Menarche, not archenemy


I typed the word, changed the spelling, and still the red squiggly line under the word menarche Archenemyindicated I had not spelled the word correctly.

And, when I asked the computer to offer a spell check correction, it offered the word archenemy.


(I’m sure some would feel this to be an accurate substitution for the spelling of the word menarche.)

Then, it dawned on me.  Menarche was not in my computer’s dictionary.

So I added it…m…e…n…a…r…c…h…e.

I wonder…is it in your vocabulary?  What about that of your daughter or granddaughter?

And, what of menarche? Is it truly seen as the wonder that it is?  Or, is it seen as something evil…an archenemy out to put an end to fun and living life as one pleases?

Menarche is not an archenemy of girls, nor is it something to be dreaded. And, it’s certainly not the herald of the bane of women everywhere (menstruation, aka periods).

It is what it is – natural, normal, healthy, wonderful.  And, it needs to be in everyday conversations, in everyone’s vocabulary, and a word that rolls off of the tongue with ease.

Say it with me…”menarche.”  (məˈnärkē) Menarche

At What Age Was Your First Period?

I came across a poll on Twitter recently that gave me reason to pause.  Poll - what age menarche AF_28

How old were you when you got your first ever period? was the question asked.  The results were surprising – yes, even to me.

200 responded (as of this date).  Of those who responded, the VAST majority experienced menarche as TWEENS.

Yes, tweens. Take a look at the poll as of noon today, October 3, 2015.

Only 1 in 5 experienced menarche as a teen.

What does this say about when discussion of puberty, the changes it brings and preparation for menarche should begin?

What needs to change to ensure young girls are prepared?  (Please note that of those who responded to the poll 19% indicated they experienced menarche at age 9 or younger.)

When did YOU experience your first ever period?  How prepared were you?



When a 7 Year Old Girl Gets Her Period

Do you remember what it was like to be 7 years old?Age 7 - S

I was looking through Mom’s photo albums recently and came across pictures of me at age 7.  Wow, that was such a fun age!  Ages 7-10 were some of my most memorable years – filled with amazing fun and awesome vacations.

It was a carefree time – an innocent time – play time.

As I looked at the pictures, I recalled two worries I had at that age.

  1. Mom’s vacuum (it ate my Barbie’s shoes and I believed it could eat ME if given a chance).
  2. Getting all E’s in school (E was for excellent – S, for satisfactory, was not deemed good enough).

Menarche was not a word in my vocabulary.  And, the only period I knew of belonged at the end of a sentence.

When a 7 year old girl gets her period, she has a lot more on her mind than picking up her toys and getting good grades. Check out my guest post: What happens when a 7 year old girl gets her period? and see what menarche is like for many girls.

The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research blog re: Cycling has focused on Menarche the entire month of September.  Loads of terrific info on menarche and menstruation can be found in the guest posts.  Be sure to scroll down through the September, 2015 posts. You won’t want to miss any of them!

Let it Flow

I was treated to a wonderful opportunity lately when a close family member required repeated hospitalization over a span of two months – I was the designated caregiver.

Throughout those hospital stays, often of two weeks at a time, I was able to observe multiple women as they cruised through their menstrual cycles.  Those observed varied in age, socioeconomically, race, education, occupation….

Doctors, nurses, techs, family members and friends of patients – all exhibited indicators of where they were in their cycle – and if they cycled.

PMS.  Fatigue. Irritability. Frustration. Tears. Talkative. Anger. Impatience. Hyperactive. Forgetfulness. Confusion. Desire to be close. Need to be alone. Quiet.  Loud. Aggressive.  In pain.  In the bathroom. Wearing black. Wearing white.  Craving chocolate and carbs.  Pigging out on pizza.  Sags and bags and dark circles under the eyes. Happy. Gregarious.  Helpful. On task. Cold. Chilled. Sweating. Stomach upset. Pimples. Headache. Stomachache.  Bloated. Sexy (or saw themselves as such).  Invisible (or wished to be).  Outgoing. Secure.  Insecure.  Inward focused.  Outward facing. Open.  Definitely closed. Period proud.  And, period disgusted.

Pads and tampons (often doubled up). Scented product as well as plain. Thongs. Granny panties. Undershorts.  Compression shorts.  Period panties.

But, no cups – at least not among any of the nurses or doctors I encountered and engaged in conversations, period wise.

No cups.  Most were not aware there was such a thing as a menstrual cup and had no clue as to how one would work.  Or, if it would work for them.

One pregnant doctor was overheard commenting to a nurse that she much preferred being pregnant to having her “monthlies.”

Menstrual aromas were everywhere – and, you should know…scented pads/tampons and liberal use of feminine hygiene spray shout “Hey, I’m on my period! And, I have something to hide!”

Women do it – cycle that is. If we don’t – we did at some point.  And, those who haven’t yet, will.

So, what’s with all the hush hush about menstruation and our natural cycles?  It’s a part of who we are any given day of the month.  Let’s embrace those changes we encounter when we cycle and stop fighting them.

Embrace menstruation – in yourself and in others.

Let’s relax, period wise, and let it flow.


Menstrual Cycle and Sports Performance

I came across an interesting article in Medical News Today that asks the question:  Does the menstrual cycle affect sporting performance?

Earlier this year, when British tennis player Heather Watson was defeated in the first round of the Australian Open, she attributed her performance to “girl things,” causing her to experience dizziness, nausea and fatigue as she attempted to play.

Annabel Croft, a former tennis player, told the BBC that Watson’s openness was “brave” and that “women do suffer in silence on this subject. It has always been a taboo subject.”

Croft considers the impact of the menstrual cycle on sporting performance to be “the last taboo” in sports, yet others downplay its influence. British runner Paula Radcliffe currently holds the world record for the women’s marathon and she broke the existing record at the start of her period.

“I broke the world record so it can’t be that much of a hindrance,” she told the BBC, “but undoubtedly that’s why I had a cramped stomach in the final third of the race and didn’t feel as comfortable as I could’ve done.”  (Read more.)

The piece goes on to investigate to what extent the menstrual cycle might be capable of affecting performance, as well as looking at ways to lessen the possibility of negative impact.

For more about Heather Watson and her interview with CNN check out this link.

Five Year Anniversary: RIP ARE – You ARE Loved

Five years ago today, Amy Rae Elifritz (the ARE in You ARE lost her battle to tampon related toxic shock syndrome (TSS).

Read her store here.

Be period wise.  Be tampon wise.  Be TSS wise.

Know the facts about TSS.

Take care down there.  Don’t use any internal products that have the potential to leave fibers in your vagina.

Know that longer wear does not always mean safer wear.  Changing tampons every two hours (or less) and alternating between internal and external menstrual products provides less risk of developing TSS.  This means using the smallest possible tampon/absorbency for your two hour flow need.

Traditional tampons contain super absorbent fibers.  The better choice, tampon wise, is 100% organic cotton tampons.  Menstrual cups, in my opinion, are the best choice for many reasons. (no fibers, longer wear time, lower risk, less expense in the long run, often reusable, etc)

For more information about TSS, please visit .

And, if you’re interested, you can find my story here.


Menstrual Hygiene Day 2015

Today, May 28, is Menstrual Hygiene Day.

So what? It’s an important day because #MenstruationMatters and so do women and girls the world over!  That’s what!

MHD serves as a neutral platform to bring together individuals, organisations, social businesses and the media to create a united and strong voice for women and girls around the world, helping to break the silence around menstrual hygiene management. How will you be showing the world that ‪#‎menstruationmatters‬ to you? Society for Menstrual Cycle Research

For more about Menstrual Hygiene Day and #MenstruationMatters check out the following links.

How will you make a difference, period wise?

Big Feet, Big Socks, Big Possibilities

White, cotton socks – Hubby bought more than his dresser drawer could hold.

(You know how these “Buy One / Get One Free” deals are – hard to resist even when it’s for something you already have plenty of.)

“Looks like I’ll need to get rid of my old socks,” Hubby lamented to me.  “Do you want me to toss them into the trash?”

(Trash perfectly good socks?!?!)

“NO!” was my immediate reply.  I handed him the bag the new socks had traveled home in with these instructions: “Place the old socks in here.  I’ll take them to a women’s shelter.”

Men’s socks to a women’s shelter?


Socks are like gold.

Menstruating while homeless calls for inventive measures if/when feminine hygiene products aren’t available.  A clean sock can be stuffed with tissue from a public restroom and used as a menstrual pad when nothing else is available.  The homeless period demands ingenuity. And, menstrual supplies, though essential, are not always readily available.

It seems a shame to just donate the bag of white cotton socks – knowing full well that the need is for something more than socks as a means to manage menstruation.

Hubby has big feet and the socks have the potential to hold a number of SoftCups, tampons, pads and wipes….

Hmmm… What would be the period wise thing to do?  😉


Dear Kate, My First Time Was…

I love this.


Dear Kate’s First-time video is…well…take a look for yourself.

OH!  And, be sure to page down…all the way down to the bottom of the page – down to where it says “SHARE YOUR STORY” 😉

Dear Kate’s wonderful period wise advice is –  “so, let’s talk about it.”

For the Freedom to Bleed Red


“Come and see the blood on my skirt!” is the invitation given by Shambhawi Vikram.


…to demystify the taboos and create a healthy, sustained debate around menstrual hygiene and reproductive health.


…carry pads, tampons and other products…around proudly.


April 10, 2015


Pads Against Sexism that started in Jamia Milia Islamia University has found momentum in Jadavpur University and now in Delhi University – against rising sexism in our society. You can read more such stories from campuses across India at Campus Watch, and #RaiseYourVoice!

That affects me how?

People need to be comfortable with the fact that as they walk down the streets, there are women walking around wearing sanitary napkins and tampons fixed firmly so that not a drop leaks out; as they sit in classes there are people who have blood trickling down their vaginas and it may or may not affect her demeanour, her mood or her ability to solve a mathematics problem! And no, this blood is not impure or unclean in any manner. This is precisely the kind of discourse that tries to reify women’s body by reducing her merely to her womb, wherein her sexuality must be curbed, her body and person either raised to the divine (render her sexless) or cast her as a whore (demeaning and conveniently eroticising her). It is this discourse that reduces a woman only to her reproductive roles and thus conveniently discriminates against her with menstruation being the most obvious and ugly reminder of her fertility. (Read more.)

For more details please go to