes, however, the opposite happens. After three days of barely going to the bathroom (or not at all), you might begin to get a little worried. Finally, however, the tough few days are over and you get sweet sweet relief. 

17. Worn A Pad Or Tampon Longer Than You Should

unsure woman

Okay, if you say you’ve never done this, I find that very hard to believe. We’ve left a tampon in or worn a pad longer than we really should have. Yes, we know that it puts us at risk for certain problems (namely yeast infections and the horrifying Toxic Shock Syndrome), and yet we for some reason do it anyways. Sometimes even once or twice every period.

18. Asked A Friend To “Check For Leaks”

work out duo. One woman holding another's feed while she does sit ups on a running track

You’re in a public place and you’re not sure if what you’re feeling is sweat, “phantom” blood, or if you’ve actually had a leak. Thankfully, you’re with a trusted friend. You tell them to walk a few paces behind you to check for anything suspicious. They either give you the all-clear or their jacket to tie around your waist.

19. Tried To Check For Leaks Yourself

woman looking behind her

Sometimes, however, you are alone  – commuting on the subway, doing a grocery run, or a solo workout at the gym. You try subtly checking the front, or seeing if you see anything in the gym mirror. You’ve likely even discreetly put your hand back there and then inspected your fingers for any traces of red. 

Read: Man Shamed for Demanding Girlfriend Pay for New Sheets After She Leaked on Them

20. Made An Emergency “Toilet Paper Pad”

hand holding paper towel as an "emergency" menstrual pas

It would be so nice if periods were perfectly predictable. Unfortunately, it’s not so simple – sometimes Mother Nature likes to surprise us. This is where the DIY pad made of folding up toilet paper or wrapping several layers around your underwear (more secure, trust me) shines. The toilet paper pad will also make an appearance when you have a leak and no extra pads or tampons, as well as the super fun “You thought it was over but it wasn’t” game.

21. Not Been Able To Tell The Difference Between Period And Intestinal Cramps

woman in pain, keeled over with hand on head

It’s all in the same region, after all! The worst part is when you are experiencing both, so going to the bathroom only relieves part of the pain.

22. Cried Over Something That’s No Big Deal

woman with hand over mouth

Burst into tears over a spilled coffee? Teared up over choosing one pair of shoes over the other and felt sorry for the unworn pair? Welcome to life on (and before) your period. It’s like being on a roller coaster blasting full-speed through a dark tunnel with twists and turns and you never know what’s around the bend. In this case, the dark tunnel is your period and the twists, turns, and loop-the-loops are your emotions. So fun!

23. Felt Oddly Satisfied Watching The Blood Go Down The Shower Drain

drain in sink or bathtub

Yes, I know it’s gross. But come on – you can’t say that it’s not at least the smallest bit satisfying. No matter how many periods you have, the amount of blood your uterus is capable of producing is always both impressive and terrifying.

24. Have Blood Reach Places That You Don’t Understand

confused woman in bed

You wake up in the morning and the blood has somehow managed to even make its way to your lower back. What were you doing, cartwheels in your sleep?

25. Tried To Rearrange Your Pad Without Looking Like You’re Picking A Wedgie

hands holding backside

You know the feeling – when you know your pad is in the wrong position and a bad leak is pending. You need to reposition it, but you’re on the bus and have no bathroom to get to. You start doing this little, subtle shimmy-like move while also pulling at different places on your pants to try and shift your underwear so the pad is covering the crucial areas.

26. Experienced Every Emotion Possible In One Day

snap shots of various emotional states

Let’s go back to my point before about the roller coaster through the dark tunnel. Your emotions on a minute-by-minute basis are even surprising to you. How anyone else deals with rides those waves with you is beyond comprehension.

27. Double-Checked A Chair After Standing Up

office chairs and boardroom table

Especially when you’re playing the “sweat or leak” game. You do that quick check to make sure there’s nothing suspicious. Truthfully, you’re not sure what you would do if there was blood on the seat, but hey – at least you’re trying. 

28. Dreaded Your Worst Period Days Before They Happened

woman eating pizza while on couch using TV remote

I mean, who doesn’t dread those first few days of their period? Frankly, they really suck. You’re tired. You’re grumpy. Everything hurts – your stomach, your lower back, maybe even your head. You can’t sneeze, laugh, or hiccup without a massive leak. Those first two to three days you’re constantly asking yourself if you’ve leaked and if you should you change your tampon. On top of all of this, you’ve got intense cravings and even stronger emotional swings.

29. Panicked That You Already Had A Tampon In After You Put In A New One

woman in panic

This is the period equivalent of leaving the house and panicking that you forgot to lock the door or that you left the oven on. You’re then frantically trying to figure out how you can check without having to pull out a dry tampon (ouch) while imaging your family trying to explain to people how you died so suddenly and so young. If it seems dramatic, we can circle back to the roller coaster in the dark tunnel.

30. Only Worn Dark Colors During Your Period Week

person holding black purse

Whites, pastels, and really any color other than dark blue, grey, and black are a non-option. Likely you even have an entire set of all-black period underwear exclusively for this time of the month.

31. Only Worn Clothes That Accommodate Bloating

person wearing black hoodie

Ugh, bloating. It’s uncomfortable, you’re often gassy, and your abdomen feels like a balloon. Sometimes it’s so bad, when you turn to the side it looks like you could be several months pregnant. You spend the few days until it goes down tailoring your fashion decisions to both covers it up and to be slightly more comfortable for your poor, distended tummy.

32. Put On Nice Underwear Thinking Your Period Was Over When It Wasn’t

female underware

Sometimes, your period lightens up and seems to disappear earlier than the normal length of time you have it for. You’re so elated that you put on your nice underwear to celebrate – only for it to come back with a nice big blood clot and ruin them. Take this as a reminder that if it seems too good to be true, it likely is.

33. Laid A Cardigan Or Jacket On A Chair As “Protection

sweater placed over back of chair

Maybe you’ve had a bad experience in the past that left you with pad and tampon trust issues. Or perhaps you’re in a long meeting and you know sneaking out to change your menstrual product of choice won’t be an option. Rather than ruining a company chair, you put a sweater or jacket down just in case. Hey, you can at least try to remove a blood stain from your clothes. Trying to explain to your colleagues why you’re smuggling a chair out of the room is much harder.

34. Gotten Excited When You Start Bleeding Less And The End Is Near

smiling woman, sunny day

Of course, we all get excited when our period gets easier and the end is in sight! And that first day when you’re free of all period-related thoughts and items? Pure bliss. I’m going to reference point number 32 here, however, and remind you that if you’re only on day three or four and this happens – be aware. This might not actually be the end.

35. Used Strange Objects As Heating Pads

person placing hot water bottle over abdomen

Remember the whole “slap a cold steak on it” for a black eye you may have seen in old movies? Well, this is like that. You are desperate for pain relief but don’t have water bottles or hot/cold packs on hand, so you need to get creative. Things I’ve personally used? A paper sack filled with rice and an old almond milk container filled with water, both heated in the microwave and wrapped in towels. You’ll thank me later.

36. Struggled To Put In A Menstrual Cup

hand holding reusable menstrual cup

Who’s in the menstrual cup camp? These products can be period game-changers – but there is a learning curve to them at first. Anyone who has used them will remember their first time following the directions on the pamphlet and wondering how on earth you were supposed to achieve what they claim is “so simple”.

37. Struggled To Take Out A Menstrual Cup And Panicked

embarrassed woman holding menstrual cup

Getting a menstrual cup in is one thing, taking it out is another. Again, once you’re used to it, it’s really quite easy. I don’t know very many users, however, who don’t have a story about nearly needing to phone a friend for help or thinking they are going to have to shamefully go to the ER to have someone else remove it for them. I see you, I’ve been you. It’s okay – it gets better, I promise.

38. Taken Pain Killers In Anticipation

dispensing medication into hand

You’re not in pain yet, but you’re heading into an important exam, competition, or meeting and you just don’t want to risk a sudden cramping attack. For this, you take anticipatory pain killers – the ones that, if cramps do come in and try to ruin your party, you’re already armored to take them down.

39. Been In A Bathroom Without A Trash Can And Had To Get Creative

menstrual pad being taken out of black purse

Picture this: You’re in college and you’re at a house party in a house where only guys live. You go to change a pad or tampon when you realize that they don’t have garbage in the main floor bathroom (or maybe not in any of their bathrooms). What do you do? You can’t flush it down (you risk stopping the toilet and ruining their bathroom). One popular go-to is the use of half the toilet paper roll to wrap it up and stuff it in your purse until you can find somewhere to properly store it.

40. Thought Your Were Dying And Then Got Your Period

woman pinching bridge of nose in pain, holding glasses in one hand

Ah, yes. The old “Oh no – all the symptoms I am experiencing are in line with ‘x’ terminal illness, I must be dying!” rabbit hole. If you haven’t thought at least once that your PMS symptoms were something horrifically wrong, good for you – I admire you but I am certainly not one of you.

How many of these secret things have you done while on your period? Is there anything here that we missed? Let us know in the comments!

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Julie Hambleton
Freelance Writer
Julie Hambleton has a BSc in Food and Nutrition from the Western University, Canada, is a former certified personal trainer and a competitive runner. Julie loves food, culture, and health, and enjoys sharing her knowledge to help others make positive changes and live healthier lives.