Are you unsure about the meaning of certain words? Do you have an important question that no one has been able to answer? Just click through these questions. Use the search function to look for certain terms!
Der weibliche Körper
What is READY FOR RED’s definition of “girl”?
READY FOR RED defines girls as people who see themselves as girls and feel like a girl (and are generally below 18 years old). We are, however, aware that there are people who were born with female sexual organs or identify as females who do not menstruate. On the other hand, there are people who do not identify as female (such as transgender, intersexual and non-binary people) yet menstruate.
What is menstruation?
Menstruation is the monthly bleeding from the vagina when the mucous membrane becomes detached. It is also called period etc. and is a completely normal process!
What are the inner and outer female sexual organs?
The inner sexual organs are inside the body and not visible from the outside. They include the vagina, uterus, the two ovaries and the two fallopian tubes.
The outer sexual organs are also called vulva. The are visible from the outside. They include the pubic mound, the outer labia, the clitoris and the entrance to the vagina.
What is the hymen?
The hymen is a thin, elastic tissue fold or a tissue circle at the entrance to the vagina. It is not a piece of skin that blocks the entrance to the vagina! The hymen looks different from one girl to the other. Some girls are born without a hymen and many girls’ hymens remain intact even though they have had sexual intercourse.
Menstrual blood can drain without any problems despite the hymen! Tampons do not injure it either.
What is the uterus?
The uterus is at the upper end of the vagina and looks like an upside-down pear. Like the vagina, it is a muscle. Every month, mucous membrane builds up inside the uterus.
What is mucous membrane?
Mucous membrane is a protective layer that shields various organs. The uterus is also lined with a mucous membrane. During the cycle this mucous membrane thickens.
What is fertilisation?
Fertilisation is the union of a male sperm cell or a male sperm and a female egg cell. The fertilised egg cell may develop into a baby.
What is the urethra?
The urethra is the organ that guides urine from the bladder out of the body.
What are hormones?
Hormones are also called messenger substances. They control important bodily functions such as digestion, growth and a person’s emotions.
From puberty onwards, certain hormones in the female body ensure that an egg cell matures in one of the two ovaries every month. Therefore they also regulate the female cycle.
Die erste Menstruation
How do girls know that they will soon have their first period?
The signs of the first period vary. Many girls notice a discharge in their underpants that can range from transparent to a whitish colour. It is secreted by the vagina and is completely normal! Click here for more information.
Why do some girls experience very heavy menstrual bleeding and other girls very weak menstrual bleeding?
Some girls and women experience heavier bleeding than others. Menstrual bleeding may become heavier after giving birth or after insertion of a copper coil for contraception.
In general, the uterus contracts to quickly secrete the mucous membrane. As a result, the mucous membrane is loosened and is easily flushed out with the blood. If these contractions are made more difficult by benign ulcers or the coil, menstrual bleeding can become heavier and longer. (Harmless) medical problems can also cause heaver bleeding.
If your bleeding is very heavy and you need to change your tampon or sanitary towel every 1-2 hours, you should visit your gynaecologist.
Why does menstrual blood smell different?
Menstrual blood has a very specific smell. This is due to the iron in the blood. A strange or “fishy” smell may be the result of thrush. Click here for more information.
Important! You should not wash your vagina with perfumed soaps. They may disturb your vaginal flora and worsen the smell. Click here for more info on good intimate hygiene. Tampons, sanitary towels and panty liners made of synthetic material can also make the smell worse. Try hygiene products made of biologic cotton. Click here for sustainable hygiene products.
What is menstrual blood and what are these clots?
Menstrual blood is not just blood alone. It may also contain small blood clots. These “small pieces” are part of the uterus’s mucous membrane. Half the menstrual blood is blood and the other half is a combination of vaginal secretion, the unfertilised egg cell and the mucous membrane shed by the uterus. This is completely natural!
Click here for more information.
What is spotting?
Spotting is a reddish-brown mucous. It is also called intermenstrual bleeding. Women often notice it a day before or after menstruation. It may also occur around ovulation. It is completely normal. Spotting may also have other causes (e.g. stress, lovesickness or hormonal changes) and is an important indicator of a woman’s health. If girls and women often experience spotting outside their periods, they should consult a doctor.
See this video for more information about a visit to the gynaecologist.
Allgemeines zu Hygieneprodukten
What happens to tampons, sanitary towels and panty liners after use?
They are disposed in the waste bin! Wrap them in toilet paper and put them in the waste bin – do not throw them into the toilet under any circumstances! They may block the pipes and that costs a lot of money!
If there is no waste bin next to the toilet, put them into the waste bin next to the sink. No need to be embarrassed!
Can the hymen tear when you insert a tampon/menstrual cup?
If the tampon is inserted correctly, the hymen should not be injured. The hymen has a natural opening; you can insert the tampon through this opening. Bear in mind that hormones make the hymen soft and flexible during puberty. Start with the smallest size. Menstrual cups can be used before the first time. They may take longer to insert, as the vaginal muscles are still considerably stronger. Try a small cup!
What happens if I cannot remove the tampon / the menstrual cup?
Stay calm and relax.
If you use a tampon, wait until it is completely saturated, squat and push it down. You should be able to grab it with two fingers and pull it out.
If you use a menstrual cup, you can also squat and push it gently towards the vaginal entrance. You should then be able to ease the negative pressure easily with your clean and dry (!) fingers.
If this does not help, you should visit your gynaecologist. No need to be embarrassed.
Can I use tampons at night?
Tampons should be changed after 6 hours, at the latest. Therefore girls/women should use sanitary towels or panty liners at night. If tampons are left inside the body for too long, they can dry out the vagina and, in a worst-case scenario, lead to toxic shock syndrome (TSS). Click here for more info.
Is it possible to use tampons for vaginal discharge or outside the period?
No! Tampons absorb the healthy vaginal fluid. This may lead to thrush and infections.
Can I use/try tampons before my first period?
Better not! Tampons should not be used before the first period. Inserting a tampon could result in pain.
What are the advantages of cloth sanitary towels?
By using reusable products, you can reduce waste and save money! Good cloth sanitary towels are made of organic cotton. This is better for the environment and the body. No chemicals or pesticides are used, and the skin is not exposed to harmful substances such as plastic.
How do I clean cloth sanitary towels and panty liners and what shall I do when I am out?
You can wash cloth sanitary towels by hand or in the washing machine at 40° or 60°. We recommend pre-soaking or rinsing in cold water prior to washing, as the blood does come off more easily in cold water. You can put heavily soiled sanitary towels in soda water or let them dry in the sun. Do not use bleach, brightening agents or fabric conditioner. If you are out and unable to wash the cloth sanitary towels, simply put them into a separate, waterproof bag.
What can I do against menstrual symptoms?
Relaxation and a hot bath can work miracles!
Your diet also has a significant influence on the cycle and may reduce or increase period problems. Alcohol and milk products should be avoided.
Click here and here for more advice.
Can I take painkillers every day?
As a general rule, painkillers should not be taken for more than a few consecutive days. They should be used sparingly. If you take them too often, they can cause further problems. Ideally you should speak to a doctor before taking them.
How does PMS feel?
There are around 150 different symptoms of PMS – premenstrual syndrome. The most common symptoms are:
- joint and muscle pain
- impure skin
There are also some positive aspects on the days before the days:
- higher self-esteem
- increased desire for sex
Click here for more info.
Scheidenausfluss & Scheidenpilz
What is vaginal discharge and what is spotting?
Many girls notice a whitish discharge in their underpants as early as 1-2 years before their first menstruation. This is completely normal!
It may change during the cycle.
Before or after ovulation the discharge is usually yellowish-white and viscous.
Around ovulation it becomes thick and more transparent. At this time a woman is particularly fertile! Some of the uterine mucous membrane may be shed a few days before the menstruation. The discharge is usually reddish to brown. This is the so-called spotting which may occur around ovulation and is completely normal.
What is thrush and what does it have to do with discharge?
Thrush becomes apparent by a whitish crumbly discharge from the vagina. It also causes severe itching! Click here for all the important information on this subject.
Pille Sex & Co.
Can girls and women get pregnant during menstruation?
Yes! If ovulation happens early on in the cycle, women can become pregnant during menstruation. The fertile time may therefore overlap with the menstruation. You should also bear in mind that sperm can survive inside the vagina for 4-5 days.
It is important to use contraception at all times!
Soziales - Kulturelles - Historisches
Do all women need to use hygiene products for their periods?
Some women do not use any tampons or sanitary towels. They are able to control their bodies in such a way that they allow the menstrual blood to drain off when they go to the toilet. This requires some training and is not always possible in everyday life. This trend is also called “free bleeding”.
What does transgender mean and what does it have to do with menstruation?
Transgender feel they were born in the wrong body (i.e. the wrong gender). This may happen, when a boy feels more like a girl and the other way round. They want to belong to the other gender.
And, of course, people who do not feel like a woman and may not look like a woman, can still menstruate.
In this video Sam tells you about his experiences.
Müll & Umwelt
What are sanitary towels, panty liners and tampons made of and how are they produced?
Most tampons are made of cellulose, cotton and/or plastic which is derived from crude oil, amongst other things. There are also products that are free from plastic, such as e.g. tampons and sanitary towels made of organic cotton.
What are cellulose and viscose?
Wood turns into cellulose by undergoing many chemical processes. The chemical fibre viscose is made of cellulose.
Where are sanitary towels, panty liners and tampons disposed?
Tampons and sanitary towels can block the pipes in the toilet and cause significant costs. Therefore hygiene products should always be disposed in the waste bin!
What does sustainability mean?
Sustainability means caring about the environment and its living beings. This is particularly important when we shop, whether we shop for food, clothes, or hygiene products. What is the difference between traditional and sustainable products? Click here to find out.
Are there any sustainable alternatives to traditional hygiene products?
Yes! Menstrual cups and cloth sanitary towels can be reused for many years and cause very little waste! There are also particularly sustainable tampons and sanitary towels made of organic cotton. Organic cotton is degradable and does not contain artificial or chemical additives. Organic cotton also needs less water than traditional cotton. Click here for more information.