Sunday, August 3, 2014

Menstruation Complication

Almost nobody like getting their period. I say "almost" because some people use it to make sure they're not pregnant (probably not the best idea, but better than nothing) and some wish they'd just get it already and mature into womanhood. Either way, it still sucks because it's all messy and crampy. Luckily, we've got pads, tampons, cups, and other disposables that make it easier to deal with that time of the month. But what if we didn't have all of this new-fangled stuff? What did women in the past do to help with this monthly problem? Here are a few examples of what women used before the invention of the tampon, as well as some useful tips and sites for all of your period needs. As your pretend doctor and chocolate-enthusiast, I recommend you to eat chocolate and other goodies during your time, even if it's not highly suggested by those "actual doctors".

Bloating: There are times during your period where you can’t get into your own pants. You probably think that it’s because you've gained weight, and technically you’re right. However, it’s not necessarily fat. It’s usually just water weight that you put on during your period. You’ll also feel bloated, like you’ve eaten too much. This is caused by a number of things such as hormone level fluctuation, water retention, or a little weight because of hunger pangs and cravings.

To combat bloating, consider:
- Working out (keeps your weight under control & decreases constipation)
- Lay off salty foods (salt retains water and dehydrates you)
- Try not to use artificial sweeteners (causes diarrhea and gas, adds to your bloating)

If you’re feeling constantly bloated for a few weeks, feel full when you’re eating, or have changes in your urination/defecation, please see a doctor to make sure you’re healthy. These can be signs of potential ovarian cancer or other diseases

Heavy bleeding & clotting: Generally associated with hormone levels, heavy bleeding and clotting happen to most women during their period. Some experience it more than others. Depending on your levels of stress and even your birth control, you may find that you bleed more than usual. Clotting is normal for most people, but if you find that you're clotting more frequently and your period is heavier, go see your doctor. This also goes for bleeding between periods and after sex. There's also a link below that with info for dealing with heavy bleeding.

Fatigue: During this time, you'll feel tired and unmotivated. Though it's natural, it isn't always fun. Getting proper nutrients, eating food that are high in iron and vitamins B and C, exercising, and talking with your doctor are some good ways of dealing with fatigue. If you're period is heavy and your fatigue unbearable, speak with your doctor or gynecologist and alert them of any medication you're taking, even if they're non-subscription.

Smell: If you find that your nethers start producing an odor during your period, you should consider switching the products you use or increasing them. Menstrual blood only smells when it comes in contact with open air. Ideally, if you're using the right product for the job, you shouldn't find an odor. Consider changing your pads/tampons/cup frequently if you're concerned.

Blood color: Though blood is typically red and that's what you'd expect during your period, your menstrual blood can come in colors ranging from red to dark brown or black. You may start with red blood, then during the end of your period it will be a muddy brown or black. The darker colors are a sign that your period is at its end because the older blood is being expelled, but it didn't come out at quickly as the blood in the beginning.

Missed period: A missed period is usually a sign of pregnancy, however it can also be a sign of your hormones levels changing. High levels of stress and anxiety affect your period because it's a negative affect on your hypothalamus (the section of your brain that controls the regulation of hormones). If you're under lots of pressure, you're likely to have your period later than usual. Other reasons for a missed/late period are anorexia or bulimia, sudden weight loss or being underweight, irregular sleeping and eating patterns, too much exercise, or a medical condition. If you can, take a pregnancy test before your period to be sure and see your doctor if you have concerns about your period.

Cramping: Depending on the severity of the cramps, there are some exercises and tricks to relieve them.
Doing some light exercises and stretches can help with the puffy feelings and un-cramp the tightened areas. Generally lying on your back and taking deep breaths will help, or you can rub the cramped area and placing a heating pad on it. Ibuprofen is helpful as well. Some other options for those who prefer a herbal alternative are different teas containing ginger, chamomile, and red raspberry leaves. These herbs have healing properties that aid in stomach discomfort and cramping. Other foods to consider area whole grains, raw dairy or limiting your dairy intake, limiting your meat and egg intake (high in the inflammant, arachidonic acid), and eating more fruits and veggies.


Betcha didn't know...
  • Egyptian women used softened papyrus, Roman women used animal skins, African women used rolls of dried grass, and other women around the world used wool.
  • Women in the 20th century would use rags to stop the flow (not much of a problem during that age because women had a lot less to eat and tended to have more children). Hence the term “on the rag”.
  • Also in the 20th century, disposable pads were made to be pinned into women’s underwear. Later, a belt was made to hold the pad into place. They were apparently very uncomfortable, making you hate everyone during your period  more than usual. I asked my mom, given her first-hand experience.
  • Women in the 1800’s didn't use anything, but wore black underwear to hide the stains. 
  • Eventually, women used sponges to prevent bleeding. They were also used as a form of contraception and douches (that’s also in this blog). 
  • Menstrual cups were invented in 1937 to collect…well, you know. It lost popularity due to it the mess that came with it, but eventually made a comeback in the 90’s and is still used today.

  • Tampons started in the 30’s, but only began adding women in their ads in the 50’s and 60’s. These tampons also came in boxes of “tampon panties” which were worn in addition to tampons to prevent further leaks. It looked like they started in the 60’s and they only cost $1.00!

    Reusable pads
  • In the late 1960’s, pads with adhesive strips were invented to replace the belt/pinning methods. This idea was amazing and revolutionary, and it’s still the way pads are created today. A word of caution: don’t get the adhesive near your pubic hairs. You will cry. 
  • Today we have multiple varieties of menstrual products, including reusable pads!
Diva Cup holders


Interesting Information of the Week (this is a new thing)!
There are websites that talk about how marijuana aids in coping with period pains, specifically how and which types of cannabis to use. I found this site that had a simple yet informative article on this topic.