Tag Archives: CD

They’re Your Hormones – Make Them Work FOR You

It was the day of my big photo shoot…a day I had awaited with both anxiety and eagerness. I wanted to look good…to feel good – not only physically, but mentally – about who I am.

It was my first time to experience a professional photo shoot.  To make sure everything would be camera friendly, the photographer had arranged for a makeup artist / hair stylist to touch me up.

(Okay…okay…it was a make over.)

I had painstakingly chosen the outfits I would take for the shoot.  For two weeks, I had carefully chosen the foods I would eat, had worked my body…had done everything I could to make sure I would be in top form.

Guess what happened. (Check out the picture above for a clue – and no…that’s not of me.)

The morning of the shoot, I woke groggy and puffy-eyed.  A quick look in the mirror told me this was more than just bed face.

Two zits had appeared during the night. One highlighted my left cheek and the other was just shy of center on my chin.  My face was puffy…I looked like I’d gained 10 pounds in the night.

What the…?

I stepped onto the scale…my weight WAS up…three pounds.  How did that happen?  It was impossible!

My stomach gurgled and I realized she was bloated.


How would those slim, tight slacks I’d chosen to wear fit me?  WOULD they fit me?

As I rubbed my tummy I realized I was swollen all over.  My hands, my face, my stomach, my…breasts….

Yep, they had increased in size and were sore.

Full breasts – now that’s something I’m usually grateful for, but that morning I wasn’t.  The shirts I’d picked for the shoot were form fitting.  There was no room in them for my newly enlarged breasts.

NO ROOM!  I would pop the buttons.

I panicked.

All the work I’d put into preparing my body and mind was for naught.  My hormones changed as I’d slept and undid every bit of the work I’d done.

Physically, I was a wreck.

Emotionally, I was…well…let’s not go there.

The photo shoot was scheduled for late afternoon so there was hope that some of the bloating would pass.  And, with each cup of coffee I drank, it did.

The change in hormones, combined with the amount of coffee I drank, triggered my body to eliminate and by the time I left my house for the drive to the studio, I was feeling (and looking) more the me I wished to be for the shoot.

I couldn’t help but laugh at myself.  I had covered all the bases, taken everything possible into the planning of my prep for my photo shoot.  Well, almost everything.

I’d forgotten one very important thing…my cycle and the effect stress can have on it.

I was diet wise.

I was exercise wise.

I was style wise.

But, I wasn’t cycle wise.

Period wise planning takes all things into consideration…especially where you are in your cycle, how your hormones are affecting you, and includes having a backup plan in case Aunt Flo unexpectedly sends her hormonal baggage ahead of her arrival.

How did the photo shoot go?

I was gorgeous, of course!

An artist needs only a willing canvas and I was oh so willing!  The photographer found my good side (yes, I have one), and the hormonal change that had occurred in the night brought out the best me possible and it was captured in every picture taken.

Want a little period wise advise? Schedule a make over and photo shoot.  You may discover a you that you want to lean hard into being more often.

Be period wise.  Don’t just go with the flow…make those hormones work for you!

What’s Your Cycle Day (CD) and Why You Should Know

If I asked you, “What’s your CD,” could you tell me?

Could you tell me without looking at the calendar when your last period started? (That day would be CD 1.)

Why should you know your CD?

How else can you live fully in it and lean hard into it?

Each CD has its own strengths.  If you don’t know what your CD is how will you know how to plan for and use each CD’s strengths to the max?

For women who cycle, especially those cycling naturally (not using hormonal birth control), knowing your CD and the strengths that belong to it can empower you in ways that may surprise you.

I challenge you – keep a brief journal each day of your cycle for one month.  Record the strengths that you note on each day.

Perhaps on one day you want to organize or clean house. Another day, you may prefer to write.  And another cycle day, you may feel chatty.  You may find that there are days that indicate it would be good to start a diet and other CDs can alert you to stay away from the kitchen or you will eat everything in sight.

Knowing what CD you can expect which strengths to surface on and when to expect them to be the strongest can be empowering.

Give it a try.

Be period wise.

(Looking for a fun way to track your cycle?  Check out Val Carey’s TOTM Period Planner.)

Living Within Your Cycle

As one who no longer flows, I can attest that menstruation is an important and necessary component to a woman’s emotional makeup.

As my body becomes more and more accustomed to the lessening of hormones that menopause brings, I find that my mind wishes to become so, but is as yet unable.

I still seek my cycle day (CD) and the knowledge of where I am within my cycle.  If I detect ovulation, I eagerly anticipate the changes that will lead to menstruation.

Yes, even without a uterus, my body signals when menstruation begins.  Menstruation is more than physical – more than a matter of blood flowing from your vagina.

Menstruation is mental as well. It’s a welcome change…a needed and necessary change.

How often have you said/heard, “I’ll be glad when my period starts!” ?

Why do you suppose we say that? What is it about menstruation that’s so welcome?

I wish all who cycle eagerly anticipated the changes each cycle day brought and welcomed the strengths present in them.

Living within your cycle is an awesome way to live.

It’s empowering.

It’s liberating.

It’s period wise.

Aching to Start

I crave chocolate.

Yes, I do. I could eat it by the pound right now, slowly savoring the taste, the texture…the feel of it on my tongue….

My breasts ache…no, make that HURT…my breasts hurt.  They passed “aching” hours ago.

And, my bottom feels heavy.

Fingers are so puffy that I can hardly type and my legs, well…they look like over-stuffed sausages.

My appetite?  Ha! Ravenous! Not only do I crave chocolate, I crave corn as well – cut or cobbed, creamed or chopped, Doritos or Fritos – I crave corn.  And, tomato.  Oh my…. You know…tomato as in pizza, spaghetti, ketchup….

I’ve eaten 4 Hershey Kisses since I began writing this post.  My corn allergy prohibits me from indulging in any corn products, so I’ll head back to my Kiss stash and partake of a few more….

A nap would feel so good right now. To just curl up and snooze for 15 minutes, or 30 or an hour…or two.

Hang on while I throw away my small pile of silver Kiss wrappers…get more…brb….


Ah…where was I?  Oh, yeah…hang on again while I open and pop another kiss into my mouth.

M-m-m-m-m-m…so-o-o-o-o g-o-o-o-od….

I have not yet begun the runs to the bathroom – they will come in waves as my bladder becomes sensitive and urination picks up as all this excess fluid leaves my body. And, of course, there will be the “check” trips because my vagina feels “leaky.”  Oh, and at some point, diarrhea will result…just too much fluid for my kidneys to deal with at one time, I guess.

Ouch my boobs hurt!

Perhaps removing my bra will help.  Ah…it helps somewhat.  Good thing I’m small breasted.  😉

My “seat” is aching like it’s been spanked.  Labia hurt, vagina hurts, everybody down there is cranky.

My mind is crazy today, for lack of a better word.  I type things I don’t intend to type.  Mispell simple words.  Change that to: Misspell simple words. My mind can’t get herself together no matter what I do.  5 cups of coffee by noon and still I’m fuzzy around the edges.

And, my bottom feels like it’s going to fall off of me.  ARGH.  This is getting on my nerves.  First the boobs and then the bottom.  It’s like they take turns calling my attention to them – boobs then bottom, boobs then bottom.

And, no…orgasm did not help. One did not.  Two did not. I’m certain three would not either.  If anything orgasm made matters worse.

What I would really like is to…ah…what time was it Hubby said he would get home?

I feel like my vagina is expanding within me…like everything is swollen…lush…ripe.

Usually, I’m able to control my cravings, but this weekend really did me in.  The family ate Kentucky Fried Chicken – a NO NO for me but I ate it anyway (sans skin and coating).  Saying “no” was just too difficult for some reason.  I wish now I had.  The swelling would be far less than it is if I’d stuck to my natural foods diet and the other issues would be nearly non existent as well.

Ah, well, it is what it is.  I gave her what she wanted and she’s doing a number on me now.  Ha ha!

You go, girl.  Enjoy every sensation.  Enjoy the cravings, the aches and pains, the fullness and bloating. One day all this will be a faint memory, if that.

Oh, I forgot about the bloating.  I’m in sweatpants today.  For the first time in ages my abdomen is bloated.

I’m miserable.

And, having light cramps, too.  They originate near my ovaries and extend down into my vagina.  Not really painful…but not all that comfortable either.  They end with a profound ache/tug at the top of my vagina.

My lower back aches.  A heating pad would feel nice against it but I’m too lazy and sluggish today to get up and get one.

Boo me.

I just want to go to bed and sleep…or eat.  Eating is good, but I’m tired of chocolate.  What else is there that I can nibble on?

No, no, no…I don’t want an apple….  I might make some fries….  Oh, or a chocolate shake…or fries AND a chocolate shake…OH!! I know…fries dipped in the chocolate shake….

And, a spoon of spaghetti sauce…I wonder if I have any in the cabinet….

I wish my period would start.  That would make my body so happy.

The chips…I found them hiding on the microwave.  Forget the fries…forget the shake.  I’ll go with greasy, salty crunchiness.

Several times I’ve headed to the bathroom to check and see – stopped myself because I knew flow had not started.  But, it felt like it had…such an odd sensation.

Crampiness is increasing.  CD 1 can’t be far off.

My breasts ache, upward into my armpits – I find myself with my hands cupping them, lifting and cradling them…attempting to ease their pain and find that I only add to it.

I’ve not checked my stash of menstrual products or cleaned my cup for use.  I’ll not place a pad, tampon or cup “just in case” I start. I won’t worry about bleeding on or staining anything I wear. And, I won’t insert my finger to check my cervix’ progress toward menstruation.


Because I no longer menstruate.  But, I do still cycle.

My cycles have become irregular in the past year and I thought I had reached menopause a couple of months ago as I experienced a cessation of symptoms associated with the various phases of my cycle.

It’s odd to experience everything up to the moment that flow should arrive – and for there to be no flow.  And, to experience everything during the period of time in which I should be flowing except for flow itself.

I lost my ability to menstruate when fibroid tumors enlarged my uterus to the size of a 26 week pregnancy and filled my abdomen and pelvis with softball sized tumors. Shortness of breath, intestinal worries and difficulty emptying my bladder signaled it was time to put my health ahead of menstruation. It was a sad day.

A very sad day.

My ovaries were uninvolved so I begged to keep them.  They have functioned well since surgery – at least up until late last year when I noticed changes in myself and in my cycle.

Each and every cycle, since the hysterectomy, has been a blessing. No, I don’t flow, and, yes – I miss it greatly.

It’s one thing to cycle through all the various frustrations and changes and arghs associated with the menstrual cycle and be rewarded by flow – and quite another to go through it all and not experience flow.

One day I will no longer cycle.  I’ll admit – I’ve wondered who I will be and what I’ll be like when I stop.  I can’t imagine living without the changes…without waiting for certain days in my cycle when I KNOW certain tasks will be easier to accomplish.

After all, I’ve cycled for 40 years.  That’s a long time.

But, that day has not arrived yet.  I am awaiting the start of my “period.”

No, I won’t bleed.  No, I won’t become menstrual in the truest sense of the word.  No, I don’t have a uterus to get grumpy and irritable – and crampy – as she goes about her business of expelling the old as she renews herself.  No, I won’t flow red.  But, I will flow.

Yes, I will flow. With all that’s in me, I will flow.

(This is the second in an occasional series that began with “Finding Normal.”)

Menstrual Facts: 12 Things You May Not Know About Your Period

On February 12, 2013, Christina Huffington posted an absolutely wonderful piece entitled “Menstrual Facts: Twelve Things You May Not Know About Your Period”.

I became aware of it shortly after it posted and wondered how I could incorporate it into PeriodWise without plagiarizing.  Oh, how I wanted to claim what she had written as my own.  :)

Others had placed bits and pieces on their blogs, some with links to the original work…others leaving the reader to assume it originated with them.

I was in a quandary as to what to do and how to do.

After all, it contains great period wise information – and is well worth sharing.

Two comments lead into her Twelve Things:

  1. If you want to view VICE’s 2012 photo series “There Will Be Blood,” you have to confirm you are over 18 years old. The series is neither violent — as its title might imply — nor sexualized, so why the NSFW label? Because the photographer, Emma Arvida Bystrom, captured women visibly menstruating while engaging in otherwise ordinary daily tasks. Your period, as HuffPost Women Associate Editor Emma Gray put it, is something that we’re taught “should be covered, hidden and cleaned up.” 
  2. That may be why some women don’t seem to know important details about how their bodies work. For instance, a 2012 Australian survey found that only “13 percent of women could correctly answer which days of their menstrual cycle they were fertile.”

(I had seen VICE’s 2012 photo series “There Will Be Blood” last year before PeriodWise began – awesome pictures – and had forgotten about it.  If you’ve not seen the pictures, I encourage you to do so.)

I’ll admit, I was surprised by the Australian survey’s findings that only 13% of women could correctly answer which days of their cycle they are fertile.  I wonder…how period wise are my readers? Do YOU know which days of your cycle you are fertile/ovulate? Do YOU know how to know your fertile days?

Hardly a day goes by that I don’t learn something new about menstruation, the menstrual cycle or participants in it (female AND male).

Christina Huffington‘s “Twelve Things You May Not Know About Your Period” follows.  Take a moment and read through the list.  You might learn something.  I did.

Twelve Things You May Not Know About Your Period – by Christina Huffington

1. You can get pregnant on your period. Yes, it is highly unlikely but it’s not impossible so don’t use menstruating as an excuse not to use protection.

2. You are most fertile during — and around — ovulation. Ovulation — the release of an egg from an ovary — typically happens midway through a woman’s cycle. Ovulation calculators are helpful in tracking your cycle.

3. Irregular periods can mean any number of things. Irregular menstruation — whether in the form of missing a period, spotting between periods or a period lasting more than seven days — can be caused by everything from extreme weight loss or stress to pregnancy to the use of certain drugs to serious illnesses like uterine cancer. Consult your doctor if you are concerned about an irregular period.

4. Walt Disney made a movie about it. In 1946, Disney released The Story Of Menstruation as an educational aid for sex ed classes. It is rumored that the film was the first to use the word “vagina.” Betcha didn’t expect that from the pretty princess factory!

5. The average period releases less than a cup of blood. Complain about heavy flow all you want, but the fact is that most women lose between a few tablespoons and a cup each month. This is not to say that Tampax ‘super plus’ are not sometimes necessary.

6. Menstruation by any other name is still menstruation. Remember in middle school when you were embarrassed to say you were on your period so you and your friends made up code names? No? Uh, well… Code names through the ages include Crimson Tide, TOM (time of the month), Elmo riding the cotton pony, Aunt Flo, the rag and the, er, crime scene.

7. Views on period sex vary. We know sexual preference is individual — there’s a spectrum on everything from preferred gender to preferred position — so it makes sense that opinion on period sex would be individual too. (This goes for both men and women.)

8. On that note, your period might make you frisker than usual. Progesterone — the hormone believed to potentially lower your libido — is at its lowest during your period so if you’re craving more than a Snickers, chances are you’re not alone.

9. No one knows if period syncing is a real thing. Yes, it’s very well possible that you / your sister / your roommate / your partner share more than just secrets. The science behind the theory continues to be controversial, but as anyone who has ever found themselves reaching for Midol and a pair of sweatpants at the same time as their BFF can attest, it seems pretty legitimate.

10. Menstruation is still considered taboo in some places. While pre-teen girls in America may have to endure teasing from their less-than-understanding male classmates, in places like rural India girls are told not to cook food lest it be polluted, not to touch idols lest they be defiled and not to handle pickles because they will go rotten.

11. Always was the first company to show blood in an advertisement for sanitary napkins — in 2011. They broke the “women bleed blue liquid” trend but the ad still only appeared in print. Guess the taboo factor still stands.

12. The average age a girl in the United States gets her period is 12. Girls are getting their periods younger than ever and it is unknown what’s causing the puberty speedup, with theories ranging from environmental factors to higher fat diets to stress.

When Words Won’t Flow

Have you ever had days when you just can’t find the words?

Communication is harder and though there may be a conversation going on in your head, getting it out and sharing it with others is nearly impossible.

Rambling, disjointed thoughts jotted on paper are the extent of and result of any writing exercise.

Why is it some days we just can’t seem to find the words to express ourselves?

Can it be that hormones are to blame?

Dr. Laura Berman, in Hormones 101, says yes.

Hormones are the driving force behind our bodies, minds, and bedrooms.

Researchers have found that hormones control almost all our physical, emotional, and sexual functions. Hormones dictate hunger, sleep, sexual response, weight, and even your mood.

While her post centers on hormonal fluctuations experienced during menopause, she offers sound advice for all of us, no matter where in our menstrual experience we find ourselves.

We all experience frustration. We all experience days where we wonder what the heck is going on and if our minds/bodies will ever get in sync.

On days like this, patience is truly a virtue.

Performance Enhancing

Okay, I’ll admit…I’m not usually a fan of the Super Bowl Half Time Show.

But, this year I found myself drawn to it.

Not because the performer was Beyonce – but because the performer was a woman.

I wondered where she was in her cycle and if she used strengths found in this cycle day to aid her performance this evening.

And, I wondered if her performance would have differed had it fallen on any other cycle day.

As a woman, do you find that your cycle day influences your performance?

Do you use strengths found in each cycle day to aid and enhance your performance?