Monthly Archives: March 2013

Predicting Your Final Period – Is It Possible?

A common question among girls is – “When will I get my first period?” Another is, “How will I know my period has started?”

And, with women it isn’t much different – “When will I get my last period?”, and, “How will I know when I’ve reached menopause?”

According to WebMD, a new method may help pinpoint a woman’s final period.

The formula is based on the changing levels of two hormones: estradiol, which is found in the ovaries; and follicle-stimulating hormone, which is present in the brain and gives instructions to the ovaries.

Estradiol levels fall and follicle-stimulating hormone levels rise as women go through menopause, the University of California, Los Angeles, researchers explained in a news release from the Endocrine Society.

Currently, doctors monitor women’s menstrual bleeding patterns to determine the menopause transition phase. However, this phase is an imprecise indicator of when the final menstrual period will occur, according to the authors of the study published in the April issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Menopause brings change. A woman’s risk of heart disease and osteoporosis increase. The thought is that knowing when a woman can expect her final period will give her, perhaps, a 2 year head start on proactive intervention.

Do you think it would be period wise to know when to expect your final period?

Keep Your Ovaries – Study Says

This is a matter dear to my heart – and one I argued with my own GYN about prior to and up to the moment of my own hysterectomy.

Me: “When you get in there, if my ovaries are not diseased or irreversibly damaged by the tumors, I insist that you save them!”

He countered with: chances are great that following hysterectomy your ovaries will cease functioning – at your age, menopause is just around the corner anyway. By removing them we remove any possibility of ovarian cancer down the road. You can always take the HRT route.

Me again: “I respect your thoughts and concern, but it’s my body and my decision.  I keep my ovaries if at all possible!”

For me, the period wise thing to do was to keep my ovaries.  And, I did. They continue to function. I still cycle. Not as regularly as I did when younger (peri-menopause does that, you know), but I do feel the affects of the hormones my ovaries continue to crank out. And, I know I made the right decision.

While surfing the web for ideas (actually, I was bored and was looking for something interesting to read) I stumbled upon a report on Fox News entitled “When Removing the Uterus, Leave the Ovaries”. The byline indicated it originated with Reuters so I headed there, searched “hysterectomy” and found the article by Kerry Grens – which directed me to Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Obstetrics & Gynecology, also known as The Green Journal, has been around 60 years and is the official publication of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The goal of the journal “is to promote excellence in the clinical practice of obstetrics and gynecology and closely related fields.”

The April, 2013, issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology provides an interesting report about a study conducted to determine the effects of removing ovaries (oophorectomy) vs saving them (ovarian conservation) at the time of a hysterectomy for benign disease.

It’s noted that the participants of this study were nurses – 30,117 women – and the follow-up process was long-term: 28 years.

An excerpt follows.

Each year approximately 610,000 U.S. women undergo hysterectomy for benign disease and 23% of women aged 40–44 years and 45% of women aged 45–49 years have concomitant elective oophorectomy to prevent the subsequent development of ovarian cancer.1,2 Bilateral oophorectomy, when compared with ovarian conservation, is associated with a decreased risk of ovarian cancer but may increase risks of death from coronary heart disease (CHD) and all causes.3,4 Although some studies are not consistent with these findings, they include small numbers of women, have short-term or delayed onset of follow-up, or compared oophorectomy with natural menopause.5,6The Nurses’ Health Study is an ongoing prospective observational study of women and health outcomes. In a previous investigation over 24 years of follow-up, we found that bilateral oophorectomy, compared with ovarian conservation, at the time of hysterectomy was associated with a lower risk of incident ovarian and breast cancer but a higher risk of incident CHD, stroke, lung cancer and total cancers, and mortality from all causes.7…we found that at no age was there an overall survival benefit associated with bilateral oophorectomy compared with ovarian conservation at the time of hysterectomy for benign disease. Our analysis…found that at the time of hysterectomy, bilateral oophorectomy was associated with a marked reduction in mortality from ovarian cancer and a lower risk of mortality from breast cancer when oophorectomy was performed before age 47.5 years. Among the 30,117 study participants followed over 28 years, 44 women with ovarian conservation and four with oophorectomy died from ovarian cancer. However, these risks were overshadowed by the significantly increased risks of dying from other causes: a 23% increase in CHD mortality, a 29% increase in lung cancer mortality, a 49% increase in colorectal cancer mortality, and a 13% increase in all-cause mortality.

Additionally, it was found that

  • oophorectomy before age 50 years in women who never used estrogen therapy was associated with a 41% increased risk of all-cause mortality
  • lung cancer and cardiovascular disease mortality were also elevated only in the women who never used estrogen therapy
  • oophorectomy increased the risks of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality in low-risk women
  • oophorectomy may have a greater effect on otherwise healthy women
  • for women who never smoked and never used estrogen therapy, oophorectomy before age 50 years was associated with a 200% increase in mortality
  • oophorectomy may be associated with increased risk of colorectal cancer
  • oophorectomy may affect lung cancer risk
  • 80% of both cardiovascular disease deaths and all deaths occurred 15 or more years after hysterectomy

A reminder to women with a known genetic tendency toward ovarian and breast cancer was issued and a warning to women who undergo elective oophorectomy at the time of hysterectomy:

At the time of hysterectomy, women with known high-penetrance susceptibility genes for ovarian and breast cancer (BRCA, Lynch) should strongly consider oophorectomy because the lifetime risk of ovarian cancer is high.18 In contrast, approximately 300,000 U.S. women without these mutations, and many more worldwide, have bilateral oophorectomy at the time of hysterectomy for benign disease every year. Consequently, the association of oophorectomy with increased mortality in the overall population has substantial public health implications.

For more information on the study and its findings, please visit Obstetrics & Gynecology: April 2013 – Volume 121 – Issue 4 – p 709–716

Flowing Red

What image comes to mind when I say the words flowing red?

Perhaps of flowing red hair?                       Or a flowing red dress?

What if I say I am flowing…?

Did the flowing red image in your mind disappear, to be replaced with another?

If you say of YOURSELF I am flowing…, what image does your mind call forth?

A flowing dress becomes art when captured with an eye for detail and by someone who sees beyond what is and beholds the beauty….

Yes.  The beauty.  Flowing is beautiful.

I challenge you to break the taboos that prevent you from seeing your flow as the beauty she is.

Be period wise.  Look beyond what is and behold the beauty of your menstruation.

Why are we hesitant?

Your menstrual product of choice is not working as well as you would like…leaks, frequent changes, itching, irritation, cost…you’re not completely happy with it, but you are not open to change.

Why not?

If we are dissatisfied with clothing, what do we do? Continue to wear what we’ve always worn?

If we don’t receive service we like at a restaurant, what do we do? Go back to the same place time and again expecting different treatment?

If we don’t like a particular brand/type of food, what do we do? Purchase it again and again, eat it and complain about how much we dislike/detest it?

If we are watching TV and don’t like what’s on the channel, what do we do? Settle in to view something that doesn’t meet our needs or speak to our desires?


Then, why do we continue to use the same menstrual product for years even though our needs change?

There are some awesome menstrual products available now and if you’re stuck in the rut of using the same product you’ve used since X, I encourage you to open yourself to the idea of trying something new.

What do I recommend?    I recommend that you shop your options.  Take a chance. Try something new.  Explore the new pads, consider cloth, and give menstrual cups a look.

As always, I welcome questions and will help you find answers as you look into the options available to you.

Are Clots Normal?

Holly and Charisse are two women who regularly talk about periods and things every girl and woman should know.

In their most recent video, they answer the question, “are clots normal?” and provide additional information about what causes clots and what, if anything, needs to be done about them.

2 minutes and 40 seconds of video – it’s period wise to take the time and watch, especially if you have a tween or teen girl.

Overcoming the Menstrual Taboo

Did you catch the article high school student Kira Gabriel wrote for her school paper on “Societal stigmas against acknowledging menstruation“?

She begins strong.

In its most recent issue, Seventeen Magazine ran a Tampax Radiant tampon ad that read, “New Tampax Radiant helps keep your period invisible. How you stand out is up to you.” The pseudo-feminist slogan implies that the only thing that can identify a woman on her period is her period.

And, she ends strong.

The current taboo against menstruation tells women that an essential part of their nature is disgusting and needs to be hidden. It is imperative that society accepts that, in order for it to continue, women must menstruate. Shaming them for it is a detriment to everyone.


To read all that comes between the beginning and the end, please click on the link above.

My guess is you’ll be cheering and shouting and clapping just like I was when I read it.

Wish I’d written these period wise words!

What period wise actions are you taking to end the taboos of menstruation?

Too Many Teens on Birth Control

The latest pill popping craze among teen girls may well be birth control pills.

A Thomson Reuters study, released March 2011, reported that:

Eighteen percent of teenage women ages 13 to 18 filled prescriptions for oral contraceptives in 2009, a proportion that has steadily risen since 2002, the study found.

The number of commercially insured teens filling birth control prescriptions from 2002 to 2009 increased 50 percent, while prescriptions for those with Medicaid rose 29 percent.

ABC News/Good Morning America followed up on the Reuters study and reported the following in July, 2011.

Today, one in five American girls between the ages of 13 and 18, two-and-a-half million teens in all, are on the birth control, the study found, and doctors say the age at which teens start on the pill is getting younger and younger.

From 1 in 8 teen girls in 2002, to 1 in 5 by 2009.

Say what?!?

If it jumped that much in 7 years, what are the numbers now, 4 years later?

And, what affects are these synthetic hormones having on the developing bodies of our maturing girls? on their future health?

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month

What is Endometriosis (Endo)?

The Mayo Clinic defines Endo as:

…an often painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus. Endometriosis most commonly involves your ovaries, bowel or the tissue lining your pelvis. Rarely, endometrial tissue may spread beyond your pelvic region.

In endometriosis, displaced endometrial tissue continues to act as it normally would: It thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle. And because this displaced tissue has no way to exit your body, it becomes trapped. Surrounding tissue can become irritated, eventually developing scar tissue and adhesions — abnormal tissue that binds organs together.

This process can cause pain — sometimes severe — especially during your period. Fertility problems also may develop. Fortunately, effective treatments are available.

Suspect you may have Endo?

The Endometriosis Research Center provides a self test on its site.


(Developed in 1999 by the Endometriosis Research Center.)

Not sure if you have endometriosis?  Pelvic surgery is the only current way to definitively diagnose the disease, but symptoms can lead you and your doctor to suspect it.  Review the following and consider if any of these common symptoms apply to you.  Review your answers with your gynecologist for further discussion.

  • Do you experience so much pain during or around your period that you find yourself unable to work, attend school or social functions, or go about your normal routine?  YES  /  NO
  • Do you have any relatives diagnosed with endometriosis?  YES  /  NO
  • Do you find yourself with painful abdominal bloating, swelling or tenderness at any time in your cycle? YES  /  NO
  • Do you have a history of painful ovarian endometriomas (“chocolate cysts”)? YES  /  NO
  • Do you have a history of miscarriage, infertility or ectopic pregnancy? YES  /  NO
  • Do you experience gastrointestinal symptoms during your cycle, such as nausea or vomiting and/or painful abdominal cramping accompanied by diarrhea and/or constipation?  YES  /  NO
  • Do you have a history of fatigue or feeling “sick and tired” all the time?  YES  /  NO
  • Do you have a history of allergies, which tend to worsen around your periods? YES  /  NO
  • If sexually active, do you experience pain during sexual activity?  YES  /  NO
  • Do you suffer from autoimmune diseases or other conditions e.g. thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, chronic migraines? YES  /  NO
  • Have you ever undergone pelvic surgery like a laparoscopy, in which endometriosis was suspected but not definitively diagnosed? YES  /  NO

If you have answered “yes” to three or more of these questions, you may have endometriosis.  Talk to your trusted nurse or doctor about getting an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment today.  Dull aching and cramping can occur during menstruation in many women and teens, due to uterine contractions and the release of various hormones, including those known as prostaglandins.  However, period pain that becomes so debilitating it renders you unable to go about your normal routine is not ordinary or typical!  Pain is your body’s way of signaling that something is WRONG.  If you are suffering from pelvic pain at any point in your cycle, an endometriosis diagnosis should be considered.

To learn more about endometriosis, please visit these links:

International Women’s Day 2013


International Women's Day

Annually on 8 March, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements. A global web of rich and diverse local activity connects women from all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences, government activities and networking events through to local women’s craft markets, theatric performances, fashion parades and more.

Many global corporations have also started to more actively support IWD by running their own internal events and through supporting external ones. For example, on 8 March search engine and media giant Google some years even changes its logo on its global search pages. Year on year IWD is certainly increasing in status. The United States even designates the whole month of March as ‘Women’s History Month’.

So make a difference, think globally and act locally !! Make everyday International Women’s Day. Do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding.  — About International Women’s Day 2013

Since the early 1900s International Women’s Day has been an active component in addressing inequality and giving voice to needed changes concerning the rights of women world wide. 

1908 – 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.

1909 – The first National Woman’s Day (NWD) was observed across the United States on February 28 – a tradition which continued until 1913.

1910 – Clara Zetkin proposed, at the second International Conference of Working Women held in Copenhagen, that on the same day every year women world wide should celebrate a Women’s Day.  Her proposal was met with unanimous approval. The day became International Woman’s Day.

1911 – International Women’s Day was first honored on March 19 in Austria, German, Denmark and Switzerland.  Rallies were held for women’s right to work, to vote, to receive education, to hold public office and to end discrimination. A few days later, a horrific fire in New York City, which killed more than 140 working women, called attention to working conditions and labor legislation.

1913-1914 – International Women’s Day moved to March 8, 1913 and in 1914, women campaigned against World War 1.

1917 – On March 8 (on the Gregorian calendar, February 23 on the Julian calendar in use in Russia at the time) Russian women began a strike for “bread and peace” to oppose the deaths of over 2 million Russian soldiers during the war.  The result was the Czar stepped down and the provisional government granted women the right to vote.

1918 – 1999 – The UN has worked to coordinate international efforts for women’s rights and designated 1975 ‘International Women’s Year‘. Women’s organizations around the world observe IWD by holding events that honor women’s achievements and advancement while holding forth the continued need for vigilance and for action to ensure equality is gained and maintained for all women in all aspects.

2000 and beyond – International Women’s Day is official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. Men, and in come countries children as well, honor the women in their lives with small gifts or flowers.

Within my lifetime significant change is evident in attitude and thoughts about women’s equality and freedom. We’ve come a long way, but, we’ve not come far enough.  Women are still not paid equal to that of their male counterparts, women are still under represented in business, politics, health and education. Violence against women is rampant. And, menstruation is still spoken of in hushed tones and with embarrassed glances.

In light of great strides made, International Women’s Day has moved from being a voice recalling the negatives, to a celebration of the positives.  And, there are many!

Join me in celebrating women and the achievements and advancements each of us have made, as well the progress forward in women’s rights that we have seen in the world around us.

Find out more about the history of IWD, learn of events scheduled, check out themes around the world, pick up resources, or just browse the homepage.

Celebrate International Women’s Day – say “toodle-oo taboos,” embrace your emancipation and live period wise, appreciative of the benefits hard won by women who came before us.