Women share their secret period horror stories. And they're bloody brilliant.

When I was 15, I had no greater enemy than the godforsaken tampon.

No matter how hard I tried, it just wouldn’t go in. 

Everyone else seemed to use them with such ease – and while they swam, I spent summer days stuck inside, missing swimming carnivals and trips to the beach.

And then one day, I decided I’d had enough. I would NOT be limited by my bleeding vagina. I was a new-aged woman. I should be able to swim and wear dresses without fear of the wings on my pad showing.

So I went into the bathroom and spent at least half an hour attempting to insert it into my vagina hole. There were diagrams. There were legs on toilet seats. There were at least 13 failed attempts.

Watch: Mamamia staff reveal our most awkward period stories. Post continues below.

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Then finally. BOOM. It was in. I walked around the bathroom for a minute and it seemed pretty, er, sturdy.

“This is what freedom feels like!” I thought as I strutted pad-less through my house on a scorching hot day. I chucked on my bikini and a few moments later jumped in the pool.

And… holy sh*t.


That tampon just… wasn’t in.

You know how tampons inflate when you put them in a glass of water? We used to wet them at school and then launch them at each other.

Maybe if I’d spent more time LEARNING ABOUT TAMPONS than ATTACKING PEOPLE WITH THEM I’d have known that a tampon is meant to go properly inside your vagina, not just sit near the opening. When I jumped in the pool, I think less than half of the tampon was in my actual vagina.

I think… I think that day I lost my virginity to a tampon. It ‘poofed’ up. It really hurt. I yelled and jumped out of the pool. And I didn’t insert another tampon for years.

Another time when my mum was away and I’d only recently had my first period, I walked upstairs to see a blood trail throughout all the upstairs bathrooms. It looked like someone had been bleeding on tissue paper and sprinkled it everywhere.


Turns out my dog had gone through the bin next to the toilet. And semi eaten all the sanitary items within it. Explaining that to my dad was up there with one of the worst moments of my life.

Every woman has a period horror story. Image: Carrie, United Artists.

There is some comfort in knowing I am not alone in having a whole host of period horror stories.

So I spoke to 12 women about their worst period related story. And damn, they're bloody good.


"I'm quite a heavy flow person. I had a particular experience at work once with my moon cup.  I'd removed it and I just didn't get it right. I tugged on it, and instead of it coming out gracefully in my hand, it actually exploded all over the bathroom. It hit the wall, it hit the toilet, and it rolled out of my particular cubicle out into the open area of the bathroom. Luckily no one else was in there. I was cleaning up blood off the floor, off the toilet, out of the cubicle, next to the sink. Super, super messy."

Side note... listen to Mamamia's daily news podcast, The Quicky. On this episode, we talk about the period revolution and how women are changing the way we bleed in 2020. Post continues below.


"When I was in Year 6 I got my period and it went all through the back of my school dress. To make matters worse, this older girl I went to school with (and did dancing with) NOTICED and asked me if I wanted a tampon. I was so, so embarrassed."


"When I was 16, I was at my little sister's best friend's house, and trying to get into the whole "tampon" thing. I clearly didn't put it in correctly, and when I hopped off the girl's bed to grab my school bag, MY TAMPON ROLLED OUT ONTO THE WHITE CARPET AND STAINED IT."

Oh yes, hi period. Welcome. Image via Broad City.


"I had sex with a guy recently and woke up and was like, "what is the brown goo near my head?" Period. Sadly for him, he was staying in an AirBnb and that was night one."


"I was walking through Sydney airport one afternoon, on my way to Melbourne to visit my family. Little did I know I was leaving a dripping trail of little blood spots all the way to luggage check in. COOL."


"I was at my cousin's house, we were 13, and I bled all over her bed. I was so embarrassed, I woke up at 5am and quietly went back and forth between the bathroom, retrieving soap and tissues to try and rectify the issue. It took two hours of creeping in and out to try get rid of the stain. I put every bit of bloodied paper towel into my sleepover bag, which my mum found when I got home."


"When my boyfriend and I first started dating, I got my period during sex. I realised once we had finished, and I could see that there was blood all over the sheets, his hands and his penis. I somehow managed over the course of about an hour, to fully strip the bed and clean him and I up, without waking him. I'm still so proud."


"I hadn't had my period for a long time (like years) and I forgot what hap

pens, ie. you bleed a lot. Anyway I got up to have a shower at my boyfriend's house and like a wave of blood just poured out onto his bathroom floor. It was so humiliating and it went all over his favourite t-shirt, which I had discarded next to me moments earlier. I had to try and secretly clean it up and his housemate was late for work and needed the shower. It was the worst."

Image via iStock.


"When I was a teenager one time I had no tampons or pads and was using toilet paper as an emergency EXCEPT I didn't do it right. I must have been wearing loose-fitting undies because as I walked down the street a blood-spotted chunk of toilet paper fell out and onto the footpath."


"I was 11 when I got my period, and I wasn't able to use a tampon until I was 17. Anyway, when I was 12 I decided to go swimming with a pad on in a friends pool. A PAD. IN A POOL. And it SLID OUT. I don't know what I was thinking."


"I got my period for the first time when I was 12 and my mum was away. I had no idea what a pad was or how to put it on, so I asked my dad. Together, we decided that the sticky side went against the vag... not the undies."


"A few months after I had my second child, I went to a swimming lesson with my first born. The last thing on my mind was getting my period. Suddenly, I was surrounded by a red cloud of water, unlike anything I had ever seen. They had to make everyone in pool evacuate, and the next class was cancelled. I have never, ever been so mortified."

This article was originally published on January 29, 2017. It was updated on 25 February, 2020. 
Feature image: Getty.

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