Tag Archives: menstrual cycle

Where am I?

where am IAs one who has entered the hormonal enigma of what some call “aging gracefully” (while others prefer the term “hormone hell”) I often find myself unaware of where I am in my cycle – and IF I am even cycling.

Case in point – I woke this morning and hopped on the scale to check my pre-dress, pre-coffee weight like I do most mornings.  When the tale was told, my weight was up 3 lbs since yesterday.

Three times the scale told me the same story.  Up 3 lbs. UP. Up, up.

I stepped off of the scale and turned to face myself in the mirror, the real me with unbrushed hair and bed wrinkles creasing one side of my face.

I’d not slept well (and it showed), and not nearly long enough.  Waking at 3:43 with heart pounding and drenched in sweat will deal a death blow to slipping easily back into a peaceful sleep, and with Hubby snoring loudly enough to cause me to grit my teeth even though I’m wearing earplugs….  I should know…I lay there and watched the clock until 4:20 while my muscles tightened and my teeth clenched in frustration.  Every nerve in my being seemed coiled to spring.  So, I squelched the urge to pinch Hubby and I rose for the day and took my agitation with me.

Yes, I’ll admit.  PMS did cross my mind as I lay there unable to relax. So did a lot of other things that I probably shouldn’t put into print.

A couple of weeks ago, I did sense a rise in libido and that twinge in my side could have been ovulation and not the spicy chicken fingers I’d eaten the day before.  And, last night I did feel chilled and a little obsessively focused, and (I suppose a wee bit) cranky and not quite “myself.”  And, my breasts have been a bit tender, which is unusual for me.

But up 3 lbs?  Overnight? With no change in diet or activity? (Okay, so maybe yesterday I did snack on a few potato chips and that chocolate covered cherry…it was just one – okay, okay…it was two….)

And, 3 hours after rising, with 3.5 large cups of black coffee in me…I realize I’m putting in and not putting out.  Definitely retaining fluid.

And, no, this is definitely NOT on my agenda or in my game plan for this week.

It’s the first week of the month…of the year…a busy work week where I need focus.  I’d prefer NOT to have the fatigue and foggy brain that are creeping in around the edges as I type this. And, if I could have my preference at this point in time, I would prefer to be facing something more like…CD7 or CD8 than the possibility of CD1.  (Just saying.)

I find myself fidgeting in my seat, a combined result of too much caffeine and hypersensitivity of all of my senses.

Bring it on – I’m (period) wise enough to know this hormonal/neurological storm will pass in time…just go with the flow and enjoy the ride.  Look out world!  Here I AM!

Where am I?

I’m on the cusp of something wonderful, something powerful, something ancient and awesome. I tremble with anticipation.

(Or, is it caffeine?)

Perhaps tomorrow morning the scale will show a drop of MORE than 3 lbs.

Onward and evermore, period wise.

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

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.

Finding Normal

Everyone knows what normal is…right?

Normal is…normal.

It’s behavior and activity that is common.  It’s what we assume is experienced by most, if not all.  It’s what’s expected. It’s what we’re accustomed to.

Did you know that what you consider normal might not be “normal” at all?

Did you know that your normal menstrual experience is unique to you? Why? Because YOU are unique and all that goes into making you who you are affects you – uniquely.

While the words you use to describe your experience are words commonly used by most women to describe the normal ins and outs, ups and downs of menstruation, these words are unique because of the meanings we attach to them individually.

After all, it’s normal for some women to experience heavy flow, right?  And, we all know what “heavy” means.

No.  We don’t.

YOU know what you mean when you give your flow a designation of light or heavy to signify amount and duration.  But, I don’t know unless you elaborate.  What I know is what I mean when I say “heavy period” and I naturally assume you mean the same thing.

If you tell me, “I’m having cramps” I”m going to filter your comment through what I’ve experienced myself and suggest what’s worked for me.  And, if my experience has been to have very little pain period wise, I’m going to make an assumption that may be wrong.

While it’s common for women to experience flow that is heavier on some days than it is on others, and it’s somewhat expected to experience some discomfort at some point during your cycle, considering either “normal” is not period wise.

However, knowing what is normal for YOU is period wise.

Finding normal is important.  And, understanding what your normal is and how it differs from what other women experience helps us see how unique we truly are.  And, it can also reveal to us a need to take a closer look at what we assume to be normal but may, in reality, be quite abnormal.

The only way to find normal is to give voice to what we are experiencing and do so using unique words that avoid general / normal terms like “heavy” or “light” or “crampy.”

Break the pattern of over-generalization and let’s get specific.

Find your normal and compare it with the normal experiences of others. I guarantee you, it will be an awakening long overdue.

If what you discover creates questions or causes alarm – talk with your doctor using specific terms and accurate counts.

Menstruation is not a time for generalization.

We are uniquely ourselves during that brief time in our cycle. Find your normal and you will find yourself. Share your normal and you share yourself with others. Embrace the normal of another and you gain a depth of appreciation for and understanding of another woman and her experience of normal that will enrich your own experience.

Finding normal is period wise.

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!

Menstruation Vacation

How is it that you and I don’t truly appreciate something until it’s gone?

And, why is it we have difficulties seeing the whole of a thing while we are in the midst of it?

I have been on the outside of menstruation looking in for a while now.  No longer caught up in my own flow, I am free to observe others and to engage others about their flow.

But, in the past few months, I’ve found myself NOT taking opportunities to do so. In fact, I found myself distancing myself from menstruation.



Before I knew it, I was on a menstruation vacation.



Unsure what was going on and why, I assumed at first, that I had backed away because I was still grieving my own loss of flow and, perhaps, in some way found it “painful” to talk of periods or participate in some way in the menstrual experience of another.

But, no…that wasn’t it.

Then, I wondered if I had pulled away from things period wise because I was questioning myself and my direction. Why am I’m doing what I’m doing, what’s the purpose of it all, and am I making a difference are all valid questions.

But, no…that wasn’t quite it either.

And, then, I knew.

I was simply enjoying a break from menstruation just like many other women do from time to time.  Without my own flow to distract me, I was free to focus on things other than menstruation and all the crampy things it can bring to mind and to body.

Yeah…I did say “crampy things.”

I had developed a  “so what?” attitude about all the good things menstruation brings to bear in a woman’s life and assured myself that there were many online who could/would step in and step up in my absence.  A menstrual vacation called to me and I answered…gladly.

I felt I needed a break – maybe even deserved one.

The only menstrual breaks (physically and mentally) that I had ever taken since beginning to menstruate at age 15 were during the 24 months I was pregnant – and that had been many years ago. (Three pregnancies, not one!)  Even after my hysterectomy, I immediately began tracking my cycles again and was very active in the menstrual experiences of others as a menstrual advocate and activist.

But…without my own flow to guide me and with my cycles at times erratic, I found it difficult to keep my direction true. I faltered, grew weary, and pulled back from that which I had embraced wholeheartedly, and desired above all else.

  • to encourage and support others in their menstrual experiences
  • be an advocate for change and the end of menstrual taboos
  • to be a resource
  • to provide not only information, but connection as well

I can look back on the past months and realize it was time for a vacation.  Mentally and physically I needed one. And, so without receiving my permission, body and mind took one from menstruation.

Oh, I tweeted a little.  And, I blogged off and on.  But, my mind and heart were not on things period wise. And, I’ll admit that at times I did sit looking at a blank page here in my blog editor and wondered what Period Wise was all about and why – and if it was making a difference – and why I seemed to have nothing to say, period wise.

We all need a break from time to time.  My break came of necessity. Change within and without forced me to take a step back and reevaluate things period wise.

And, not only reevaluate things period wise, but reevaluate myself and where I wish to go from this point forward.

During my vacation from menstruation, I found myself continually confronted with things…period wise.

  • A friend had menstrual issues and needed to share with someone.
  • Another had a hysterectomy which prompted many questions about things she was experiencing and concerns she had.
  • My daughter freely shared of her own experiences – so freely that for the first time ever she removed her panty with pad attached and left it lying on the bathroom floor in clear view of all…panty blood stains, her unique sleep blood/flow pattern on her Infinity Overnight pad….
  • Daily, I received emails from people I didn’t know, who requested information and advice (period wise) and I found myself answering them…all of them.
  • Every time I went somewhere I detected menstruation (smell, sight, sound) and women at various points in their cycle.
  • Women I knew well and saw often? I automatically tracked them cycle wise and watched for signs period wise.

Just because I had taken a menstruation vacation didn’t mean others could or did, or that their needs and concerns stopped period wise.  And…as I found out, concerns, habits and desires of my own don’t stop when vacation starts.

When I was pregnant those 24 months and took a vacation from menstruation, I can’t say that I never thought about periods or wondered when my next would start and what it would be like.  I did. Though I did not cycle during those pregnant months, my mind looked ahead to when I would.

This menstruation vacation has been similar – with each hormonal change my body and mind have gone through in the past few months, I’ve felt drawn to think of menstruation.  Each time I’ve walked into a store, I’ve felt drawn to walk by the feminine hygiene aisle. With each login on my computer, I’ve felt drawn to check my email for things period wise. Each time I’ve seen someone I would tag as possibly cycling, I wondered…where is she in her cycle, and is she menstruating, and if so, is all well with her…is she happy and satisfied with her experience?

The thoughts I shared Friday appear to indicate that it’s nearing time for my menstruation vacation to end.  And, now, with this entry following so closely on the heels of the other…yes…

…it’s time for me to get back into the flow of things.

Perhaps it’s time for Period Wise to see a change in flow that reflects where I am in my own cycle of life…more relaxed, more open, more focused, more sure of “what next” and more ready than ever to take on life…period wise.

Will you join me?

I’d love to hear your period wise thoughts and questions period wise. Feel free to email me or post comments here, on TwitterFacebook, or Pinterest.  I look forward to hearing from you about all things period wise!