Friday, July 22, 2011


When it comes to a woman's menstrual cycle/period, you may - as a woman -  feel like you know all there is to know about your period or as a teen you may feel like you don't know very much. Hopefully this post will enlighten all the ladies that read it.

The menstrual cycle starts with the first day of bleeding, which is day 1. The menstrual cycle is normally 28 days long and it ends sooner than the subsequent menstrual period; however, cycles can range anywhere from 21 to 35 days in adults and from 21 to 45 days in young teens. Menstrual bleeding lasts 3 to 7 days, with an average of 5 days. -

Women usually manage the first phase of their menstrual cycle - the Follicular Phase - where bleeding occurs by using pads and/or tampons. However,what you may not know is that there are eco-friendly alternatives to managing your cycle; a lot of women are switching from pads and/or tampons to...  

Reusable Cloth Menstrual Pads  

and/or Menstrual Cups 

The reusable cloth menstrual pads are very similar to winged pads made by Always, Kotex, etc; it wraps around the underwear and is held in place  by a snap, with either a fixed inner absorbent core or one you can take out and replace.

On the contrary, the menstrual  cups - known by several different brand names, including Moon Cup, Diva Cup,and Lunette - are made up of latex or rubber and they fit over the cervix; they have a little stick at the end to ease in insertion and removal. Unlike, pads that absorb the blood, the cup catches the blood.

These alternative options may seem gross to you, but women are switching to these alternatives due to their environmental potential. "It is estimated that approximately 20 billion pads, tampons and applicators are being sent to North American landfills annually. On an individual level, each of the approximately 73 million menstruating people in North America will throw away 125 to 150kg of disposable menstrual products in their lifetime. Moreover, these products require hundreds of years to biodegrade, particularly if wrapped in the plastic baggies commonly provided as part of their packaging." - It can be appropriately assumed that by switching to the alternative options discussed, the environment could greatly be improved.

Now, that I have discussed some trends in managing your period,
I would like to briefly go over a few complications that a lady may go through during their period
and what can be done to resolve them.
1. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) - refers to a wide range of physical or emotional symptoms that typically occur about 5 to 11 days before a woman starts her monthly menstrual cycle.The exact cause of PMS has not been identified; changes in brain hormone levels may play a role, but this has not been proven.The condition is estimated to affect up to 75% of women during their childbearing years.
The most common physical symptoms include:
Other symptoms include:
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • Feelings of tension, anxiety, or edginess
  • Forgetfulness
  • Irritable, hostile, or aggressive behavior, with outbursts of anger toward self or others
  • Loss of sex drive (may be increased in some women)
  • Mood swings
  • Poor judgment
  • Poor self-image, feelings of guilt, or increased fears
  • Sleep problems (sleeping too much or too little)
  • Slow, sluggish, lethargic movement
In order, to resolve/manage the the mild symptoms associated with PMS, one should make lifestyle changes that are healthy; this includes: drinking plenty of fluids that are non-caffeinated (this helps with bloating, fluid retention, and other symptoms) ; eating frequently, small meals to avoid over eating; taking nutritional supplements (Vitamin B6, calcium, and magnesium are commonly used); and getting regular aerobic exercise throughout the month. 
****Aspirin, ibuprofen, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be prescribed by a doctor if you have significant pain.

2. Amenorrhea (ay-men-uh-REE-uh) refers to the lack/ absence of a menstrual period. Causes of this range from the obvious reasons like pregnancy to: extreme weight loss, eating disorders, excessive exercising, stress, and/or serious medical conditions in need of treatment. 

When your menstrual cycles come regularly, this means that important parts of your body are working normally. In some cases, not having menstrual periods can mean that your ovaries have stopped producing normal amounts of estrogen. Missing these hormones can have important effects on your overall health. Hormonal problems, such as those caused by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or serious problems with the reproductive organs, may be involved. 
It’s important to talk to a doctor if you have this problem.  

3. Dysmenorrhea (dis-men-uh-REE-uh) refers to painful periods, including severe cramps. Menstrual cramps in teens are caused by too much of a chemical called prostaglandin (pros-tuh-GLAN-duhn). Most teens with dysmenorrhea do not have a serious disease, even though the cramps can be severe. In older women, the pain is sometimes caused by a disease or condition such as uterine fibroids or endometriosis
 For some women, using a heating pad or taking a warm bath helps ease their cramps. Some over-the-counter pain medicines can also help with these symptoms; they include: Ibuprofen ( i.e. Advil, Motrin, Midol Cramp) , Ketoprofen (i.e. Orudis KT), Naproxen (i.e. Aleve). If these medicines don’t relieve your pain or the pain interferes with work or school, you should see a doctor. Treatment depends on what’s causing the problem and how severe it is. 

4. Abnormal Uterine Bleeding — refers to vaginal bleeding that’s different from normal menstrual periods. 
It includes: 
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Bleeding after sex
  • Spotting anytime in the menstrual cycle
  • Bleeding heavier or for more days than normal
  • Bleeding after menopause
Abnormal bleeding can have many causes. Your doctor may start by checking for problems that are most common in your age group. Some of them are not serious and are easy to treat. Others can be more serious. Treatment for abnormal bleeding depends on the cause.

In both teens and women nearing menopause, hormonal changes can cause long periods along with irregular cycles. Even if the cause is hormonal changes, you may be able to get treatment. You should keep in mind that these changes can occur with other serious health problems, such as uterine fibroids, polyps, or even cancer. 

See your doctor if you have any abnormal bleeding or 
if you have any concerns/ issues in general regarding your cycle.
 Other Problems Women May Have: Menstrual Blood
 If your menstrual blood varies in color and consistency throughout your monthly period, it's very likely that it's perfectly normal. There are times, though, when changes in color, thickness, or clotting may indicate a menstrual blood problem.You might feel embarrassed asking your doctor about menstrual blood problems, but as I mentioned before it is important to talk with your doctor about any concerns you might have.

"Many women have clots in their menstrual blood from time to time. The clots may be bright red or dark in color. Often, these clots are shed on the heaviest days of bleeding. The presence of multiple clots in your flow may make your menstrual blood seem thick or denser than usual.
Your body typically releases anticoagulants to keep menstrual blood from clotting as it's being released. But when your period is heavy and blood is being rapidly expelled, there's not enough time for anticoagulants to work. That enables clots to form. If you have excessive clotting or clots larger than a quarter, you should see a health care professional to rule out any conditions that might be causing an abnormal period."-
Furthermore, when looking at your blood, you should not be alarmed if your menstrual blood becomes dark brown or almost black as you near the end of your period. "This is a normal color change. It happens when the blood is older and not being expelled from the body quickly.
Temporary thick heavy flow isn't necessarily cause for concern. However, regular heavy periods justify a trip to the doctor to check your blood counts. Many women become accustomed to heavy periods, considering them to be normal. Over time, though, the excess monthly blood loss leads to anemia, potentially causing weakness or fatigue. If you ever feel something's not right with your period, see your health care provider."(source for this quote has already been provided in a link)

Last, but not least... 

Having Sex During Your Period
 You may be unaware that it's okay to have sex during your period, but "unless personal, religious, or cultural tradition restricts sex during menstruation, it is not any more dangerous, uncomfortable, or, for that matter, particularly more messy in most situations," says Dr. Flood-Shaffer. (2009) In fact having sex during your period may be beneficial to your health - "having sex during your period may help provide pain relief for menstrual cramps by providing feel-good endorphins that are released during orgasm. Sex during your period could also help to shorten your period by a few days: You will still have a normal, healthy period, but the additional contractions that your uterus experiences during orgasm might help shed your menstrual blood faster, therefore ending your period a bit sooner than usual." (Rodriquez, 2009) Personally, I would love to have a shorter period; how about you?

Although, sex during your menstrual cycle can be helpful, it may not be the best thing to do if you or your partner are uncomfortable about it. "Personal comfort with sex during menstruation is both a male and female issue, as many women are taught that they are 'dirty' during that time, and many men are taught that menstrual blood can be 'dangerous' to their prowess — neither of which has any scientific basis, but cultural taboos can be very strong and are important" (Flood-Shaffer, 2009)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer Fun

I don't know about you, but I spent all winter preparing my body for the summer; however, now that summer has arrived it appears that I am gaining the weight back....
Summer, really makes it difficult to maintain your figure. There is just too many tasty summer treats that are easily craved for to cool off with like: slurpees, ice cream, popsicles, sweet lemonade, etc. 
Furthermore, it seems like everyone has some event - cookout/ barbecue - their throwing and you're invited to partake in the festivities, which includes eating: hot dogs, burgers, fries, funnel cakes, etc.

So whats a girl to do?

While it may be difficult, the easiest solution would be to just not eat the yummy summer foods; however, the more practical solution would be to eat them, but in very small portions. Instead of, eating barbecue ribs and drinking sweet lemonade (or whatever your chosen poison) throughout the summer, you could minimize such eating habits to once every other weekend or so; that way your still enjoying summer and all it has to offer. And when it comes to eating at events it may be helpful to: 1) eat before you go, 2) only eat a small portion while at the event (this means one plate that isn't filled to the gills), or 3) bring healthy snakes like fruit along with you to substitute for unhealthy food like french fries. I know...I know... easier said than done, but we must treat our bodies right; so little tips like the ones that I have given can go a long way.  

As you may know, eating alone wont keep the weight off during the summer. YOU MUST EXERCISE. There are various ways one can exercise during summer. Some typical summer exercises are: swimming, biking, hiking, playing tennis and basketball, canoeing, etc. In addition, to partaking in typical summer activities, you could also get a great work out by...

Paddle Boating

 Playing Laser Tag

 Rollerskating/ Rollerblading

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