A period- something found at the end of a sentence or at the end of a menstrual cycle. *Ugh* is what every woman just said in their head after reading that sentence. If your exasperation was audible, then you are probably all too familiar with the woes of the red monster. But what if we reframed how we felt about our period and took control of our experience with it? Hear me out.
Our period is a sign of reproductive health, so much so that the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) has proposed clinicians should consider one’s menstruation as the fifth vital sign (along with body temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure).¹ Whoa. That’s a bold statement. This tells us that there’s something to be said about the presence of a healthy period.
Amenhorrea is the opposite- the absence of your period. It naturally occurs during pregnancy, while breastfeeding, and when menopause occurs. Additional causes of amenhorrea could be birth control (another great blog post to come) and other medications, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, and blood pressure drugs. Structural abnormalities can also cause issues with menstruation.
If a woman has amenhorrea at any other time, this indicates an underlying issue. Whether its a hormonal imbalance, weight concerns (over or underweight), nutrition deficiencies, overexercising, or stress, something is causing either anovulation (when no egg is released during ovulation) or a skipped menses. ²
Aside from the obvious sign of a missed period, some other signs and symptoms that accompany this include:
- hair loss
- vision changes
- facial hair
- pelvic pain
- nipple discharge ²
Now, after learning that getting your period is HEALTHY and considered the fifth pillar of female health, are you beginning to appreciate its presence more? What about the fact that having your period indicates you are reproductively equipped to reproduce should you so desire? Yes, I completely understand and respect that not all women want children (I might be one of them!), but the fact that our bodies are staying healthy enough for ourselves and that option is incredible.
Benefits of Having a Period
- reproductive health
- bone health (hormones aid in maintaining bone density)
- thyroid & adrenal health
- being able to track your cycle and leverage you energy levels, creativity, sex drive, and more!
- you can better understand and make sense of your emotional state ³
If you do not have a period at the moment. Don’t fret. Contact your primary care physician and OB to rule out any medical condition, then turn to your diet and other lifestyle choices to help the return of the red sea. 😉
So, after reading this, do you appreciate what us women tend to demonize? Reframe and take control ladies! Your period is normal, natural and something to be talked about and celebrated, not shunned!
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- Vartan, S. (2020, March 16). Doctors Think Your Period Should Be a Fifth Vital Sign. Retrieved July 30, 2020, from https://elemental.medium.com/doctors-think-your-period-should-be-a-fifth-vital-sign-5b882c864783
- Amenorrhea. (2019, July 25). Retrieved July 30, 2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/amenorrhea/symptoms-causes/syc-20369299
- Network, W. (n.d.). Health benefits of regular menstrual periods. Retrieved July 30, 2020, from https://www.womenshealthnetwork.com/pms-and-menstruation/health-benefits-regular-periods.aspx