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Posted on February 17 2022,
The female body is pretty incredible. It is strong. It is known to be more flexible, women tend to be more tuned into their bodies and therefore more aware of stress, so are less likely to push themselves to a point of illness, women are typically better multitaskers, women typically survive longer under extreme circumstances like famines and harsh environments. Women also have a higher threshold for mental and physical pain - ahem, childbirth. Childbirth alone is proof of the physical, mental and emotional strength that women and our bodies are capable of.
That part of our life starts early, roughly between the age of 11 and 14, and what a time that is! Do we really prepare young girls for what it means? Or teach them that it isn't something to be ashamed of? I remember my first period. I was in grade 8 and I bled through my pants. I only knew because when I got up the boy beside me said "Something is wrong with you. There's blood on the chair." I was lucky because it was dry and I was wearing black pants. I made a joke about it must having been there before I sat down but I was terrified. I didn't know what was going on. I remember being terrified of the idea of a tampon or how to use it. So a mattress pad in my underwear from the store dispenser is what I went with.
Did you know there are more than 5,000 euphemisms for periods around the world? The most common ones in Canada being Aunt Flo, Shark Week, The Rag, Time of the Month, Erdbeerwoche - Strawberry week (in Germany), and Les anglais ont débarqué - The English have Landed (in France). Most women have period stains in EVERY pair of underwear. Which makes finding a "clean" pair of panties for your special night out is kind of hard!
Before her space mission in 1983 NASA engineers asked Sally Ride if she would need 100 tampons for the week of her period in space. Her response: "No. That would not be the right number." The average number of tampons we go through each time the "Red Sea" comes is 18, but over a lifetime you could go through up to 15,000 period products over an average of 450 periods. The average woman goes through 12,000-15,000 pads, tampons and panty liners.
Do you remember getting the Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) speech... like that's not going to scare you even more about what you use once a month inside your body. For years I was led to believe that TSS came from the tampons. But the truth is it comes from a combination of tampons and blood. Super Absorbency tampons specifically are more likely to be responsible for TSS as they hold a large amount and if they stay in for too long it creates a bacteria issue that heightens the risk of TSS. I remember counting the hours everytime I used a tampon so I knew at the latest when I had to remove it so I wasn't at risk. And depending on what job you have, sometimes you can't just get up and walk to the bathroom.
So since this blessing comes once a month what is the best way to manage the health of our bodies? Like everything in life when it comes to products we use, what we start with we often stick with. I gave up on the mattress pads when I could wrap my head around the use of a tampon and those were my go to's. But at one point due though as soon as I inserted a tampon, I could feel this pins and needle numbness growing down my legs. You know when it stopped? When I switched to organic tampons and reusable panty liners to try to protect the new pairs of undies. Menstrual cups have also popped up as popular alternatives and can work for up to 4 hours longer than tampons.
A study from the journal Psychiatry Research from the early 90's found that sleeping with a nightlight can help regulate your cycle. Light exposure affects secretion of the sleep hormone melatonin, which helps control the release of the female reproductive hormones that determine when your menstrual cycle begins and ends. The theory being that women with extra long or irregular cycles who slept next o a regular 100 watt light bulb for a few days during he last two weeks of their cycles shortened their cycles by an average of 12 days, helping to regulate periods. Be mindful if you are going to try this out not to keep the light on at all times as it may actually make your periods irregular similar to what shift workers are more likely to experience.
When it comes down to it, the female body is pretty incredible, capable of amazing things and worth taking care of during one of its most regular health occurrences. We have a whole generation of young girls coming into an age of periods, so let's set them up for success. Share with them the truth of the beauty of the female body, the power it holds. It has been the source of many superstitions over the years one of my favourites "Clothed women on board ships weren't welcome but naked women on board ships were completely welcome. That's because naked women "calmed the sea". This is why ships' typically had a figure of a topless women perched on the bow of the ship. Her bare breasts "shamed the stormy seas into calm" and her open eyes guided the seamen to safety. Take care of your bodies they can calm the seas.
Organic Cotton Tampons and Reusable pads are in store to keep you safe. Period.