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Managing Periods in the Transgender Community

Getting your periods as a person who doesn’t identify as a woman can be heart-wrenching. Gender dysphoria is at its highest during this period as it almost feels as though you have no control over your body.

A recent study by  Taylor & Francis Group showed that trans men and masculine people that get periods are more likely to feel frustrated especially when there isn’t enough information on how to manage their periods. But fret not, having your periods in no way disapproves of your gender. Anyone can have periods regardless of their gender.

If this natural occurrence stresses you up and leaves you frustrated, there are a number of ways for managing periods in the transgender community. Keep in mind that managing your periods in no way means you’re less of a man. It only shows you love yourself and are ready to take care of yourself.

To help you in that process, here are a few things you can do to remain happy and less stressed during that time.

Distract yourself

It can be hard to keep your mind away from what’s happening to your body during this time. It’s a time when you’re likely to doubt your gender identity and feel alienated from the world. However, at Tampon Tribe, we advise you to look for activities that you enjoy doing to distract yourself from thinking about what you’re going through. You can watch a movie, go out shopping, attend your favorite sport games, hang out with friends, anything that will keep your mind away from your periods. 

Make menstrual cups your friend

In addition to distracting yourself, you can use sanitary supplies that won’t constantly remind you of what’s happening. Tampon Tribe’s organic menstrual cups are an awesome option. Not only do they hold your periods for longer periods, they are reusable and biodegradable, so you’re contributing to the environment positively. Also, it means not visiting the shop regularly for supplies which is a leading cause for gender dysphoria according to transgender model and activist Kenny Ethan Jones in an NBCNews article:

“Having a period already causes me a lot of [gender] dysphoria, but this dysphoria becomes heightened when I have to shop for a product that is labeled as ‘women’s health’ and in most cases, is pretty and pink.” 

Menstrual cups hold upto 30ml of volume at a go and will therefore prevent you from visiting the washroom frequently to change. Furthermore, they are easily concealed  and won’t bring you unwarranted attention. Unlike pads, you don’t have to worry about the usual “wrapper sound” when changing. Tampons are also great. You can shop for them online especially before your periods when your dysphoria is at its lowest. 

Get on hormonal birth control

Another way of managing periods in the transgender community is using hormonal birth control to reduce the frequency or heaviness of periods. Menstruating isn’t a women only affair as stated earlier. So if it distracts you and makes you feel less of a man, there are a number of treatments to help ease the situation. Using birth control pills, IUD, hormonal ring, hormonal implant, provera injection are all great ways to stop or reduce your periods.

These treatments stop your body from releasing the follicle stimulating hormone which initiates menstruation. They effectively stop your menstrual cycle.

Testosterone injections are also viable but some people still have spotting months after treatment. It’s best to communicate with your doctor for the best option for you.

A more permanent way to stop your period is a hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus). However, it can be hard to find a doctor that will do the procedure or insurance that will cover it.

Treat yourself

If you’re experiencing cramps during your periods, you can use painkillers to ease the pain. If cramps isn’t a problem, treating yourself to some niceties will help you feel better about yourself despite being on your periods. Let this be the only time you’re allowed to eat a whole container of ice cream or a whole pizza or a big bar of chocolate. Sleep in to your favorite Netflix series or play your favorite PlayStation games. Anything to make you feel good about yourself. Try to remember that your period is not male or female, and it does not make you male or female. And that is okay.

Get in a support group

A lot of people in the transgender community have said that being in a support group eases their depression. They’re able to share their problems and receive solutions from other people like them going through the same problem. You can also chat anonymously with someone at a LGBTQIA helpline like The Trevor Project

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