So I'm on my period and I don't know why but this particular period has filled me with so much irritation. Fortunately, as I complained to my fellow ladies I found comfort in remembering that this is something cis women and trans men all over go through. This made me feel so much better, so instead of getting pissed about the fact my insides gush out every time i sneeze, cough or laugh, or about the fact that my stomach is twisting in ways I cannot even articulate; instead of getting mad about my emotional stress and the fact that no one will take my emotions seriously when they find out I'm on my period, I'm gonna get happy and celebrate the fact that I'm experiencing this aspect of womanhood! As shitty periods are (which btw!!!!!! right girls?), we have to be thankful as they signify a healthy body and grateful that we have most, if not all, our girl pals who can 100% relate.
That said I did find myself whining "whhyyy???" like I do pretty much every period, but this time I decided I would actually find out why and write a post to help myself and other understand a little bit of why periods are the way they are. I most probably won't cover every question you have but if I missed something, please let me know so I can look it up and add it.
So yeah, enjoy the Period Post peoples!!
1) Why are sanitary products so expensive?????
Answer: Research told me that all around the world sanitary products are rather expensive, due to the fact that they are taxed in most countries around the world. In the UK (and the US & Canada), at least sanitary products are considered 'non-essential luxury items', and are taxed as such.
Rant: This is a little (a lot) ridiculous to me seeing as half the world's population (give or take) are destined to at least start this cycle. The vast majority of us go through our periods every month for a week for about 30 years, with no choice in the matter! So why are items essential to our hygiene whilst we are on our periods considered "non-essential" or "luxury" goods? Probably cos they are not essential to men, who think they are the be all and end all of of this world. Even though without periods there would be no them. ugh.
2) Period shits, what and why????
Now to explain this we are gonna need a little bit of biology. As we were taught back in secondary school biology classes (or maybe even earlier) periods are induced by hormones as part of our monthly cycle of womanhood. I'm sure we are all familiar with progesterone but there is another hormone, which I just discovered, that acts during our periods: Prostaglandins. Before your period, progesterone levels are high, as the hormone signals to the uterus to start thickening its lining, but apparently this hormone does a little more. It slows things down in its area of function, which unfortunately includes the bowels, giving you that bloated constipated feeling pre-period. Then after progesterone comes the prostaglandins, released by the uterus. This hormone causes smooth muscles to contract, so as well as causing cramps and the uterus lining to shed it also causes bowel muscles to contract more and push out more shit, I guess.
Sooooooo, essentially the progesterone builds period and poo up then prostaglandins tells your body to let it all loose. woooo
Also, indulging in those bad cravings doesn't help. Apparently what does is taking ibroprofen 24 hours before the period (for those who, unlike me, you know their dates)
For more tips and better explanations please look at where I found my info:
3) Why does it hurt soooo muchhhhh?????
I feel like most people who paid attention during sex-ed or bio or whatever probably have all the answers to this, but this one's for those of us who have forgotten or didn't pay so much attention because messing about in class was cool, lol!
Answer: As question 2 stated prostaglandins are responsible for cramps as they cause the muscles of the uterus to contract. These contractions compress the blood vessels in the lining of the uterus cutting off the bloody supply and thus oxygen supply to your womb. The oxygen deficit causes tissue in the womb to release chemicals that trigger pain. (Period pain - NHS)
More Chat: This article from The Guardian goes into a lot more detail about period pains so it's definitely worth a read, but it also brought something to my attention. They quoted Deborah Mason who said:
"Too often we don't want to make a fuss and this is one of the reasons why so little research is done in this area. If period pain is preventing you from continuing your normal activities for more than a few hours, seek medical advice. Just because period pain has been around for millions of years doesn't mean women should suffer in silence."
I think this is so important because there seems to be a sort of 'painkiller and get over it' attitude to period pains, which is incredibly unfair. Throwing up and shaking of pain shouldn't be dismissed just because it is a natural monthly occurrence. According to John Guillebaud, a professor of reproductive health at the godless institution of Gower Street (UCL), has found officially that period pains are as bad as heart attacks. He mentions that they should be treated and taken care of as "anything else in medicine" would be and we should all listen to this very sensible man.
So yaaahhhhhhhh, those were the three questions I kept thinking about, but as I said, please send me more questions and/or answers so I can buff up this article with more period information!! Hope you gals and guiz enjoyed learning a little more about periods, and I hope my ladies can learn to love their period like I did this time round (next month I might just be singing a different tune).