I'm going to have my period at the wedding… what the hell do I do?!

How to handle your period at the wedding as seen on @offbeatbride
This uterus plushie looks so sweet and innocent… we know better.
OK, so here's the deal: I have the heaviest, most uncomfortable and sadly unpredictable period EVER and here we are five days before the walk down the aisle and it's about to start. I can't find any ideas or help on the net except for people planning ahead with contraception. And contraception makes me sick and doesn't stop my period. WHAT IN GOD GREEN EARTH SHOULD I DO!? Any tips for keeping the dress white?

Oh man, is this ever #relatable. As someone who has shared your period woes, this is so so familiar and scary. Pristine dress, whacked out insides… when all you want to do is focus on having fun.

Let's talk about some tips to help when you have your period at the wedding, and hormone therapy isn't an option…

Image from My Mad Fat Diary, a UK show you should totally watch
Image from My Mad Fat Diary, a UK show you should totally watch

Tips when you have your period at the wedding…

Buy some period panties ahead of time

Period panties, like Thinx, are intended to be used alone. But if you're anticipating a really heavy flow, maybe pair period panties with another backup… or two. Thinx + tampons, Thinx + pads… you get it.

Pack some pre-moistened wipes

Stock up on some pre-moistened wipes in your Oh Shit Kit to keep things fresh. Boy, was there ever a good use of the term "oh shit."

How to handle your period at the wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Load up on supplies and have a friend carry extra for you

Make sure you have lots of supplies like tampons, menstrual cups, pads, etc. so you can swap out as needed. Change it a little more often than you normally would just so it's not occupying your mind. Give a few extra to a trusted friend so they can remind you whenever there's a lull in activity.

Fellow vagina-havers: do you have any tips to make having your period at the wedding a little easier? Help us out!

  1. This happened to me. I just packed extra supplies and hoped for the best! It worked out in the end. I also highly recommend the trash bag trick for keeping your dress clean in the bathroom while you take care of business!

    4 agree
  2. tampon, plus pad….

    If your dress is flowy, consider doing this with your pads. Take one extra long one (always makes one variety….it an overnight pad, and in the PURPLE wrapper and is very thick) and put it on regular. Then take another pad–up to you if you want the same thick one– and place it perpendicular to the other one in the place were you are prone to leaks.

    3 agree
    • Yes! Before I switched to a menstrual cup, I would have profound leaking problems at night. It made me feel like I was wearing a diaper to bed, but the "perpendicular pad" trick has saved me from a lot of blood-stained bedsheets.

      4 agree
  3. Equip your emergency kit with some tampons, extra pads, clean panties, chocolate and – if needed, I always do – some pain medication.
    I guess the wedding night is off, but don't worry, my body played along and I did not feel like having sex in my wedding night anyways, I just wanted to sleep, sleep and sleep after partying all night 🙂

    And take time for yourself if needed, ask your bridesmaides to accompany you for holding dresses on the toilet and keeping your emergency pack close, they are women, they will understand.

    All the best for your wedding! Always remember, it happens and it will not be the end of the world. You will have a great day!

    4 agree
  4. Undershorts over underpants or Thinx over pad over tampon … basically, put as many layers as possible between the dress and the crime scene. Change them out as often as necessary. If you have someone you don't mind seeing you in flagrante, have them hold your dress up for you during the switch-outs. Bring a detergent/bleach pen, and remember: cold water for blood. Good luck, and try not to stress about it too much!

    6 agree
  5. As an endometriosis and adenomyosis sufferer I used to have periods from hell, appallingly painful and heavy and by the end of it often these uncontrollable flooding moments. I ended up having a hysterectomy about six months before I got married and so the thing I had been dreading all my life never happened.

    I once had a period that lasted for two months which finally came to an end when a doctor prescribed me a drug that stopped it, which is also sometimes given to delay a period. This drug contains progesterone which is often called the pregnancy hormone. I have a history of strong emotional reaction to hormonal changes (raging PMT, contraceptive pill depresses me etc) and this drug made me very anxious and nervous, I actually came off it before the end of the planned course, with the approval of my doctor it was so unplesant. I mention this just to say be very wary of hormone experimentation (which is what any period delaying medication is) at such a significant time! If I had ended up living my nightmare and having my period when I got married this is what I would have done.

    Plan pain meds and appoint someone pain med monitor – my periods were survivable only with scrupulous adherence to a pain med regimen and by pre-treating pain with NSAIDS to stop build up prostaglandins (more here: http://endometriosis.org/treatments/painkillers/). If need to avoid/reduce alcohol due to pain meds, (when you otherwise drink alcohol) appoint a booze monitor who can also run interference with those trying to press booze on you. Basically have a plan.

    I would definitely have gone with a pad and an internal absorption method and double knickers/panties (or those amazing looking period knickers/panties that I had somehow been ignorant of my whole life until now). I would have had a hamper usable only by me, (no way I would risk someone using up my vital supplies) of wet wipes, hand sanitiser, nail brush (especially if using internal absorption methods) and possibly some clothing stain removal wipes. If wearing a big dress this could be helpful too: http://offbeatbride.com/how-to-pee/

    In the end I actually had my other worst nightmare happen on my wedding day, neither me or my wife slept AT ALL the night before. At 7am on my wedding morning I honestly didn’t know if either of us could get through the day we were so exhausted and frazzled with failing to sleep, and I was so devastated I burst into tears. But when my family arrived a little later and we started getting ready it just evaporated and I realised that I had a choice about how I dealt with what had been handed to me. We had the most amazing day and we were honestly just on a cloud of emotion and seemingly boundless energy the whole time. Sure we crashed hard the next day when the wedding day superhero powers had faded but looking back I still wouldn’t change a thing. There is something amazing that just kicks in on the day, or there was for me…. So in short, plan for what you can (at least you know now, not on the morning of the wedding day that this is happening) and try like hell to accept what you can’t plan for, because don't forget the category of things-you-can't-plan-for can also contain good things!

    5 agree
  6. I got my period the morning of NY wedding (ironically, today is our one year anniversary!), so I understand your emotions!! I put my MOH on dress-duty, making sure of no leaks, helping to the bathroom, etc. I HIGHLY recommend a menstrual cup. I use the divacup, and will never go back. It really makes my heavy flow more manageable. I used it with a liner, very comfortable and easy to forget! Your wedding will be amazing no matter what! Congratulations!!!!

    6 agree
    • I 100% second the use of a divacup. It holds way more than a pad or a tampon, so it doesn't need to be changed nearly as often. I love it as a teacher, because it means that I don't have any changing to do during the middle of the school day. My flow is pretty average, so your mileage may vary, but it can definitely mean less trips to the bathroom for you! Double that up with a pad for backup, and you should hopefully be set. If you're taking pain meds like Aleve, make sure you eat!!

      3 agree
      • Thirding the use of menstrual cups! It was literally the only thing that could cope with my endometriosis flooding and the huge clots and I used them for about 6 years before I finally had my hysterectomy.

        Learning to use it it is a process though and one that is so so so worth doing (I really can’t say enough how life changing it can be) BUT I really wouldn’t want to do it for the first time on a wedding day in a white dress.

        2 agree
  7. Although I know you can't do this too much as it can mess with Ph, for a special occasion day, rinse your vagina out with water spray – massager with a focused spray works well. You know the one! Squat down so you're open and give yourself a good rinse. I find it helps get a lot of the heaviness out and is light for the next several hours. So starting out 'fresh' like this and then using the other recommended tips will hopefully help you through your special day!

    I'd also second the diva cup – though make sure you've practiced with it to get it in correctly because I had major leaks the first time i used it. Once you get the seal right, its very reliable, comfortable, and at least my moderately heavy period, only fills the (size small) cup 1/3 the way twice a day.

    4 agree
    • I was going to suggest the less thorough version of this, which is a good shower where you try to let the "chunks" out (sorry for gross description) with your fingers. I do this before I plan to go swimming so I can just wear the cup without a liner and not worry about residue the cup can't catch.

      4 agree
  8. Also, if your dress if flowy, buzzfeed did a trial on different ways to pee in your wedding dress, this video may be especially helpful, because it has some good tips and ideas on how to keep the dress away from that area.

    3 agree
  9. I second and third all the others above about the doubling up method. Also schedule bathroom breaks every couple hours (I'd say every hour if you're very worried about it) to either change gear or to at least check on the situation. I was recently at a destination wedding (it was camping, outhouses and periods are a horrible combination) and got one of the heaviest periods of my life. Doubling up really helped ease the mind, also because if you go through one layer, but are in the middle of something (you know, like your vows) you have some time. Also purchase a pair of period panties, I hear they are AMAZING! Just that extra layer of protection and ease of mind. Good luck! Please respond and let us all know how it goes 🙂

    2 agree
  10. Oh man, as soon as I saw this, I dropped what I was doing to reply! I am so sorry and let me just say, I feel your pain girl! First off, let me just state that since you didn't say when your wedding is, I'm hoping you have a little time, so you can implement my Plan of Action.

    Step 1) Assuming that your period is fairly regular, try and figure out what day in your cycle your wedding is on. This will help you determine your flow. If you don't already have a period tracker app on your smrtphone, I recommend getting one asap. They're great for predicting when your period will be (assuming that's possible for you)

    Step 2) Buy a menstrual cup. If you are unsure about what size to get, get both! Practice putting it in, even if your not flowing. The best way to put it in is to fold it into a C-shape and then shove that puppy all the way up so it opens around your cervix (I've seen tutorials that say you can just put it in, but I have found putting it all the way up is the only way I don't leak. It will slide down some, but it still won't leak) Yes, mid-flow there will be blood. But it washes off with soap and water, I promise! I think the ick factor of that is faaaaar outweighed by how much easier your life will be with a cup.

    Step 3) get your doctor to prescribe muscle relaxants. Unless you live in Canada, in which case, go buy over the counter muscle relaxants while I die a little from jealousy.

    Step 4) While picking up your muscle relaxants, also grab a box or two of ThermaCare Menstrual Pain Therapy Heatwraps. Portable heating pads! They're not the best, but I think on this occasion, it's better to have them then not.

    Step 5) Decide on a second layer of protection. Whether it's Thinx or pads, definitely take no chances!

    Step 6) Pick up some trash bags with handles and prefect the art of the trash bag dress saver technique found here on Offbeat Bride: http://offbeatbride.com/how-to-pee/
    The handle specific bags are so you can put them around your shoulders to free your hands for manipulating your cup and then washing your hands.

    Step 7) Consider taking iron supplements (with your Doctor's approval, of course)

    Day of your wedding
    Step 8) drink lots of water and the period pain tea aid of your choice (I drink Yogi Women's Moon Cycle tea)

    Step 9) Douche a little while prior to clean yourself out

    Step 10) Right before you put on your dress, go for one final pee and empty out your cup. Make sure it is sufficiently clean, particularly the holes (if they are clogged when you put it in, that can cause leaks). Hopefully by now you will have a feel of how long you can go before you need to empty your cup. I find on heavy days, I can go 12 hours, but on light days, I can go 24 hours. If the cup is too full and needs to be emptied, you will actually be able to tell because gravity will start doing its thing and it will start to slide out. If you can't last 12 hours, set multiple alarms and ask multiple trusted people to remind you to use the bathroom at the designated empty time. Make sure it won't be at a poor time, like in the middle of photos. Also, if it's not long after something like photos takes place (let's say photos are supposed to wrap up at 5:30 and you need to empty at 6) try to do it BEFORE, in case the activity runs long.

    Ok, I think that's everything. I hope whatever method you choose, your special day isn't overshadowed by this. I'm really sorry, that totally sucks. But congratulations, best wishes, and good luck!

    4 agree
  11. This also happened to me and all I want to add to these very constructive comments is just because you have your period doesn't mean the wedding night is off. Blood is just extra lube. Get some dark towels (ours are a rich purple), lay them down in advance, go to town, and take a relaxing bath or shower together afterwards. He has to get used to your period as a part of you – nothing to be ashamed of, just a fact of life. No better time to start training him than now.

    9 agree
  12. I had the same problem, and I can't really add anything that hasn't been said, but I can say that despite everything, it really worked out fine. I was on "schedule" (as close as I get – these apps are pretty useless, at least for my cycle) to finish my period a few days before the wedding (perfect!), but then my previous period came 2 weeks late…so, plan changed, and now it was supposed to start a couple days after the wedding. My body started signaling me a few days prior that for the wedding I'd be on day 1 or 2 (very heavy, bad cramps, bad exhaustion), or at the end of pre-period (boobs that hurt if I move, unbearably emotional), so I was a wreck that whole week. Day of came, it showed up at noon. I get really bad cramps and exhaustion, so I loaded up on more Advil than I should have taken. Also passed it on to two other bridesmaids that day (one whose had just ended 2 weeks before), and had a couple others in the middle of theirs – we unofficially dubbed it the red wedding. Got through hair and makeup and felt…not great…ran to the bathroom to find that my cousin who had been talking all morning about how much she wanted to poop was in there, screamed "Lauren are you shitting in there?!?!?!" (not something I'm proud of), got in a minute or two later…changed into the spare underwear I had luckily decided to bring with me. That made two hours to oversaturate a super plus tampon, the next one hour would bring me to photos, two hours to ceremony time. So pad + tampon it was (thank you flowy dress). I was freaking out, but after all that, my flow finally slowed, and once things got rolling the adrenaline (I'm sure the Advil played a role too) kept all my normal, REALLY, REALLY bad symptoms away. And the "wedding night" still happened…with towels (he didn't want to break a streak his friends apparently had going…..). What I'm trying to say is…it's not going to be as bad as you fear.

    1 agrees
  13. It's a bit late for the OP, but I swear by zinc supplementation for delaying periods. Case in point: Last week I was away on a dance trip that required me to wear (amongst other things) an ankle-length white satin dress each evening. Typically my period was due on or around the first day of the trip. I took 100% of the UK recommended daily amount of zinc with every meal and another at bedtime to get me through the night and the dreaded period didn't show up until the morning after the last time I took off that great beast of a white dress.

    Zinc is also a pretty good delaying tactic for ovulation, which has a knock-on effect on periods, but you have to be pretty regular or tracking mucous and temperature to identify when you are likely to be ovulating.

    It amazes me that more women don't know about zinc as it helps with premenstrual symptoms and pain too, there aren't many good research studies out there but I guess no-one's going to get rich off supplements.

    1 agrees
  14. Although I ended up not needing it, I got a one-off Rx of Nuvaring. I planned to insert it a month ahead during ovulation to hormonally delay my period until after the wedding. This obviously would work best for a "regular" person who isn't five days from the aisle. I am also a former user of Nuvaring, so I also already knew how my body would react.

  15. If you generally find that you get super bloated and generally yucky feeling, vitamin B6 tablets can help with that. I need to take them in the lead up to sports comps where I am going to have my period, and maybe a wedding is kinda the same!

  16. Drink liquorice tea! It naturally lowers testosterone levels and will delay your cycle. I discovered this accidentally when I started drinking peppermint and liquorice tea daily (it's delish!) and my ovulation AND menstruation were a week late (I've done this during 3 separate months). If you have time, I suggest testing this theory for a month before you rely on it for you big day, but it worked wonders for me 🙂 Good luck!

  17. I miscarried the day before my wedding. :/

    I couldn't even use my trusty Diva cup. I made it through the day (somehow). You'll make it.

  18. The vaginal sponge is used by sex workers so they can still work when on their period. Might be just the thing for the wedding night.
    Check out this (NSFW explicit but really informative) feminist comic about them:
    http://www.ohjoysextoy.com/sponge/
    I have a non hormonal IUD and can't take any hormonal stuff at all, ever (stroke risk). Using a menstrual cup with an IUD is pretty scary because I get scared the auction will dislodge my IUD.
    I also have a lot of GI distress around my period and have never found anything to ease that. Does anyone have any tips for horrible intestinal issues associated with menstruation? I don't want to spend my wedding day suddenly running to the toilet or in intense pain as I wait, like I have to every normal period day.

    • I saw that no one has answered your question about how to stop the GI issues associated with menstruation, so I thought I'd try to help.

      I get painfully bloated, and my guts can make the most horrific gurgling noises on my first and second days bleeding. I spend a lot of time in the bathroom during the day, and at night, the noise keeps me awake. The only way I can stop this is by:

      + consistently eating well, and getting my insoluble fiber (salads!)

      + having probiotic foods and drinks like kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables

      + taking a good probiotic supplement* and other supplements associated with gut health, like vitamin D3 or fermented cod liver oil (which contains D3)

      *NOTE: A good probiotic does not need refrigeration.

      + drinking plenty of water!

      + taking an herbal supplement for normalizing menstruation

      + drinking ginger tea–I prefer to make it, but Traditional Medicinals makes a great tea called Ginger-Aid–and other herbal teas that help calm GI woes

      + exercising regularly

      + rejecting processed foods as much as I can

      Most of my strategy, as you can see, is preventative. When my lifestyle isn't good, my period makes me pay for it with agonizing symptoms including migraines, anemia, anxiety, and depression, on top of the gut problems. When I keep up good nutrition, supplements, herbs, exercise, and hydration, my periods are just slightly inconvenient (and I miraculously do not experience PMS).

      I so hope you've found relief by now, but if you haven't, I hope something I've listed here will help.

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