This is a Period piece
Ever bled through your outfit, in public, and had to grab for whatever could wrap around your waist? This was done as a means to hide what happens to our bodies naturally. We shouldn’t have to operate this way. Creating an open conversation and familiarity with the menstrual cycle process is a way to de-stigmatize it. That’s why we’re here to start the conversation. We want to normalize the act of being on your period, share some period health knowledge, and focus on the overlooked issue of period poverty.
What to know about the Flo
Everyone could use a brush up on their period education. There have been so many developments in the realm of menstruation and we want to share our research. Let’s start with a recap of how things work in the menstrual cycle and reproductive system.
What happens to your vagina during your period:
During menstruation our bodies go through a multitude of changes. Our hormones fluctuate, our mental health is challenged, and on top of all that we bleed for almost a week. To give some more background on all the factors that evolve during your period, let’s clarify the average cycle.
The Factors, Period.
- Periods start during puberty, which is typically between 8-15 years old. This occurrence happens as a result of a change in hormones.
- The process involves the lining of the female uterus breaking down to leave the body.
- The lining prepares us for pregnancy. So if it’s not your time for that bun in the oven, the body will shed the lining when it recognizes it’s not needed.
- Typical length of a menstrual cycle is 28-35 days, this is the amount of days in between each cycle. If you are experiencing shorter/longer days in between cycle periods, please consult a medical professional
- During the period cycle typical loss of blood is about 3-6 tablespoons🩸
- PMS (Premenstrual syndrome ) symptoms can be seen within 2 weeks of the start of the menstrual cycle, the typical symptoms include:
- Back pain
- Acne and breakouts
- Abdominal cramps
- Mood swings
- Swollen or tender breasts
- During Perimenopause, which is the transition before getting to menopause (period end), periods will likely get longer and heavier as the body transitions to the next stage in the menstrual life cycle
- Period ends at menopause, which is generally between 45-55, and can be identified by a 12 month gap since the last period cycle.
The Internal Reproductive System includes the vagina, uterus, cervix, uterine tubes (oviducts or fallopian tubes), and ovaries, just to name a few. It holds all the parts that take us through the period cycle process. These important inner workings help us create life and sustain our own.
- Cervix: It keeps bacteria out of your uterus, produces discharge to clean your vagina, and changes its positioning to help facilitate or protect a pregnancy.
- Uterus: This organ holds and nourishes a developing fetus, if an egg was properly fertilized.
- Fallopian tubes: These small tubes transport ova from the ovaries to the uterus. This is where an egg waits to be fertilized.
- Ovaries: The female gonads, the ovaries produce ova. When one matures, it is released down into a fallopian tube.
Side note, because we look out for you... You can get pregnant on your period!
Not only can ovulation be unpredictable, but sperm can live inside your reproductive tract for up to 7 days. Which means depending on the timing, the sperm could still be active once you start ovulating 😱.
This is where we help you understand what a healthy cycle looks like. All of our bodies are different of course, but there are general characteristics of a well performing menstrual cycle. We wanted to touch on those characteristics so you can better determine if you are right on track, or there’s some cause for concern🤔.
Your period health tells a story of your reproductive health. Periods are very individualistic, so it is vital to track it, and then pay attention when you notice something’s off.
- Heavy flows - Are you passing blood clots larger than a quarter? Having to change your tampon/pad as frequently as every hour during the night
- Reproductive organs and/or hormone issues
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Blood disorders
- Missed or early periods - Usually this is a determination that you are pregnant or going through menopause
- If not pregnancy, can be caused by stress or lack of nutrition
- Blood between periods
- Growths in and around uterus
- Cramps that start earlier in your cycle and last longer
- Endometriosis (lining of your uterus growing where it shouldn’t)
- Fibroids (noncancerous growths in your uterus)
- If you aren’t experiencing other symptoms, we advise medical attention
- Diarrhea or constipation during your period can be normal. Sometimes these are seen as symptoms, but should not be common.
- Could also be a sign of endometriosis, seek medical attention
- Regular early headaches
- Referred to as menstrual migraines, these are caused by a drop in your estrogen level
A healthy lifestyle supports a healthy cycle. Habits like: maintaining a nutritional diet, keeping sodium to a minimum, reducing caffeine intake, sleeping well, regular exercise, and reduction of stress can all have an impact. These six steps, along with listening to your body, and actively monitoring your menstrual cycle, will put you in the best position, in charge of your productive health.
If ALL of us Bled from our privates this wouldn’t be an issue
It’s wild how there are women who don’t have access to proper menstrual care. This natural process happens every month and we still have to worry about the availability of products 🤔. Why is this so? What’s regulating our menstrual rights, if not us?
Period poverty is defined as inadequate access to menstrual hygiene tools and education. This includes limited sanitary products, washing facilities, and waste management. Due to the miseducation and stigma of the menstrual cycle process, there have been policies enacted to determine period products as non-essential items (Ex. “Pink Tax”- upcharge on products traditionally intended for women that have only cosmetic differences from comparable products for men.) BTW, men’s grooming products and erectile dysfunction medication are not “taxed”. If you thought that was bad, food stamps do not cover menstrual products, because they are not seen as essential. In some places, our girls have to miss school due to period ignorances. That’s why education and representation matters when it comes to our bodies. Not having adequate tools to assist us only harms us.
With the power to create, comes the weight of that Power, and it’s heavy. We are powerful creatures whose reproductive systems are modern-day marvels. The uniqueness of our bodies make it necessary to know what's going on, by paying close attention to your period health. Educating ourselves is important to removing the shame associated with periods. We are essential, and so are our periods.