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Image: Tina Tiller
Image: Tina Tiller

SocietyJuly 19, 2022

Bloody hell: Outstanding period horror stories from across Aotearoa

Image: Tina Tiller
Image: Tina Tiller

Warning: the following period stories, submitted by readers across the country, are not for the faint of heart. 

All week we are examining our relationship with menstruation in Aotearoa. Read more Bleed Week content here. 

It ain’t always easy to go about your regular life when some of your insides are trying to get outside. Anyone who has a period will have a good spooky story to tell with a torch under their chin about wearing white pants on the wrong day, forgetting a tampon on a trip into the wilderness, or dropping their bloody cup in a public toilet. We asked you to send in your gnarliest, funniest, saddest, scariest, weirdest period stories, and you delivered. Reader, you have been warned.

One-sentence wonders

I bled all over my boyfriend’s new pants while grinding on him. 

My tampon fell out while running. 

Period came during my first time being a nude model.

The shortest period horror story ever: endometriosis.

This can actually happen

Puberty blues

I’d had my period for about a year and had been using pads. The worst thing ever finally happened and my period coincided with the upcoming swimming sports at school. Mum said it was time for me to learn to use tampons. I could not get the hang of them, wasted about 15 Tampax, cried for 24 hours and vomited into the bathroom bin full of bloody cardboard applicators. Mum eventually had to help me put one in. I still want to die thinking about it but I did do reasonably well in the 100m backstroke.

I got my first period when I was 12. Once I hit 15, my cramps would be so painful that I would get dizzy and vomit. The first two days of every period for a while were spent horizontal with a hot water bottle or on the porcelain throne. 

I was on form two camp and we walked from camp to horse riding. I got halfway there, a 10-minute walk, and I bled through my super tampon and my clothes and the blood started dripping down my leg. It was excruciatingly embarrassing and I had to walk back with one of the teachers to change.

When I first got my period I was so freaked out about it that I threw all my bloody undies and pads into a bucket under the house and poured bleach on it every few weeks hoping it would all dissolve. We moved house years ago, but the blood monster bucket is probably still there. 

My mother gave me tampons without explaining how they worked and so I would put them in but not push them upwards and it was a very uncomfortable experience until I read the little booklet on the packet a few cycles later! 

What a sentient pad monster looks like (probably)

Out and about

I fell asleep on the plane and bled through my light blue jeans. Walked down the whole aisle unaware, then had to wear them for another 12 hours. I always pack a change of clothes now.

Decidual cast is a rare side effect of the pill and I’ve had it twice [editor’s note: do not Google this at work]. It’s white and fleshy, looks like an alien from a cheap horror game in the early 2010s. I had the worst cramping in my life before it came out in one big jelly glop. Also, I was on the piss when it happened and the pain stopped so I just flushed and carried on with my night.     

I was once really high at a barbecue and on my period. My foot went numb about seven times, so I kept going out to reread the tampon leaflet to make sure it wasn’t toxic shock syndrome. Kept reassuring myself and heading back to the barbecue over and over. As I was coming down, I realised I had been tucking one foot underneath myself every time I sat down. 

On my gap year when I was 17, I got my period and had a heavy flow. Wondering why my lady bits smelt super funky – realised about four days later that my tampon had been lost up there and I’d been putting in second tampons. 

Once my cramps got so bad that I ended up curled up in a ball at the mall and had to be helped down the stairs because I couldn’t walk without falling over. 

My first night wearing period underwear and I went to a friend’s house for dinner. I wore their most absorbent underwear (good for three tampons’ worth, apparently). All I can say is it was a literal bloodbath, Stephen King wouldn’t have gotten a look in. Forty years old and still failing. 

Going to any event with your period

Work woes

I slightly bled through my pants when I was a junior lawyer a few years ago. I asked to pop home and get changed and my male boss said “you might as well stay there – you lot are no use when when you’re on the rag anyway”. 

I was working freelance for a couple days in a fancy Ponsonby office. I went to the bathroom and emptied my menstrual cup but I must have been not really thinking because for some reason that day I hadn’t emptied it into the wharepaku first, I just put the full menstrual cup under the tap and turned it on…. only to find the tap was like fire hose pressure and splashed the contents of the cup all over the mirror, the wall, the floor and me.

My manager at work asked me if I wanted a promotion and I couldn’t speak or say anything in reply because I could feel my cup leaking into my expensive new jeans. 

Bleeding through my white jeans at work at age 30 made me feel like a Libra ad from the 90s directed by heterosexual men who’d never bought their wives tampons in their lives.

In the 90s, everyone on their periods wore white.

Cup carnage

The first time I decided to try out my menstrual cup I was roughly three wines deep after the launch party for Survivor season two and I did not read the instructions properly. Shoving it up there with the aplomb of a well-seasoned tampon user, I went to bed and forgot about it until the NEXT EVENING when it started LEAKING and I remembered I was WITH CUP. Unfortunately, due to aforementioned aplomb, I had placed the cup waaaaay too high and my stupid stubby fingers couldn’t get a good grip on it. At this point my lizard brain took over and I simply lay down in the bath, doing deep breaths, and GAVE BIRTH to my menstrual cup. 

My moon cup popped out while bouncing on a TRAMPOLINE at the ZOO and I had to walk past the LION ENCLOSURE to the toilet to sort myself out. 

At the opening night of the Auckland Art Fair, my moon cup started gushing blood. I had to walk half the length of the Cloud with my legs stuck together so the blood wouldn’t run down to my ankles. A friend helped me to get to the bathroom and we were in hysterics because I had blood running down to my knees. 

On about day three of my first foray into menstrual cup life, I tried to pull it out it at work to empty, as I’d done successfully the previous couple of days, but I couldn’t get a grip on the bugger. Ah well, I thought, it’s not leaking, I’ll just leave it. I gave it no further thought. Until, on getting home that evening, I discovered – with a sense of increasing dread – that the cup was stuck. Jammed in there. Not. Coming. Out. I could reach it, just, but the stem was nowhere to be found. The cup had somehow turned itself sideways. Feeling increasingly panicky, I texted my sister to inform her of my predicament. She responded, helpfully, with OH MY GOD THIS IS A DISASTER WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO????!!!! I ended the conversation and sat on the couch for a while, did some Googling, wondered if I’d have to go to A&E, then messaged a workmate who I recall had experienced a similar predicament [editor’s note: see above]. Both Google and the workmate were far more helpful than my sister: relax, do some deep breathing, maybe lie down in the bath or shower and bear down. It’s not pretty but it works – essentially, I gave birth to the cup, then poured myself a stiff drink to recover. I admit I swore off that cursed cup for the next few cycles, but eventually, I braved it once again, and you know what? It was absolutely fine. The moral of the story is you don’t need to shove it up there as far as you might think – it’s not a tampon! And if it does get stuck, try to stay calm and remember – it will come out. 

A beautiful birth

THE R18 SEALED SECTION

I was hooking up with my boss from a bar I worked at, it was dark but I could tell that things were a bit slicker than usual and did some quick mental calculations and realised I was due to get my period. He was really going to town and I didn’t want to ruin his flow, but when he finished I told him to go to straight to the shower and not turn on the light. I heard him go in, flick on the light and then I heard him scream. He was splattered in menstrual blood from his knees to his chest.

It was my third date with my ex, and after we had sex I dripped period blood all over her white bathmat. Honestly, bold of me to have period sex on the third date though. 

Once I went home with someone and woke up in the morning with what can only be described as a murder scene that had exploded in my bed. I was hungover and only realised when he got up to go to the bathroom that we were both covered in blood. I wanted to melt into a sea of nothingness in that moment and ever since can’t sleep next to someone if I have my period or know it’s due soon.

I was making out with someone and I was a bit tipsy and I knew that eventually I would have to tell him I was on my period, but I was enjoying the make-out session in the meantime. Things were getting hotter and heavier and I was pretty into it and hands started roaming places, I had my menstrual cup in so… “certain activities” were able to be entertained without detection. I think I got a bit carried away because the next thing I know, dude is trying to get it in and being met tip first with the pointy end of my menstrual cup. “Oh yeah! I should mention something…”

Keep going!