What you NEVER knew about your period.
Most women remember getting their first period. But how much do you know about your period? I’m not a doctor or a gynae nurse. However, I was the sexual health pharmacist in a busy community pharmacy for at least 10yrs. This involved speaking to young people (20yrs and younger) about sensitive issues such as emergency hormonal contraception, chlamydia testing and treatment, supplying the contraceptive pill and the free condom scheme.
The flip-side of my experience is that I’m a mum to 2 IVF girls. So I have seen it from both sides.
Myths and facts:
- Your cycle length must be 28 days. – Actually women’s cycles vary hugely from being 21 days all the way up to 60 days. Most women have 1 period per calendar month. However, in Chinese medicine it is all about the ‘7 ages of woman’. This means you are 14yrs old when you start your period, 49yrs when you have your menopause, bleed for 7 days and your cycle length should be 28days.
- You ovulate on day 14. – This again, is based on the ‘magic’ 28 day cycle. Ovulation occurs 14 day before your period starts. So if you have a longer or shorter cycle the day changes. E.g. Cycle length 24 days – 14 days = you will ovulate on about day 10.
- It is normal to experience pain, bloating, and PMT symptoms with your periods. – During hunter gatherer times, these symptoms did not happen. However, in modern times we’ve been conditioned to believe that these are to be expected and suffered. So no, all these symptoms are not ‘normal’. Homeopathy can be of a huge help here!
- Main contraceptive choice are condoms and the pill. – There are 16 different types of contraception, not including abstention! I will not cover the details of these here, but there are 2 choices that all women need to make with regards to contraception. Do you want synthetic hormones or not? Do you want a monthly ‘bleed’ or not? It is only informed choice if you have ALL the information to make that choice.
- Starting your periods is the first sign of you hitting puberty. – There are lots of more subtle signs that you are nearing puberty or that your hormones are ‘on the move’. My eldest girl’s first sign was whiffy armpits when locked in a bearhug. She was 8yrs old. At 9yrs old she had a few pubic hairs. 10yrs old she started to ‘bud’ on her chest. 11yrs old she had some darker spots on her chin and forehead area, but always under the skin. She is currently 12yrs old, using panty liners for vaginal discharge and tearful towards the end of each calendar month. So, I know her periods are definitely coming soon! There are hormone disruptors everywhere. E.g. pesticides, skin products, cooking utensils, plastics, tap water etc.
- Hot flushes and night sweats are normal at menopause. – When we go through the menopause, our endocrine system is involved in a baton race (HPA axis). The pituitary and hypothalamus gland need to pass the ‘baton’ on to the adrenal glands to carry us through the menopause. However, most women’s adrenals have been overworked for decades due to stress! So they end up at the bottom of a well, waving a white flag and whimpering ‘Help!’.
Women have about 400 periods in their lifetime. If you are suffering or just want to know more, I’d love to hear from you.