Free bleeding: what it is and how to practice it

Free bleeding is a trend that has been gaining popularity around the world. Promotes a change of mentality in the way of experiencing menstruation.

Last update: September 11, 2022

Free bleeding is a global trend that has been promoted —particularly— by feminist movements. It has to do with giving up the use of hygienic products to collect menstrual fluid and, instead, practice controlling the evacuation of menstruation.

Those who defend this practice suggest that just as it is possible to control the output of urine or feces, it is also possible to learn to regulate the output of menstrual blood. This would make the use of menstrual cups, pads, tampons, etc. unnecessary.

Why change traditions? Many people think that women feel repressed and fearful about menstruation and the possibility of it being visible to others. In addition, the use of medical devices is uncomfortable and unsafe. Free bleeding would be a way to break those conditioning.

Some details about menstrual bleeding

Before talking about free bleeding, it is worth making some clarifications about menstruation. The first thing to keep in mind is that during the period there is no permanent bleeding. The uterus is closed and only opens at certain times to evacuate the fluid.

Delivery occurs after a uterine contraction. However, some women—particularly Western women—have been educated to use sanitary products. Given this custom, no attention is paid to those movements of the uterus that precede bleeding.

But just as a person learns to detect the sensation of fullness in the bladder and to carry out controlled actions to empty it, it is also possible to learn to detect the moment in which the uterus is going to release the flow and control that evacuation. That’s what free bleeding is all about.

Menstrual bleeding occurs after uterine contractions. Hence the possibility of being aware of the moment to evacuate the fluid.

What is free bleeding?

Free bleeding is a practice that consists of not using any intimate hygiene product to collect blood during menstruation. It is often promoted by feminist movements and seen as a way to empower women.

The trend was born in the 70s, initially as a response to the “toxic shock”, an infection caused by bacteria, which in some cases is associated with the use of super absorbent tampons and even menstrual cups. Saying shock it is a medical emergency that can be life-threatening.

On the other hand, free bleeding is considered a political position. In the first place, in the XXI century there is no reason to be secrecy or rejection of female bleeding. Second, intimate products require money and not all women can afford them.

Menstruation is a natural and healthy process. You don’t have to be surrounded by fears and taboos. Because of this, well-known figures such as Kiran Gandhi, during the London Marathon in 2014, allowed him to be seen bleeding while he ran. He used blood as a symbol of empowerment.

How is it done?

Free bleeding does not consist of staining clothes, but of acquiring the ability to retain the menstrual flow and then expel it voluntarily. However, if any garment gets stained, it should not be taken as a tragedy either.

Control over bleeding is not achieved overnight. You have to learn to listen to the signals of the body, that is, the contractions of the uterus that announce bleeding. Likewise, it is necessary to develop the ability to hold the flow until it is possible to evacuate it. All of this takes a lot of practice.

Sensations are experienced in the uterus, cervix, vagina, and vulva. What is indicated is to make a mental and emotional connection with those organs. That is, to become sensitive to the signals they send. The rest is like learning to urinate. The following are practices that help achieve this goal.

Meditation and self-control

Meditation techniques are of great help to sensitize oneself to one’s own body. They help develop enough introspection to detect sensations in detail.

This self-knowledge also facilitates self-control, which should not be confused with “holding on” or “holding back,” but with directing the body with the mind.

Kegel exercises

Kegel exercises fulfill the role of strengthening and controlling the muscles of the pelvic area. A strong pelvic floor is very important to control the outflow of menstrual flow.

These exercises are not only very valuable to manage free bleeding well, but also improve sexual life and facilitate childbirth.

Mentality change

Free bleeding does not make sense if the mentality towards menstruation is not changed. Leave behind the idea that menstrual blood is dirty, unpleasant or that it should be hidden. It is important to learn to see the period as a healthy and natural event, which does not have to severely condition a woman.

Benefits of free bleeding

The main benefit of free bleeding is that of return to menstruation its character as a healthy process, free of taboos. Through this, the world of the feminine is also vindicated and the margin of freedom for women, who often feel constrained by menstruation, is expanded.

Other benefits are as follows:

  • Promotes gynecological health. The strengthening of the pelvic floor, essential for free bleeding, improves the functioning of the female reproductive system and prevents other problems such as urinary incontinence.
  • Better perspiration of the intimate area. The absence of hygienic products facilitates it.
  • Lower risk of allergic reactions. There are hygienic products that cause allergies to some women.
  • Greater sense of control on the body itself.
Meditation and Kegel exercises are ideal to start this practice during menstruation.

Some tips for practicing free bleeding

It is important to choose the right time to start practicing free bleeding. It is best to take advantage of vacations or those times when you can stay at home. The indicated thing is to have a bathroom nearby, since at first it is not possible to retain the menstrual flow for a long time.

Menstrual panties are also a great help at first. They are an accessory that allows you to get rid of tampons, cups or sanitary towels, and at the same time practice free bleeding without any consequences due to any involuntary loss.

The first thing is to learn to identify bodily sensations. Once this is achieved, try to retain the menstrual flow. Kegel exercises are ideal for achieving this. After, enough with go to the bathroom and let the bleeding out.

Final recommendations

Free bleeding can be practiced by any woman and does not have any type of risk. It’s more of a mindset thing. All are capable of developing the self-control necessary to voluntarily retain menstrual flow, unless there is a diagnosed anatomical problem.

Every woman is free to choose the way she wants to live her period. Ideally, that choice makes her feel comfortable and self-confident. Free bleeding is an accessible, healthy and liberating alternative.

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