Menstruation and its many names!

Periods are unpredictable. But we women find ways to predict and express them well, whether it is in spoken or in sign language. Here is a collated list of 15 slang words for menstruation. 

  1. Aunt Flo

  2. On the Rag

  3. Lady Business

  4. That Time of the Month

  5. The Red Badge of Courage

  6. Moon Time

  7. Crimson Tide

  8. Checking into the Red Roof Inn

  9. Red Wedding

  10. Girl Flu 

  11. Carrie

  12. Mother Nature’s Gift

  13. The Red Baron

  14. Riding the Cotton Pony

  15. Shark Week

All of these words are euphemisms for one thing: menstruation. An international survey conducted by the health app Clue found that there are more than 5,000 different slangs/euphemistic expressions and phrases for periods: from the gentle English 'Aunt Flo,' to the dramatic French 'Les Anglais ont debarqué'. 

But what if you do not speak???

Show four fingers

If you ever need to inform a hearing-impaired or deaf person that you’re on your period, just keep your right hand in front of your tummy, fingers facing down and to the left. That’s the sign for menstruation in the UK. Over 70,000 people, most of them deaf or with a hearing impairment, will understand what you mean as British Sign Language (BSL) is the most common form of sign language within Great Britain.

Punch yourself on the face

However, just like spoken languages, sign languages aren’t international. Although most words in British English and American English are the same, with sign language, this isn’t the case as the two English sign languages have a completely different origin. If you want to tell someone in the United States that you’re on your period, you gently punch yourself in the cheek twice, using your fist. That’s the sign for menstruation in American Sign Language (ASL), which is the fourth language in the USA.

Other sign languages

There are 130 different sign languages in the world. In the Netherlands, Nederlandse Gebarentaal (NGT) is used, which has five variations, all originating from the region the institutes for deaf people have been set up. Just like spoken languages, sign languages have dialects as well. In Dutch, standard sign for menstruation is to keep the palm of your hand in front of your face, with your little finger near your chin, and make an anticlockwise circle.

Whether spoken or in signs, irrespective of how you convey the message, we hope you're doing the right thing for yourself and the world around you by making the right choice every period. Period.