Monthly Archives: December 2012

Periodic Resolutions

New year.

New resolutions.

New opportunities.

New vision.

New growth.

New you.

                                    As you look toward embracing the new year, consider resolving one (or more) of the following:

  • try a new Eco-friendly product
  • learn more about menstruation
  • explore your own menstrual experience
  • take the leap to a new/different product
  • begin a cycle day (CD) journal
  • live fully into the strengths each CD brings
  • examine your menstrual taboos and ask “why”
  • become more period wise
  • greet and celebrate each period

Before She’s History

As 2012 flows into her final days, we glance back over the year and take inventory.

What remains unresolved?  

Would you have done anything differently period wise?

If you answered “nothing” or “no” let me challenge you to rethink your periods of 2012.

  • Were you exuberant about menstrual product(s) used?
  • Did you make the most of each and every 2012 period?
  • Were you satisfied with your menstrual experiences?
  • Did you work your CDs (cycle days) to your advantage?
  • Was there anything about your periods that you would have changed if you could have?
  • Is there any information you lack concerning menstruation?

Period Wise exists to empower girls and women to embrace menstruation.





The Scent of a Woman

I asked a young friend why she used scented pads.

She replied: so no one knows I’m on my period.

Who told us we are offensive when menstruating?

Before you use scented menstrual products think critically:

1) Think – they can cause irritation.

2) Think – when’s the last time I could tell someone was menstruating because of objectionable menstrual odor?

3) Think – do I really want those chemicals and “perfumes” rubbing my body throughout the day?

Yes, I know, the Stayfree ad is outdated.  But, their message is still common. “Feel fresh.”  “Odor control.” “Neutralizes odor.” “Feel cleaner.”  And, Always recommends “advanced odor neutralizers for lasting freshness.”

So, who told us we smell bad when menstruating?  Oh, yeah, companies that make disposable menstrual products.  Products that make us smell anything but natural.

Christmas Red

Naughty or Nice – periods that arrive Christmas morning are often placed in the naughty category.

I remember one Christmas morning I woke to find my period had blessed me, my night clothes, and my bed with Christmas red. 

Instead of jumping out of bed to see what surprises were under the tree with my name on them, I jumped out of bed and scurried to the bathroom to see…

…how red my panty was, if I would need to change clothes, and how much clean up I would need before I could join my family around the Christmas tree.

Ah, the disappointment I felt…

…and, the silent tears I shed as I heard family calling to me from the living room: “What’s taking so long?”  “We’re waiting on you!”

…and, the embarrassment I experienced when asked why I changed from my night clothes.

That morning, Christmas red broke family traditions formed throughout my childhood and moved me to embrace long held cultural traditions formed through secrecy and denial.

I can only imagine how different that Christmas would have been if I had felt free to be open and honest about the fact that I was menstruating.

Imagine a world where girls feel no need to hide menstruation – from themselves or from others.  Imagine a world where women break cultural taboos and embrace menstruation as a gift – to themselves and to others.

Imagine a period wise world….

From Period Wise – have a wonderful Christmas




Keeping it Positive

“Keep in mind that not all menstrual symptoms are negative ones.” *

That’s great advice – and something to remember when we are talking to girls about periods.

The negative seems to always be at the forefront of any discussion of menstruation:



leaks . . .

We seem to forget that not all menstrual symptoms are negative. Often when menstruating, girls and women feel more




                                 eager for a challenge . . .

Ads for menstrual products push the negative and ignore the positive. They play to our fears and our ignorance. And  we buy into this mindset when we buy their products.

Take a look at the ad to the right.  What is it telling you about your period? About you when you are menstrual? About how you should feel about yourself and your period?

If our periods are natural, not dirty – why do we need a special scented cleansing wipe when we are menstruating?

Why do we allow the media to tell us how to think and feel about our periods? About ourselves?

It’s time we become period wise, embrace the positive side of menstruation and mentor others to be period wise, too.

* With thanks to for her piece – Menstrual Symptoms Your Tween Should Know.

All I Want For Christmas

With Christmas a week away, I’m making my list and checking it twice.

If your list is anything like mine, there’s one person missing – YOU!

Take a moment and look at the gift ideas below and see if any are on your wish list. Maybe it’s time for your wish to come true.


Gift yourself this holiday season!  You and your period deserve it!

An O.B. Celebration?

“Ultra is back. Let the celebration begin.”

An email from o.b tampons said: “o.b. ultra tampons are back and we couldn’t be happier. We’re so overjoyed by the triumphant return of our product that we can’t stop celebrating! We even decided to throw a party in your honor.  Check out your endless celebration here.  And, hey, even if you’ve never used Ultras before, your name is always on our guest list. Enjoy! Roof-raisingly yours, The o.b. tampon team.”

As a former devoted user of their ultra absorbent tampons (note I said former), I find myself a bit confused by the celebratory email – and even more so by the fact that ultra o.b. tampons disappeared from the shelves in the first place.

I’ve heard no explanation as to why they were pulled – or if they have been changed in any way before their reintroduction.

Ultra tampons pose a greater risk of TSS than any other tampon the company makes and I know from personal experience that o.b. tampons have, in the past, left a large number of fibers within me when they were removed.

If there was an issue with ultra o.b.that prompted Johnson & Johnson to pull them from the shelves, I hope (and pray) they corrected it before re-releasing it.

We cannot depend on companies to make period wise decisions. It’s up to us to be period wise and protect ourselves.

The more absorbent the tampon, the greater risk of developing TSS.

I’ll be honest –  o.b. ultra scares me.

#PeriodTalk TweetChat

Tara, founder of @bpreparedperiod, hosts a monthly #PeriodTalk  TweetChat, which focuses on a “commitment to open menstrual conversation and education.”

Today I was privileged to be one of three guests in the #PeriodTalk TweetChat. The topic was Menstruation & The Organizations That Care.  The guests were Morgan @Pads4Girls, Celeste @DaysforGirls and Suzan (me) @youarelovedTSS.

A sampling of tweets from the guests follows.

Pads4Girls is a social impact project of @lunapads that supports education for girls in developing nations. We provide girls in need with reusable menstrual supplies so they can attend school during their period.  In many communities, disposable products are impossibly expensive, leaving menstruating girls to fend for themselves. Without means to manage periods, girls are forced to stay home from school rather than risk being shamed. Girls who drop out marry earlier, earn less & are at greater risk of developing HIV & dying from childbirth complications. Menstruation is a taboo subject & many girls reach menarche without knowing what is happening to them & why. The UN estimates that girls miss up to 20% off their class time because of their period. @Lunapads has been sending donated cloth pads to NGOs and groups working in Africa since 2001. In 2006 @Lunapads commitment to girls education was formalized with the creation of Pads4Girls. With the help of @lunapads customers, we’ve provided over 3000 girls & women with pads in over 15 countries. We partnered with @TTextiles to create specialized 1-size-fits-all menstrual underwear that hold absorbent pads. We’ve raised enough to provide 10,000 period kits made by @TTextiles to be distributed throughout Malawi in Feb!

You ARE Loved – a nonprofit org focused on raising TSS awareness. It’s impossible to raise awareness about tampon related TSS without talking openly about menstruation. You ARE Loved also provides factual menstrual information and shares about safer menstrual alternatives. In the summer of 2010, 20 year old Amy got sick with what appeared to be the flu – only it wasn’t. Amy died a few days later from tampon related Toxic Shock Syndrome. Her Mom, Lisa, decided to do everything possible to raise awareness so other families would not suffer a similar loss. Over time that vision grew and gave birth to a nonprofit – You ARE Loved. Please take a look at our TSS awareness brochure & share it with others. We are raising awareness about the ONLY fem hygiene product you should worry about causing TSS: traditional tampons. Brands like Kotex, OB, Playtex and Tampax all come with increased risk because they contain viscose. Any other menstrual option is safer when it comes to TSS – organic tampons, pads, & cups (disposable&reusable). It’s important to remember that tweens, young teens and younger women are more likely to develop TSS, and die from it. They are at increased risk because 1) they have not yet developed antibodies and 2) have risky tampon use habits.  TSS does not take a holiday. Know the facts. Learn what to do.

@DaysforGirls is a grassroots org of thousands of volunteers worldwide ensuring more dignity, education and health for girls. Mission is to give girls the dignity of quality washable menstrual supplies they can count month after month. Millions of women go without MHM. Our goal to reach every woman in the world by 2022. Collaboration and awareness is key.  Receiving MHM and knowledge is powerful. Afterwards women and girls have stood up to exploitation, child trafficking and FGM. In Kisii, Kenya after a DfG distribution and empowerment talk FGM (female genital mutilation) dropped by a reported 30%. Did you know that hundreds of thousands of girls are sexually exploited in exchange for hygiene? It’s hard to imagine. Girls suffer humiliation, infection, exploitation and marginalization just for lack of feminine hygiene.  One beautiful, educated 16 yr Kenyan girl said after learning what her period is, “I’m so glad to know. I thought I had HIV.” Imagine having to choose between being exploited to stay in school or being married as an enslaved child bride.  @DaysforGirls has sent over 60,000 kits to 30 nations on 5 continents thanks to volunteers worldwide. We also empower local women in the countries we serve to make their own.

Throughout the chat questions were asked to engage and inform TweetChat participants.

Q1: Please share ur name & the number of girls/women you’ve known that’ve been unable 2 afford fem care items (A. 0 B.1-4 C. 5+)

Q2: What percentage of class time do you think girls in east Africa miss due to lack of access to menstrual products?

Q3: What do you think girls in the developing world who lack menstrual pads use to manage their flow?

Q4: Before this tweet chat, how would you rate your knowledge of the need for fem care items abroad?

Q5: Do you know anyone who uses tampons?

Q6: Would u know what to do if u or someone u know got ill w/flu-like symptoms while using or w/in days of using a tampon?

Q7: How familiar are U with the symptoms of Toxic Shock Syndrome? Thx to Suzan symptoms can also be found @

Q8: Do you think lack of MHM (menstrual health management) solutions effect girls in the USA?

Q9: How can you raise awareness about lack of MHM?

If you’ve never participated in a TweetChat, I encourage you to attend the next #PeriodTalk TweetChat on January 11, 2013, hosted by Tara (@bpreparedperiod) of Be Prepared Period. More information, along with the transcript of today’s #PeriodTalk, can be found on the TweetChat page of Be Prepared Period‘s site.

Pad Perspective

I wore a pad today.

A huge overnight pad that reached well up my front and quite high up my rear. It filled the crotch of my panty and bunched between my legs.

You can see in the picture how huge it is compared to my hand. Imagine how huge it felt in my size 6 panty!

I placed the pad this morning and wore it until early evening.  When I check the mirror, from the rear the pad was quite evident and in the front it made a bulge in my jeans.

It was over-sized, bulky, uncomfortable, ill-fitting and touched me in places I preferred a pad not touch me.  My hands continually went to my waistband to pull up my panty, to adjust the fit, to shift the pad – and to my rear to pull the pad away from my upper hip. When I sat, it bunched in the front and when I stood it sagged in the seat.

My day found me at a local hospital, in physical therapy, shopping, driving, sitting, standing, walking – and never once did I NOT feel the pad.

It was present with me physically – and mentally as well.

I felt like a girl wearing her mother’s pad.

Yesterday, at the grocery I stopped on the feminine hygiene isle and stood looking at the many options women have for managing menstruation. The huge 15 inch long purple pad I wore today was only one.  There were pads of various shapes, sizes, absorbances and colors – all meant to meet the needs of women.

But, not all who menstruate are women.  Many girls are entering puberty early and it’s not unusual to hear of a girl who has begun by age 7, or start menstruating by age 9 (or even earlier).

Just as I need a pad designed for my body that meets my menstrual needs, tweens and girls need products designed for their bodies, that meet their menstrual needs.  Kotex recognizes this need, and now sells U Tween – especially marketed to girls ages 7 to 12. 



The next time you place a pad – or whatever menstrual product you prefer – consider for a moment who you were at age 8 and if your product of choice would have worked for you at that age.  And, consider also that there are many girls who experience periods just as heavy as yours but who do not have product choices equal to their physical and menstrual needs.