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.
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.
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!
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.
originally published June28, 2016