Good to Know, TMI Tuesday

My uterus is MAD

Thats right, I’m a female, hear me ROAR!!
I hate to be cliche and discuss menstrual cycles like most women feel prone to talk, blog, post, write or even comedically open up about. However, with my line of work as a Certified Lactation Counselor and Postpartum Doula this is an important topic that is continually questioned. Plus as a female I think this is a topic we can all learn more about.
Lets start from the beginning, what is a period? Why do we have one?
Easy answer, your body is mad that you didn’t get it pregnant. I personally love this meme that demonstrates to my simple self as to what is happening within me.
SLXLM

For those of you who are more appropriate and prefer “adult” answers here is the National Health Services explanation, “A period is part of a woman’s menstrual cycle. The menstrual cycle is the time from the first day of a woman’s period to the day before her next period. A period is a bleed from the womb (uterus) that is released through the vagina. It happens approximately every 28 days, although anywhere between 24 and 35 days is common.”
Now that we know why this happens lets discuss what is considered normal. Do you or have you ever thought how much blood loss during your period is “normal”? It’s not an everyday thought but as we painfully survive this monthly occurrence it might cross your mind, is this a normal amount? Do I even have enough blood in my body to loose this much? According to the experts, “the average amount of blood lost during a period is 30-40 millilitres (ml), with 9 out of 10 women losing less than 80ml. Heavy menstrual bleeding is considered to be 60-80ml or more in each cycle. However, it is rarely necessary to measure blood loss. Most women have a good idea about how much bleeding is normal for them during their period and can tell when this amount increases or decreases.”*
Thanks for the milliliters but I’m a visual learning so approximately 30-40 ml or around 1.5 oz is a little less then a full shot glass.
SLXLM

So doesn’t seem like a large amount until it’s secreting from your body. Just saying males, you have it pretty easy when it comes to the period/menstrual necessities of life.
Next area to give some insight to is how do we as females contain this disaster? You might not realize how many options are out here, most of us are only made aware of pads/panty liners or tampons. In the pads/panty liner department you even have multiple choices. Do you go disposable or reusable? Yes, there are options ladies. If you are into the organic natural or just thrifty then go investigate some reusable menstrual pads. I hear there are some gorgeous ones sold on Etsy.
Now tampons are pretty straight forward, I’m personally not aware of additional choices in that line except the brands, styles and amount of coverage. However, an option that sort of mimics the place of a tampon, literally, is the menstrual cup. Yes, menstrual CUP. It’s an item I was only made aware of when I was in my late 20’s. No, I haven’t personally tried this method but the explanation of how it works seems fairly simple. Wikipedias overview is “a menstrual cup is a type of feminine hygiene product which is usually made of medical grade silicone, shaped like a bell and is flexible. It is worn inside the vagina during menstruation to catch menstrual fluid (blood).”
With all these options being given to you please keep in mind that I’m no professional medical gal here. You need to research whats best for you and even speak with your doctor about these items. I know personally, from being part of the female gender, that we are all different and that goes for every part of our bodies. One thing might work great for one of us gals but not for another.
So do what works for you!
SLXLM

Also please note that after giving birth and during breastfeeding menstrual cycles can be completely different then you’ve ever experienced or not occur at all during breastfeeding. Speak to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding your menstrual cycle. As much as we complain, moan, groan, cry and plead for it to stop our menstrual cycles are extremely important to our overall health as females. Please be aware of your body and always contact a doctor immediately with concerns.
*http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Periods-heavy/Pages/Introduction.aspx
originally published June28, 2016

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Good to Know, TMI Tuesday

Bladder Leakage for ALL

You know the face of realizationSLXLM

Imagine for a moment, you are in the middle of a friendly conversation and start to let out a true belly laugh only to abruptly stop due to the sensation between your legs. Whats that sensation? Bladder leakage!
If you’re pregnant, have been pregnant, or given birth, you fully understand this situation happening. Bladder leakage might sneak up on you from a belly laugh, common everyday sneeze, a fitful cough, lifting a box or rigorous physical activity.
The misconception out in the world is that bladder leakage only happens during pregnancy. A baby is sitting on top of your bladder so it’s understandable this could happen. The actual technical term is stress incontinence. Fancy lingo to say, you may pee yourself during common activities.
WebMD poetically describes stress incontinence this way;”The bladder sphincter is a muscular valve that lies at the bottom of the bladder. It works to control the flow of urine. In pregnancy, the expanding uterus puts pressure on the bladder. The muscles in the bladder sphincter and in the pelvic floor can be overwhelmed by the extra stress or pressure on the bladder. Urine may leak out of the bladder when there is additional pressure exerted — for example, when a pregnant woman coughs or sneezes.”
We are talking ALL kinds of sphincter pressure to disrupt our ability to control the urine flow. What we don’t realize is that after birthing a child we can still be in trouble with this situation. The technical term after birth is urinary incontinence.
There are many medical reasons someone can have urinary incontinence. It is common after pregnancy, in the postpartum phase of life. This is due to the pelvic floor muscles possibly being weakened or even due to the bladder and urethra being moved around during pregnancy. Whatever the reason could be, women can be unprepared the first time after pregnancy to yet again experiencing that sensation between the legs and having to abruptly stop whats going on to focus on stopping the flow.
The way to help prevent this issue is quite easy and I’m sure you’ve heard of this little exercise.
I’m talking about the good ole’ KEGEL!! The simple yet taboo exercise that needs to be taken much more seriously. Easiest way to describe how to perform the Kegel exercise is to tighten your pelvic muscles as if you are stopping the flow of urine. Even taking part in some Kegel practice while urinating is recommended. WebMD states to hold the exercise for 10 seconds and to release for 10 seconds. Doing 10 Kegel exercises in the morning, afternoon, and at night should show improvement in the leakage issue in about four to six weeks.
The wonderful thing about this exercise is that anyone and everyone can take part in it, including the significant other! Thats right, it’s a household workout! Sitting around the kitchen table in the evening discussing the daily events is the perfect time to ask if everyone has done their Kegel exercises. Best part is that this valuable, simple exercise can be done right then and there. No stopping or disrupting life to complete this. Eating dinner, chatting on the phone, watching your favorite show and just about every other daily task can be done while working on the Kegels.
Take it from someone who has had to stop mid run to cross her legs quickly, squeeze them tight, before letting out a sneeze. Kegel exercises are less disruptive to your daily life then peeing your pants. You’ll thank me someday!
source: WebMD http://www.webmd.com/urinary-incontinence-oab/america-asks-11/pregnancy?page=1
originally published May 24, 2016
TMI Tuesday

P.O.O.P

 filling-daddys-shoes-on-toilet
     Thats right folks, lets get going with the first blog post for the TMI Tuesday category with the opening topic of poop. We all do it. Some more then others and some take a LOT longer then others. Gentlemen, that was meant towards you.
     Having two young boys of my own I feel as though I’m especially privileged to the male species particular bonding to poop. I always assumed my husbands insistence to comment and discuss his bowel movements was simply a “special” connection he felt the need to share with me. However, after hearing my 3 year old scream “Mom, its coming out fast and stinks!” I realize, it’s just a male thing.
     Parenthood brings on a whole new level and enthralling discussion to poop. The moment a baby is born life is consumed with not only their normal issues of wellbeing but also the fluids leaking from them. “Have they pooped today?” “What color was it?” “Was it solid?” Thats just the beginning barrage of questioning in life that becomes normal to us parents.
     Hearing the sound of my husbands screams the first time our newborn pooped on him was the beginning of our continuing journey into poophood, I mean parenthood. I have more poop stories I adoringly tell about my boys then “normal” sweet stories. Even as infants the sounds coming from their diaper was that of a grown man. I would cringe every time I’d hear a blow out from across the room just knowing that outfit was perpetually stained. **Side note, Dawn blue dish soap scrubbed into those stains prior to washing is a miracle cleaner. Many an outfit would have been saved if I knew that sooner in life**
     Now, not only in my household, but with other families I’m supporting, my topic turns to poop. It’s really the one way to know that your baby is fed and healthy. Honestly, any pending sickness, teething or allergy can be quickly detected by a simple discussion of their fecal matter. I love when I hear “can I ask you an odd question?” and then it’s about poop.
Trust me, that is not odd to me. Now, if you want to discuss with me how to feel like a successful parent everyday of your child’s life, I would state thats an odd question. Also it’s unattainable. Poop on the contrary is what life is about as a parent and certainly as a lactation counselor.
     Newborn poop goes through an array of colors that I simply compare to the rainbow. Some are to be ignored and deemed “normal” while others should raise concern. Newborn diaper changes are a different experience every time it’s peeled open. Not as often wiping a toddler can be alarming depending on the food coloring they might have eaten recently. Thank you St Patricks Day!
     So as you read this, if you don’t know the last time you had to wipe a different human beings nether region, what color someone else’s fecal matter happens to be today or have had to stand in the same confined area as a small human who was grunting along to “twinkle twinkle little star” while drops of crap fell from them…..consider yourself lucky.
                 If you have experienced any of those, congrats! Life is beautiful and so is poop.
LIVE, LAUGH and POOP!
originally posted April 5, 2016