Tag Archives: Women

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.


Say it with me – Vagina.

Again – Vagina.

One more time.  Vagina.

Now say “vulva.”

Say it again – Vulva.

Now wasn’t that easy?

And, wasn’t it faster and less complicated than saying, “um, my, ah, private lady parts, you know, haha, um….” Because, no, I don’t know and apparently you don’t either.  And, neither will your doctor.

Vagina. There’s nothing dirty about the word. And, there’s nothing nasty about vaginas.

I have one. You have one.  Your mother has one. Your daughter has one. Your girlfriend has one.

Vagina. Vagina. Vagina.  What’s the big deal with saying vagina?

Why are we embarrassed by the word?  Are we embarrassed to have a vagina?  Are we ashamed of her?  …afraid of her?

Why is it so hard for so many to say “vagina”?

Or, vulva? Or, vestibule? Or, labia? Or, clitoris?

We have no problem saying ear, fingernail, belly button, nose, elbow, or big toe.

Why can we not accept these feminine parts of our anatomy as good, honorable, delightful and worthy of kind consideration?

Why deny their existence? Why hesitate to speak their names?

Period wise, we would be up a creek without a paddle if we had no vagina to hold our tampons or menstrual cups and no vulva against which to place our pads.

We are women, body proud and period wise. Let’s honor ourselves and our femininity through our confident use of delightful words that spell out who we are.

Why Try a New Product?

I’m often asked, “Why would I want to try a different menstrual product if I’m happy with the one I’m using?”

My reply?  “Why wouldn’t you?”

All too often we settle for what is because of fear.

Yep.  Fear.

  • I’m afraid I won’t like it.
  • I’m afraid it will be money wasted.
  • I’m afraid it will be a waste of time.
  • I’m afraid I will have issues with leaks.
  • I’m afraid I won’t be able to use a…(cup, sponge, tampon, cloth pad, ultra thin pad, pad with wings…)
  • I’m afraid it won’t work for me.

How will you know if you don’t try?

When did we become afraid to try new things? Hey, we’re women! We’re fearless!  We LOVE new things!

New shoes, new purses, new hair styles, new clothes, new panties, new cars, new friends, new experiences, new social media groups….

We’re all about change and innovation.  So, why do we stick with the same old menstrual product year after year after year?

Hey, I have friends who are still using the SAME product they began using when young teenagers.  Times have changed.  Bodies have changed.  Menstrual needs change. And, so do menstrual products.

I’ll bet you have shoes for every event and activity – work, church, play, exercise, beach, pool…and I’m guessing you have one menstrual product (at best two) that you have used for years and years.

Question – what will you do when the company stops making them…changes them…store stops carrying them?

(I remember the panic I felt when OB Ultras were not available.)

Take a look at what’s out there. Don’t be afraid. Remember – you are fearless! And, truly, there’s nothing to fear.

And, while I’m on this soapbox, encourage the girls in your life to explore and experience many options.  Don’t let them settle for just one. And, don’t let them be afraid to try new products. Encourage menstrual openness and creativity via all the options available. Menstrual fear should not be a part of their experience.

Why try a new product?  Because your period is worth it!  And, so are you!

Besides, It’s period wise!

Make Your Own Happiness

Sometimes you have to make your own happiness.

Yes, you do.

When was the last time you bemoaned…anything? (an event, a relationship, a happening, a loss, a lack, a disappointment, a frustration, a hurt…menstruation, hormonal changes)

How much time did you spend griping about it? How much effort did you invest in your expressions of discontent?

My guess is that more time, energy and activity was spent bemoaning (whatever it was) than on finding happiness.

Now, I’ll agree with you. Sometimes it’s hard to find that little sparkle when the sparks fly.

Laughing is difficult when you feel more like groaning or crying.

It’s hard to smile when the gravity of a situation pulls your smile down into a frown.

It’s natural (and, at times, helpful) to invest emotional resources on that which eats at us.

But, when negative things and thoughts consume us, we find it difficult to recognize and accept the positive.

That’s not beneficial to our well-being and it indicates a need for action on our part.

What do you do when you can’t find one tiny glimmer of positive within all the negative?

Here’s what you do. When sad frowns have you down, turn one upside-down.

Seriously! Choose one part of the whole and look at it…differently.

Make your own happiness.

Happiness doesn’t just happen you know. It springs from an attitude of gratitude.

Now, look back at the image that played in your head when I asked, “When was the last time you bemoaned…anything?”

Find the sparkle. Look for the tiny glimmer. Turn a frown upside-down. Find something you can feel positive and good about.

Make your own happiness – especially period wise.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pads

Daughter’s doctor appointment drew me to the heart of our city, up to the 9th floor of the Doctor’s Building.

While Daughter was entertaining her doctor, I slipped from the waiting room and paid a brief and welcome visit to the 9th floor women’s restroom.

A quick check revealed that I was alone.  A quick peek into each stall encouraged me to choose the middle one – third from the entrance.

Another woman entered the restroom as I entered the stall and closed the door.  She chose the first stall.

Eager to release the coffee I’d enjoyed earlier, I paid little attention to what was happening two stalls away from me.

At least, I didn’t until I heard a commotion coming from the first stall.

Rattling, clanging, banging and a few softly spoken curse words prompted me to ask, “Is there anything you need that I can get for you??”

There was silence.

And, then a woman spoke.

“Yes, this toilet tissue dispenser won’t release any paper.  Would you mind terribly handing me some tissue?  I hate to ask, but…I’m in a bit of a bind.” (Nervous laughter ensued.)

“Sure,” I said.  Give me just a sec to pull up my jeans and wash my hands, and I’ll hand you all you need.”

“Thanks!” she offered.

With zipped jeans and clean hands, I entered the empty stall next to hers and pulled off a large amount of tissue and slipped it under the stall into her waiting hand.

She thanked me and I returned to the sink where I fiddled with my hair and smoothed my eye brows…looked up my nose and between my teeth…ran water…washed my hands again…dried them…sent a text…smoothed my shirt…dabbed at the water I’d managed to splash onto it….

And, then I heard a soft expletive uttered in the same feminine voice I’d spoken with just minutes before.

Then I heard the toilet flush.  And, immediately, heard it flush again.

Her door handle jiggled and the stall door opened.  I was standing at the sink, washing my glasses, and glanced into the mirror to see her exit the stall.

As she approached the sink, I stepped toward the paper towel dispenser.  As I reached for a paper towel, the young woman spoke.

“Would you believe that not only could I not get any toilet paper, there also was not a trash thingie in the stall?”

“Unbelievable!” I uttered.  I stepped to my right and turned to face the open door of the stall she had vacated just seconds before.  The water in the toilet bowl was still moving.

The toilet paper dispenser was jammed.  And, behind it was the hollow metal frame that held the feminine hygiene trash receptacle, but the receptacle was missing.

I turned to look at the young woman. She had not exited the stall with anything but her purse.  And, she had not thrown anything into the trash. Of that I was certain.

“I had to flush it,” she said.  “It took two tries before it finally went down and stayed down!”

“It?” I asked.

“Yes, the pad I was wearing. There was no place to put it…no where to put it…no trash thingie in the stall,” she said.

“Oh…you flushed your pad…wow,” I said out loud before I caught myself.

“Yeah, I mean…what was I supposed to do? Bring it out of the stall with me and throw it away here in front of everyone? I mean, really? That would have been SOOO embarrassing!” She said this with eyes wide and great sincerity.

I stood looking at this precious young woman who had just flushed her period pad down the toilet because she was too embarrassed to bring it out of the stall with her.

As she carefully washed her hands and glanced at me in the mirror, I offered: “It would have been okay if you had thrown it away out here.  In fact, I wouldn’t have even noticed if you had.  People don’t pay attention to what other people do as much as we think they do.  Just because we are aware doesn’t mean anyone else is. And, remember…this is the women’s restroom. It’s where WOMEN go, where WOMEN gather, where WOMEN take care of needs. Everyone who comes in here knows about periods and understands the need to dispose of used products. It’s like the sisterhood of the traveling pads. They are either traveling into the stall or out of it.  Don’t be embarrassed.  It’s normal.  It’s natural. And, it’s not something we need to be ashamed of or feel a need to hide from others.”

There was a pause and I waited for her thoughts concerning what I’d said.

What came instead was, “Do you think it will stop up the plumbing?”

“The pad?” I asked.

“Yes, do you think it will?” she asked.

“I don’t know. Personally, I hope it keeps on traveling! But, I’m out of here before it has a chance to do otherwise and they come looking for the one who flushed it!” I said with a smile.

“Me, too!” she squealed. “Let’s get out of here, sister!”

And, we did…exiting the women’s room loudly enough to turn heads and earn a stern look from the receptionist.

The sisterhood of the traveling pads…I was in the presence of many women today as I went from place to place.  I wondered…how many were menstruating?  And, of those who were…how many belonged to the sisterhood of the traveling pads?

No Purses Allowed

The NFL implemented a new “all clear” rule that will affect all who choose to attend NFL games.




The NFL strongly encourages fans to not bring any type of bags, but outlined today what is permissible. Beginning with preseason games, fans will be able to carry the following style and size bag, package, or container at stadium plaza areas, stadium gates, or when approaching queue lines of fans awaiting entry into the stadium:

  • Bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12” x 6” x 12.” (Official NFL team logo clear plastic tote bags are available through club merchandise outlets or at nflshop.com), or
  • One-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (Ziploc bag or similar).
  • Small clutch bags, approximately the size of a hand, with or without a handle or strap can be taken into the stadium with one of the clear plastic bag options.
  • An exception will be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection at a gate designated for this purpose.

Will this change affect you in any way?

What are your thoughts about carrying menstrual needs and products in a clear plastic bag if they are too numerous or too large to fit into a hand sized clutch?

What do you think of the exception “made for medically necessary items after proper inspection” at a designated gate? Would menstrual needs/products come under the heading of “medically necessary items”?

If you were menstruating, would the new ruling keep you from attending an NFL game? Would it cause you to rethink your menstrual product choice?

There’s No “What? Empty Again?” When You’re Prepared

Amy Meyer starred in an EWU student-made video in which she attempted to obtain feminine hygiene products from restroom dispensers.

I learned through @re_Cycling_SMCR, Society for Menstrual Cycle Research, of an accompanying article to Amy’s video.

In her follow-up piece, Amy shares her experience and what she learned. And, she provides a chart in which she shows which buildings on campus failed.  Note that I said “buildings” and not “restrooms.”

The Easterner found twelve buildings on campus with absolutely no working feminine hygiene machines. The machines were either absent, empty, broken or ate quarters without producing a product.


When researching, if we found a working machine in a building, we moved on to the next building without checking the other dispensers in other bathrooms. We were looking for one working machine per building.

One working machine per building…I was shocked to see how many buildings lacked ONE working machine.

Considering that a little over half of the students enrolled at Eastern Washington University are women, menstruation is a big deal to more than just a few people.

Wow – a little over half enrolled there are women and a little under half of the buildings failed.

Amy didn’t just report the problem. She took steps to correct it by talking with Karen Wichman, director of facilities services.

The greatest takeaway from this piece is the importance of being prepared.

Darrel Greene felt it was a good idea to keep a spare pad handy in case you need it. He also said: “It’s also a good thing to do in case you encounter someone who needs one.”

It’s period wise to keep a pad or tampon in your pocket, purse, or backpack. You never know when you (or someone else) may need it.

DYK – Adolescents with Disabilities

Did you know adolescents with disabilities have more menstrual issues than most?

A recent review in The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist reminds us that what works for one does not necessarily work for all when it comes to managing menstruation (and the menstrual cycle) in disabled girls and young women.

If you prefer an easier read, RedOrbit has a great overview of the review. Here are some of the highlights.

Menstrual problems in girls with disabilities are often unique to the population and can cause significant disruption to their lives, states the review. Symptoms such as restlessness, aggression, hyperactivity, increased agitation and self-mutilation can be common. The review also highlights parental and carer concerns regarding menstrual management and hygiene, including vulnerability to sexual abuse and pregnancy, as well as inappropriate behaviour, especially if the adolescent is in residential care.

In addition, adolescents with disabilities are more likely to have menstrual problems than the general female population. Previous studies have shown that up to 18% of adult women with disabilities have premenstrual syndrome, compared with only 5% of the general female population. Women with epilepsy have a higher incidence of polycystic ovarian syndrome and hyperprolactinaemia and irregular bleeding is also more common in girls with Down’s syndrome as they have a higher incidence of thyroid disease.

Be period wise. Know the facts.

If Men Had Periods

So what would happen if suddenly, magically, men could menstruate and women could not? Clearly, menstruation would become an enviable, worthy, masculine event:                      Men would brag about how long and how much.                                                                     – Gloria SteinemIf Men Could MenstruateMs. Magazine, October, 1978

Imagine a world in which the men you know menstruate.  What would it be like?