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Managing Discharge & Period Stains

Managing Discharge & Period Stains

Written by Yoppie

23 Apr 2021

Why is discharge a thing??

Plan ahead

Use liners 

What to do if you leak through your clothes

How to clean stained underwear, clothes and bedsheets

Oh the shame!! You’ve come on your period unexpectedly, and now your underwear is stained with blood or discharge. It happens to us all - sometimes it’s even a monthly occurrence - but for some reason we all HATE talking about it, and proceed to shove our period-y pants to the bottom of the laundry basket in fear of someone coming across the crime scene. Since we at Yoppie love to talk about the things that nobody else wants to… let’s dig out those embarrassing stains and see what’s going on.

Why is discharge a thing??

Right?! What a gross and unnecessary accompaniment to your period! Except it’s not gross or unnecessary. Discharge is a common, totally normal thing to happen around your period. It’s your body’s way of preparing for the blood to arrive. Healthy discharge is basically just fluid and bacteria from vaginal cells. Normally, you’ll produce a little less than a teaspoon’s worth of white, clear or cloudy discharge every day (that’s about 4ml). Discharge may be annoying, but it’s actually pretty handy as it helps to lubricate the vagina and remove any unwanted bacteria. 

Got excess discharge? This can sometimes be a sign that you should see your GP. Watch out for any bad smells (usually fishy) which could mean bacterial vaginosis, lumpy white discharge that could be thrush, and any sores or pelvic pain which could be a sign of a number of STIs. It’s probably nothing, but always best to get checked. You can also take a look at our guide to the different colours of blood to watch out for.

Plan ahead

A study of menstrual tracking found that the 5 main reasons for tracking periods were to be aware of general health, to understand the body's reactions to different phases of the cycle, to become pregnant, to inform conversations with healthcare providers, and... to be prepared. By planning ahead, you can ensure you always have the tools you need to protect your pants from dreaded period stain. 

There are all sorts of apps and special journals you can buy, but all you really need is a calendar - for the first two or three months it’s just about finding a pattern. Eventually, you’ll be able to identify the specific week, sometimes day, and even down to the hour if you’re lucky, so you know when to be ready. 

Use liners 

In case you’ve never thought to use liners before, these are like sanitary towels, but smaller and less absorbent. Their purpose is not to soak up periods or heavy bleeding, but simply to stop your underwear being stained by discharge or light period flow. Genius!

You shouldn’t be using tampons if you’re not bleeding, so these compact and comfortable discharge-catchers (yes, let’s call them that) could be exactly what you need to protect that precious new thong you just purchased. And yep, you can get our own super-soft organic cotton pantyliners as part of your Yoppie box so you never run out: winner.

What to do if you leak through your clothes

Everyone has leaked through their clothes before, and no matter how embarrassing your experience, there’s always someone with a story that will blow yours out of the water - so don’t worry! It’s handy to carry a bag or pouch with emergency sanitary supplies. Pop a fresh pair of pants in there, or carry a change of trousers if you’re really worried. Wearing dark colours also helps, and layers, so you can tie one around your waist to cover stains. 

Remember, most women will feel your pain when it comes to embarrassing leaks, so don’t be afraid to ask someone - even a stranger - for sanitary products or to discreetly help you get to a nearby loo. Lastly, if you leak and you can’t cover it, own it. It’s happened to us all at some point, but if you need a bit more inspiration, there’s the ever-empowering story of when Kiran Gandhi ran the London Marathon with blood stains down her legs. Yes, yes, yes!

How to clean stained underwear, clothes and bedsheets

To save your fabrics, there are a few top tips you can try:

  • Use a dedicated stain remover - Good Housekeeping has a whole blog post on the best stain removers. We know… riveting stuff! But it might just save that new pair of briefs you bought. 
  • Get them in a soak or laundry load straight away if you can, so there’s more chance of their survival.
  • Run them under cold water. Hot water can make stains set, but cold will often remove most of the blood and soften any crusty discharge before you stick it in a wash later.
  • On lighter fabrics, try lemon juice. Apply it directly to the stained area and let it sit for about half an hour before you put it in the wash. Don’t do this for dark coloured garments though, as it could bleach them. 
  • Sometimes the sad truth is… the pants are unsalvageable. If so, treat yourself to a new pair of undies!

Do you have any tips for getting period stains out? Shout out in our private Facebook group or drop us a note on Insta @itsyoppie. Don't forget that our personalised period box can get organic tampons, PMS supplements and more delivered easily and regularly through your letterbox, which is one less thing to worry about each cycle.

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