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9 Reasons That You Might Miss Your Period (Other Than Pregnancy)
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The reproductive system is a miraculous thing. It is an organism that comes alive every month for the majority of people that experience a cycle. Even more incredible than the reproductive system are the people who have to live with them. Despite the constant stresses associated with menstrual bleeding that exist in the chaos of everyday life, somehow they manage their monthly flows with as much or little ease as is humanly possible. Even for those who bleed we have to remember that every person is different, and as a result everyone’s body operates uniquely. Some of us have our cycle at the same time every month, down to the exact day. For others, it may not be so predictable. And occasionally for some, they don’t even happen at all. Most people will experience at least one missed period in their lifetime, but if you’ve missed your period for 3 months in a row then you’re experiencing amenorrhea, a condition that affects 3-4% of women. Missing your period can be the result of numerous things, and it doesn’t always mean pregnancy. So before you start panicking and pre-planning baby names make sure you stop for a moment and check in with your body to determine if there may be some other underlying issue. We’ve put together a list of 9 reasons that you might miss your period, and none of them are pregnancy. New Periods It is common for young people who are just starting their period to have an irregular cycle. The normal menstrual cycle lasts 21-35 days in healthy people, but this is known to vary. For someone who has just gotten their period it can often happen that they have a few cycles and then go months without another one. Menopause Depending on your age, you may be coming up to menopause. Menopause is the total cessation of menstruation in a person’s later life. Young menstruators, you all have quite a few years before you can eliminate the pads and tampons from your shopping list! If you are under 40 and seem to be experiencing the symptoms you may be going through early or premature menopause and should consult your doctor. Contraceptives Just stopped the pill and noticed you’ve missed your period? Starting or going off the pill can have an impact on your cycle. Birth control pills may cause a period to stop in some women. Once the oral contraceptives are stopped, normal menstruation may return after some time. In some cases, it may take up to 6 months for your cycle to return to normal again. Medications There are certain medications that could cause a period to stop. If you’ve missed your period, consider that the reason may be the drugs you’re ingesting. Any of these medications can cause a missed period: antidepressants, chemotherapy drugs, antipsychotic drugs, allergy medicines and blood pressure drugs. Important Lifestyle Factors We all know that the way we live our lives ultimately has an impact on our bodies. Sometimes these lifestyle choices are unintentional and out of our control, other times it’s just a matter of self-awareness and personal adjustment to find the right mind/body balance for you. Change In Schedule Have a strict gym-work routine and then suddenly call it quits? Your body might not handle that well and as a result act out in a number of ways. If you’re constantly changing your work schedule, or if your schedule is generally pretty inconsistent then your period may mimic this and not come on time. Jetlag and constantly travelling can also cause your cycle to be pushed back by a few days or come earlier than expected. Stress Our brain truly is the boss of our body, and is constantly reminding us of it! There’s this super small chamber in the brain, the size of an almond called the hypothalamus. The magical nut-sized compartment that is the hypothalamus controls the hormones that send signals to the ovaries to regulate your monthly period. It can literally inhibit or stimulate hormone secretion. If you’re experiencing mental stress and you miss a period, two or three, then this governing member may be on strike! So take some time to chill out, de-stress and just breathe. Before you know it your chill levels will be reigning and soon enough your cycle will normalise itself once again. Excessive Rigorous Exercise Working out for hours and hours on end can have a negative impact on the body, causing it more harm than good if you are not exercising properly. Overexercising can cause a change in your pituitary and thyroid hormone levels, which can lead to an alteration in your menstrual cycle. Severe Illness There are certain chronic illnesses that may have an impact on your cycle including diabetes, thyroid disease, ovarian cysts, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), liver diseases and pituitary tumors. Often your cycle may not return to normal until these conditions have been properly treated, and it may take a while even after you have been completely cured. Weight Changes Experiencing fluctuating weight? This could be a reason why you’ve missed your period. Being both severely overweight or underweight can affect how our body functions. Having a very high BMI can be related to missed periods, and is usually resolved by losing weight. People who are extremely underweight, particularly those with eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia may often miss their period. Particularly in the cases where the body weight is about 10 per cent under the normal range for your height, your body may stop being able to function properly, which can also result in ovulation ceasing. When To Reach Out To Your Doc If missing your period has become a regular occurrence it’s best to check in with the doc to see what’s up with your bod. Even if you’re just going through a change in the pattern of your regular periods there’s no harm to bring it up, better to put your mind at ease than to cause unnecessary stress for yourself.
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Give In To The Cravings: Our Guilt-Free Guide To Period Snacks
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I know exactly when I am about to get my periods. Right before that time of the month rolls around my cravings go haywire, as I find myself consuming anything and everything in the pantry from cereal to chips. And it doesn’t stop there, my pre-menstrual cravings continue well into the 5 days of my cycle, where I become a human version of the Cookie Monster. While you might get instant gratification by reaching for a canned soda or greasy fries, in the long run you will end up feeling worse and will regret your choices. We’re here to make sure that doesn’t happen. The best way to avoid over-indulging while on your period is to pre-plan for your time of the month by analysing exactly what each craving means, and how to create a healthy substitute for it. There is a science behind period cravings, with each specific craving sending you a message as to what you are lacking. If you are craving salty foods chances are your body is lacking in minerals and water. Instead of turning to refined salts try to incorporate foods that have sea or pink Himalayan salt as a natural alternative. Craving candy & sweets? You may be experiencing low blood sugar, which can be balanced through natural sugars found in fruit and raw, natural nuts. By planning ahead and curating the proper menstruation menu you will notice an improvement in period pain, bloating, and a reduction in mood swings, all while having some delicious snacks – win-win! Chocolate Chocolate is a great food to help period cramps, but not just any chocolate will do. Dark chocolate is an excellent source of magnesium and contains antioxidants – the higher percentage of dark chocolate the better, as that means less sugar. Magnesium is known to assist with regulating mood swings, reducing breast tenderness and also helps to manage serotonin, the happy chemical! So keep your frown upside down by chewing on a few pieces of delicious dark chocolate. Recipe: Try out these insanely good Dark Chocolate Almond Bars that are vegan, gluten-free & refined-sugar-free for a healthy, tasty snack. If you’re a fan of coconut give these Dark Chocolate Coconut Bites a go, trust me you’ll be addicted Fruit Make a summery fruit salad out of bananas, oranges and watermelon and top with a squeeze of vitamin-rich lemon – four fruits that contain the perfect combination of nutrients to help out with your period woes. Bananas Bananas should be called the happy fruit, as they contain all the goodies such as potassium and B6 vitamins to make you smile! They can also assist with constipation, which can be an issue for a lot of people on their periods. Oranges Got a case of the blues while in bleeding mode? Throw a couple of slices of oranges down your hatch and wait for the positive effect to kick in. Oranges contain both vitamin D and calcium, which when combined helps to battle depression and anxiety. Watermelon The natural sugars in watermelon can help reduce bloating, while providing the nutrients needed to fight the natural fatigue that comes from menstruation. Watermelon will also help keep your body hydrated due to its high water content, which will reduce cramping and increase energy. Vegetables We all know that veggies are good for us any time of the month, but there are a few golden greens that are particularly beneficial for that time of the month such as leafy greens and broccoli. Kale Leafy greens such as kale are incredibly high in iron and can help to replenish the supply your body has lost during menstruation. Consuming this vegetable will also help with boosting your general immunity, reduce pains and therefore increase your mood. Try out this Green Smoothie recipe or these addictive gluten-free Kale Chips. Broccoli This wonder-vegetable is high in magnesium, potassium and fibre, and will help to ease all of those horrible PMS symptoms. Similar to kale, broccoli is also a great source of iron, something that you will be losing a lot of through bleeding, so be sure to stock up on this nourish veg and whip up some tasty treats, such as Caramelized Broccoli with Garlic or these Healthy Broccoli Tater Tots, for something a bit more fun. Popcorn Get ready for a night at the movies, in the comfort of your own home with a big bowl of popcorn. Yes, you read that right. Just like other whole grains popcorn is great for your cycle as it boosts the production of serotonin. The main thing is to steer clear of salty toppings and get creative with healthy alternatives, such as this homemade alternative to caramel popcorn, which is free of corn syrup and dairy-free, meaning you can enjoy tasty snack guilt-free. Cinnamon Maple Caramel Popcorn recipe Salmon For a more substantial snack get some juicy salmon on your plate. It’s the perfect period snack being rich in vitamin B12 and Omega-3 fatty acids, which can help out with calming your muscles and reducing some of the pain from those nasty cramps. Plus, it’s so delicious! Check out this healthy, low-carb recipe for Chilli Salmon Bites with Zucchini Noodles, or for something more bite-sized try this recipe for Salmon Tartare Cucumber Bites. Note: If you’re not a fan of fish or are vegetarian then stock up on walnuts or avocado, both perfect Omega-3 substitutes. Try out this tasty Avocado & Walnut Spread with the Kale Chips we mentioned earlier!
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How to Relieve The Stress of Travelling on Your Period
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You’ve got your dream holiday booked; accommodation paid for and your bags are ready for a week of jam-packed activities in your ideal location. Then the worst happens – the day before you’re due to get on the plane, your period comes a week early. Don’t fret; your trip is most definitely not ruined! With just a little bit of planning you’ll be ready to enjoy your time away; it will almost be as if you didn’t even have your period (okay, we’re exaggerating just a tad). We’ve put together the ultimate guide to ensure your trip is nothing but smooth sailing – periods or not, we’ve got you covered. Don’t Stress! Stress can be a trigger for early or late periods as your body’s regular hormonal balance can be disrupted, resulting in a delayed ovulation. As a pre-emptive measure, do your best to keep your stress levels to a minimum in the weeks leading up to your holiday, and while away. If you can avoid altering your normal cycle by keeping calm this will assist in preventing any surprises while on holidays. Excessive drinking and minimal sleep can all contribute to increased stress, as can worrying prior to leaving. Meditation, eating healthy and keeping a regular sleeping pattern are all important for keeping a positive and stress-free mind. Healthy mind, healthy body! Pack Wisely Before going away on trips create a checklist to pack for the possibility of getting your monthlies, and also be sure to prepare for the potential accompanying pain. Travelling on your period will feel like a breeze if you pack these items. Bring a good range and amount of sanitary products – pads, tampons, or menstrual cups, based on your personal preferences. Depending on your destination certain sanitary products such as tampons may not be easily available. In China pads can be sourced without difficulty, however tampons will be much more of a mission as only 2% of women who menstruate use them for sanitary needs, due to health concerns and social beliefs. Remember to pack Livia to ensure that your holiday won’t consist of you being stuck in your hotel bed, dying of pain. Due to its small compact size Livia can be worn anywhere, at anytime of the day, so there’s no excuse for letting pain hold you back! Livia's portability is one of the things customers mention most commonly in reviews. Bring comfy clothing. Bloating, bleeding and being generally bothered do not mix well with tight, restrictive clothing. Pack a few comfortable outfits such as loose pants and t-shirts for the plane & travelling that will allow your body to breathe and feel at home. Stock up on hand sanitizer. Having your period can be messy, especially while travelling, if you are the kind of person to stray off the beaten track. You may not always have access to running water or soap when needing to change sanitary items, so to keep germs away pack a good antibacterial hand sanitizer. Drink Lots of Water Hydration is important! If you’re planning on being very active during your trip you’re at a higher risk of feeling sick if you get your period. A sudden change in climate can also take toll on your body, so keeping your fluids up will assist with the adjustment and also minimize the risk of heatstroke in warmer climates. Be Mindful While in Transit There’s nothing more uncomfortable than having your period while in transit, especially on long flights, plane rides and road trips. Getting comfortable is impossible, it feels like you’re leaking into your underwear and of course, the pain makes staying in the same awkward position very difficult. This is where Livia is a traveller’s best friend. Make sure to pack Livia in your carry-on luggage or handbag to keep it in easy reach when the pain is at its worst. Livia will reduce the discomfort of travelling while on your period and help you get some much-needed sleep on long transit journeys. Getting up and walking around regularly on long flights will help to maintain the blood flow, and always set a timer to change your tampon to prevent the possibility of toxic shock syndrome. Schedule in Some Daily Light Exercise You’ve got your period, ugh, and coming up are days with back-to-back activities planned. The period pain has eased, thanks to Livia, but you’re still feeling a little sluggish and unmotivated. Light exercise is known to not only assist in relieving cramps, but also re-energizing the mind, which can prepare you for the busy days ahead. So muster up the energy to do 15 minutes of yoga or go for a quick jog. Getting the blood pumping will have both your mind and body ready to knock out the activities feeling revitalized and most of all, being able to have fun! Carry an Emergency Kit, Just in Case Periods aren’t always the most reliable thing, so being prepared with an emergency kit while travelling is vital. You never know if one day on your holiday while hiking up a mountain with no 7/11 in sight Aunt Flo decides to come for an unexpected, and much-unwanted visit. Stocking a few liners, wet wipes (for freshening up on the go) and plastic resealable bags (for used products & stained clothes in case there aren’t any trash cans around) will save you a lot of stress and make that unexpected visit a lot less awkward. Relax Holidays are meant to be not only about having fun and seeing amazing sights, but also chilling out. Give yourself some guilt-free time away from the busy scheduling to just relax in your hotel/hostel/airbnb/tent and rest. We all know that sleeping is the best cure for any ailment, plus who doesn’t love a good midday nap – your menstruating body will thank you for it. If you’re struggling to get comfy try out the fetal position, experts swear by it as being the best to relieve cramps and you’ll look super-cute while sleeping. Win-win!
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6 Period Positive Movies to Watch
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Periods, the rag, that time of the month, Aunt Flo. Whatever you prefer to call it, a large percentage of the world experiences menstruation, and yet, it is a topic that is still vastly absent on the silver screen. In 2019 menstruation continues to be a taboo topic that is sadly either misrepresented or completely ignored in media altogether. Throughout Hollywood’s history periods have been presented as disgusting, shameful or something literally out of a horror film. Most of us know the storyline for Carrie, where the poor girl freaks out after getting her period in the shower, because her religious mother refuses to explain menstruation to her. It is depicted as a frightening, foreign event, one that Carrie is severely bullied for after, just to add to the trauma. Considering that 80% of Hollywood’s showrunners are men, it isn’t too surprising that menstruation is constantly portrayed in a negative, inaccurate, or ignorant light, through the lens of people who don’t experience it, yet choose to demonise it. To provide an accurate representation of periods there needs to be more than just one perspective explored, showing that periods are not something to be grossed out by, just because a bunch of men in showbiz say they are. Periods are a natural part of life for many people and should be honestly depicted, not shamed. When media only portrays one side of the story it can negatively impact a lot of girls who have just gotten or are yet to get their period. 1/5 of women in the UK are too embarrassed to discuss their menstrual cycle with their friends, which shows how continuing to generate notions of shame and taboo can lead to women feeling like they have to be silenced. This one-sided perception also perpetuates the out-dated mindset in young boys that periods are taboo/dirty/gross, and that’s how the bullying & shame cycle never ends. Knowledge is power, just as much as mid-education is dangerous. So, in recognition of this, we are presenting 6 period-positive films that challenge the status quo and share the narrative that periods are a normal part of life. The Runaways, 2010 In true rockstar spirit, Dakota Fanning gets her period while out with her sister. Of course, she’s wearing a mini skirt. An emergency trip to a gas-station bathroom ensues followed by the go-to solution; underwear toilet-paper stuffing. We’ve all been there. The crisis is quickly averted and the girls leave ready to conquer the day. This scene is groundbreaking for Hollywood as it presents an honest display of camaraderie between two females, helping each other out in their time of need. They both are chill about the whole situation, it’s not depicted as a drama, just a casual event that could happen at any time, to anyone. It’s also unbelievably relatable – hands up who has had to improvise with makeshift toilet paper pads in desperate times? Padman, 2018 Bringing period awareness to the Bollywood world, 2018 Indian comedy Padman is based around the life of Arunachalam Muruganantham, a social activist and entrepreneur who brought low-cost sanitary pads to India, who is featured in Oscar-winning documentary Period. End Of Sentence (see below). The film sheds light on the taboo surrounding menstruation in India and shares the journey of one man who is determined to improve social awareness for feminine sanitation. This is a must-watch to spread awareness about the menstrual stigma around the world, reminding us that menstrual hygiene is a global issue.
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I would not want to be a uterus.
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I just love Halloween. I start in August every year, thinking about what my original theme costume will be all about. This year all I will be doing is dreaming about it… no parties… no going out with the kids for a treat… So, I thought… during this “no celebration” holiday, what is the best/worst costume that I would never dream of going out in. Some are just fun, but others can be super offensive. The truth is I would never have the guts to go out in any of these “period” costumes…  hmmm…. maybe next year????? This year I will just stay home and pray I will get my period so I can justify the candy binge.
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We Answer 7 Things That Men Are All Dying to Ask You About Menstruation
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Despite being 2019, the age of technological advancements and growing social awareness, there is still an incredible divide between the sexes, with certain topics being weirdly off limits to a large part of society. This includes the topic of menstruation – something that in most cases men will avoid discussing at any cost. Society has imposed a stigma surrounding the taboo subject, but that doesn’t mean that men aren’t dying to ask you about it, right? I decided to take this question to the streets, asking a range of men in my life what they would want to know about menstruation, if they could ask anything. The responses were hilarious and intriguing – turns out 50% of those surveyed cringed at the subject. “Actually, I think most men would not like to know anything about it,” my good friend told me when I asked him. My dad continued this sentiment asking, “Why do we want to think about unpleasant things for? I’m glad it’s you, not me going through it, to be honest.” This notion was contrasted with the response of another friend who stated, “I think I’m pretty well-informed about that topic,” and then proceeded to contribute a few questions. By the end of the survey, the list was full of a variety of amusing questions, which I managed to cut down to 7 gems. How much blood comes out during your period? To be honest this is a question that even I, someone who has lived with periods for 17+ years, only discovered the truth about in the last year. During menstruation, it feels like bucketfuls of blood are flooding out, but the reality is shockingly, a significantly small amount. The majority of women will lose less than 16ml of blood during their period; approximately 6-8 teaspoons is the estimated average. It’s mind-blowing how something that feels so monumental is actually less than a single shot of tequila. What feels better a tampon or a pad? Doesn’t it get annoying? This really varies depending on the person. According to a survey conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 62% of women prefer pads, while 42% use tampons. I personally prefer pads, as I have very heavy periods that are quite painful, so pads are the more comfortable choice. I use tampons occasionally as a last resort; if I have run out of supplies, or if I am on my last few days and am heading to the beach. I find tampons to be annoying – they are not only uncomfortable physically, but also mentally as I am constantly on edge about leakage and forgetting to take them out. Pads can get irritating when they gradually slip to the side of my underwear and require constant readjustment, but other than that they are relatively tolerable. How come you get so emotional? So firstly, I just want to say that there is nothing wrong with being emotional. No-one wants to live in a world full of emotionless robots. Keeping that in mind, know that you are not alone – 85% of women experience at least one kind of PMS symptom on a regular basis. As for the reason why periods can result in some women being emotional wrecks (i.e, me), there are a range of reasons including: Hormones such as progesterone fluctuating, resulting in mood swings. Serotonin levels plummeting at the beginning of your period, which has been linked to cravings, depression and general crabbiness. The pain factor. Periods aren’t pleasant; they’re painful, annoying afflictions that can make the cheeriest person hate the world. No one likes pain, so can you really expect us to be happy about it? Losing sleep. I’ve had numerous sleepless nights where I spent hours tossing and turning, writhing in pain because even my ultra-strong painkillers were useless against the internal torture. That was until I got my Livia; now sleeping isn’t a problem. As we all know that without a good night’s sleep you’re bound to end up irritated, tired and moody. Is it the eggs that come out with the blood? Yes, but there is only one egg. Part of the body’s cycle for preparing a woman for pregnancy involves the release of natural hormones and chemicals to cause the ovaries to release one egg a month. If male sperm doesn’t fertilize the egg during ovulation then the uterus lining, the unfertilized egg and other fluids are all released during the menstrual period. How does the moon affect your period? For many generations women’s menstrual cycles have been linked to the lunar cycle due to their similar lengths – a menstrual cycle is 28 days and a lunar cycle lasts 29.5 days. The link between the two hasn’t been proven 100%, with various studies resulting in a range of contrasting evidence. It has been concluded that menstruation cycles do not sync with the lunar calendar, with 7.5 million cycles being analyzed that resulted in no correlation. It has, however, been suggested that moonlight may have an impact on menstrual cycles, with a 2005 study from India discovering that women who conceived while ovulating during the full moon are more likely to give birth to boys, while women who conceived three days prior to the full moon were more likely to give birth to girls. It hasn’t been determined if these were simply coincidences or not, as the researchers narrowed it down to a change in temperatures and vaginal fluids brought on by the moon’s changing phases. Superstition or not, it certainly makes menstruation seem like a more magical process now. How and why do women’s periods sync? This is another myth, one that I am personally a believer in. Hang around a group of women for long enough and you definitely start to notice that your menstrual cycles begin to align. Coincidence? Maybe, or are we just magical creatures that cannot be explained by science? There is the theory, generated in 1971 by a researcher called Martha McClintock who determined that the syncing was a result of women’s pheromones interacting with each other after spending extended periods of time together. The idea was that the pheromones were unintentionally creating a tactic for women to gang up with each other against the possibility of a single ruling man. A female army challenging the rule of man? Sounds about right. This theory was later challenged by research that put all these experiences down to being simply, chance. Why does the period pain threshold vary so vastly? Period pain can vary significantly from person to person, from bearable discomfort to crippling agony. 10 out of 100 women experience pain so unbearable that it affects their ability to carry out their usual activities. So, what’s the reason for the vast sliding scale? It’s not known exactly why the pain varies from woman to woman, but it is said to involve the body’s overproduction of prostaglandins, the hormone-like chemical messengers that influence pain perception. Other causes of extreme pain may also be endometriosis, where the tissue that lines the womb grows in other areas of the abdomen as well.
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6 Books That Explore The Power Of Menstruation
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Periods are a powerful, sacred thing that a large amount of the world experiences. Despite this, there is unfortunately a serious lack of resources that promote menstruation and don’t present it as something to be ashamed of. Knowledge is power, and with that can come the desire to educate and share information to create a worldwide shame-free sisterhood where we celebrate our time of the month together. When I was an adolescent teenager prior to getting my first period there were no resources (that I knew of) available at my school. Periods weren’t discussed in any way other than a whisper to a teacher to let them know that you had to rush to the bathroom, because it was “that time of the month”. If there had been a curriculum in place that openly discussed menstruation then maybe I wouldn’t have felt such shame or embarrassment the few times that I discovered I had gotten my period in the middle of sports class. “I could just die,” I recall telling one of my close friends. Why? Because periods were seen as gross, dirty things that shouldn’t be talked about. There was no education, no normalisation that made me feel like what I was experiencing was okay. But the truth is that it was normal, there just wasn’t anyone letting me know that. Reading about periods and educating yourself is something that should happen at any age, not just before or while you’re experiencing your first period. Whether you’ve been menstruating for years, just started, or are the parents of a budding menstruator, educating yourself on the whole period of experience (pun intended) is important to stop the cycle of shame and let people with periods know that they are not alone. There is a support system out there, and despite the lack of resources, we are here to help each other. Here are a few of our picks that educate, promote, share and amuse in order to debunk myths surrounding menstruation, and focus on the right that we should all have to live equally with access to the products we deserve. Because we’re powerful beings and deserve nothing less! ‘Heavy Flow’ Amanda Laird Challenging and breaking down menstruation myths, this must-read has been described by author, holistic nutritionist and feminist Amanda Laird, as “the menstrual education you didn’t get in health class”. The book provides a crash course on the history of menstrual shame, examining how this has had a direct impact on women’s health & wellness in the modern age. No more shame here, Amanda puts the reader at ease with her casual, relatable tone, making you feel like you’re learning pearls of wisdom from an older sister or friend. ‘Periods Gone Public: Taking A Stand For Menstrual Equity’ – Jennifer Weiss-Wolf From the woman who coined the term ‘menstrual equity’, lawyer and vice-president at the Brennan Center For Justice, Jennifer Weiss-Wolf explores how periods are becoming a prominent political cause. Not only challenging the outdated stigma towards menstruation, Weiss-Wolf also puts forward an agenda of action to start the movement for menstrual equity. Chances are after reading this you’ll be ready to jump on the menstrual equity movement, it’s an inspiring book that will be sure to ignite the activist fire within all of us. ‘Period: Twelve Voices Tell The Bloody Truth’ – Kate Farrell (Editor) This collection of twelve beautiful essays illustrate what it’s like to have a period from a diverse range of perspectives. Presenting topics that are rarely discussed within mainstream media (even less than menstruation itself is) – including what it’s like to be a trans man with a period as shared by Wiley Reading – this book will make you laugh, cry and cringe, reminding us all that there is not just one face of menstruation. ‘Period Power: A Manifesto For The Menstrual Movement’ – Nadya Okamoto Period Power is an incredibly accessible, inclusive book for EVERYONE who experiences periods, removing gender from the menstruation language. Let’s say people who menstruate, not women, acknowledging that there is a world far beyond the cis-female experience of menstruation. Nadya Okamoto has long been a period advocate, starting from a young age when she founded Period: The Menstrual Movement, running for office to encourage period advocacy and give a voice to the period-positive movement. Her Blood Is Gold: Celebrating The Power of Menstruation – Lara Owen A classic in the realm of women’s spirituality and health, this book explores beliefs surrounding menstruation and encourages people to reclaim their cycle. Owen focuses on ways to make our periods physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy through monthly rituals that focus on the blessing of menstruation. Feel more productive during that time of the month? The crux of Owen’s writing is the idea that women are in their prime of creativity during menstruation and should take time off to indulge in their blessing. It is a beautiful idea that highlights people with periods as being powerful creatures that should be celebrated. ‘Moon Mysteries’ – Nikiah Seeds & Nao Sims Moon Mysteries explores the wisdom of ‘moon time’ through beautiful illustrations, personal stories and mystical teachings. and explores how you can track your own cycle. This book focuses on repairing the disconnect that we have had with our bodies for centuries, and provides words of wisdom as to how we can heal this divide. There are some charting templates included in the back of the book that provide you with some creative ways that you can chart your cycle. It’s a very hands-on personalised experience that will help you to get in touch with your body and discover what it spiritually means to have your period.
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You Can Be a Champion Even During Your Period
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In females, hormones such as estrogen and progesterone are responsible for maintaining a healthy menstrual cycle and they ultimately have an influence on athletic performance. Estrogen secretion naturally varies in young women, increasing 10- to 100-fold during the menstrual cycle. Estrogen has a dramatic effect on musculoskeletal function and has an important role in the development, maturation and aging of bones, muscles, and connective tissues. An alarming fact has been found that musculoskeletal injuries are more common in women than in men. Research suggests that fluctuations in hormones during the menstrual cycle, including estrogen, might play a role by increasing the risk of catastrophic ligament injury. The role of estrogen in musculoskeletal function has therefore become a growing area of research. So, what can we do as women to maximize musculoskeletal function and avoid injury? Unfortunately, the sporting world is dominated by male trainers and coaches. Most of the knowledge that we have on how female athletes should train is based on what has worked for men. Not enough is known about how women could utilize their cycles to benefit and improve their performance. Women athletes are unaware of how their hormones can affect their results. It is believed that by tracking our periods and learning how our bodies react, we can utilize our hormone cycle to increase performance and improve results. While participating in any form of sports, women should monitor their periods to completely understand how their cycle effects their performance and how they can utilize the information to improve results. Women should ensure that their monthly period pains are in control and that if they take any pain killers, that they do not have a negative effect on their potential victories. In fact, there is research that indicates a relationship between taking over the counter pain medications and a tendency towards inflammation and cell damage. Most importantly learn what works for you and what does not by listening to your body. It really has a lot to say.
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Your Cycle, Your Period and Your Diet
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Cycle syncing is a great way to gain a better understanding of how your body reacts to its different stages and hormones and how to work around the PMS and menstrual cycle symptoms such as period cramps. Do you believe that there are over 150 symptoms that have been medically identified as a result of our menstrual cycles? 150! It is estimated that 70%–90% of women are affected by some type of these symptoms. Period cramps is only one of them. Another symptom is perceived as weight gain. But do we really gain weight every month that we get our period? Food cravings, increased hunger, water retention, and swelling are premenstrual symptoms that may make a person feel like they are gaining weight. So, while your menstrual cycle may not actually affect your weight gain the symptoms certainly can. You may crave and eat more sweet or salty food which may cause an increase in body weight. Changes in appetite may occur at different stages of the menstrual cycle due to the particular hormones that are dominant during each phase. For instance, in the stage during bleeding and before ovulation, estrogen is the dominant hormone. Estrogen is one of the two primary female sex hormones and is involved in the onset of puberty and the menstrual cycle. It has actually been scientifically proven that estrogen reduces your appetite so, during this period you might eat less. Whereas from the time you ovulate to the onset of your period, progesterone dominates. Since progesterone stimulates appetite, a person may find that they eat more during this phase – one of the symptoms of PMS. The more we understand how our hormones affect our bodies and our diets the better we can control our appetites and control our weight. This is where Cycle syncing steps in. “Cycle syncing” is a term coined and trademarked by Alisa Vitti, Functional Nutritionist, HHC, AADP. Cycle syncing will help to ensure your body is getting all it needs to support the optimal balance of hormones throughout each unique part of your cycle. By tracking your cycle, you will get a better understanding of what works for you. Most importantly listen to your body. It really has a lot to say.
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Shame Free Sisterhood: The Story of My First Period
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I was 13 when I got my first period. I recall feeling weirdly sick that day at school – nausea that I had never experienced before – and then coming home to discover my underwear was full of blood. This would be the first of many times that this would happen. I soon discovered how periods would enjoy springing themselves onto me, creeping up at the worst time and ruining some of my most prized underwear. We just can’t have nice things, can we? “I was wondering when you were going to get yours,” my older sister had commented as my mum pulled out a range of sanitary items (pads were my choice at the time), and showed me how to use them. I didn’t think too much of my period – extended family such as Aunts and my grandmothers would say that I was now “officially a woman”, but this didn’t mean much to me. That was until my period began to destroy my life. What was once a fleeting thought in the back of my mind quickly became my mortal enemy, and I soon realized I had no choice other than nurture my internal nemesis. First came the excruciating pain. This was a pain I had never experienced before in my life. An agonizing ache that felt something similar to having a knife angrily rip apart my abdomen. As soon as my first period arrived the paralyzing pain followed, and unfortunately it has gotten worse ever since. The pain is different for everyone – some ill-fated victims such as myself are the bearer of vicious period cycles. However, other girlfriends I’ve talked to have told me they barely feel anything during that time of the month. I like to refer to them as the ‘hashtag blessed’ bunch, gifted with divine uteruses of steel that I would trade mine for in a heartbeat. Period pain has haunted me since my teen years; there was the time just after I first got my period when I was visiting my grandmother’s house and was unable to leave the bath for hours as the pain was too overwhelming, to the moment when I was bedridden while travelling and had to miss a trip to the Eiffel Tower. How I wish I had access to Livia back then. What followed shortly after was the shame. Any teen girl knows how sporadic their period can be – from hormonal changes to stress to dietary modifications, periods can come a few days (or even weeks!) late or early, leaving us all in some sticky situations (pun intended) from time to time. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I unexpectedly got my period while at school; completely unprepared, leaving my pale blue school uniform dress stained for the world to see. On numerous accounts I had to rush out of class clutching my dress, feeling that familiar trickle in my underwear and realizing that, oh shit, it’s come. Completely terrified with the shame of staining my uniform I would inconspicuously run to the office to change dresses, anxious that anyone might catch a glimpse of the blood-red patch. I didn’t want to risk spending my remaining high school years branded as ‘that period stain girl’. I’ve seen it happen, kids can be cruel. Going through your first period is difficult, it’s even harder when you’re an anxious teen who is still figuring out their body and trying to deal with the pressure of high school politics and bullying. The older I got the more I began to realize that despite the leers and taunting of peers, menstruation is a natural part of life; a rite of passage that no one should be made to feel ashamed or embarrassed about.  We’ve all been there; caught in compromising situations where we wished we were invisible and the earth could just swallow us whole. Having a network of support is vital to reassure that there is nothing to be ashamed of – western society has thankfully come a long way from the 1950’s where ‘women’s business’ was a topic of conversation never to be uttered to a man, under any circumstances. Despite my experiences being embarrassing or shameful, I know how lucky I am to have grown up in a first world country like Australia, where periods aren’t shunned in the way that they are in other countries. In Nepal, menstruating women are forced to leave their homes and sleep outside in huts or sheds with cattle until their period is over, while in parts of India, women on their period are not allowed into sacred spaces such as temples, and are banished to unmanaged, unhygienic huts called a gaokor during menstruation. I am fortunate to have had the unwavering support of my family and was graced with a mother who would happily discuss anything and everything from period flow to heat packs and the best pain-relieving methods. Not only are periods different for everyone, but they are also not gender-exclusive. Trans men can get their period, just as much as trans women may not. Menstruation is no longer defined by what gender the person is, and understanding that is a vital part of the all-inclusive sisterhood. I do hope that sharing my story and what I went through with my first period in my teens can encourage others to feel confident in themselves and their journey. Education and support can enable others to react positively, to fight against bullying and work to end the negative stigmas that are still attached to menstruation. No one can ever be fully prepared for their period, as everyone’s experience is unique, but the best thing that we can do is to create a loving, empathetic environment; a shame-free sisterhood.
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Your Period and the Pandemic
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Covid 19 has completely disrupted our lives. From distancing us from our family and friends, from keeping us away from our hobbies, the gym, traveling and partying. OMG how our lives have changed! But have you thought about how this awful pandemic is affecting us and our monthly periods – how can we try to protect ourselves? Well, scientists and researchers are investigating the connection between female sex hormones and menstrual status and the protection women may have against the pandemic. It has been revealed in the first large case study of hospitalized patients with confirmed COVID-19 that took place at Northwell Health in New York in April that males made up a majority of those with severe illness — 60% of all who were hospitalized — and had higher rates of mortality than females of the same age. In a preprint analysis of more than 400 female COVID-19 patients published in March, researchers in China found that “menstruation showed a definite protective effect” after consideration of other characteristics including age. On the other hand, it is a known fact that stress effects our menstrual cycles. When we get stressed our bodys release the Cortisol hormone whose job is to prepare our body to take on a threat. This hormone gives our body an extra boost of energy in preparation to fight or flee.  An increased level of Cortisol can affect our menstrual cycle. If the body is stressed out for an extended period of time – as it might be during this pandemic period – the HPA axis which is the complex system in our body that controls stress and stimulates the release of Cortisol can get overworked and tired. Once this happens different woman experience different responses; this can cause Amenorrhea (skipping or missing periods), spotty periods or the reduction of estrogen and progesterone. More and more evidence has been pointing to the fact that higher levels of resilience (which is often defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties such as stress)  are directly related to better outcomes when living through a crisis, managing chronic disease and chronic pain, and improving emotional and physical health. And, ok we don’t experience a pandemic of such immense magnitude everyday, but life is truly full of daily challenges – the better we learn to deal with them the more resilient we become to their effects.  
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What It Could Mean When You Bleed In Between Your Period
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Caught some blood in your underwear, but you’re still two weeks away from your period? Don’t panic, this can be normal. Light bleeding in the middle of your cycle or outside of your menstrual period, also known as ‘spotting’ or ‘breakthrough bleeding’, can happen for a variety of reasons. These can range from simple hormonal changes to injury to a deeper underlying issue. Spotting *typically* doesn’t last for more than a few days, but that’s still annoying enough when you have to deal with bleeding for ¼ of the month already. It’s important to monitor your normal cycle from month to month so you can be aware of any changes that may affect your body. Our body is a sacred temple; let’s not forget that! Changes in your lifestyle can have a big impact on the way your body functions; for example, people who smoke are at a higher risk of experiencing spotting. Where Does It Come From? Breakthrough bleeding or spotting can come from either your upper or lower reproductive tract, i.e. your uterus or cervix/vagina. This bleeding is different from that which occurs during your period, which is a result of the inner walls of your uterus lining being shed. Causes A lot of the time the cause of the irregular bleeding isn’t found, and generally goes away after one occurrence. For others, this can be a prolonged issue that may need further attention from a medical professional. We’ve outlined a few common causes for you to consider that may assist in determining where the bleeding is coming from. Ovulation A day or two after ovulation some women can notice light spotting, which can be a regular occurrence for certain people. Be mindful not to confuse this with menstruation, as ovulation is the time when you are most fertile and could lead to some unexpected pregnancies if you’re not careful! Pregnancy Spotting can occur during the first few months of pregnancy and is a common symptom of early pregnancy. There is no need to be alarmed unless the bleeding is quite heavy, then it is best to contact your healthcare professional. Spotting during pregnancy can also be a symptom of an ectopic pregnancy, which occurs somewhere other than the uterus. Miscarriage A miscarriage can happen at any stage of a pregnancy, and may even happen before the person is aware that they are pregnant. Miscarriages happen in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, when the fetus dies in the womb and can be a shock to the system. Breakthrough bleeding associated with miscarriage can last for two weeks or more, so check in with your doctor at the first signs of a potential miscarriage. Hormonal Contraception If you’ve just switched to a new contraceptive, or have just started taking one – whether it be the pill, the patch, the implant or the intrauterine device (IUD) – you may find yourself experiencing irregular bleeding within the first three months. Also, if you’re skipping the directions and not taking your contraception according to the instructions you may find yourself experiencing in-between menstruation bleeding. If the spotting you’re experiencing from new contraception lasts longer than three months, or is extremely heavy check-in with your doctor, or ask about changing to an alternate form of contraception. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) Certain sexually transmitted diseases, such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea, can cause spotting as well as bleeding during or after sex. These diseases can be passed from one person to another easily through unprotected sex and can cause infertility if left untreated. So if you think you may have contracted an STI consult your doctor immediately for treatment. Sex If you catch yourself having sex that isn’t lubricated enough, or maybe just a little too rough, it can cause damage to the tissue of the vagina, which may result in bleeding. Vaginal dryness may happen for a variety of reasons that aren’t just limited to not being turned-on. Changing hormone levels as a result of medication or illness can cause you to be dry as well, so don’t feel shy to reach out and get some lube if necessary! Pre-Menopause During the period leading up to menopause, known as perimenopause, the body can experience fluctuating hormone levels. Hormone levels in the body alter for sometimes up to 10 years before menopause, which can often cause irregular bleeding and spotting. Prevention & Management Tips For pain relief associated with pull out your Livia, lay back and let her do her magic. Using a light panty liner will put your mind at ease and let you continue with your daily activities without the stress of wondering if you’re bleeding through your clothes. Depending on what is causing the bleeding you may or may not be able to prevent the bleeding between your periods, but it is best to have a proper diagnosis if the bleeding continues. Treatment & Diagnosis To assist with proper diagnosis keep a record of the bleeding, noting the frequency and duration. Treatment varies depending on the source of the bleeding, and could be something as simple as changing your contraception to jumping on a dose of antibiotics. When Should You See A Doctor? Breakthrough bleeding or spotting can be very normal, and isn’t an immediate cause for panic. However, if the bleeding is ongoing or very heavy make sure to check in with a doctor to confirm that there aren’t any serious underlying issues. For women who are going through menopause and are experiencing spotting or irregular bleeding, tell your doctor straight away, as this could be a symptom of an infection or hypothyroidism, a deficiency in thyroid hormones.
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COME AND JOIN THE REVOLUTION! SAY NO TO PERIOD PAIN